By: Morgan Cvetkovic-Jones
Sensitive and efficient performance in a versatile, comfortable package – the latest iteration of EB’s famous Guardian is an impressive addition to a range of shoes that already pack a serious punch. The previous version of the Guardian was an iconic model for EB and was certainly the most common EB shoe seen in my local gyms, so, the 3rd generation has big boots to fill. Can they live up to the name?
3 Time’s the Charm
They certainly can! The 3rd edition of the Guardian builds on the success of the previous generation to strike a superb balance between sensitivity and support. Combining the flexibility of the Nebula with the edging performance of the Red, the Guardian is the most versatile EB shoe that I’ve tested so far. Whilst not as defined as the Nebula or Red in terms of their individual strengths, the Guardian’s all-round ability across a range of styles and disciplines makes it the obvious choice for the modern climber looking for a ‘do-it-all’ shoe. Whether I’m heading to the gym or the crag, the Guardian’s combination of design strengths makes it the perfect shoe to chuck in your bag and go.
Sporting a stylish new geometric design and striking blue colourway, the familiar white foundations remain on the Guardian. For fans of the previous version, there’s a lot to love in the 3.0 with the same aggressive asymmetrical last and many of the technological underpinnings of the 2. The shoe’s familiar midsole technology is central to every sensation from the Guardian; the thinner section of rubber through the middle of the shoe enables ample flex and feel for sensitive smears and hooks with the Flex5 midsole insert reinforcing the toe box to provide a reliable base of edging prowess. This subtle blend of skills doesn’t just make the Guardian a capable indoor shoe, it also excels outside, confidently dealing with the changing demands of real rock. The Guardian was especially effective on my local Lime and Gritstone where small footholds and tenuous smears are both par for the course.
The 5mm of Daytona rubber is worth a special mention too. Although thicker and initially less sensitive than the market competition, the extra rubber ensures the Guardian lasts longer than its rivals, evolving throughout the course of its life from thicker edging shoe to a sensitive slipper. However thick it is, the Daytona compound’s supreme stickiness and overall grip on every climbing terrain is outstanding.
Fit & Feel
A large part of the previous Guardian’s appeal was its comfort and the latest edition is no different. Constructed from EB’s impressive Dynamic microfibre, the Guardian feels well-made and premium against the foot. I downsized 2.5 EU sizes in the Guardian to ensure a high performance fit and, although it took me a while to get the shoe on at first, it moulded to my foot remarkably quickly with no pain or sore spots thereafter. Like the rest of the EB range, the Guardian is relatively low in volume which suits my foot shape wonderfully, especially across the top of the foot. So, for those with slightly higher volume feet, sizing closer to your street shoe size might be necessary to guarantee the ideal fit. But, regardless of your foot shape, the Dynamic microfibre is truly terrific and should mould seamlessly around your foot whilst maintaining the shape of the shoe and limiting stretch long-term.
Complementing the fantastic vegan microfibre is the Z-shaped hook and loop closure system which embodies the Guardian’s efficiency with simple and effective closure.
A sophisticated reimagining of an EB classic, the Guardian 3.0 is a true all-rounder that puts a French flag firmly at the leading end of the market with an unbeatable price tag to match the shoe’s magnificent performance. There’s something for everyone in the Guardian, from intermediate climbers through to elite crushers like Paul Jenft who used it to win the youth European championships in 2018, 2019 and 2021. Equipped for every climbing adventure, the EB Guardian certainly won’t be coming out of my climbing bag anytime soon!