In a natural evolution from their climbing shoe launch last year, Black Diamond just announced they are moving into the approach shoe market. The brand already sells basically everything you need to get up a climb, so it makes complete sense that they would want to look at improving the footwear you need to get yourself to the climb.
The new footwear line can be broken down into two separate categories — two technical performance shoes and two performance lifestyle shoes. On the technical performance side, the two models include the Technician and the Mission LT.
The Technician is designed for scrambling up rock with its lower volume toe box and precision fit. The Mission LT is your standard approach shoe made more for walking than climbing. It’s softer than your average approach shoe on the market and built for speed. The tie in points on the laces of both shoes anchor all the way down the inside of the upper so that when you tighten the shoe, it wraps your entire foot snugly.
The performance lifestyle shoes, including the Circuit and the Session, are more for hanging out at the coffee shop, wearing to work, the rock gym, or heading to the pub. Both shoes features an elastic heel that enables you to easily slide it on and off even when its laced up. The heel can also fold down to be worn as a slip on for when you are hanging out at the crag or the gym.
Looking to challenge Five Ten and their sticky rubber dominance, Black Diamond came up with their own rubber compound — Black Diamond BlackLabel-Street rubber on the performance lifestyle shoes and Black Diamond BlackLabel-Mountain rubber on the technical performance shoes.
The new Black Diamond approach shoes will start shipping in limited quantities late this fall, and in full force come January 2020. I look forward to checking these out in person at Outdoor Retailer next week.