/ New shoes!

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rjacko10 - on 26 Jun 2013
Hi guys,

I've been climbing for just under a year and have finally decided to upgrade my Boreal Joker's for Boreal Lynx's (please search google images if unfamiliar...).

I have only done a couple of (indoor) sessions in my new shoes and I have immediately noticed the massive difference the pointy toe makes. I understand that the pointy toe means if the shoe is side on to the wall there is more contact with the rubber. But if the toes are facing the wall then this contact is now severely reduced and increases my chance of slipping.

So is the idea to eliminate climbing with the toes pointing towards the wall? i.e. should I always be climbing with my feet side on to the wall? If so, then surely this is restricting body shapes?

Also smearing seems a lot more unnatural and even damaging to the shoes. Smearing was one of the strongest points of my climbing but now I just don't feel there is enough contact.

Any advice to handle these shoes will be much appreciated!

Thanks.
GrahamD - on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to rjacko10:

Climbing on the wall requires different footwork to outside. It very rarely needs to be so precise that you can't just use an old comfortable pair. More agressively shaped shoes only really come into their own where you really have to stand on small holds outside and they generally aren't so good for smearing.

I guess it begs the question: what exactly were you trying to upgrade ?
JLS on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to rjacko10:

>"So is the idea to eliminate climbing with the toes pointing towards the wall?"

well not really.

The pointy toe is for precision. When you need it, a lot of force from your foot can be gathered by the toe box and concentrated on to a very small rock feature.

There is a down side to the performance gain this provides. As you've noticed, there will be a tendency to wear-out the small patch of rubber where all the force is concentrated, therefore climbing harder climbs becomes more expensive.
rjacko10 - on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to GrahamD: "I guess it begs the question: what exactly were you trying to upgrade ?"

I thought with a more aggressive shaped shoe I would be substituting comfort for performance. But now it appears I'm sacrificing a lot more in return for a lot less.

Well it looks like my old comfy pair will remain my shoes of choice until I hit a wall with tiny foot holds/ pockets.

Thanks for the advice.
JLS on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to rjacko10:

>"Well it looks like my old comfy pair will remain my shoes of choice until I hit a wall with tiny foot holds/ pockets."

Dave Macleod will tell you that you should wear your technical shoes all the time because if you don't then you will not learn how to use them well.

Easy for him to say, as he gets his shoes for free :)
Steve nevers on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to rjacko10:
> (In reply to GrahamD)
>
> I thought with a more aggressive shaped shoe I would be substituting comfort for performance.

It doesn't really work like that.

As GrahamD kind of said, you've traded comfort for precision. New shoes won't make your performance/grade suddenly leap or anything. Although the extra precision [i]might[/i] help you improve your technique a tiny bit faster, due to the better 'feel', but may well wear faster due to thinner rubber, training to improve footwork etc.

Also you really shouldn't be avoiding using your toe, in some movements & situations its almost vital, such as pivoting from an edge to your toe point as you move & and forcing you foot to stick on tiny holds on roofs.

Simply put the choice of shoe doesn't make a better climber, practice, practice & practice does! Have you tried getting any coaching? A movement and footwork session with a coach worth their salt usually helps people more than a foot mangling shoe!
Skyfall - on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to rjacko10:

It is true that different shaped shoes have pros and cons - even if two pairs are supposedly similarly technical. For example, I have a paid of Katanas and a pair of Miuras. The Miuras are very pointy and do feel more precise, whereas the Katanas have a more asymmetric shape with a straight edge on the side. I am not sure I would want to do as much grit/granite smearing in the Miuras as I might in the Katanas, but they are the dogs wotsits on pocketed limestone/rhyolite etc. I've used Katanas for many years now and only recently got the Miuras and am having to adapt my footwork accordingly.

As said, rather depends what you wanted o achieve by your upgrade and how good your footwork is now.
Steve nevers on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to Steve nevers:
> (In reply to rjacko10)

>
> As GrahamD kind of said,

Sorry, wasn't GrahamD, it was JLS. Apologies.
cha1n on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to rjacko10:

I was going to go into detail, but yes you should be using the inside and outside edges of your shoes.

Neil Gresham's master class DVD's have good sections on climbing footwork for beginners and techniques for intermediates. I found them useful whilst learning. I'm sure other articles are available for free if you search for them.

All climbing shoes will smear, you just have to let your foot bend.
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rjacko10 - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to cha1n: Well I'm a few sessions in now and I have to say the difference in performance is very noticeable. I've realised I had to 'wear-in' the outer layer of rubber for the stickiness to take effect. I can honestly say I'll never go back to wearing my novice shoes as the grip is just isn't the same. Never before have I been able to generate upwards force from an overhanging smear position before. It pushed me up to the next hold where I would have failed else wise.

The smearing has also become more natural as the rubber across the sole is now more flexible.

All-in-all I'm very pleased with the 'upgrade', and it surely will aid my climbing. Upwards!

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