Knit Comfort: Black Diamond’s First Climbing Shoe Reviewed

The Black Diamond Momentum wears like a sock (in a good way) and still holds up to climbing steep terrain. We put this comfy rock climbing shoe to the test outdoors and in the gym.

black diamond momentum indoor climbing shoe review

On June 21, 2017, Black Diamond turned heads with the introduction of a climbing shoe line. The longtime maker of climbing carabiners and hardgoods announced the launch of four shoes, with the Momentum being the first available.

It differs from the plethora of climbing shoes on the market today with a knit construction in place of the usual thick (and durable) leather.

The knit has its advantages and disadvantages. But overall, the Momentum is a solid choice, great for sweaty gym-goers looking for a supremely comfortable shoe.

Over the summer, we tested the Momentum on all kinds of rock, in addition to gym plastic, for this review. Months after the June launch, the Momentum is now available for $90-95.

black diamond momentum indoor climbing shoe review

The Knit Difference: Black Diamond Momentum Review

Slipping on the Momentum, I immediately noticed the thin profile of the fabric and the thinner section of knit material over the top of the foot. They also initially felt more breathable than leather, but it was subtle.

Historically, breathability in climbing shoes is mostly a lost cause. Primary construction materials are selected for durability. Clammy, smelly feet are status quo.

black diamond momentum indoor climbing shoe review
Notice the thinner weave pattern in the toe box

After that first day of climbing, I was curious if the Momentum would offer a reprieve for my sweaty toes.

After three months of testing, I’m still unable to make any grand claims about feeling a breeze between my toes. However, the shoe does seem more breathable than heavy leather.

What the knit material definitely provides is comfort. It feels like wearing a sock, and it’s one of the most comfortable climbing shoes I’ve worn.

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On The Rock: Black Diamond Momentum

The Momentum’s neutral shape and sticky rubber took to several kinds of rock nicely. From grippy sandstone to hard quartz, the shoe fared well. I was able to confidently place my feet on barely-there edges.

black diamond climbing shoes
Courtesy of Black Diamond Equipment

The shoe isn’t as precise as more aggressive models like the La Sportiva Miura or Evolv Agro, but it’s great for smearing and running laps on gentle terrain. If you’re trying to stick a dime-edge on your 5.13 project, get something more painful.

I found the shoe easy to wear all day whether belaying or climbing.

black diamond momentum indoor climbing shoe review
The Momentum has a neutral shape

Durability-wise, the knit upper has resisted tears and abrasions in three months of wear.  They hold up similarily to leather. That was my biggest concern wearing knit, but so far it has proven a reliable material.

The rubber continues to stay uniform and impressively sticky compared to other entry-level shoe models from big brands.

It uses the same rubber from Korean climbing manufacturer, Butora (see our Butora Acro and Narsha shoe reviews).

Black Diamond Momentum: Final Impression

Black Diamond’s first foray into climbing shoes is a welcome addition to the stable of established brands. The knit construction is new and comfortable.

I recommend the Momentum for first-time rock shoe buyers, or somebody looking for an all-day shoe on plastic or real rock.

The Momentum is one of four shoes in Black Diamond’s new line. Stay tuned for further coverage on Black Diamond’s emergence into rock climbing shoes.

Nate Mitka

Midwest born, Nate Mitka is based in the GearJunkie Denver office. He is an advocate of all outdoor activities and has developed some habits, like running without headphones, eating raw vegetables, and fixing the chain on his ratty old bike.