The Black Diamond Mission LT is an approach shoe designed for mountain adventures and technical terrain. With a sock-like fit, reinforced with a webbing cinch system, super sticky BlackLabel-Mountain rubber, and a nylon rock plate, the Mission LT provides all-day comfort and excellent grip and foot protection.
Price (at time of writing): R2899
Weight: 395g per shoe (Size 11 UK)
Upper: EnduroKnit, with rubber toe protection.
Women’s version: Yes
Black Diamond’s EnduroKnit is a unique approach to a shoe upper. It is both breathable and durable and conforms to the shape of your foot easily. The laces rely on a cinch webbing system to tighten the shoe, as opposed to pulling on the upper fabric itself.
The shoe does not have a traditional tongue, but rather a soft, slightly stretchy, sock-like inner. This not only adds to the overall comfort of the shoe, but seals reasonably well around the ankle, keeping most of the trail debris, like sand and little stones, out of the shoe.
The generous EVA midsole is super comfortable and, combined with a nylon rock plate, provides protection against sharp rocks.
All of this is wrapped in Black Diamond’s high-performance BlackLabel-Mountain rubber, providing excellent grip on all terrain, but especially steep rock.
Continuing with its approach to all-day comfort, the fit is roomy in the midfoot, with a snug heel and slight tapering in the toes. It should provide a perfect fit for all but the narrowest feet, which might experience some rolling or sliding inside the roomy fit.
The shoe does come in a slightly narrower fit in the women’s styles, which might be a solution if you find the shoe too wide.
Comfort & Support
At first I was skeptical of the EnduroKnit upper, wondering how much structural support it would provide, but after my first hike, I was sold. The knit/weave upper conforms to the shape of your foot, while the laces are looped through a webbing cinch system, as opposed to pulling on the upper itself, creating a lovely combination of precision lacing and a conforming upper.
The EVA midsole strikes an excellent balance between support and comfort. The cushioning feels great underfoot and provides all-day comfort. The shoe also has a natural rocker which creates a comfortable rolling action as one steps through, reducing strain on your calves.
The layering of the knitted upper and sock-like inner creates a nice bit of insulation as well, keeping one’s feet cozy in cooler conditions, whilst still breathing well. It’s not what they’re designed for, but I even took the shoes out in the snow and didn’t get the usual numb feet one experiences with more breathable trail runners.
Black Diamond is known for its climbing gear and thus its main focus has always been to provide safety, performance and comfort on steep rock. The grip on the Mission LT’s reflects Black Diamonds climbing “DNA” in its exceptional grip and smooth “climbing zone” under the toes, for more specific edging.
I regularly scramble on Table Mountain, where an unexpected foot-slip could be catastrophic. With the Mission LT’s I felt confident in my foot placements, not only going up steep terrain, but also down. Being confident that my foot would stay where I put it meant that I was bracing less, which resulted in happier knees.
The grip is not limited to sticking to steep rock. The lug pattern and depth provide good grip in loose soil and gravel and the slight heel cut-out assists with breaking when going downhill.
The Mission LT’s have lasted me very well and I have no complaints. That being said, I know one or two climbers who use them primarily for off-trail approaches to bigger rock climbs and the knitted upper has taken some shots.
I would happily recommend these shoes, but realistically, they will not be as durable as leather, so that is something to bear in mind.
Excellent grip, underfoot protection, breathability, all-day comfort and dare I say damn good looks! I would recommend this shoe to anyone who likes playing on steeper, rocky terrain and at R2899, the Mission LT’s offer good value for a technical shoe of this caliber.
These shoes were provided for review purposes by Black Diamond South Africa and can be purchased from their online store.