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Brent Allen

Brent Allen

Portland, Maine

Brent Allen's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowboarding
Running
Biking
Yoga
Paddling
Skiing
Climbing

Brent Allen's Bio

Love to climb and snowboard, not to mention be outdoors. Nature rocks. . yea!

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on November 4, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 140 lbs
Size Purchased: 9.0

The fit on the Runners is great for me and hugs everywhere! And the fit does remind me a LOT of the 5.10 Blackwings/Dragons, as far as shape and tension goes. I really like the construction of the upper as the gluing and stitching is solid and the mesh is crazy comfortable, as is the velvety black lining inside the shoe. That being said. . .

Crazy Soft and Spongy and Grippy is really the only way to accurately describe the Dark Matter. It seeps into nuances of the rock or plastic and tends to stay nicely when the accurate pressure is applied to counteract the overall softness of the shoe and the sponginess that makes them stretch a bit at the same time.

THESE ARE SOFT SHOES!! The mid-sole isn't too soft, but the fish-hook shape of it only covers about 1cm from the edge of your forefoot. The hollow center of the midsole allows for some serious grip in seriously overhanging terrain on larger holds and lends a lot of flexibility for excellent smearing. The edging isn’t spectacular for vertical dimes or precise overhanging edges, but it is manageable and grippy when smedging (smear-edging). The Dark Matter is, however, super grippy for smears and bumps on any terrain (when the correct amount of pressure is applied to counter the spongy stretch of the rubber).
So iLL's Dark matter rubber is softer and spongier than 5.10's Stealth c4 rubber, Vibram's xs grip rubber, and definitely softer than Evolv's Trax rubber. Any feeling of mild tightness when you first put them on will almost immediately change to 'comfort' as the softness of the shoe rubber molds it hastily to your foot shape and bumps of your toe knuckles within minutes of your first routes. The heel also packs out considerably to help tension the last of the shoe to promote the fit in the toebox and keep the downturn strong. The heel doesn’t get sloppy, but it is incredibly thin and soft so it tends to ‘stretch’ a bit when applied to tiny edges or powerful hooks. Toe Hooks are pretty bomber though.

After only 3 months of climbing plastic (and a bit of rock) in them I can without a doubt say that the rubber is easily the softest rubber on the market. Hands Down, even being a normal 4mm rubber thickness! You can crumple this shoe into a wad of rubber and mesh in your hands. They’ve stretched about a ¼ size and are fully lined. I climb about 15+ hours a week and have used these almost exclusively and the wear is barely starting to show in them. I still don’t prefer them for outdoors, but that’s my personal preference for a stiffer outdoor shoe coming into play, so I can’t speak to their overall outdoor durability though.

My feet are ~9.5 inches long (9.75 on my big foot) and I ordered the 9.0s and they are 'comfortable' w/o being too sloppy to edge or smear reliably. That being said, I have a very average/narrow width fore foot with a high arch and fairly rounded heel so they fit the nuances my foot very well. I also do not have Morton’s toe and tend to like my shoes a bit tighter so they feel ‘fitted’, but still allow me some toe flexibility.
The size of 9.0 So ill Runner is similar to:
5.10 Teams (black) – 10.5
5.10 Blackwings (red) – 9.5

Hope this helps someone out as I was pretty curious before I got my Kickstarter. . If I were to do it over again I probably would have ordered an 8.5 in the Runners to make them into what they’re meant to be, an aggressive super soft and grippy shoe for performance overhang bouldering on porous rock, but I'm content with the 9s for comfort. I think they’ve made my feet stronger and actually improved my footwork as I typically rely on shoes with a stiffer midsole. These shoes grip well, but the Runner definitely makes your toes do more than their fair share of the work.

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on August 29, 2015

always tied up, never let me down
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

My Marathon Pro rope has been great for years of outdoor lead climbing. It's lighter than any other 10.1mm rope and is as supple as any 9.8mm. The 9.8 Sterling Velocity is only lighter by 1g per meter, and the extra durability from the 10.1 is totally worth it.

Get the dry coated sheath for that extra longevity since the Marathon Pro 10.1 doesn't get fat, AND it can take tons of heinous falls with a lighter impact force and great catch. My favorite rope! Can't go wrong with Sterling Marathon Pro 10.1!

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on June 13, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 140 lbs
Size Purchased: S-30

So these pants are awesome. Totally awesome. While they're a bit thicker than most climbing nylon-wear, they seem less like athletic pants to the casual observer. A very adjustable built-in nylon belt and plenty of stretch helps me throw down while bouldering or rope climbing, but when I'm wearing a harness the leg loops tend to press the stitching of the crotch vent holes right into my thighs. So after a few hangs I'll start to feel the abrasiveness of the stitching and it gets a bit distracting when catching falls, on extended belays, or taking repeated whips, but whatever.

The front pockets are double lined mesh for breathability and the cargo pocket is strangely accessibly via the top or side via 2 different zippers and is the same material as the pants itself.

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on June 13, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This harness is really well engineered and it shows. The hip-belt fits me right where I need it to and is easily more comfortable than the Black Diamond Focus, or Momentum. The front gear loops are well designed and slide/position gear to the front for easy racking. Unfortunately the rear harness loops do not, they are standard half-moon design.

The rope loops have ample space and are probably my favorite feature. You could be tied into 3 ropes and have 2 slings attached and still have room to maneuver more through them, and they're burly and thick!

Noteworthy: The Belay loop is thinner than most harnesses I've seen/used and the metal buckles and the nylon waist/leg straps are also thin. I don't think this impedes quality, but could show wear quicker .

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on June 13, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I thought I'd tack this on to another order I placed as I didn't currently have any good lotions or balms left for my beaten hands. . That being said, this stuff actually does reduce swelling and pain in the hands/fingers and is made of various natural oils. I like it, and worth the dough. Thoroughly tested after a 3+ hour session on several burly, crimpy, and rather finger unfriendly 5.12 accents at the local plastic crag. My fingers were quite achy, until after some of the crimp oil. .

One other note, "crimp oil" is also made by an independent company and I have yet to determine if Metolius licensed this from Crimp Oil or made their own. .

http://www.crimpoil.com/en/

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on June 13, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Got this thing and have had a great time so far as I haven't had a new chalk bag in years. . I really loved the green/black coloring and was hoping it would be as good as my Evolv Roundtangular bag so I'd have a spare, and I think they're about the same size. Though this one feels a lot more plush.

PS: The belt wouldn't work well for anyone over a 30-32 inch waist, you'd have to get another band of nylon or cord for it.

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on December 23, 2013

Love-Gate
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I love the gate action and feel of their shape in mah hand for both of these biners. . Who would have guessed that Mad Rock would wind up designing my favorite wire-gate ever?

The gate action is incredibly smooth on the wired end and the gate opening is huge. The keylock end clips well, but is lightweight and strong. My preferred lightweight clips for sport climbing.

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on December 23, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I love being in the NW and using my Salmon printed rope bag! Gimmicky, sure, but the blue coloring is distinct. . and the tarp, tarp pocket, and 4 tie in points keep my rope and rope ends organized and this bag is totally large enough to hold 2-60m ropes if you need to consolidate.

You can fill this bag with 15 draws, a pair of climbing shoes, a harness, and 60m 10.1mm rope with room to spare.

Durability has been great and the bag shows little signs of wear other than being craaazzzzzy dirty.

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on December 23, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

CHALK! Soo no noticeable differences between this stuff and the BD Gold or the So ill Perscription chalk. I personally prefer the cheap So-Ill stuff or the Melolius Super Chalk, but the bag here is still a great purchase for reuse. I've personally refilled the bag time and again with extra chalk for a daytrip or weekend trip to the crag due to the easy pouring.

The chalk starts out rather chunky, but crushes easily into fine powder really similarlly to the Black Diamond stuff.

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on December 23, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Heh, These are almost identical copies of the La Sportiva Testarossa's. I am willing to bet production stopped for that reason alone. . but who knows.

I have climbed incredibly overhanging sport and boulders with these and they have edged and gripped like a dream and gotten me through the v5's and 5.12's I needed them to.

I have size 9.5 feet and I got these in 7.5's and they were almost impossible to climb with in the beginning. Now they've molded and stretched to my exact foot shape while maintaining that high downturned toebox. And I love them!

Unfortunately, both toes, where the sole meets the rand, have an ever so slight peel. This has been since the first month of climbing and hasn't peeled further or affected the shoes precision in any noticable way. I would say I watch my footwork too, but even so I think the size stretching is the real culprit here.

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on December 22, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These are one of my favorite outdoor shoes for their comfort, precision, and grippyness both in the toe, heel, and rand rubber. That being said, the 2.0's that came out are not the same. The sizing in them is different from the older model as well as the fit in the toebox, and arch. I have high arches, and a smaller heel and do not have morton's toe. I tried and tested the new pontas in hopes of capturing for me what the original pontas held, but alas.

To each is own, and I know plenty of people that swear by the newer model 2.0's.

I have 9.5 inch feet and got these in a comfy/precise 8.0

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on December 22, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have been rocking this rope for the past year and a half and it has held up remakably with only minimal sheath fuzzing through both indoor and lots of outdoor abuse.

It hasn't taken as much damage as some of my buddies similar diameter ropes, but it seems to always get to be the lead / top rope-rope of choice. Love the soft supple handling and the weight on it is crazy light for it's sizing.

If I have a choice I always grab the marathon pro over my friends ropes for a dicey lead situation. Additional thoughts: This rope stretches A LOT on lead falls, be weary of the first couple bolts. . like always?

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Brent Allen

Brent Allenwrote a review of on December 22, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Easily my favorite headlamp in the price-range. It is very lightweight, projects the widest beam of any headlamp I own, Very bright for your immediate surroundings and last days of usage!

I have caved, climbed, and hiked for hours and hours with this bad boy, and I love the color of the Teal strap cause it lets everyone know you're rocking the Tikka 2 ;)

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