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Black Diamond Method S Review

black diamond climbing shoes review
Overall
3.3
  • Construction quality
    (4)
  • Sensitivity
    (4)
  • Precision
    (3)
  • Heel to toe
    (2)
  • Ease of fit
    (3.5)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Summary

Moderately asymmetrical climbing shoe for indoor, bouldering and crag climbing, but with the common denominator of high difficulty, comfortable and sensitive.

Pros

  • Sensitivity
  • Easy toe hook
  • Lightness

Cons

  • Not very precise toe
  • Ineffective velcro fastening at the heel

The Black Diamond Method S, which complements its sister shoe, the Method, is a shoe specifically designed and made for overhang climbing, promising great sensitivity and ease of hooking both toe and heel thanks to the adhesive properties of the rubbers used.

black diamond method s

Technical features of the Black Diamond Method S

  • Black Label Fuse outsole
  • 3D moulded heel
  • Engineered knit tongue
  • Minimalist soft midsole
  • Spit sole construction and all rubber injection moulding
  • 460 grams per pair (size 41.5, tested)
  • Manufacturer link
Black Diamond Method S shoes

Construction Features

Shape

The Black Diamond Method S are moderately asymmetrical shoes, 1 on a scale of 0 to 2. This means that they are shoes that adapt quite well to the shape of any foot, even mine, which is of the “Greek” type, one of the most difficult to “dress”. They are moderately arched, I would say 1 on a scale of 0 to 2, so the shape of the toe is quite arched.

detail of the climbing shoe

External structure

The construction of the shoe is of the split sole typ – the sole is limited to half of the boot; the tensioning structure, of the slingshot type (a single strap), is made of a single piece of very soft and reactive rubber, strikingly white and grey in colour, using the injection moulding technique, which allowed different thicknesses to be given to different parts of the structure itself.

lateral detail of the climbing shoe

The heel was made in 3D using the same production technique. The closure is a single velcro, well sized. The upper inner part of the toe is covered with an asymmetrical rubber band with a relief texture, while the outer part is made of a different type of rubber, much thinner and malleable, also with a slight relief texture, which allows the foot to better fit inside the shoe.

toe detail

Lining

The lining of the shoe is made of microfibre. Two colourful and sturdy eyelets are cleverly sewn onto two counter eyelets that are part of the lining of the shoe.

The tongue is made using “engineered knit” technology: the result is a very soft, stretchy fabric that conforms well to the back of the foot; there is a generous buttonhole on the tongue that can be used to make the shoe fit better.

lining with engineered knit

The inner volume of the Black Diamond Method S is designed for normal and/or high arches. There is also a women’s version with a smaller inner volume.

Sole and midsole

The sole rubber of the Black Diamond Method S, the Black Label Fuse, which is very soft and sticky to the touch, is made by Black Diamond themselves. The thickness is not specified, but I think it is 4 millimetres. The midsole is minimal and very soft.

sole black label fuse

The construction of the Black Diamond Method S is good and refined; the overall result, if only aesthetically, cannot leave you indifferent! The weight is 460 grams per pair in size 41.5, a very light shoe; the Shoe Instinct VS in the same size weighs 470 grams, the Tenaya Mastia 490 grams.

Overall, the Method S is very soft due to the construction and materials used, but at the same time it has its own real structure and is not “unstructured”. The production is “made in China”.

Test mode

I tested the Black Diamond Method S throughout the month of April, climbing about 4 times a week, both indoor and outdoor. On rock, the shoes were tested on pitches up to 7c between Liguria, Valle d’Aosta and Piedmont, on limestone, gneiss and conglomerate, and on boulders up to 7a.

testing the black diamond method s in finale ligure

Black Diamond Method S on-site test

Sensitivity and grip

Once on my feet, I found the Method S to be very comfortable, which immediately gave me confidence and feeling in its use. The excellent elasticity of the rubber in the tensioning structure allows the shoe to mould to the foot, while retaining its characteristic shape under tension.

The soft construction makes the Method S a responsive shoe, dedicated to shovelling, to perceiving the small roughness of the stone and to indulging in the shapes of the 3D volumes of indoor plastic.

As for the soles, I did not regret using the most popular rubbers on the market, such as Vibram X-Grip2. The Black Label Fuse immediately gave me confidence and I found it excellent, although I would have preferred a thinner rubber for this type of shoe.

indoor test
 In action on the volumes of the B-Side Boulder Hall in Turin, where the Black Label Fuse performed very well

Tip and precision

The tip of the shoe is rather round: this gives it an ambivalent behaviour; on plastic, for example, it is very effective because the roundness combines well with the symmetry and relief of the holds; on rock, on the other hand, the roundness turns into not very high precision; on vertical technical slabs with holes, it is therefore more difficult. And again, on the vertical, the lack of a bit of structure is felt and paid for by a greater muscular commitment of the toes.

sport climbing test
In action on the small drops of Boragni, Finale Ligure

The wide and excellent rubberisation of the top of the tip allowed me to juggle the toe hooks very well, both indoors and on boulders.

boulder test
On the “Cube” boulders in Arnad, Valle d’Aosta

Once above the vertical, the Black Diamond Method S is more at ease and reveals its “race” soul.  The generous rubberisation on most of the structure and its light weight allow excellent hooks and great freedom of movement in any situation; harpooning foot holds in overhangs is easy.

testing the shoes on overhangs
On the overhangs of the “Museo dell’uomo”, Finale Ligure

The heel

I found the heel to be sensitive and usable in different situations, thanks to its regular shape and the excellent adhesive qualities of the rubber it is made of.

hooking
In the heel on the blocks of the Cube, Arnad, Aosta Valley

Unfortunately, during my test on the boulders, the placement of the Velcro fastener, which is rather far forward towards the toe of the boot and away from the instep, allowed some “heel-off” of the shoe: the heel came out of the shoe.

If you compare the Method S to other shoes in a similar class, you will notice that the Method S’s Velcro placement is much more unbalanced towards the toe; this actually allows the instep and ankle to move more within the boot.

Fit

Let’s talk about sizing. Black Diamond recommends the same size as the normal shoe. I preferred to try a Method S, which is half a size smaller than my foot: so I got a 41 ½ as opposed to my 42 in hiking boots. The shoes were tight and I struggled a bit to get them on.

fitting the shoe

However, the comfort of these Method S made it easy for me to go down half a size. So my suggestion is: same size for those who want a finished shoe, half/one size down for those who like to suffer (but not too much in this case), and performance. After a month of use, the shoes have hardly deformed at all.

The fit is fairly easy, helped by the generous loops on the heel and the loop on the tongue; however, the internal volumes are designed for a normal sole, so those with wide soles will need to work a little harder. The well-sized Velcro fastener and strap allow the boot to be securely closed.

Recommended for

The Black Diamond Method S is primarily recommended for experienced climbers looking for a lightweight, agile shoe for use outdoors on rock and boulders, but especially indoors, where they can take full advantage of the shoe’s excellent sensitivity, grip and deformability.

Price: €140.00

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