Monday, December 20, 2010

Review > Holdz > Comp Feet

Holdz
Right is seems to be screw on month over here at Climbingholdreview :) This time we've got another bunch of screw ons again from Noodles home, the UK. This weeks offering comes from Holdz, we've seen their stuff before: Undercutz, Mini Jugz, and Dual Texture Pockets... some of the reviews are from way back when we were in our youth. Chris and Noodles both had hair :)

What we have here is what is possibly the thinnest screw ons on the planet, this was the plan for these when Holdz set out to shape them... make the thinnest screw ons possible, let's have a look:
From the top down these holds don't actually look like they're going to be that bad, so we took a couple of other shots:
The shot on the left is just the holds on the kitchen table, the right hand shot is a couple of the holds next to a handy beer bottle top. As you can see the holds aren't much bigger than the size of the bottle top, one thing that is for sure the holds are thinner than the top in pretty much every case except in a few where the holds are about the same thickness.

Now, speaking to Steve from Holdz he made a couple of things clear...
  1. If you have your drill set at a high torque setting they will likely snap
  2. These were made to be the thinnest screw ons on the market
  3. These holds have been used as crimp handholds at a couple of comps
Ok, so point 1 is pretty self explanatory, point 2... yup these would be the thinnest things we've seen and then that brings us to point 3. Oh point 3... really? REALLY?
Can you guess what's going to happen now? Can you? Can you?

Yup, it's time to get the drill out and to start using these as handholds at the same time as footholds. It looks like there are some gnarly routes coming up :)

Firstly let's talk about these holds as what they were intended for...
AS FEET: these guys are super super technical, they are the thinnest thing you'll have ever stepped on (bar smears) and using them comes down to how good your footwork is! No matter if you're using large hand holds the one thing that is clear the thing you're going to be worrying about is what your feet are doing and if they'll stick. Again (like the Planet Holds review) we tried a number of different types of shoes from 5.10 Projects / Prisms / Rock Wrenches / Vixens and a whole host of Sportivas and a couple of pairs of Evolvs. One thing that is noticeable is that no matter the stiffness or softness of the shoes they all seemed to be able to stick onto the holds, the softer shoes having a little more trouble on the small edged holds but the shoes are pretty old, slightly abused and their edges aren't the best.

As footholds they clearly work very very well and will test your feet on overhanging routes, on vertical / slab routes the same thing applies you can get onto them and you can stand you're just going to have to be very precise and very delicate

AS HANDS: Ha! We're always up for a challenge and well we tried a bunch of different routes, sometimes using the screw ons as our feet on the route and other times just for testing (when using them as hangs) we used larger feet. These holds can be used at handholds but they are so thin it's crazy that you can even hold onto them at all and even when you're up on the wall you need to use all of your balance and then try to make the move to the next dime sized crimp. These holds are hard and really you shouldn't try to get routes with them as hand holds... well unless you're Chris Sharma or a mad comp monkey or something like that.

Now that being said... let us contradict ourselves a little...do use them as handholds when they're on aretes or in our case we Swiss Cheesed some of the Motavation Volumes that we have and ended up making some super fun technical / balance routes that everyone could climb. Basically it's not about the size or the shape of the hold its the execution of the setter that deems if you can stick the moves or not.

We wanted to show a little more how thin these holds are, the video shows it pretty well when we have our camera up on the wall pointing down at a couple of the holds.. they are thin and you can use them as handholds but it's tough going unless they're on a volume or you use them as pinches around corners. As they are footholds they are in some cases a little sharper than you'd really want for your hands, they can be a little tweaky on your fingers.

SUGGESTED USES AS FEET:






These holds are rubbish on anything over 60 degrees and even they they're a real challenge to stick with your feet, especially if you're using the smaller smears at these angles. But as there are lots of different shapes with differing incuts you can get some interesting footwork (read: hard) if you want to play and work on your balance. These holds would be amazing on a slab route for hands and feet as it will be so thin it would be a proper balance challenge for anyone.

As feet these guys are pretty amazing a) because of their production value and b) what they offer to setters, don't get us wrong here.... super strong climbers or anyone with fingers of steel are going to be able to cheat a move with these guys set as feet if the setter doesn't think about it too much, but the normal climber is going to think about it, finger the hold a little bit and then decide that the move that was intended is a better option :)

SUGGESTED USES AS HANDS:







Again these holds will be amazing on a slab route and around aretes, everything else is super hard. We were able to pull a few delicate moves on the 30 degree wall and then gave up as we like our fingers; we really didn't push them that far... if they were half as deep again then they'd be more likely to be stickable. Keep these guys on shallow angles (upto 15 degrees) and vertical walls and you're going to have a hell of a time sticking onto them... and then use the other half of the set as feet and you're going to be having some barn-door action and some sore fingers.

If you have a featured wall or lots of volumes, go nuts, you'll be surprised how positive these holds feel when you add a few as a pinch or clustered together to make little rails, again it's interesting climbing and if you try to go to fast or just chuck to one of these guys it's a very interesting time!!

OVERALL BUILD

  • Number of holds: 28
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Screw ons
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 25 GBP / 28 = $1.60 each (USD)
  • Color: Orange
  • Bolt placement: None
  • Sanding: Good
  • Hollow backed: No! Ha!
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Pretty grippy
  • Set size: XXS
  • Versatility: Well that depends upon how adventurous you are
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes
  • Shaper: Steve Goodair
  • Weight: Super light
These were made for the Climbing Works International Festival and the British Bouldering Championship, they've also made it to Salt Lake... so there's some comp pedigree here! They're super thin and you can break a few of them in your hands... but why would you do this? Putting them onto the wall means a low torque setting on your drill (we used high torque and had no issues) these were made to be thin and they were made for comps so lets look at the build!

Color is neon orange and it's pretty damn bright, no excuses for not finding the right feet here :), all of the holds have been sanded flat and they have a DOM (date of manufacture) stamped on the back as well as a quality assurance stamp that gives a number of who and where they were checked. All of the screw holes are counter sunk and given the holds size they're well placed.

Texture ranges from pretty normal on the slopers (enough so you can get a grip on them... just) to grit like on some of the other holds, there's a pretty big range across the board to be honest. One thing that is certain is shoes stick to it and we climbed on them a fair amount without too much skin shreadage on the sharper holds and with no problems on the slopers

These holds aren't for everyone, but for routesetters looking for technical ass hard feet them these are pretty well the smallest things you're going to find on the market... period!

WHAT ARE THEY MADE FROM:
Polyurethane

PACKING / SHIPPING:
Superb

RATING:
Noodles:
Holdz is a company that I've had products from for years, Steve is always shaping either for himself or for other companies and it's always interesting to see what he comes up with. I think he's like an English Louie Anderson :)

With the holds I received a note it said "It looks like you could do with working on your footwork" well ok fine, I think everyone could do with working on their footwork.. the other thing that the note mentioned is that "screwing these guys onto aretes and they make great additions for blank areas and yes they have been used as crimps in comps".... I thought that this was Steve having a throw down, dropping the gauntlet, giving me a challenge.... and basically I was all challenge accepted... let's do this! Ha, sometimes I just kick myself in the ass sometimes.

We put them onto some volumes and had a blast, same for a little hand and foot route we set... yes they can be used as handholds and considering their size they work really well, they`re painful as all hell but they do work pretty well. They work your feet and they have enough bite for your hands. Also unlike last weeks review these guys have double screws rather than singles (we have noticed that you can unscrew the Planet Holds feet with your hands since the review) so they don`t spin and they sit flush to the wall. For feet I kind of wish that some bolt ons could be made this thin but that's not going to happen anytime soon, they are amazing feet that really work your foot placements and how you stand on micro thin stuff super well they're kind of like the outdoors-indoors in a really strange way

Overall I am pretty impressed, I was nah these will never work when I saw them, thought cheeky bugger when I read the note in the box they came in and now I`m wow I can actually hold onto these... but they`re fking hard.

Chris:
Super mini screw on anybody? For saying that these holds are probably the smallest holds on the market they double for nasty crimp routes. I love using a foothold as a handhold and I get some grief from the setters at the gym for "cheating" a sequence by using a foot hold as an intermediate hand hold. Well my philosophy is if you can use it, why not? And these little screw on foot holds proves to all that you don't need to be a V10 climber to use tiny footholds for your hands.

What I like about having holds this size is that it will work your feet. I mean these holds are great and solid, but you need to be riding the tip of your shoes to maximize the leverage on the hold. Granted there are those in the set that are round and are more for smearing but just the same, your foot needs to be precisely placed on the hold or you'll find yourself on your ass.

As hand holds...well...they're not very friendly and it hurt the tips of your fingers after the session but they are footholds but for the size you can get more friction than you'd expect. And at the same time, working with these holds as hand holds will also give you a lesson in footwork and getting your body weight well balanced between all you limbs.

You need footholds with the option of setting them as hands? Want to get precise with your technique? Well I would answer yes for these questions and I say that Holds (the company, not the product;) have a winner with this set.

Mark:
These pretty little screw ons were a pleasure to climb on. As feet, the edges are great at working your feet, just big enough to hold on to and just small enough to not allow any sloppy footwork. As hands, they were the type you really have to bite down on. As for texture, they weren't too rough on my hands slipping off the slopers and as feet they gripped like magic.
They are well constructed considering how thin they are. Two pre drilled holes deep set into the holds. Shape wise, I liked the one with a crimp on both sides, making for one of the worlds smallest pinches and also a nice foot hold.
I wouldn't want to use these as hand holds in severe overhangs but foot wise why not! They are also great to screw into another larger hold to add that little edge for your thumb.
I guess the only downside is how fragile they are since they're so thin, but besides that, they're magic to the eyes, hands and feet, the type of hold that'll make you a better climber.

PROS:
  • Double screw screw ons means no spinners
  • Smallest feet on the market, great for comps
  • Footwork ahoy! You have no choice but to work on your footwork with these
CONS:
  • If you're not careful with the torque settings when putting these up you could snap them

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