In the last few years, the market has been flooded with many new climbing shoes models, and actually many new brands too. In fact, Black Diamond, in the last year developed new series of climbing shoes and amongst others, also developed the Black Diamond Zone.
The Black Diamond Zone are climbing shoes that combine the strengths of the Momentum, comfortable shoes for beginners, to those of the Shadow, the most aggressive shoes of the entire Black Diamond line.
It is therefore an excellent intermediate shoe, with the upper made with Engineered Knit technology: a highly breathable fabric and coated in the places where it is needed. You will therefore have a perfect shoe for prolonged use in the gym but also excellent for the crag: thanks to this technology, in fact, the shirt is thicker in certain points and less in others. In this way, its shape will be very long lasting.
The tip is slightly arched down to give precision to the support: whether it is a small notch or you are playing with the volumes of indoor climbing. A thin layer of rubber was added to allow exceptional attachment to the tip. The compound of the sole has a lot of grip on all grips and the midsole of intermediate rigidity offers support even in the smallest supports.
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Fit and Comfort
In general, a downturned shoe is going to be less comfortable than a neutral climbing shoe. Regardless of the climbing shoe, trying it on to make sure it is a good fit for your foot type is critical. Black Diamond uses its Engineered Knit Technology on the upper of the Zone which allows them to breathe exceptionally and not irritate your skin. Having said that, if you have very flat feet, you might get a bit disturbed by the downturn form the BD Zone has.
When it comes to fit, Black Diamond goes above and beyond by offering the Zone in a standard and low volume style. For sizing, they seem to run on the smaller side and do not stretch out much as they are broken in.
With regards the sizing, Black Diamond, like FiveTen, offers the climbing shoes in US sizes and actually, very similar to your street shoe size. Thus, if your street shoe is 45 EU, then your Black Diamond Zone should be 45 EU or 44,5 EU.
For a sizing guide, please check this link.
When the rubber meets the rock, the Zone gets the job done well and looks good doing it. The Black Diamond Zone excels on vertical and overhung rock as well as edging and hooking. The rubber sticks well and feels solid on technical edging both indoor and outdoor. Also, the Velcro strap is a great feature. The wider upper strap locks in your foot well which is always a concern for me with Velcro climbing shoes.
With regards the performance, I have a little concern on how the shoe will respond once will be resoled. This is because Black Diamond is using the rubber molded toe and heel rands and so far I did not find a reliable repair shop that can perform such a process.
Design and Materials
Climbing gear and specifically climbing shoes involve some serious industrial and product design and Black Diamond managed to design one of the nicest climbing shoes that are currently available in the market. Besides the looks of the shoe, the selection and combination of the materials has been great and provide a new innovative approach to the whole sector.
The Zone’s upper consist of our Engineered Knit Technology, which provides stretch where you need it, support where it matters and all around exceptional breathability-meaning you can go hard at the gym without worrying about your feet overheating. The shoe’s last is downturned and based on our aggressive shape, making the Zone adept at pulling hard on steep rock or plastic.
The Zone’s sticky Fuze rubber is molded – inspired by the way we forge our carabiners – and not cut from one sheet of rubber. This is our engineered solution to optimize our shoe’s rubber and rands for consistency and comfort. The shoe’s vamp area also has printed rubber for extra friction while toe-hooking, and the medium-flex midsole adds a balance of sensitivity and power. For hard training sessions, this is the Zone you want to be in.
In the creation of their new line, Black Diamond created three last shapes to cover the spectrum from neutral to aggressive styles, all of which incorporate a midsole made with a resin called Pebax. They claim that Pebax will significantly help retain the shape of the last for longer.
Rubber molded toe and heel rands
Rather than using pre-cut rubber shapes for the toe and heel rands, Black Diamond employs a technique of injecting rubber into 3D molds—a method they also use in creating other types of gear, including stoppers.
- Engineered Knit Technology upper provides exceptional breathability and comfort
- 4.3mm Fuse rubber is printed and molded for superior grip, optimal consistency, and performance
- Downturned last for steep pulling
- Minimalist midsole for extra sensitivity on steep terrain
- Two Velcro straps for fit adjustability – one designed extra wide for locking in an aggressive fit.
- Regular last for regular to higher – volume feet.
- Material type: Synthetic, Microfiber
- Other material information: Engineered Knit Technology for excellent breathability
- Closure: Hook-and-loop closure
- Sole: NeoFriction
- Sole thickness: 4.3 mm
- Midsole: minimalistic midsole for additional sensitivity in steep terrain
- Footbed: Synthetic
- Last: slightly asymmetrical
- Downturn: slight/medium
- Heel tension: slight/medium
See other climbing shoes review here:
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Disclosure: Product(s) discussed in this article were purchased by Olympus Mountaineering from a retailer. I do not accept compensation or donated product in exchange for media placement or product review coverage.