by Morgan Cvetkovic-Jones
Soft, sensitive and oh so French – the Nebula is the ultimate homage to EB’s climbing shoe heritage, nailing the same fundamentals that made their very first climbing shoe so successful whilst epitomising the modern climbing shoe’s evolution into an expertly engineered sending weapon.
Founded in Fontainebleau, is the Nebula worthy of a trip to the famous forest? Here’s everything you need to know.
Packed full of fantastic features, the Nebula hybridises traditional climbing shoe genealogy with a splash of contemporary design to make this one of the most impressive, multi-faceted ‘modern’ climbing shoes I’ve ever worn. EB tout the Nebula as their soft bouldering shoe and it certainly is that, but what I’ve found so pleasing about it is its solid foundation of some refined, time-tested features which I can hang my hat on. Chief among them is the combination of an incredibly asymmetrical and marginally downturned profile coupled with a full-length rubber sole. This allows the Nebula to excel on smaller footholds with terrific edging performance, not something I expected from a softer shoe but it’s a stand out feature here, giving the Nebula genuine versatility.
The Nebula is by no means a one trick pony with EB’s choice to make its soft shoe without an inner midsole, combining its edging performance with supreme flexibility and sensitivity - perfect for smearing on large volumes and sedimentary rock types alongside steeper, more overhanging terrain. Rarely does a shoe (soft, bouldering shoe in particular) get that balance between edging performance and sensitive feel right, but it’s one of the Nebula’s defining characteristics and I absolutely love it.
No current bouldering shoe is complete without rubber over the toes and a competent heel for hooking. Well, thankfully the Nebula features a generous smattering of the good stuff over the toe region and the heel feels so sensitive it could’ve been made in a patisserie. The slingshot rand that wraps around the heel deserves a special mention too, connecting the toe and heel of the shoe wonderfully and assuredly enabling each area to maintain tension when hooking.
Straight out of the left field, France’s answer to the modern bouldering shoe is anything but typical. Shunning the homogenised design language of the competition, EB have created a truly recognisable climbing shoe that interweaves modern technology discreetly without having to go as far as producing a sock made from Vibram rubber. Oh, and whilst we’re talking rubber…
Is Daytona rubber EB’s best kept secret? Absolutely. It’s a bold move to make your own rubber but it’s paid off here with the 4mm Daytona sole proving to be superbly sticky and ultra-supportive on plastic as well as my local limestone. Rubber can make or break a climbing shoe and EB have got it spot on with their durable Daytona.
Fit and Feel
Famous for drinking wine with breakfast and spending working day lunch breaks in the local café, the French are connoisseurs of the finer things in life. Their climbing shoes are no exception. Crafted from EB’s sophisticated, antibacterial Evo Microfiber, the Nebula is a delight to wear with the Vegan certified synthetic materials expertly conforming to the shape of my foot on debut. Downsizing 2 EU sizes and dialling in a precise fit with the efficient mono strap closure system effectively eliminated any dead space for me; although favouring my medium to lower volume foot shape, the forgiving nature of the comfortable construction should mean larger foot profiles can also enjoy the Nebula.
The Nebula is everything a French product should be – a bizarrely proficient concoction of features, seamlessly and efficiently packaged with a style as sexy as a French beret. EB’s design philosophy is a refreshing alternative to the mainstream, prioritising performance and versatility over a head turning price tag. Truly worthy of the Bleausards and its spiritual home in the famous forest of Fontainebleau, the EB Nebula is the only shoe in my kit bag and it’s not being replaced anytime soon.