Red Chili X-Cube, $125
- Steep rock: 3.5 Star
- Face climbing: 2 Star
- Long routes: 1.5 Star
- Upper: Leather, lined
- Rubber: 4mm Vibram
The marketing blurb I received with the X-Cube proclaimed it as built for the hardcore and more. Its sole is aggressively cambered, but the shoe lacks downturn and needs more forward tension in the toe box. Like Saltic’s Vampire (reviewed above), the X-Cube is versatile enough to deal with steep plastic and vertical rock, but doesn’t dazzle on either terrain. My favorite feature: soft, unlined leather uppers that break in quickly for a cozy fit.
+ Good all-around technical performance.
– Expensive. More-specialized models give better steep-rock or face-climbing performance.