Based on first impressions and initial use we’re really impressed by these aggressive and technical Boreal shoes, available in both men’s and women’s versions. The uniquely sculpted toe rand produces a very aggressive shape without your toes needing to suffer for it. Instead, the shoe supports your toes and allows you to edge on the smallest of features without hesitation. Boreal’s own Zenith Pro rubber is really sticky and adds confidence when edging on barely-there ridges.
The fit feels spacious at first, and would be great for those with wide feet, but the three-strap closure system functions more like a lace-system and ensures a snug fit, even for narrow feet. The upper of the three straps is particularly effective as it grabs Boreal’s proprietary Wrap Rand, helping to drive the foot into the molded heel extremely well.
The microfiber upper, integrated tongue and lining make for a smooth, comfortable fit while the anti-deformation midsole forms a very deliberate shape that seems unlikely to flatten over time, suggesting that the secure and precise fit will not change considerably with use.
A good rule of thumb for these shoes would be to size a half size down from your street shoe; those seeking a tighter or looser fit can adjust from there. The Dharmas would be perfect for anything from steep overhangs to off-vertical technical face climbing: go looking for small edges and they’ll be able to show you what’s really available.
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 always 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. We have opted to use affiliate links in our gear reviews. Every time you buy something after clicking on links in our gear articles you’re helping support our magazine.