The first time I wore these shoes to the gym they definitely grabbed some attention (they’re pretty flashy when they come out of the box). One of the most common questions climbers ask about gear is, “how much does it cost?” Valid question, as it seems like you need to pull out a second mortgage to get yourself a new pair of climbing shoes these days. We became nostalgic about our first pair of climbing shoes, and how much we spent on them. Was it really that long ago when we were spending less than $100? Are climbing shoes really that much better? The Cypher CODEX is a new climbing shoe that runs in the same league as the best shoes on the market, but comes in at a much better price point.
So does the cost sacrifice the performance? Short answer: not really. The first time I wore these shoes I felt pretty insecure. While that can happen with an new climbing shoe, I immediately noticed that there was some excess material on the top of the shoe, which sacrificed power. It felt like the toe box extended slightly past the edging platform, which felt insecure but never really proved to be an issue. At the time, I was working on this V7 with a pesky last move—a dead point off of a bad right foot hold. “Eh, what the heck. Let’s give these shoes a try” I said to myself. On my first attempt I cruised up to the last move, set up with a sloper on my left hand and a side pull on the right, dug into that bad right foot and launched to the finishing hold. There are lots of factors involved in bouldering, perhaps it was the new rubber, or the fact that I was just thinking about footwork more, but the bottom line is this: I put on these shoes and finished a project. I can’t complain with those results.
There are many qualities of this shoe that I like and comfort is a big one. You don’t need to destroy your feet to get good performance these days. The cotton liner provides a really nice next to skin comfort. I also really like the stiff edging platform, it allows you to wear a ‘normal’ size without losing performance. The big loop in the back makes it easy to get these on and off and these are comfortable enough wear for longer periods of time than most aggressive climbing shoes. The Vibram XS Grip rubber is definitely another plus to this shoe. I’ve been testing these for about four months now, and the rubber is holding up quite well. It’s winter in Colorado, so most of the testing was done on sandpaper-rough indoor walls—which really tests the durability—but they were also worn outside on sandstone, gneiss and granite.
On sizing, I’m a size 10 and these were spot on. Break-in lasted only a few days, despite the synthetic upper.
So back to my previous question, are $175 climbing shoes better? Yes and no. The CODEX shows room for improvement and climbers at elite levels might prefer a shoe a little more dialed in. The average climber and new climbers looking to transition into a more aggressive shoe would likely be happy with these and save a few bucks.
Price: $119.95 Use code “outdoorgeartv10” for 10% off any order at cypherclimbing.com
Weight: 9.2 oz per shoe
Best used for: Sport climbing and Bouldering