Aggressive, hybridised performance in an accessible, comfortable package. The Mystix was a superb 2020 addition to Red Chili’s high performance lineup, packed full of impressive new features and sporting a whole new last but, with most of their time on sale spent during a pandemic, is 2022 the year when the Mystix finally comes of age?
2 years later and the Mystix is still an incredibly attractive, contemporary proposition, aimed at the high-end bouldering market with technically specific design features to streamline performance on modern, indoor problems. Powerfully downturned and rather stiff for a modern shoe, the Mystix felt like a weapon on my foot right out of the box with a pronounced point at the toe end of the shoe to dominate holds on overhanging terrain. This was where the Mystix truly thrived, clawing footholds both indoors and out superbly with enough rigidity through the 3/4 length ‘RC-FLEX’ midsole to efficiently drill the power down, especially on overhanging rock like my local limestone.
Oh, and whilst we’re talking about the midsole, Red Chili invested tonnes of time in developing a new midsole that wouldn’t just support terrific toe end performance but one that would allow enough flex and sensitivity to smear and stand on volumes effectively. They did this by using CAD software to cut 5 incisions in the plastic midsole, reducing its rigidity to promote performance typically found in softer shoes. Has it worked? Yes, to an extent. There’s certainly a decent amount of sensitivity through the forefoot, helped along by the split Vibram XS Grip sole; and, whilst not as supple and smear-happy as some of its floppy rubber sock rivals, Red Chili’s new midsole certainly adds some of these modern characteristics to a shoe that’s otherwise most comfortable (like me) on small holds through overhanging terrain.
So, the Mystix is superb on tiny edges and can even do a bit of the soft stuff but, how does it hook? Hooking has become a fundamental facet of modern bouldering and thankfully, this is one of the most impressive aspects of the Mystix. Featuring the ‘Dual Tension Slingshot’ rand around the heel of the shoe, the tension system of the Mystix comprises two differing pieces of rubber that affect the feel of the shoe in contrasting ways - the softer black rubber complements the natural movements of the foot whilst the stiffer red rubber secures the heel in place for solid hooking. Both the heel and toe (which is plastered in Vibram’s awesome XS Grip rubber) hook fantastically - especially in conjunction with the split rubber sole across the middle of the shoe which again adds flexibility.
Fit and Feel
With a brand new last for the Red Chili range, the Mystix features an updated profile with a slimmer, lower volume fit. Noticeably narrower than the rest of their high-performance range, the Mystix fit my skinny foot shape perfectly with the adjustable S shaped strap proving to be a flawless dead space eliminator across the top of the shoe. I downsized 1.5 UK sizes in the Mystix which was ideal, achieving optimal performance without sacrificing comfort. One point of real note about the Mystix was the build quality which was superb throughout, certainly on par with the market’s other top brands. Small design features like the patch of leather under the toe box really contributed to a fantastic feel and comfortable climbing when wearing the shoe - excellent.
A red hot addition to Chili’s resurgent range of climbing shoes, the Mystix is a great performance all-rounder with plenty of fabulous features to tackle the most technical climbing terrain. Marketed as an indoor shoe, I found the Mystix really came into its own on the traditional textures of real rock where its stiffer profile and aggressive downturn dominated. 2022 certainly is the year the Mystix came into its own.