Red Chilli describe this shoe as ‘a versatile, performance orientated shoe that’s designed to work brilliantly across the widest spectrum of styles’. In summary that’s exactly what this shoe does. It’s a good all-round shoe that you would wear on pretty much all rock routes except those at your limit.
The Mescalito is a laced shoe with a stiff, semi-asymmetrical last meaning it’s not as aggressive as a lot of shoes on the market but it’s more ‘technical’ than a beginner shoe. The laces come right down to the forefront allowing you to adjust the shoe for fit – loose and comfy for warming up, tight and fitted for the crux pitch. A padded tongue provides excellent comfort for the foot, further improving the overall feel of the shoe.
One of the pluses of the shoe is the ‘ultra-cup’ heel that provides a good fit, leaving little deadspace in this area. It thus provides good grip when heel hooking, a very important technique on something like gritstone. The twin rear pull tabs make getting the shoe on/off easy.
The midsole is firm laterally, meaning it’s stiff enough for inside/outside edging but flexible enough for smearing. It’s not the best at either but it certainly performs well enough for most mid-range routes, which is actually a plus point if you're climbing on different types of rock all the time.
On that note the Mescalito is a good shoe for long trad routes in the U.K. or mid-range sport routes. It’s a good all-round shoe that you will wear all day if needed or something that will get you warmed up before you jump onto your latest project.
In terms of negatives, the one really annoying thing about this shoe (my review pair anyway) was the laces, being long enough to tie the shoe twice. The problem with this is that you have to cut the lace thus leaving a frayed end (you can use a lighter to singe the lace but it’s never as good as new).
In terms of sizing, I had my own normal foot size but ideally I would have chosen a ½ size down to get the most out of them.
Summary: A good all-round shoe that is ideal as an experienced climber’s second shoe or an intermediate’s all-round shoe (gym & outdoor).
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