Unparallel was started by a group of former Five Ten employees who decided to stay in the warm sun of California and start their own company. Unparallel has been helping brands with their rubber formula for a while now, but just recently came out with a full line-up of climbing and mountain bike shoes. We were stoked to get our hands on a pair of their new Vega shoes and give them a try on some Canadian rock.
The Vega is a slightly downturned shoe featuring UP’s RS (rubber soft) sole material. In fact, this shoe is absolutely covered in rubber. The entirety of the heel is rubber clad, with slits to allow for movement and comfort. The inside toe area gets the same treatment and essentially everything else is painted with rubber. The shoe uses a V-shaped Velcro closure strap that cinches down to hold two overlapping neoprene/mesh padded flaps that act like tongues and control volume. The inside of the shoe is also lined with a synthetic upper.
Comfort out of the Box
Right out of the box the Vegas are extremely comfortable. I wore my street shoe size, which was recommended and even during my first session they didn’t feel half as uncomfortable as most shoes do new. In part, this is because the Vegas are very soft. They have excellent sensitivity when feeling around for small holds and judging friction, which I will add is excellent.
Whatever Unparallel is doing with their rubber is working. These are the stickiest shoes I have ever worn, and instill confidence in any situation when friction is an issue. The same can be said about whatever it is they paint onto the toe. The heel fit my narrow heels well and didn’t slip when putting the power down on heel hooks.
As I previously mentioned, I wore my street shoe size which felt great for length, but I did have some extra volume, forcing me to really crank down the strap which was hanging off the side while I was climbing. After a month of testing and several sessions the inner lining is also slightly separated near my toes, which doesn’t affect performance, but does make me question the Vega’s longevity.
Smear with Confidence
The Vegas are not great if you need to stand on small chips for long periods of time because toe and calf fatigue do become an issue, but smear with confidence because your feet will stick to almost anything. Overhanging sport routes and boulders are where the Vega really shines thanks to the downturn and sensitivity.
The Vegas are also great on volumes and modern gym boulder problems. Some might even like this shoe on longer multi pitches because they are so comfortable, but Unparallel has several other models that would likely work better (keep an eye open for future reviews).
Currently the best way to get your hands on a pair of Unparallel shoes is to go through their website(https://www.unparallelsports.com/), but we are interested to see what the future holds for this emerging brand.