PUSH REVIEW: Decathlon's Simond Climbing Shoe: No nonsense, affordable beginners' shoes
Let's cut to the chase. These are beginner's shoes without the more advanced designs or tough build quality you'd expect from higher price tag designs.
But hey, now: we've mentioned the price tag, let's just look at it again. This is a pair of climbing shoes for less than a million dong.
Starting with the looks of the shoe, there is no pretense at fancy design although a more experienced climber has admired the old-school, traditional, lace-up look. The soles are flat, not arched, so the shoe makes it clear from the get-go that it is a beginner's general climbing shoe, not an ultra-sticky bouldering shoe.
Shape wise they are comfortable, and easy to pull on with nice, neat lacing. They are light, with a synthetic top and the resin-rubber sole is stiff.
Actually, it is more than stiff – if you ever gave up climbing you could still use these things for knocking in nails.
But seriously, that resin-rubber sole means that the shoe only really gets to its best grip when it's had a chance to warm up. Think of it as being like the tyres on an F1 car. They need to get heated before they actually race. Similarly you'd be wise to practice a bit on the easy volumes, or try warming the outsole by rubbing it briskly with your hand before climbing. Once warm, the rubber is much stickier, which is something to bear in mind if you're trying before buying.
Similarly, it's a good idea to clean the chalk dust off these shoes before they cool down because if you do it later you run the risk of the dust sticking to the hardening rubber. Once the sole is warm you've got pretty good precision on edging and toe holds although there's no doubt that more expensive shoes are better for smearing.
Some users have criticized these shoes for build quality, complaining that the rubber toe area tends to detach from the rest of the shoe. We haven't seen that happen ourselves, but it may be possible. Bear in mind that Decathlon offers a two year guarantee for the shoes so if it happens you can get a replacement.
Frankly, a guaranteed two years of use from a shoe at this price is all you need given that these are clearly for try-it-and-see beginners. If you happen to be buying shoes for kids starting out and are wary of that the kids won't stick with the sport these shoes make sense. If you're comparing the cost of renting shoes every time against the purchase price of shoes then the Simond Rock Climbing shoe makes it pretty easy to do the maths.
On sale now at Push Climbing
Pros – Have you seen that price tag? It's a competent starting shoe for those unsure about investing too much in a new sport or buying for kids. No nonsense appearance (and name) has a certain charm.
Cons – they are a beginner's shoe and you will outgrow them if you carry on with the sport. The resin-rubber needs to be warmed up before it really grips.
Words by Steve Shipside