8 best So iLL climbing shoes

Based on reviews from 17 experts and 248 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to So iLL climbing shoes. Updated Jun 2020.

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        Being geared up with a pair of So iLL climbing shoes can easily translate to having the ability to climb in style and security at the same time. So iLL’s ever-growing selection of climb-focused footwear has virtually something for everybody. 

        Yes, the brand has rock shoes that cater to beginners and also quality pieces that give the highest possible performance on more treacherous climbs. So, if you are longing to don kicks that could potentially reinvigorate your love for the sport, diversify your quiver with some of the finest rock shoes So iLL has on offer. That, or just get a pair for the mere fun of it. 

        The best So iLL climbing shoes and the benefits that surround them

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        Best So iLL climbing shoes - May 2020

        Sensitivity at the core

        It can be said that senders need as much sensitivity as possible to surmount a variety of climbing challenges, especially on routes where tricky footholds are abundant. To address this need head-on, So iLL designers engineered most of the brand’s climb-specific shoes with a slip-lasted construction, which bolsters a given shoe’s level of sensitivity. Please note that slip-lasted climbing shoes are by default tight-fitting, ideal for bouldering projects.

        Versatile durability

        Are you the type of climber that takes part in all sorts of pursuits? Are you also someone who would rather invest in a pair that can last longer than usual? If to both questions your answer is yes, then So iLL rock shoes are for you. Indeed, the offerings from this brand are hard-wearing, designed to take as much beating as they can, whether indoors or outdoors.

        How long do So iLL climbing shoes last?

        An official statement concerning this matter has yet to be made by the company in question. That said, most climbing shoes can last about a year or two. If you wish to improve the longevity of your pair of So iLL rock shoes, consider practicing the following:

        • Rid your shoes of dirt and debris after each use. This is especially important after a long session outdoors.
        • Do not step on them while not in use. It is better to remove them in between pitches than to see them wrinkly and out of shape after resting your feet on them.
        • Try your best not to walk in them in an outdoor setting. Switch to your go-to approach shoes if there is a great distance between where you are and where you need to be next.
        • As So iLL climbing shoes come furnished with rubber rands, they should be stored somewhere cool and dry (away from direct sunlight) if they will not be used for a long time. Prolonged exposure to excessive heat can burn the rubber and warp your shoes.

        Climbing light

        On the weight front, So iLL climbing shoes are up there among the decently lightweight kicks out on the market. Yes, a single shoe weighs no more than 230 g (not even half a kg a pair). It is also worth mentioning that almost every existing So iLL model shares the same weight. Note: the aforementioned weight may vary depending on the size selected.

        For fans of lined climbing shoes

        To be in a comfy pair of rock kicks is many a climber’s dream. Fortunately for you, that dream may be realized in many of So iLL’s climbing shoes. This claim is backed up by the fact that such shoes come with liners, which provide increased comfort without requiring the user to wear socks.

        Vegan-friendly options

        So iLL’s lineup of high-quality climbing shoes is as accommodating as other brands on the market. As such, a decent number of their offerings are vegan-friendly. As opposed to regular rock shoes, vegan-friendly pieces are engineered with animal-free components. Moreover, the process through which they are made and tools with which they are built are also animal free.

        The many aspects that make So iLL climbing shoes worthy of climbers’ attention

        History

        A climb-centric company founded by brothers Dave and Daniel Chancellor, So iLL (a creative nickname for South Illinois) has seen great successes since its humble beginnings. Its founders, Dave and Daniel, started with creating holds for indoor climbing projects. Some year later, they then partnered with Sang Lee—the owner of Action Sports Equipment—and transitioned to developing retro-inspired rock climbing shoes.

        At present, the brothers’ success story of a company houses some of the finest climbing kicks in circulation. Their outlook into the future remains bright with new and more promising offerings still on the way. If their growing presence in the industry is anything to go by, it is safe to say that the competition among climbing footwear companies has just gotten a whole lot stiffer.

        Pricing

        Price-wise, So iLL climbing shoes may be considered slightly expensive to falling somewhere under the premium category. Indeed, on average, they sell for $150 give or take. The brand’s more expensive pieces, which are mostly aggressively downturned shoes, push past the $160 mark.

        So iLL and Klarna have partnered up to allow purchasers to buy select shoes on installment. The default plan splits the total cost into 4 equal payments, the first of which will be settled upon checkout, while the remaining three every two weeks.

        The Momoa factor

        Besides high-quality craftsmanship, So iLL can also be linked to Jason Momoa—yes, Aquaman himself. The former Game of Thrones actor and climber-slash-skateboarder teamed up with So iLL to come up with the On the Roam collection, which includes Momoa-inspired rock shoes among other climb-specific paraphernalia.

        The So iLL shoes named after said actor are relatively easy to recognize. Both kicks are emblazoned on the straps with Jason’s iconic Polynesian tattoo called Niho Mano.

        Made in the USA

        If American quality is what you are after, or you are simply patriotic at heart, you will be stoked to know that a decent number of So iLL rock climbing shoes are proudly made in the USA. Such pieces are part of So iLL’s Street and Free Range family of shoes.

        Dark Matter

        What capacitates climbers to gain a secure footing on a variety of surfaces in So iLL rock shoes is the rubber outsole called Dark Matter. 

        Initially, the technology in question was intended for keeping US Navy Seals surefooted on approach routes. So iLL engineers reworked this technology to give their climbing and approach shoes sufficient surface traction underfoot. The rubber compound on which it is based can be dyed and changed to the color of the designer’s choosing. 

        Fit and sizing guide for men and women’s So iLL climbing shoes

        So iLL’s climbing shoes are low-top kicks for men and women (unisex). On a regular basis, female senders are advised to go down a full and a half sizes for a precise fit. On the other hand, for a performance-driven fit, especially on climbing grades V4 and lower, men are usually advised to go up a full and a half sizes.

        Most rock shoes from this brand are asymmetric or those with curved confines. In such a pair, the foot will more or less bend inward, giving users some pressure around the arch and under the ball of the foot.

        In the area of stretch, So iLL climbing shoes vary. Some pairs might stretch up to a full size, some only barely. Do note that many of So iLL’s kicks come with synthetic uppers, which might stretch only a little over time.

        Select pieces manufactured by this company are offered in two volumes: HV (high volume) and LV (low volume). HV rock climbing shoes cater to those with burly feet. LV shoes, on the other hand, are intended primarily for folks with skinny tootsies.

        How can I get the best So iLL climbing shoes in terms of fit?

        Winding up owning the best-fitting So iLL rock shoes depends on several factors. There is also no known magic formula to do the trick. That said, you do not need to be in the dark in scouting for that elusive pair. The following are tips to make your shoe shopping more of an adventure and less of a pain.

        • Examine your feet. Do you have a high instep with stout toes? Or perhaps your feet are quite slim? Remember that So iLL has a selection of high-volume (HV) and low-volume (LV) climbing shoes, so you can go either way depending on your answers to the presented questions. That, or you can simply settle for a regular-lasted pair.
        • Shop when your feet are swollen. Yes, the human feet swell as you use them, and they usually do towards the afternoon. By fitting climbing shoes in this state, you can make a better judgment as to their fit when your feet are not swollen.
        • Test your next pair’s snugness. Check for any signs of dead space, particularly around the heel and toe zones. Do a test climb in them if possible to ensure that they will not pop off unexpectedly. There must be very minimal slippage in them.
        • Try going up or down half a size at a time. By doing this, you can zero in on the tightness you are looking for.

        8 best So iLL climbing shoes

        1. So iLL Street LV
        2. So iLL Free Range Pro
        3. So iLL Free Range
        4. So iLL Street
        5. So iLL New Zero
        6. So iLL New Zero Pro
        7. So iLL Runner
        8. So iLL Momoa Pro