The Red Chili Corona VCR are a mid-price, mid-range climbing shoe advertised as a performance shoe with an asymmetric low profile toe and a nice design, we took these from the gym to Ceuse over a month of abuse to see how they stood up.
The Coronas have a mid-flex to them with a good edge, we found standing on tiny pockets and edges no problem and at this price point was a nice feature of the shoe. Although we found that Red Chili’s own 4.5mm RX2 rubber below par when it came to smearing (we’ll come to that), the rubber did seem to bite fairly well into small holds giving some confidence.
Red Chili’s RX2 rubber just doesn’t seem to grip as well as other shoes we tested and didn’t give confidence when creeping up a slick surface, that said, if slabs aren’t your thing this bad point won’t affect you.
Hooks & Cracks
When it comes to toe and heel hooks Red Chili have got it nicely covered with a rand that stretches over the toe and far up the heel which proved great for crack climbing too. We had the Coronas in Chamonix on some weird inverted undercut climbing and found toe hooks and jams with the rand stuck surprisingly well.
Comfort & Fit
These shoes are very comfortable and we had no problem wearing them constantly on multi-pitches, still we always recommend getting down your local climbing shop and trying some on first. When it comes to fit, we found that over a month the Coronas stretched quite a bit (although Red Chili claim they don’t stretch very much), so make sure they are on the tighter side if you buy them. It’s also worth a mention that we climbed in pretty icy conditions at Ceuse and didn’t get cold feet with the Coronas.
After 1 month of testing we did get a small hole in the left toe area, and the beginning of separation between the sole and the main body of the shoe at the toe end, that’s the bad points, but on the plus side the rest of the shoe has stood up well to the abuse.
At the price point, they feel well made and tough it’s just a shame about the toe starting to come apart after such a short time.
4.5mm of rubber and a comfortable lining does inhibit some sensitivity but we found that overall the Coronas performed well in this area, you can feel what you’re standing on (unlike some other shoes we tested) and that’s good enough for us.
At this price point, you get a good all-round shoe for your money, but that said there are strong alternatives out there (such as the Evolv Defy just to name one) the wear on the toe that we encountered was a disappointment but it may of been a few instances of heavy-footedness that would put a hole in any shoe it’s hard to tell. Other then that, the build is good for the money and the shoe looks pretty nice too which is a bonus.
Long multi-pitch climbing (comfort), cold weather climbing (warmth) and gym climbing on anything other then slabs, if you’re into slabs, and you like your face, look elsewhere but if you’re on a budget and want a decent all-round shoe on the steep stuff then the Coronas fit the bill.