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Climbing Shoes

Red Chili Corona

The Corona is a working stiff.

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RED CHILI CORONA $109

2 Stars

The Corona is a working stiff. Thanks to one of the most rigid soles of all shoes reviewed, this new shoe from Red Chili climbs well outdoors, especially on angles around 95 degrees. A low-volume, pointed toe-box provides precision footwork—your toes are scrunched together to work with the stiff sole as a single power point. The shoe is a bit down-turned, though its camber isn’t aggressive.

It took about four gym sessions to break the Corona in enough to feel like I could actually climb in them. They do soften up, though they are always painful to don first thing in the morning, when the shoe is cold.

Rubber swaths above your toes add grip to toe-hook moves—in fact, I was so caught off guard by how well the Corona grabbed the crux toe-hook on one of my projects that I fell off. The heel is also super stiff, which helps some heel hooks, but hurts in others.

The Corona, made in China, strikes a balance between an edging shoe and an aggressive one. If you are looking to get into the world of down-turned shoes, especially if your toes are weak, or you are a heavier person who needs support, the Corona is a great choice.

FIT: I wore a 44 Euro. I could squeeze my foot into a 43, but it was just too painful to actually climb in.

—AB