The Black Diamond Shadow is the Johnny Cash of shoes—all black, meant for business. With a downturned toe and ample room for your toes to fit properly (forever an issue with aggressive shoes), it was made for steep, hard climbing. The shape of the toe isn’t tailored for a specific type of climbing, i.e., edges, and that’s right, as it is rounded enough to be all-purpose shoe, but not too round that it won’t stuff into pockets. The uppers are synthetic and have BD’s signature weave-knit technology, which keeps the stink at bay. The Shadow pulled on smoothly, and the single (high) Velcro strap didn’t seem a liability; in fact, given the full-rubber toe, it will be a toe-hooker’s delight. The front half of the shoe feels well structured. It loosens considerably in the mid-shoe, due to the 4.3mm-thick rubber on the toe—quite thick in terms of industry standard—that translates to durability. The Shadow is an excellent addition to the ever-growing stock of Black Diamond’s climbing shoes.
Rock and Ice vigorously tests all gear it reviews for either 50 days or 50 pitches. This is a time-consuming process and limits the amount of new equipment we can present to our readers. Every year hundreds of new products hit store shelves, and most of these aren’t reviewed due to our stringent selection and review process. To better keep you more up to date on what is new, we present First Look. Gear in First Look has not been field tested, but is gear we think you’d like to know about as soon as it is available. Some of the gear will be reviewed using our 50 days/50 pitches criteria, in future print and online editions of Rock and Ice.