April 27, 2021

Black Diamond Shadow Review

by Bernice

Making a perfect climbing shoe is not a walk in the park. Even though the Black Diamond Shadow might be devoid of that magic touch other leading aggressive shoes are endowed with, there’s plenty to be fancied.

The birth of the Black Diamond Shadow from the Black Diamond climbing shoe line set apart the inception of their most badass and softest shoes in their 9-shoe rivet line. Despite the company being comparatively young in the shoe game industry, they bring some killer innovations on board.

The all-around aggressive shoe is an all-around tough shoe for slab climbing, smearing, and edging. Zealous shoe lunatics comprehend this rarity in climbing shoes. Giving these shoes a first-time shot brings you some nostalgic sense. If you are a pro in the game of climbing, then grind a halt into our thorough Black Diamond Shadow review.

What we like:

  • The knit technology hugs your feet to prevent slipping during bouldering.
  • The soft rubber provides maximum friction on slippery rocks and boulders.
  • The toe rand technology makes the shoe amazing, fitting all toe types.

What we don't like:

  • The heel is not ideal for people with wide heels.
  • Poor performance on slabs due to the rubber strip peeling off.

Black Diamond Shadow Feature Highlights

What makes these climbing shoes so special.

Black Diamond Shadow Climbing Shoes Toe Box

Feature Toe Box

The toe box achieves strikingly well. The shoes inspire you to push your boundaries. Something that sounded like a mere dream comes very real and close. The consolidated toe box sends immense power to your toes on the tiny edges, giving the shoe a very powerful, precise, and edging ability.

You can not miss realizing the toe rand has a blend of printed and perfectly molded rubber. The molded rubber has a ribbed motif that enhances vast friction. Other than prolonging the life of the gem by minimizing rubbing on the synthetic upper, the printed rubber brings forth some friction.

All in all, the Shadow toe hooks perfectly. If you have wide feet and are afraid of toe blisters, worry not. The toe box is wide enough to fit climbers with medium to wide feet nicely.

Black Diamond Shadow Climbing Shoes Heel

Feature Heel

The Shadow heel might not be the most technical. However, it has the power of striking a cool heel hook or two. It is typical for high-performance shoes to bank on a highly tensioned rand for a well-fitted heel. The Shadow includes the suction technique catalyzed by the soft rubber to make this sensitive and secure heel.

In the wake of this, the Black Diamond Shadow has a relatively narrow and low-heel cup. Although this is a great feature, climbers with feet with wide heels will experience some issues with the heel. Some of them might find it very stiff and uncomfortable. 

Lack of glue binding the rubber together makes the shoe start peeling off at the back. Most Shadow users experience this after some sessions of hard climbing. However, you can always get in touch with Black Diamond’s support if you have any issues. They might send you a brand-new replacement pair!

Black Diamond Shadow Climbing Shoes Rubber

Feature Rubber

The Shadow is finely made with the ‘Neo Fuse’ rubber. The rubber is super soft, and most climbers prefer it to the hard rubber compounds. The soft rubber is almost natural and tends to misshape on the smaller edges than its stiffer counterparts. Apart from the normal rock and boulder climbing, you can as well hit the gym with this shoe. 

The exquisite 3D outsole of the Black Shadow helps maintain the shoe’s shape and agility, replacing the necessity for a thick midsole. The missing midsole mitigates delivering an average amount of sensitivity. 

The thick outsole somehow holds back the sensitivity of the Shadow. The shoe has 4.3mm of rubber, the thickest any performance shoe has ever used. Compared to the popular high-performance La Sportiva Futura that uses 3mm, the Shadow has a light sensitivity. 

Impressively though, the center of the sole has a thickness of only 1.3mm which increasingly thickens towards the sides. This makes it possible to grab and pull with the shoe, as you would do with any bouldering shoes. The rubber is exceptionally durable. It will take you almost seven months before you realize the degeneration of the rubber. The rubber is the best type for climbing. 

Feature Comfort and Fit

The fit for this shoe is ridiculous. It is not a perfect fit for everyone. It works miracles for people with narrow heels and moderate volume feet. However, the Shadow is one of the best shoes that guarantee you comfort currently in the market. However, this will not be your go-to shoe if you have a high arch foot.

Going for it means being ready to struggle with the fit. Besides, this caliber of shoe can be uncomfortable if wearing for long periods. The shoes are probably not a perfect choice for bouldering and rock climbing that require long hours. The Shadow is fitted with a single Velcro strap for adjusting the fit. However, this looks slightly meaningless since the knit and synthetic upper technology makes the shoe hug your foot. 

It is essential that you get the right Shadow climbing shoes fit. Although the shoe molds your foot to a personalized fit, the synthetic upper translates to no stretch. Enough reason to ensure you bag the perfect fit. For a standard fit convenience, stick with your street shoe size. For performance fit, you can go for half the size down.

The Dream Shoe for Steep, Aggressive Climbing

The Shadow is a downturned Velcro shoe built for pulling HARD. Featuring Black Diamond's extra-sticky molded rubber with added friction strips for better toe-hooking, and a durable microfiber upper combined with our BD Knit Technology tongue, the Shadow is ready to send your project.

The Verdict

At first, you might hesitate to buy the Shadow climbing shoes. But, once you snap up a pair, there will be no turning back. The shoes give you sensational confidence to try out even harder hurdles. Their design is so sleek and perfect. 

If you are a climbing buff looking forward to conquering the massive overhangs, these are the ultimate shoes. The shoes will give you the urge to try out the hardest rocks. If you are an amateur, don’t mind putting them on the climbing wish list and hold on a little longer till you are ripe. I hope this Black Diamond Shadow review made you thrilled. Happy climbing!

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About the author 


Bernice often jokes that she is better at climbing than walking. With avid parents of climbing, her first encounter with the high vertical rock walls was at the age of one. Her favorite style of climbing is bouldering.

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