Troubles Finding the Right Rock Shoe

If you’ve been keeping up with my recent posts, you know I’m on a quest to find a new pair of rock climbing shoes. I’ve received some helpful advice from a variety of sources. Thanks in particular to some of my subscribers and Twitter followers!

My quest was recently likened to a mid-life crisis. I got a chuckle out of that. I’m hardly mid-life. But given a choice between a shiny new sports car and a shiny new rack, I’ll take the rack.

The reason it was likened to a mid-life crisis was that part of the reason I want rock climbing shoes is so when Wunderkind is older and we go to the local climbing gym or crag for some instruction, I’ll have my own broken-in, smelly, old model pair of shoes that someone that used to climb more often would have; the kind dad ought to have.

So, I need to gear-up. I’ve read confusing advice for fittings though and I’m not sure what applies to me. Some recommend that beginners find a flat shoe (meaning no downward curve to the shoe’s last) that is comfortable for your toes in the “toe box.” Others recommend that experienced climbers should get it a size or two too small where your toes form a fist, especially if they are made of leather so when they stretch they still are adequately snug. Being tight helps climbers keep contact, especially with tight holds. So which category I fit into I’m not sure. I’ve never been particularly skilled or advanced when I used to climb (I think 5.7, though I really don’t know.) When I used to wear my rentals, I always took a size that firmly held my foot and put the front of my toes touching the front of the shoe without having to curl them… Is that a bad idea? It’s always worked for me before.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is that while I want to have a shoe that Climbing magazine declared was an Editor’s Choice product, or something similarly recommended, I need a shoe that has good, sticky rubber and fits me. My toes always fit into Scarpas, but what about Five Tens, La Sportivas, Mammuts, Boreals and Mad Rocks? The challenge is compounded by the three local outfitters in my area (I know, I’m spoiled that way), because they only carry about six men’s shoes. And if I prefer the Velcro straps they might only carry the lace up model, for instance.

I’m going to continue my research and let you know what I find. I’m hearing good things about the Five Ten Coyote, Evolv Defy and La Sportiva Mythos… We’ll see.

Leave me a comment or shoot me an email if you have any feedback or suggestions. If you enjoyed this post, please consider following the Suburban Mountaineer onFacebook or Twitter. Happy reading and carpe climb ’em!

Also, you can catch up on my quest for new rock climbing shoes here by reading my last post on this topic: Rock Climbing in Peaklessburg.

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Comments

  1. The La Sportiva Mythos is excellent too. My wife swears by them. Don’t worry too much about what others write, just find what feels best for you.

    Leather climbing shoes don’t stretch too much from heel to toe, due to the shoe’s rubber holding length. They will stretch a little from side to side due to the pull from the laces or straps, so you’ll just have to cinch them a bit tighter over time.

    I usually don’t suggest that people’s first set of shoes be the radically curved type, but again, climbing shoes are like music. Whatever works for you!

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