ProView – Black Diamond Method S Climbing Shoes Review

The Black Diamond Method S climbing shoe was truly put through the wringer this spring in a variety of areas, styles of climbing, and rock types. I climbed cracks from splitter to offwidth, highball slab, flat roofs, long overhung sport pitches, and everything in between. Joe’s Valley in Southern Utah and Point of Rocks in NW Montana were my main areas for outdoor climbing during the testing period, but I spent a lot of time in my local gym as a routesetter and climber wearing the Method S. 

Black Diamond Method S Climbing Shoes

Product Name: Black Diamond Method S Climbing Shoes

Product Description: The Method S is designed for steep climbing. A soft midsole, downturned last, and rubberized toe box makes heel hooks and toe hooks feel like second nature, while the single Velcro strap provides easy transitions between burns. Molded sticky rubber soles are optimized for grip without sacrificing performance or weight. An engineered knit upper makes the Method S breathable and comfortable next to the skin. Womens specific design incorporates a low-volume last.

Offer price: MSRP: $144.95

Currency: USD

  • Quality
  • Features
  • Fit
  • Durability
  • Eco-Friendly


The Black Diamond Method S is a great all around option for someone looking to break into an aggressive shoe for moderate to hard bouldering and rope climbing, but still maintain comfort and sensitivity. It has the durability to hold up for a long time, and the modern features for an advanced climber on steep or technical terrain. I would recommend sizing up a half size unless you are searching for a very sensitive feel. 



  • Durable yet sensitive
  • Comfortable once broken in
  • Stiff in the toe, but soft in the upper
  • Good price point for high end shoe


  • Some tight spots for wide feet
  • Questionable stitching on the pull tabs
  • Sloppy heel

Initially, I was a bit skeptical of Black Diamond’s Method S as a “moderately aggressive, steep climbing shoe”. Introducing their first climbing shoe line in 2017 & 2018, they are a young brand for climbing shoes. However, there is something to be said about their history with climbing and knowledge of the sport. Whether you like their products or not, they have been providing users with really solid gear and apparel for a long time. I was apprehensive but excited to see what Black Diamond had changed since their first line, and coming in at $145, I was hopeful for the Method S to perform well since a lot of high end climbing shoes are priced above the $200 mark. 

Waiting for the outdoor season held a lot of waiting for the snow to melt, and spending a lot of time in the gym setting and climbing. After spending a few weeks climbing on plastic, I am willing to bet this shoe is going to be a favorite for gym climbers who are looking for a comfortable and moderately aggressive shoe that does well in all challenges and aspects of the sport.

A note about fit: I feel like I have to mention that when I got my first pair of size 8 shoes in the mail, I tried to pull them on and one of the pull tabs broke immediately. The stitching just didn’t seem up to par. I reordered a size 9, they fit much better, and I didn’t have any issues with the pull tabs during testing. I generally wear a size 8-8.5 US in climbing shoes, but the 9 ended up being perfect for me, so take that into account when thinking about fit. 

I am stoked that I was able to try out the Method S in so many different applications and areas. I projected boulders up to V10 and routes up to 5.13 with the shoe, and it kept up, but I felt like I was reaching the edge of its steep climbing capabilities. During testing, I climbed in really cold temps, and hot desert days, but the Method S seemed to perform well in both. I was worried about the stiffness of the toe rubber during cold sessions, but it was sticky and stable regardless of temperature. 


When it comes to climbing shoes, as most of you may know, the fit is about 90% of the battle when finding the goldilocks shoe. When I am looking for an aggressive shoe, the most important feature of fit for me is having as little extra space or “dead space” in the shoe as possible. I experienced very little dead space in the Method S from the midfoot to the toe, and it had a solid performance feel for smearing and edging. The heel was another story, and it felt like a La Sportiva Solution in the heel with its round shape. I climbed a few boulders in Joe’s where a precise heel hook was necessary, and the heel didn’t slip or move, but there is definitely some dead space for me. The upper of the Method S is surprisingly soft and flexible in both the elastic tongue and rubber of the toe hook patch. It doesn’t have as much of a “toe bump” as other steep climbing shoes, so I wasn’t able to get my toes into a talon or downturned shape as much as I would like in certain scenarios. However, this allowed my toes to rest in a flatter position which made smearing effortless in the Method S. I have a fairly wide forefoot, so I gravitate towards shoes like the Evolv Phantom or the Unparallel Flagship due to their ergonomic and wide toe boxes. The Method S wasn’t too bad in the width of the forefoot, but I did have some pain on the outside of my midfoot where the heel band wrapped around the shoe. 


I had many people comment on the visual aspects of the Method S, and some were kinder than others. Many people appreciated the unique white camouflage color of the heel, but others thought it was quite the eyesore. Personally, I agree with the former and I grew to enjoy the unique look of the shoe and the contrast in colors. Black Diamond seemed to adapt to the more modern slipper look with this model that so many other high end shoes have. 


I can say with confidence that Black Diamond did not skimp out on features with the Method S. Their “Black Label Fuse” rubber was surprisingly sticky, especially once it was broken in. The toe patch covers a large section of the upper and it is plenty sensitive for delicate toe hooks. One feature of the heel that I appreciated since I was struggling with dead space is the 3D molded heel Black Diamond included. It reminded me of the extra rubber edge on the heel of the Mad Rock Drone. I appreciate the single strap velcro closure system, and I didn’t have any issues getting the shoe tight enough for steep efforts. Finally, I loved the soft elastic tongue and ankle of the Method S. It was super comfortable and made getting the shoe on and off much easier. 


In regards to performance, I feel that Black Diamond accidentally made a really good slab climbing shoe. Don’t get me wrong, it still excelled at steep climbing, but I found myself wishing I had my Unparallel Flagships on for harder steep climbs where I really needed a downturned toe to pull my hips into the wall. When it came to slab, especially on the greasy calcite holds you find so frequently in Joe’s Valley, I much preferred the Method S. Since I was on desert sandstone, I felt obligated to find some cracks of different sizes to try the shoe in. While it worked, and I didn’t have trouble gaining purchase on wide or narrow cracks, it was pretty painful with the soft upper, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the Method S for crack climbing. When on longer sport pitches, the slightly elongated shape of the toe box allowed me to rest longer and sink into the shoe with much less pain than a more aggressive shoe. 


After climbing hard in the Method S for a month both inside on high textured walls, and outside on a variety of rock, it held up surprisingly well. While I appreciate the thinner and more sensitive modern shoes on the market, they tend to break down pretty quick, especially inside. It was refreshing to have a shoe show next to zero wear after 25+ days of climbing. I am excited to see how it continues to mold to my foot and break in over the next few months. I was a little wary of the pull tabs after the first pair broke, but I didn’t have any issues with the stitching on my second pair. 

Friendliness to the Earth

Black Diamond has a Sustainability page on their website that highlights their “Corporate Responsibility” to societal and environmental responsibility. There is a great section on “Materials” and where their products are sourced and made around the world. They also share about their “Social and Environmental Advocacy” while making decisions involving the community. While it’s not the most in-depth Sustainability page I have seen, I really appreciate the last part of the page where they mention their “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee” that is committed to ensuring their core values stay the primary focus of Black Diamond.

The Final Word

I had a great time trying out the Black Diamond Method S in a variety of conditions and rock types. It surprised me in many ways, and I feel like it will be a big hit for gym climbers and crag hoppers alike. They filled the Method S with modern features to satisfy hard bouldering efforts, but it is still comfortable enough for long and steep pitches. I would have loved for the “Men’s” shoe to be a little wider in the midfoot and toe box, or maybe they could have adopted “Low Volume” and “High Volume” instead of Men’s and Women’s like other climbing brands. The heel took some getting used to for me, but I am sure many people will love the feel. Overall, the Method S feels like a “Jack of All Trades” but includes some sneaky mastery as well. 

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About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro
Seth King
Adventure Recreation Guide

Seth currently works as an Adventure Supervisor for Chrysalis Therapeutic Boarding School in Eureka, Montana. He leads the students through various activities like rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing, and more. Previously, Seth has worked as an experiential education instructor in North and South Carolina. Seth is passionate about whitewater paddling, rock climbing, snowboarding, and just about any kind of food. You can connect with Seth on his Instagram @itinerant_wayfarer.

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