Lowa Red Eagle Lace ReviewMarch 24, 2014
- Easy on, easy off lacing
- Anti-bacterial lining
- Mesh tongue that breathes well in warmer conditions
- Great fit for medium to wide feet
- Quick break-in period
- Laces are cheap, and “bite” into the top of your foot
- Stiff sole comes at the expense of sensitivity, making it hard to feel smaller edges
- Perforated shoe fabric collects dirt
The Red Eagle Lace offers an impressive fit, and rather exceptional performance. Edging and toeing in on tiny holds is very good, although the stiffness compromises sensitivity, especially when smearing. It’s wide opening caters well to fat-footed climbers.
Having produced technical climbing shoes in Europe forever, Lowa is now bringing their designs to the U.S. market as of 2014. The Red Eagle Lace was the first Lowa climbing shoe I’ve ever worn, and despite being the consummate skeptic, I was really impressed by how well the Red Eagle fit, and how exceptionally it performed. The wide opening will make fat-footed climbers happy, and making taking it on and off a breeze.
I’d compare the last of Red Eagle Lace to the Scarpa Instinct, a perennial favorite of mine. Edging and toeing in on tiny holds come naturally to the Red Eagle, but its stiffness compromises a bit of sensitivity, especially when it comes to smearing.
With a Vibram XS Grip outsole and stiff outer edge, the Red Eagle is all set to take on tiny footholds. The shape of the toe box is nothing special, and in fact, it’s almost generically egg-shaped. However, its contours are natural, seemingly following the shape of the foot, which made standing on edges with the inner and outer part of the sole a pleasure.
The Red Eagle’s extra stiff midsole gave me trouble trusting the shoe on glassy smears, despite the XS Grip rubber, which is one of the stickiest blends out there. Still, it was able to smear well in most situations.
The toe-box has a high profile form, which makes using this shoe in the smallest pockets a real challenge.
I loved the shape and low-volume form factor of the heel. Heel hooking was solid. The patch of rubber on top of the toe box could have been a bit wider to make toe-hooking more solid.
Though this isn’t a crack-climbing shoe you’d ever bring to some place like Indian Creek, the Red Eagle did a surprisingly solid job of handling hand to fist-sized cracks, probably due to its extra-stiff midsole.
I wanted to give the shoe higher marks here, because of its quick break-in period, and because it retained a great suction-cup fit over months of use. However, the laces dug into the top of my foot when cinched down.
The perforated fabric used for this shoe breathed great and was comfortable on my skin, but it got eaten up by harsh dusty, dirty environments. Additionally, the cheap laces really should be upgraded to something that won’t get torn to bits by climbing, especially for a shoe with such a high price tag.