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Gear Review: Black Diamond Momentum Shoes

Black Diamond Momentum Shoes in action on Eureka!, Red River Gorge

By: Will Babb 


I started climbing about a year ago now, within my first week of school at Ohio State. I was soon a regular at the campus climbing gym, spending three or four nights a week on a rope. I threw myself into climbing with more passion than any other hobby, and I knew right off that climbing wasn’t just a phase.

Within that first month of climbing I invested in all the gear I needed- harness, chalk bag, and shoes. My first pair of shoes were the La Sportiva Tarantulas, a great beginner or intermediate climbing shoe. They didn’t take long to break in and were comfortable enough to climb in for a few hours. After a few months of climbing in my Tarantulas, I realized it was time for a new pair. My shoes were starting to show that they had seen quite a few climbs, and the unpleasant odor of well used shoes just wouldn’t go away. Additionally, as I started to climb more difficult routes I saw the need for a more aggressive shoe.Thus, my second pair of climbing shoes- the La Sportiva Muiras.

Uncomfortable is probably the first word that comes to mind when I think of my Muiras. They are two sizes too small, aggressively shaped, and so tight I can only spend short periods of time in them before my feet are screaming for a break. Surprisingly enough, that is why I love my Muiras. They might be painful and have a long break in period, but they perform far better than the Tarantula. I can stick my foot on the smallest edges and stick. These shoes are perfectly designed for climbing long slab routes at Red River Gorge or the most difficult, crimpiest routes in the gym.

Momentums at work, Red River Gorge

I manage to make it down to the Red a few times a year, something I hope to change in the next year. But as it stands, I’m still primarily a gym climber. The Tommy Caldwells of the world probably spend more days at the crag than in a stuffy gym, but most of us aren’t fully sponsored climbers. Most of us spend the bulk of our time training in the local climbing gym to get ready for the occasional trip to the Red or New. That is where I saw the need for the Black Diamond Momentum shoes.

Black Diamond is new to the climbing shoe market, but as with any other piece of equipment I’ve bought from them their shoes have surpassed my hopes. I bought the Momentums as a relatively inexpensive shoe to use day in and day out at the gym and on easier sport routes. If I test myself on a particularly blank wall, I’ll still strap on those uncomfortable Muiras, but for the most part in the coming months you’ll find me crushing routes in the Momentums. They fulfill everything I wanted out of them- comfortable enough to wear all day, budget friendly, and technical enough to give me confidence on tough routes.

Full trust in the BD Momentums

The Momentums will be my new go-to climbing shoe. I can put them on and leave them on the entire time I’m at the gym without feeling as if I’m causing permanent damage to my toes.  That seems like it should be a given, but that’s a level of comfort I’ve been missing the past few months. I had mediocre confidence in the performance of the Momentums when I bought them- after all they were a brand new shoe with no reputation for just $90. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find them performing well above their price point. Several times I’ve found myself perched on a poor foothold and expecting my feet to peel off at any second, only for them to stick long enough for me to clip the next bolt and climb on. Black Diamond advertises the shoes as breathable, comfortable, neutral shoes built for moderate routes, and thus far the shoes have met each of those expectations.

My only complaint is that I should have bought the velcro rather than lace up shoes, as I like to be able to slip my shoes on and off easily at the gym. Outside of that, I am thrilled with my shoes thus far. They’re lightweight, fairly breathable, and seem durable enough to withstand climbing three nights a week. For now I’m the only person at the gym climbing in the little-known Momentums, but I expect that to change soon as more people try them and see how great they are. You trust Black Diamond to make the highest quality cams, draws, and biners on the market, so why not trust them with your climbing shoes? It’s not often that a brand gets a product right on their first try, but Black Diamond seems to have done just that.

Gear Review: La Sportiva Miura VS

La Sportiva Miura VS Gear Review

By Kayla McKinney, featuring photos from Eli Staggs

There is a myriad of styles and techniques in the sport of rock climbing. Everyone has their own style and every route has different features. Different climbing shoes fit better for different styles, distances and formations. It can be difficult to know which shoe will best fit your needs, so reading reviews and testing out products if possible is a great place to start. The Miura VS is immensely popular, and for good reasons. The shoe comes in a women’s and men’s version with the major distinction between the male and female versions of the shoe being the colors and size of the shoe.


Eli getting precise foot placements in his Miura VS shoes.

The La Sportiva Miura VS, winner of the Rock and Ice – Best in Gear, does not fit into every niche, but is an excellent intermediate to advanced climbing shoe that excels in precise edging and placement on slab to overhanging face-climbing.

The ideal terrain: Overhanging sport routes, bouldering, gym climbing and technical face climbing.  I do not recommend these shoes for trad climbing, especially with the triple Velcro system.

Personal Review:


Precise foot placement and smearing.

After my first pair of climbing shoes got too old and smelly, I decided to bump up to a more intermediate climbing shoe. The Miuras were the right choice for precise toe performance on small footholds, heel hooking and edging. I feel like a ballerina because I’m so on point with my toes. Toe chips that once seemed impossible are comfortable ledges compared to the flatter toe box shoes I had previously. When I first got them and put them on, I thought I horribly misjudged the size and that I could never climb in them, because they were so tight and painful. It took almost a month of climbing once or twice per week for the shoes to break in “comfortably.” I went down a full size from my street shoes, which was painful at first but perfect after the break in period. The shoes are still painful in the toes to this day, and not comfortable to walk around in. I am actually forming a callous on both of my big toes from the shoes, but I am weirdly proud of it. I chose the VS (as oppo


Bend near toe bed after prolonged use.

sed to the original Miura’s) because of the micro seconds saved with a Velcro system. Who has time for laces? The triple Velcro system enables a precise fit and is a perfect compromise for laces.

Update: I have now had the Miuras for about 4 months and I climb 2 or 3 times a week and my opinions have changed since I first started this blog. They have started loosening in the heel and a peculiar damage is occurring in the leather around the toes, as shown in the photo, from bending my foot. I worry about the longevity of my shoes because of this bend. I also regret having gotten the VS Velcro system because I believe that laces would fit better around my narrow, small foot now that the leather has stretched even more. Regardless, these are still my go-to shoes for sport and bouldering and I still highly recommend them to anyone looking for an intermediate shoe. When these retire, I will likely get the Miura Women’s instead of the Miura VS.

For specific shoe specs visit the La Sportiva website:

For the Men’s VS:

For the Women’s VS:


When things get chossy, it’s good to have a shoe you can count on.


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