Rock Empire Shogun Review - The perfect beginner boots
When you first start on the exhilarating journey that is climbing, there are a plethora of different 'first buys' all vying for your attention. From chalk bags to harnesses, it's all very tempting but here is my recommendation... get some shoes. They'll pay for themselves in weeks from saved shoe rental costs, they'll save you from having to wear socks to protect your feet from communal shoes, and you'll feel pretty awesome with them clipped to your day-sack. With this in mind, here is a review of my very first pair of shoes, the Rock Empire Shoguns.
The Shogun (approximately £45) is a fairly unaggressive shoe making it great for virgin feet as you wander around the gym looking for a route you might be able to send. There is almost zero downturn and the last is only slightly asymmetrical. The lacing gives you a lot of control over the tightness and enables you to fit the shoe perfectly to your feet. The tops are made of synthetic leather, great news for the cow lovers out there as well as ensuring the fit stays fairly snug as you wear them in. I did find that the rubber softened fairly quickly resulting in a bit of flappy feel after a few months.
They feel really exceptional to climb in. The rubber is sticky out the box and helped me trust my feet as I climbed up the grades. The lack of downturn does give them a tendency to under-perform on overhanging routes, but the clear trade there is the comfort this unaggressive styling gives. The rubber is described as 'medium softness' and feels pretty sticky on holds and smeared on the wall.
The construction feels extremely solid, I've been climbing in them once or twice a week for six months or so and they're still in great condition. The rubber on the midsole has softened up more than I'd like, giving them a vaguely flappy feel, but aside from that, they seem to be lasting extremely well.
Overall, I would definitely recommend these humble Czech Shogun shoes. At £45, they fit snugly into any 'new hobby budget' and will give you everything you need to work up the grades and have fun doing so until you're ready to take the leap and spend a little more money on some fancier shoes. They're comfortable, sturdy and fit for purpose, what more could you ask for?
If you've climbed in these shoes, or have other recommendations for beginner climbing shoes, give us a shout in the comments below! If you like this post, please share and pin it!