Verdict from 6 experts and 19 user reviews

9 reasons to buy

  • The Black Diamond Shadow climbing shoes stick well on both plastic and rock, according to the majority.
  • Some pleased wearers declare that despite its aggressive design, it is still comfortable to wear.
  • A couple of beginner and advanced climbers state that this comfy pair of rock climbing shoes edge well, thanks to its uber-sticky rubber material.
  • A gear tester adores the Shadow’s incredible sensitivity.
  • Hordes of wearers are impressed with the versatility of this Black Diamond rock shoe.
  • Many owners like the extra rubber on the upper of the Shadow.
  • A decent number of boulderers mention that they appreciate its precise feel.
  • The spacious toe room of this BD climbing shoe is a delight to numerous users.
  • A product tester loves the snug-fitting rearfoot zone of the Shadow.

3 reasons not to buy

  • A small percentage of owners say that the Black Diamond Shadow is hard to put on.
  • The band at the heel tears easily, based on a few user reviews.
  • A couple of experts claim that the Shadow's forefoot loses its downturned state in only a few climbs.

Bottom line

Individuals looking for a rock climbing shoe that offers optimal stickiness, comfort, and versatility might find one in the Black Diamond Shadow. The shoe in question is also an achievement in terms of precision, toe room, and sensitivity.

However, its reported drawbacks might shun potential buyers away. By and large, the list of pros presented by this Black Diamond rock shoe might be enough to “overshadow” its alleged cons.

Tip: see the best climbing shoes.

Good to know

-The Black Diamond Shadow climbing shoe is ideal for climbers who want to tackle aggressive sport climbs and hard bouldering. Its synthetic upper has a tongue made of the brand’s very own Engineered Knit technology, so owners are treated to a comfortable and breathable gear.

-The Shadow’s minimalist midsole provides increased ground sensitivity. Its molded rubber outsole yields stickiness for edging and smearing prowess.

Downturn. The Shadow is an aggressively downturned rock shoe from Black Diamond. This design allows wearers to perform in a variety of climbing disciplines. 

Applications. According to Black Diamond, the Shadow is an ideal climbing shoe for overhanging sport routes and technical bouldering. It also supplies an adequate amount of performance during edging and hooking.

Black Diamond’s Shadow is a unisex rock climbing shoe. Ladies are advised to get a size down for a more accurate fit. The single Velcro strap permits quick fit adjustment. 

The microfiber upper provides climbers with a close-to-broken-in fit out of the box. Its highly asymmetrical shape focuses power on the toes, letting users hook effectively

Midsole. The Black Diamond Shadow carries a minimalist midsole. This soft element renders increased sensitivity on rocks, allowing climbers to ascend even in steep terrain without sacrificing precision. 

Outsole. This BD climbing shoe wears a 4.3 mm molded outsole. It provides climbers with optimal grip and edging prowess. This high-friction rubber also offers maximum durability for a more rock-adherent shoe. The 3D printed material also minimizes weight while rendering wearers consistent performance.

The upper of the Black Diamond Shadow climbing shoe is made of synthetic. A molded rubber wraps its front portion, providing extra protection during ascents. The rubber is placed on high-use areas for enhanced durability. 

The tongue is made of the brand-owned Engineered Knit technology (a feature also present in Black Diamond Momentum) that enhances breathability and comfort. Aside from the pull tab attached on the top of the tongue, dual loops are placed at the heel area to facilitate smooth on and off.

The Shadow and Zone are both low-top shoes manufactured by Black Diamond for climbers. Shown below are the features that differentiate them from one another.

Upper. The Zone from Black Diamond is equipped with the brand’s Engineered Knit upper. This technology grants comfort and breathability to the wearer. The Shadow’s upper uses the same material to prevent the user’s foot from overheating.

Closure. The Black Diamond Zone comes with a single-strap Velcro closure system. This component gives a secure lockdown to the user. In comparison, the Shadow features two straps to achieve a personalized fit.

Midsole. The Black Diamond Zone employs a minimalist midsole. It is designed to give extra sensitivity for steep routes. The Shadow also uses the same midsole construction to render a stable platform.

Outsole. Both the Zone and the Shadow supplies grip on most types of rock surfaces, thanks to its 4.3mm outsole. Its sticky rubber compound is printed and molded to give optimal traction and consistency for senders tackling steep terrain. For more information about the Black Diamond Shadow’s outsole, see the content above.

Price. Compared to Black Diamond’s Shadow, the Zone is the more affordable option. It is cheaper by around $50.

Application. The Zone is engineered by Black Diamond to provide performance for indoor gym sessions and cragging. It is also a suitable climbing piece for hooking. The Shadow, on the other hand, excels when it comes to tackling overhanging projects and technical bouldering problems.

  • Those who need a more comfortable pair of kicks may want to consider flat climbing shoes. Among the options that may be explored is the Evolv Defy.
  • Buyers who require a pair that can perform both on the trail and low-grade climbs may check out a pair of approach shoes. One example that may be considered is the La Sportiva TX4.


How Black Diamond Shadow ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 3% aggressive climbing shoes
All aggressive climbing shoes
Bottom 25% Black Diamond climbing shoes
All Black Diamond climbing shoes
Bottom 10% indoor climbing shoes
All indoor climbing shoes


The current trend of Black Diamond Shadow.
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