ProView – Black Diamond Aspect Pro Climbing Shoes Review

Although “the shoe doesn’t make the climber” is true, in all reality, a great pair of climbing shoes can do wonders for your climbing confidence. Your shoes can give you the extra boost in performance and confidence that is required to make those moves well above your gear or even just step off the ground for the first time.

Black Diamond Aspect Pro Climbing Shoes

Product Name: Black Diamond Aspect Pro Climbing Shoes

Product Description: The Aspect Pro is built for missions to the Hulk, big days in the Valley, and high alpine peaks. Engineered to perform on slabs and vertical terrain, the Aspect Pro has a 3D molded heel, a stiff midsole, and a slightly downturned forefoot. Extra coverage on the toe box provides added durability for crack climbing. A mid-height design provides protection and coverage for ankles in offwidths and chimneys. Finally, the Ecco DriTanâ„¢ leather upper is made with a less-water intensive tanning process and the engineered mesh tongue adds breathability.

Offer price: MSRP: $199.95

Currency: USD

  • Performance
  • Fit
  • Comfort
  • Eco-Friendly


After a month and dozens and dozens of pitches, the Aspect Pro climbing shoe from Black Diamond proved to me that climbing shoes can be comfortably padded without sacrificing the performance of the shoe. If you are looking for your first pair of crack climbing shoes then the Aspect Pros are an excellent choice to help ease the discomfort often caused by jamming your feet into cracks. 



  • Padding! Easily the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn
  • $20 cheaper than competitive models from Evolv or La Sportiva 


  • Sizing/Fit was quite challenging, in the end, I ended up with a less-than-ideal fitting shoe
  • Odd amount bunching and folding of material on the inside of the shoe when flexed

Black Diamond’s Aspect Pro climbing shoes are here to help you perform at your best, whether it be techy single pitch slabs or long days on big desert objectives.

Purpose and Performance

I spent the last month climbing with these shoes on my feet in the Moab desert where I work and play on sandstone slabs and splitter cracks. The Aspect Pro is an excellent style of shoe if you find yourself climbing lots of cracks intermingled with face or slab climbing. I did not have any problems keeping these shoes in my pack all the time: I knew I was prepared for a day at Indian Creek or at Wall Street.

The Aspect Pros are first and foremost a crack shoe. Black Diamond calls it a “Mid Height Design” but most will call this shoe a “high-top”: simply meaning it covers your ankles. If you find yourself climbing big-hands to squeeze chimneys you will appreciate the ankle coverage! The toe box is a bit beefier, as well, but is not an abnormal feature for a crack climbing shoe. The extra toe box profile made it a bit harder to jam off-finger sized cracks, which is to be expected.

The biggest negative I experienced in the performance of the shoes has to do with the extra toe box material and how/where it is laced across where my foot wants to bend at the toes. I have never experienced a shoe getting as stuck in a big-hands crack as these shoes did. I was often faced with having to pull my shoe out of the crack versus simply removing it; this led to unnecessary waste of energy. Then, when I am smearing my way up slab routes I could feel some empty space in the toe box. I think these experiences were partly due to the beefier and well performing rubber across the toes but also had to do with that extra-material toe box creasing and bunching while the shoe was bent or twisted. This bunching was both experienced by me (12 street/13 Aspect Pro) and a climber whose Aspect Pros were a tighter fit (11.5 street/12 Aspect Pro). I have not experienced this type of bunching on other similar styled climbing shoes.

I still found the shoes to be quite comfortable while jamming all sizes of cracks and found the edging performance to be quite average. The extra space from the bunching of the material was most noticeable while edging and I think it was a detriment to the shoes fit and performance. The edging performance would be improved with a bit better fitting shoe as I found the sizing and shape of the shoe difficult to fit well to my feet.

Fit and Comfort

The biggest feature of the Aspect Pros is comfort. I do not think I have worn a pair of crack climbing oriented shoes with this amount of comfort. The interior of the shoe is finished with a brushed felt-like material which provides exceptional comfort while wearing the shoes on long multi pitch days. Secondly, the amount of padding is quite amazing, especially compared to my go-to crack shoe for the last decade. The shoe boasts ample padding on the tongue and ankle areas of the shoe: to the tune of 6mm more of padding than my Evolv Yosemite Bums. This allowed me to focus on my climbing rather than the discomfort of foot jamming. Pick these shoes up and the first thing you will undoubtedly notice is the padding.

The fit is the biggest flop for me with the Aspect Pros. Sizing climbing shoes has gotten increasingly more difficult and it seems to constantly change across brands but even within one brand, shoe sizing is often not consistent. My street shoe is a Men’s US 11.5-12 and I was recommended to size up a little based on opinions from colleagues so at first I went with a US 12 Aspect Pro. The length was just barely too tight at the big toe but more importantly, the toe box has a bit more aggressive slope down to the outside of the foot and this made the outside length of the shoe way too short for my foot. Black Diamond was happy to send me another pair, but I was eager to get these out on the rock, so I went up a full size to a US 13. This fits the length of my foot quite nicely (and how I want it) but when fully laced I do not have much more room to pull the laces tighter. This makes the shoe quite snug around the length of my foot (a pro) but leaves a very voluminous toe box; not great for edging. I do think if I was looking to primarily face climb or gym climb with the Aspect Pros then a US 12.5 would work but I would expect them to not be nearly as great of a crack or multi pitch shoe for me due to the decreased comfort.

By the time I knew the US 13 was not a perfect fit, I had already climbed a dozen or more pitches and would not have been able to return them if I was a general consumer. At a purchase price of $199, without tax, it is an expensive and risky task to try and get a good fitting pair of shoes. Black Diamond shoes are not sold locally in Moab, which means I would have had to purchase online, thus increasing the time and cost. Being able to try these on in a store before purchasing would be a huge benefit.

Friendliness to the Earth

The Aspect Pro utilizes a leather upper which for many is a negative as it uses animal products. Black Diamond, however, uses leather from ECCO, a company which has developed a DriTan process that saves roughly 5 gallons of water per hide by utilizing moisture already present in the hide. ECCO also boasts a reduction of chemicals used in this process. The ECCO tannery in the Netherlands that DriTan was introduced at is estimated to save 6.6 million gallons of water per year; enough for roughly 9,000 people (according to WHO).  This sounds like an environmentally conscious way to process the leather for our shoes if leather is required or demanded. I expect I would not have noticed or cared if this shoe was leather or synthetic.

Final Word

After a month and dozens and dozens of pitches, the Aspect Pro climbing shoe from Black Diamond proved to me that climbing shoes can be comfortably padded without sacrificing the performance of the shoe. If you are looking for your first pair of crack climbing shoes then the Aspect Pros are an excellent choice to help ease the discomfort often caused by jamming your feet into cracks. 

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About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro
Patrick Betts
Technical Director :: Front Range Climbing Company

Patrick Betts is the Technical Director at Front Range Climbing Company and is based in Moab, Utah. He has been in the Outdoor Industry since 2009 and guides year-round in Colorado, Utah, and beyond. When he is not guiding, you will find him traveling to climbing destinations around the world. Patrick is an experienced adventure photographer who enjoys taking photos of people pushing their own limits and capturing the landscapes of the areas that rock climbing takes you. Follow along @adventurethrulens

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