IN BRIEF: An exceptional steep rock performance shoe. Feels like a second skin, and that rumour of down-turned shoes being worth half a grade on steeper terrain is valid with these....
I'm posting this after only a few wears. Firstly, I bought these months ago (first pair in the UK I believe) but after bringing them to Font for their first test, I decided that they needed to be kept for when I got back on real rock so have been hiding out in my wardrobe until a week or so ago, when I took them out to break in for a forthcoming trip.
Firstly, the usual blurb. I'm coming from a major preference for FiveTen shoes - they just fit my feet. Of those models, I'm an Anazazi Velcro and Dragon-user. The Dragons fit me perfectly and are my recommended shoe usually. I ended up in the Team's purely as an experiment for new shoes.
They're slightly (if that's possible) more agressive feeling than the Dragons, and feel like they wouldn't transfer as much to less steep terrain as them. They're also much harder to put on, having the narrow elasticated area across the top.
I purchased these in my Dragon size, one size below shoe size and half a size larger than what I wear in Anazazi's. Seems to be the standard practice for a lot of people in these types of shoes. The fit is exceptional, with no slack areas anywhere. I'm even more impressed that with the large quantity of rubber across the top of the toe-box, that they aren't very uncomfortable or loose. They genuinely are moulded to my foot.
I'm actually finding them a little different to climb in than I found the Dragons (which I could put on and forget about). The toe is slightly more pointed (or that's my impression at least), and almost feels more like a La Sportiva to me, where I find that there's not as much focused pressure on the big toe. That's not a bad thing, just taking a bit of getting used to.
the heel is fantastic also, and almost feels like a slightly larger area of rubber that comes in contact with the hold (again, in comparison to the Dragons which feel like they are resting on a narrower ridge up the heel). No slippage at all.
I've only used them about 8 times so far so can't comment on rubber wear, but going by how my FiveTen's usually wear, I don't see them wearing out anytime soon.
I'll post a proper update on these in the coming months after they're more worn in.
Honestly, I'm not completely sold on these shoes as when I first put on the Dragons. But that could be just because they don't feel like the leap in performance that I felt from them (granted it was hard to see a significant leap from 'standard' rockshoes to a down-turned pair). They are exceptionally good, and I can see how well they'll perform on steep terrain.
Having said that, I'm not sure how easily they'll transfer to less steep rock (even vertical). I wear Dragons more most uses now, bar vertical or slabby, and I'm not sure if the Team's are that all-rounder. They seem very very focused. That's not a bad thing, but just be aware that you'll probably require other shoes also.