RED CHILI SPIRIT IMPACT-ZONE VELCRO • $89
The Spirit is about as comfortable as your favorite pair of jeans. The pièce de résistance of this shoe is a thin slice of high-density EVA foam hidden in the heel between the sole and midsole. The padding isn’t so beefy that the shoe feels clunky (you can’t even tell it’s there, in fact), but is just enough to make dropping off problems, walking between boulders or all-day wear an organically pleasant experience. The Spirit’s broad toe box and flat, relaxed fit edges well and is stiff enough for crack support. With three Velcro straps running over a comfortable, sweat-absorbing Neoprene flap atop your foot, the Velcro Spirit is super easy to get on and off. The lace version climbs identically, but lets you fine-tune the fit a bit more. Both versions have dual heel-pull tabs, but the thin webbing takes a second to fiddle your fingers into, a small grievance for such a great shoe. redchili.de
BETA: Comfortable, supportive shoe for all-around use. Heel cushioning takes some sting out of bouldering falls.