Gear Review: Cypher Phelix
Cypher Ambassador Fallon Rowe shares her thoughts on the incredibly versatile Phelix 2.0 shoe.
The Cypher Phelix 2.0 is easily one of the most versatile climbing shoes I’ve used in my 14 years of climbing. It has excelled on everything I’ve tested it on: techy granite edging, balancey sandstone slabs, steep limestone sport routes, and even moderate crack climbing.
The Phelix 2.0 has become my go-to selection when I’m at the crag, especially on routes where I need a shoe to handle any kind of terrain! I was recently climbing at City of Rocks in Idaho, and I’d find myself at the base of routes that would begin with a slab, transition into a hand crack, and end on an overhang! The Phelix 2.0 would perform on all of it with ease. It typically beats out other shoe options in my bag because I know I can rely on it for anything.
As a female climber with long, flat feet, finding shoes that fit well has always been a challenge. For years, I remember sitting in gear stores totally exasperated because nothing seemed to fit right! Other shoes would leave me with the heel cup falling off, or the toe box wasn’t compatible with my toe lengths, or the back of the shoe would dig into my Achilles tendon, and so on. The Phelix 2.0 makes me feel like Cinderella with her slipper: finally, a perfect fit! The shoes slip on easily with a large pull tab above the heel.
Due to the great fit, I was able to size the shoe just right, where it is tight enough to perform on tough, steep routes, but also comfortable enough to wear all day on multi-pitch trad climbs. Another plus? They’ve never given me blisters or pain like I’ve experienced with other brands.
The opposed velcro closures give me the ability to fine tune according to the route. The grey mesh tongue feels soft and breathable, with pleasant material and just enough padding for comfort. I also love the colors of the Phelix 2.0; the shoes look just like they do on the website, with nice teal and peach colors.
If the shoes had laces, it would improve the tightness on top of the foot, as I’ve noticed sometimes the leather looks and feels a little bit looser there. However, this has never been a problem for performance, and is likely because I got my shoes a half-size up from normal so I could wear them on long routes without pain. I also believe this could be because of my flat feet not quite filling out the volume of the shoe (note that these are made for low-volume feet though, so they do fit much better for feet like mine!).
I feel confident balancing on the smallest edges with these shoes because of the sturdy Vibram XS Grip 4.2 mm rubber. They grip like a charm even on slick limestone. For moderate crack climbing, the Phelix 2.0 works well, easily transitioning between foot jams and smearing outside the crack. I found that the rubber area on top of the toe allowed me to toe hook around aretes for balance without worry.
For more pure crack climbing, like at Indian Creek, I’d likely reach for the Cypher Sentinel; for more intense overhangs and bouldering, I’d likely opt for the Cypher Codex. However, on most climbs, especially routes with a lot of variety, I choose the Phelix 2.0!
The quality of these shoes has been a positive surprise! At about $110, they won’t break the bank compared to many other brands. After months of abuse, the shoes are still holding up great, with only minor typical signs of wear on the rubber. With the versatility of these shoes, many climbers could get by with just this shoe in their arsenal. I will continue to bring these shoes with me on every climbing trip!