Lowa Falco Lace | $140 lowaboots.com
Uncomfortable climbing shoes make me feel like Waylon Jennings on the road: lonesome, ornery and mean. That’s why I avoid anything advertised as downturned, cambered or high performance. Give me a flat-lasted shoe with a generous, symmetrical toe box, something marketed as mid-level, and I’m happy as a boll weevil in a bakery.
But it’s also nice to climb hard, so the shoes that stand out for me are the ones that are comfortable and also perform. The Lowa Falco Lace is one of those shoes.
I sized the Falco the same as my street shoe and they fit great right out of the box. Surprisingly, after several months of use, they still fit great. The lined upper doesn’t stretch. The shoe is slightly downturned, but after a few weeks of use the downturn flattened out a bit. Lowa describes the midsole as medium stiff, but after using them for almost a year, I’d say the Falcos are soft. I liked the way these shoes broke in. The workmanship is top-notch and they seem to get better with use. All these attributes make the Falco one of the best mid-level shoes I’ve worn.
I climbed cracks, faces and bouldered in the shoes and they performed really well for me up through 5.12/V5. I’d recommend the Falco Lace for entry- to mid-level climbers for sport and crack climbing, and alpine rock routes (sized to fit with socks). For multi-pitch, I’d prefer the Velcro version of the Falco so I could more easily remove the shoes between pitches.
About the Rating: I gave the Falco Lace four stars because it’s one of my favorite mid-level shoes, but is spendy, and I’d like to see the laces extend further down the shoe to allow for a micro-adjustment at the toes.