SO ILL Free Range
The Free Range is the most aggressive climbing shoe from So iLL, the brand that has set its sights on satisfying the needs of the new breed of climbers they have witnessed entering the climbing scene. So iLL have truly set themselves apart from the competition, becoming the most successful climbing Kickstarter campaign to date with their first prototype, the Runner, the first climbing shoe with coloured rubber that retained complete stickiness. We are currently one of only two retailers stocking these shoes in the entirety of Europe.
So, the Free Range, the high-performance model. Its much more aggressive than previous models, with a focus on technical precision. It features an interesting one-strap closure system that keeps dead spots to a minimum and allows for variable tightening, and a medium-stiff toe box with a downturned toe to ensure both on small edges with a level of sensitivity on overhanging problems. Rubber now covers a large portion of the toe-box area for better toe-hooking, and a high-tension heel enhances technical precision even further. As usual, So iLL have utilised their patented "Dark Matter" rubber, a compound originally designed for the boots of the U.S. Navy Seals.
At its soul, the Free Range is So iLL's statement that they can create high-performance shoes for the serious climber. They boast a higher price tag than most other brands, but they are completely unique in what they are doing: building shoes for the climber seeking a blend of fashion and function; shoes that combine performance and style; shoes that look like nothing else out there.
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Dark Matter Rubber
Full Features List
• Patented fishhook midsole
• Synthetic upper won't stretch
• Thick padded tongue for better comfort
• Single strap tightening allows for fast and easy on/offs with variable mid and high-foot closure
• Dark Matter Rubber, unique to So iLL shoes
• Semi-stiff toebox with downturned toe for all-round performance
Dark Matter Rubber
Not the first shoe rubber to be coloured, however it is the first that still retains all of its friction and grip properties. Dark Matter rubber, a member of the “unParallel Rubber” family, was originally formulated by the US Navy Seals who required sole material for their shoes that would ensure complete security of foot placements in some of the most treacherous places on the planet. So iLL acquired the compound and adapted it for climbing shoes, thanks to its credibility for getting the Seals out of un-sticky situations.
1 product review
I can't fault the design or the rubber. The shoes are comfortable (assuming you follow So ill guidelines) and the rubber is fantastic! However at ~£130, they're one of the more expensive shoes. At this price, you may prefer a more mainstream shoe that can be resoled more easily.