We spent 6.1 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what climbers think:

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 shoe edges well, thanks to its uber-sticky rubber material.
  • A gear tester praises the Shadow’s sensitivity.
  • This versatile Black Diamond rock shoe impresses a lot of wearers.
  • Many owners like the extra rubber at the upper of the Shadow.
  • A number of boulderers mention that they appreciate its precise feel.
  • The spacious toe room of this climbing shoe from Black Diamond earn praises from numerous users.
  • A product tester loves the snug-fitting rearfoot of the Shadow as it allows him to heel hook excellently.

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 tear easily, based on a few user reviews.
  • A couple of experts comment that after earning vertical mileage, the Shadow shows a reduced amount of downturn.

Bottom line

Individuals looking for a pair of rock climbing shoes that offer optimal stickiness, comfort, and versatility will enjoy the Black Diamond’s Shadow. It is also complimented for its precise feel, adequate toe room, and sensitivity.

However, the reported drawbacks may draw potential buyers away. By and large, the list of pros presented by this Black Diamond rock shoe might be enough to “shadow” the declared cons.


Construction: Slip lasted
Closure: Velcro
Fit: Performance fit
Downturn: Aggressive
Environment: Indoor, Outdoor
Material: Leather, Synthetic
Last Shape: Asymmetric
Stiffness: Soft
Thickness: 4.3mm
Top: Low
Use: Bouldering, Face, Overhang, Sport
Features: Lightweight
Price: $190
Weight: Men: 7.6oz
Brand: Black Diamond
Small True to size Large
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Expert Reviews

Experts are climbers, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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87 / 100 based on 6 expert reviews

  • 95 / 100 | Zulu Gear Reviews | Level 1 expert

    I was impressed while I was bouldering through steep sections or lead climbing through steep overhanging terrain.

  • 92 / 100 | Climbing | | Level 3 expert

    Still, for extreme steeps, the Shadows are a total beast.

  • 90 / 100 | Gear Junkie | | Level 3 expert

    I can assertively state that this shoe is a trusted partner when attacking steeper sport climbs and boulder problems.

  • 80 / 100 | Cliff and Crag | Level 2 expert

    The Shadow is a very comfortable climbing shoe with good sensitivity packed in an stylish and graceful form factor. It is a very strong first attempt by Black Diamond but a seemingly conflicting design hold it back from performing with the cream of the crop.

  • 80 / 100 | Black Sheep Adventure Sports | | Level 2 expert

    A great option if you’re looking for a high performance sport climbing, gym climbing or bouldering shoe.

  • 78 / 100 | Blister | | Level 1 expert

    For me, it felt like I was wearing a pair of shoes caught between niches. Too soft for standing on edges but not sensitive enough for pulling into pockets.

Become an expert

-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 is stretch resistant, providing 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.