So iLL, makers of the popular holds for climbing walls, has now expanded into climbing shoes. Running an already well-past-funded Kickstarter campaign to jump-start production, the new line of climbing shoes range from the more aggressive to the all day comfort model.
First and foremost, So iLL wanted their climbing shoes to look cool. Pulling inspiration from vintage running shoes, retro soccer shoes, and bowling shoes, the company mixed fun colors and style with high performance in each of the various models.
They key to any good climbing shoe is in the rubber. So iLL turned to a formula crafted for the U.S. Navy Seals that ensures their feet would not slip during rugged approaches. So iLL signed a licensing agreement and began to incorporate the rubber into their own shoes. This tenacious rand and outsole rubber is called “Dark Matter” and is a member of the “UnParallel Rubber” family. Its signature is denoted with a simple line placed on the bottom of each shoe. So iLL is also one of the first to use colored rubber instead of the usual black. The creation of both a sticky and colored outsole rubber provides a perfect combination of fashion, function, and performance.
The So iLL climbing shoe line includes 6 different models: Runner, Runner (LV), The Street, The Bowler, Kick, and Kick (LV). Designed after an old-school running shoe, the Runner ($119) features a medium stiffness highly downturned toe for precision in technical or steep overhung climbing and a fish-hook thin midsole that enhances edging power for gym and outdoor climbing.
The Street ($129) is So iLL’s softest and most downturned, aggressive shoe–an ultra thin midsole provides a softer more sensitive fit, creating an extremely lightweight aggressive climbing shoe. The toe box has crafted to allow for a higher level of comfort and works together with the perfect amount of tension in the heel.
Over on the So iLL Kickstarter campaign, you can save quite a bit of money off the intended retail price of the climbing shoes if you pre-order now.