/ When do you know if your rock shoes are too small?

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adstapleton - on 03 Sep 2012
We all know that you should ideally get climbing shoes that are pretty tight fitting. And we all know that shoes tend to stretch a bit with repeated use, as such you tend to buy small.. Therefore you'd expect the first few wears of the new shoes to be perhaps a little gruesome, maybe even bordering on torture if the shoe geometry is not something you're used to (5.10 Teams, anyone?!).

You'd expect breaking in to take a few sessions, but when do you bite the bullet, admit you've gone too small and stop physically punishing yourself and take the financial punishment buying the next size up, fully aware that there's no chane of a refund for the shoes you thought were the right size since they've been obviously climbed in?

Interested to hear what punishment people have put themselves through in the name of breaking in new shoes, and any techniques for accelerating the process?
Jonny2vests - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to adstapleton:

Tricky one. Some shoes give more than others, always good to know which do give, you don't want to end up with a pair of wellies or a really tight pair that stay tight. I think synthetic material uppers give less.

Also worth noting that your feet get 'stronger' somehow and can put up with more aggressive shoes (its not just the size, its the shape). And I don't buy shoes if my toe knuckle has to bend.

I sometimes end up with pairs for different occasions, tight velcros for sport / bouldering (short wear), all day route shoes, shoes that I can wear socks with and indoor shoes (nearly knackered ones). You can end up like Imelda Marcos if you're not careful, so I end up cycling shoes through their various roles as they age.

Hard routes that take all day is tricky. In those cases I prefer to climb in approach shoes (always 5.10s) as much as possible for the easier (sub E1) or seconding pitches, unless its obviously foolish to do so. This gives my feet a nice break. I've found that as long as its not too edgy, HVS and below feels about the same on Granite (or Grit - don't try it on Limestone!), and its a bloody useful skill to have, but it takes time to get used to it. I appear to have wandered off topic.

Almost anything is fine for indoor climbing as long as they don't have holes in them and they're an ok ish fit, so I never wear tight shoes indoors unless its a competition. Indoor footholds are just way to big to make a difference.
stonemaster - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to adstapleton: Wear to bed, wear all day in house, wear in bath and if all fails, sell at a loss (of course) or consider cutting bits of your toes off...:). Good luck.
john arran - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to adstapleton:

When I was working Dr Dolittle I could only do the crux in a pair of band new prototype Boreals 3 1/2 sizes below street shoe size and even then with a couple of old credit cards fitted as extra insole support. I needed a karabiner through the heel loop to get them on or risk tweaking tendons by pulling too hard on a single finger

After the successful ascent I didn't ever climb in them again.
GrahamD - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to adstapleton:

Concentrate on the length of the shoe. If that is right, and the boots are still unbearable then you need to consider other models/brands.
Coel Hellier - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to john arran:

Wow, now that is tight!

> After the successful ascent I didn't ever climb in them again.

You weren't tempted to head straight for The Very Big and The Very Small at that point? ;-)
shark - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to adstapleton:

If they are size8 Anasazi whites then you need to accept defeat and sell them to me for 30.

For all other models and sizes they will break in eventually. Actually climbing and sweating in them works best. Wearing them around the house is a waste of time.

Also customise them if they are pinching in a certain place. There was one pair I kept coming back to year after year and eventually relised that it was the sewn tag at the back which was causing the most pain so cut it out.
top cat - on 03 Sep 2012


You know when they are too small because you develop Morton's neuroma in your feet. This is extremely painful and will probably need an operation (I had to get both feet done).

Don't wear tight rock boots !!
andy farnell - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to adstapleton: When you can't get them on in the first place. Everything else is fine. If a little painful at the start. Like many things in life you have to put up with a little pain at first before things improve...

Andy F
gcandlin - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to adstapleton: Come back in a month of heavy use and stop being a pussy!
I like climbing - on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to adstapleton:
Whatever you do make sure you get comfortable shoes. Don't listen to anyone who says you need to get really tight shoes that are torture to wear.
If you start to climb hard you will have started to make certain changes to the way in which you approach climbing. Making your feet hurt is not going to help your climbing as it will probably start compromising your foot placements so wear close fitting but comfortable shoes. Sportivas do it for me but there is a lot of choice out there. Ever watched someone climb English 6c in trainers ? I have.
coldwill - on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to adstapleton: Try this, wear them in the house with a pair of those really think pollythene grocery bags you get at the fruit and veg stand/tesco. Sounds weird but it really helps your foot break in.
coldwill - on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to coldwill: I obviously mean with the bags worn like sox. To be sure.
adstapleton - on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to gcandlin: I'm not being a pussy you felch bucket, just hoping for some insight.

I'm going though now with my Teams exactly what I went through with the Blancos last year, that feeling of pain and worry that they'll never feel comfy, but having been through it all once before I'm not that worried that they won't feel wonderful in a week or two. Already starting to get there.

Half an hour every night on my wall is a big help too...
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gcandlin - on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to adstapleton: MY Muira Vs's took about a month of good use to stop being miserably painful but then I probably went a half size too small. Whats size did you get?

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