Sustainable excellence in a comfortable, breathable package - the Red Chili Ventic Air Lace is without a doubt the nicest climbing shoe experience I’ve ever had.
Like much of the competition, Red Chili have opted to make their latest all-rounder shoe with a knitted upper. Borrowed from the big branded world of trainers, these softer knit fabrics have become synonymous with the comfy climbing shoe in any brand’s line up. Promising a more forgiving fit on top of the foot and offering more breathability than the classic climbing shoe uppers, the benefits of this new material’s climbing shoe infiltration are clear. But, how will it affect performance and how will it stand up to the rigours of regular climbing? More on this below.
With a flat, neutral last, it’s clear that comfort and all-day performance are the name of the game for the Ventic Air. Right out of the box, these shoes were the comfiest I’ve ever worn with the knitted fabrics feeling uniquely soft against the skin and relaxing terrifically around the shape of my foot - they felt so good, I could have worn them out to the shops but more on that later. One concern with a shoe this comfy and supple across the upper is its support and stability across the whole shoe. But, no such problems here with the stiff, RC-Support midsole running down the entire length of the sole to provide rigidity and precision on any foothold. The presence of laces can’t be understated on this shoe either, securing the upper in place to keep my feet from rolling when under pressure. The result? A confident set of edging credentials which performed well both in the gym and outdoors on blockier rock types like easier limestone and rhyolite.
So, who are the Ventic Air Laces made for? Whether this is your first climbing shoe or your last, the Ventic will find a place in any climber’s arsenal. Personally, this shoe was a refreshing relief from the painfully tight, performance shoes I usually review and they’ve quickly become my go to for longer, lighter training sessions on the circuit board or in the gym. Ideally suited to entry level climbers or intermediate climbers in need of a comfy shoe for long sessions and multi-pitch routes outdoors, the Ventic combines the comfort of a first shoe with the sophisticated, confident performance of a shoe that should suit more experienced climbers.
Climate Conscious Climbing
The major USP of the Ventic Air Lace is its sustainable production with every textile element of the shoe’s upper being made from recycled post-consumer polyester and produced in line with Global Recycled Standards. A landmark achievement for sustainable climbing shoe production, the Ventic Air has the highest recycled material count of any climbing shoe on sale - nice!
Fit and Feel
We’ve already established that the Ventic Air is the comfiest climbing shoe I’ve ever worn but what impressed me most was the way Red Chili have managed to combine comfort, sustainability and functionality into the same package. With an anti bacterial Hemp insole and the breathable properties of the knit upper, the Ventics have stayed fresh after continued use and have remained durable to repeated bumps and scrapes on holds both indoors and out.
I downsized 1.5 UK sizes in the Ventic Air Lace to squeeze as much performance out of them as I could. Thanks to the low tensioning through the heel rand and the supple nature of the upper, the shoe went on easily and without any hot spots. Although low in volume and width, the Ventic should suit a wide range of foot types thanks to the malleable nature of that knitted upper.
A milestone for comfort and sustainability, the Ventic Air Lace is the nicest on-the-foot experience I've ever had from a climbing shoe and has become a valued asset to my climbing shoe collection. Sure, the Ventic Air Lace won't be your number one choice for hard bouldering or sport climbing red points but it has found a place as my super comfy go-to for easy training sessions and adventurous routes outside. A surprising delight, I can't get enough of the Ventic Air Lace, you might even see me wearing them down to the shops!