The American climbing shoe manufacturer Unparallel is launching its new model, Flagship, a shoe for ambitious climbers. We tested the shoe for you. What, you've never heard of Unparallel? Find out more here.

Do you know the Ondra trick with the plastic bag to slip into your climbing shoes? Adam Ondra wears his shoes so small that at the beginning he can only get into the shoe with the help of a plastic bag.

We don't need the plastic bag anymore.

And so it happened to us when we put on the flagship for the first time. But not because we chose the shoe too small. No. In terms of size, we wore half a size smaller than everyday shoes. Nevertheless, with the best will in the world, it was not possible to slip into the shoe without a plastic bag. Anyone who thinks that the size was chosen incorrectly - no result. Once inside the shoe, the flagship fit like a glove.

Three rubber compounds - one shoe

When used on rock and plastic, the flagship has more than convinced us. The grip of the toe hook rubber was particularly noticeable. The VD rubber from Unparallel used in the upper area can be described as sticky. Never before has a toe hook held this well.

Two further rubber compounds are used in the sole area of ​​the flagship. In the toe area it is the 3.5 millimeter thick and medium-soft RS rubber. The heel area is provided with a 4.2 millimeter thick and hard RH rubber coating. This thicker and harder rubber coating gives the shoe the necessary stability in the rear area.

The flagship in action at Nino Grünenfelder in Brione. (Image Rainer Eder / Unparallel)
The flagship in action at Nino Grünenfelder in Brione. (Image Rainer Eder / Unparallel)

Readers from Germany and Austria can order the Flagship climbing shoe here.

Ideal for steep boulders and routes

Indoor volume, sloping limestone slab in the Alps or overhanging roof boulder in Ticino? What terrain is the flagship suitable for? We have been investigating this question over the past few weeks. And our conclusion is clear: the flagship feels most comfortable in technically demanding and steep bouldering lines and sport climbing routes. With its strong pretension and complex structure, you bring the necessary strength to the smallest of steps and use existing heel and toe hooks to the maximum.

The flagship is an ideal companion on steep and complex bouldering and sport climbing routes.

In what size do you wear the flagship?

Choosing the right size for climbing shoes is not easy. If you want to wear the flagship close-fitting, we recommend choosing the shoe half a size smaller than everyday shoes.

Half a size smaller than everyday shoes, you are almost certainly right.

In our case this meant in the first few weeks that we had to slip into the shoe with the plastic trick, but once inside, the shoe did not pinch and could even be worn during a longer training session. After about a month we made it into the shoe without a plastic bag.

Readers from Germany and Austria can order the Flagship climbing shoe here.

Facts about the Unparallel flagship climbing shoe

locking system1-point Velcro fastener
preloadAggressive
StiffnessHart
SoleSplit sole
Toe areaSole with 3.5 mm RS rubber (medium soft), toe hook patch with super soft VD rubber
Verse area4.2 mm RH rubber (hard)
Ideal forSport climbing and bouldering projects at your limit, steep routes

About the climbing shoe manufacturer Unparallel

In 2003, Sang Lee, a trained mechanical engineer, began making climbing shoes for Five Ten. Due to his expertise in the mixing and processing of rubber, his passion and his constant drive for improvement, it was not long before he also took over the entire development and production of the Californian brand.

But in 2011 the premature end came: The family company Five Ten was taken over by Adidas. Six years after the takeover, Adidas decided to close the branch in Redlands - and thus to end the cooperation with Sang Lee.

So Sang Lee decided to continue the production of climbing shoes in Southern California together with a small team.

But the ambitious Schumacher didn't want to give up: So Sang Lee decided to continue the production of climbing shoes in Southern California together with a small team. The Unparallel brand was born. Due to decades of experience in development and production as well as the networking in the climbing industry, it didn't take long for Unparallel to make a name for itself - and the climbing shoes to gain popularity in the scene.

While other brands are relocating their production overseas, Unparallel continues to manufacture their shoes in California.

Of course, Sang Lee and his team remain true to their philosophy: While other brands buy their soles and relocate production abroad, Unparallel continues to manufacture their shoes in Sang Lee's factory in Fullerton, California. All production steps are carried out at the California headquarters.

That might interest you

Unparallel athlete Clément Lechaptois during the flash ascent of the Boulder Heritage (8b)

+ + +
Credits: Cover picture Rainer Eder / Unparallel