BOREAL: Zenith Rubber and The Kintaro

In Europe in the 70's, rock shoes with flat friction rubber, get into market definately to climb hard climbing routes. The most used flat sole rock shoes initially were the style Pierre Allain (black and red), very popular in the boulder area of Fontaineableu, and after that EB shoes (model Super Graton, white and blue).

John Bachar, Jerry Moffatt and Wolfgang Guellich at BOREAL

John Bachar, Jerry Moffatt and Wolfgang Guellich at BOREAL

BOREAL was born as an spezialized mountaineering boots company in 1975. The director and founder, Jesús García López, tecnically assisted by Miguel Angel García Gallego, produeced the first sticky flat rubber prototypes in the 75's and 76's and those were used in several ascents. The first Boreal climbing shoe was called "El Capitan".
There was not a this moment in the world, any rock shoe flat sticky sole and BOREAL started to experiment with the clear necesity of increasing the stickness of rubber to make this particular issue decisive for the development of this sport, but always controlling other important issues like hardness and abrasion resistance. The important thing was not only having a very sticky rubber, but also that it was durable and abrasion resistant.
Miguel Angel Gallego made some ascents during 1975 and 1976 with the protypes, remarking The Nose (1978) and Salathé (1979), and he was able to appreciate specially on Salathé, the exceptional friction of the last outsoles of BOREAL that were used in the shoes at that moment, in 1979.
In 1.980, Jesús García López, designed and produced the last definitive prototype, a mythic model, called FIRE. The name of FIRE does not come from the english name fire or anything like that. The name was given as it was used to open a route at "Mallo FIRE" in Riglos (Huesca, Spain). FIRE it is an spectacular rock spire of 300 meters, of red and soft conglomerate sandstone, where some of the hardest routes have been opened in Spain and Europe.
On the following year (1981), the Gallego brothers, used this shoe to open at the left side of "The Nose" the first non american route to El Capitan "Mediterraneo", using FIRE shoes with sticky rubber.
In the following days to this ascent, they have shown the shoes to many climbers in Camp 4. One of them, John Bachar, was literally impressed, and after trying the shoes in the famous boulder problem "Midnight Lightning", he started a long period of cooperation together with Mike Graham, both becoming the first BOREAL distributors in the United States.

After that, BOREAL has designed and manufactured a lot of tecnical rock shoes, as well as revolutionary as legendary, being involved in the confirmation process of the eight grade and the opening of the ninth grade in climbing: models like Ninja, Ace, Laser, …  
BOREAL has got always a very good cooperating with climbers, but it was necesary as well a person as Jesús García López, with his industrial and commercial vission, as well as his passion and work capacity to develop a revolution that impacted at that time the world.
An important part by the developing of the shoes and rubbers was as well the know-how and the input of some of the best climbers in the word: Güllich, Moffat, Bachar, Kurt Albert, Lynn Hill, Hirayama, Destivelle and a long etc. until nowdays.

Three years ago, in 2009, Boreal and its colaborators started working on the Zenith project: the goal was clear – once again developing the stickiest rubber for a climbing shoe. This rubber was suppouse to mantain its sticky properties from very cold to very warm temperatures and another important criteria: the rubber was suppouse to be as abrasion resistant as the rubber that Boreal still uses in most of its shoes – the FS Quattro. Dani Andrada with Zenith Rubber

At the Outdoor Show 2011 in Friedrichshafen, the result of this project was presented to the public – the Zenith rubber and the two new climbing models wearing it: the Kintaro and the Lynx. The Zenith offers to the climbers the possibility to reach a completely new fricition dimension, mantaining its properties same in every climbable temperature and controls the abrasion resistance. The first shoes  with Zenith, the new Kintaro and Lynx, started leaving Boreal´s factory in Spain (where Boreal produces all its footwear) in January 2012. The Kintaro is a precise and sensitive shoe with an aggressive asymmetric and downturned shape designed to excel on steep and overhanging terrain. A double Velcro closure with an extra wide upper Velcro strap ensures a secure fit and helps to alleviate pressure points across the top of the foot.The new “V2” rand system tensions a much greater area of the shoe than traditional heel rand configurations, perfect for demanding heel hooks moves! A special anti-deformation midsole material with an anatomic cutaway achieves a great balance of sensitivity and performance on micro edges.

The Kintaro is also available in a specially developed women's specific fit version.

QuelleOgnian Velev, Fotos: Archiv Boreal