/ Your Perfect Climbing Shoe

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Dez500 on 23 Oct 2012 - cpc12-brig17-2-0-cust167.3-3.cable.virginmedia.com
Hi Everyone,

I'm working on a project to produce a work flow for a mass customizable rock climbing shoe, I would like to hear what you think would make the perfect rock climbing shoes.

If you could format your responses in the following way I would be very grateful, the number of years you've been climbing, preferred style, response.

Example; 7. bouldering. your response.

Thanks for your help
jonathan shepherd - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500: 35 years climbing, trad, sport and bouldering and i want a shoe that as comfortable as carpet slippers, sticks like superglue and edges well too. The most important of those for me is comfort, now i'm ancient i can't be doing with being crippled all day.
Ava Adore - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to jonathan shepherd:

6, rock - it should have wings
ripper - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500:
> I would like to hear what you think would make the perfect rock climbing shoes.

Anasazi VCS.
You're welcome :)
AlanLittle - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500:
> preferred style,

And this, I'm afraid, is where your concept falls down completely. I, like many people, like bouldering, sport climbing and trad/alpine climbing. Even at the very modest level I climb at, different shoes are useful for all three. At higher levels it would be next to impossible to boulder or sport climb hard in a shoe that was wearable for an all day trad route, and vice versa. So the idea of one shoe "perfect" for everything falls right out of the window.

That said, my personal opinions:

Bouldering: like a Sportiva Python but durable/non-stretchy.
Sport: Miura Laces. Solved problem.
Trad/Alpine: identical performance to Miura Laces but comfy. Probably not possible.
Dez500 on 23 Oct 2012 - cpc12-brig17-2-0-cust167.3-3.cable.virginmedia.com
In reply to AlanLittle: Thanks for your response AlanL, when I say perfect shoe I mean for your preferred style, I understand there is no perfect shoe only perfect shoes.
999thAndy on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500: I'd like to have shoes moulded to the shape of my feet in the shop.
Optimum comfort and performance guaranteed.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500:

Could you customize them to have one shoe half a size larger than the other just like my feet?
kingofthering on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Dez500)
>
> Could you customize them to have one shoe half a size larger than the other just like my feet?

Evolv does sell shoes with different sizes for each. But only in their own webshop and unfortunatly they only ship within the US.
AlanLittle - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500:

You're still slightly missing my point, which is that my "preferred style" in the summer was Alpine rock routes, at the moment it's bouldering on plastic and in the spring it will be sport climbing. Which is probably one major reason why I'm mediocre at all of them, but I suspect I'm not that untypical.

At my level I could perfectly well use the same shoe for bouldering & sport, but not for the long stuff unless I wanted to cripple myself.

If by customisable you mean some kind of formable material, I don't see how you'd have much chance of getting the necessary precision. If you mean bespoke, than (a) it's going to be very expensive and (b) you're unlikely to find shoemakers with the same level of experience with rock shoes as the ones who and make Sportiva & Scarpa's high end shoes.

I guess "mass customisable" means the former, and I assume you know a lot more about the available materials & methods for such things than I do. But I remain sceptical.
Dez500 on 24 Oct 2012 - 194.81.199.105 whois?
In reply to AlanLittle: Hi Alan mass customization is the production of a customized (bespoke) products with the techniques and low cost of mass production (NikeID). What where really interested in is what features of climbing shoe do you want to have control over?
nniff - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500:

I have a suspicion that the things that are mass customiseable are of vanishingly little importance when it comes to rock shoes. I couldn't care less about colours for example, but care lots about fit. My approach to that is to try every model in the shop until I find the one that fits the best.
AlanLittle - on 24 Oct 2012
I'm inclined to agree with nniff: the things that are easily mass customisable are unlikely to be the things that matter in a rock shoe, unless you plan to have customers send in casts or 3d scans of their feet.

As I mentioned before, and you probably knew anyway, the best rockshoes (e.g. La Sportiva, Scarpa) are still handmade. (I'm of a generation old enough to remember how the makers of EBs threw away their complete dominance of the market overnight by switching from hand to machine production)

Having said all that: what I want is a bouldering shoe that has the glove like fit, precision and sensitivity of a Python *and stays that way*. Pythons achieve their glove like fit, precision and sensitivity by being made of thin, soft material that molds and confirms to the foot. Unfortunately having done so, it doesn't stop and so fairly quickly becomes floppy. So here's your killer idea: a material that is thin and sensitive, but durable, can be molded to perfectly conform to the foot like a just-broken-in Python, and then fixed so that it doesn't subsequently change shape or size one iota. Sadly I suspect this is a bit beyond the current state of materials science - but I hope you know more about that than I do.
kingofthering on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500:
I donīt get it. There is a market of millions of rock shoes where everyone can find a shoe that fits him well.
The problem with the one shoe for everthing thing is, i will never ever for example use the same shoe for 35m-onefinger-pocket walls as for 90 degree 1,5m roof boulders. No shoe can cover both perfect.
Today there are to many people thinking that the shoes make them climb better.
RockSteady on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500:

7 years climbing, bouldering & sport climbing, want downturned toe with good stiff edges but flexible for smearing, want rubber on top of toes for toehooking, I want a well fitting heel with some extra rubber rounding for heelhooks.

For trad for me the emphasis edges towards comfort - probably would lose the toehooking patch and make less downturned.
remus - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to nniff:
> (In reply to Dez500)
>
> I have a suspicion that the things that are mass customiseable are of vanishingly little importance when it comes to rock shoes. I couldn't care less about colours for example, but care lots about fit. My approach to that is to try every model in the shop until I find the one that fits the best.

As a counter example to this you have ski boots (and some winter climbing boots) with thermo fit liners.
ripper - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500: I can imagine a shoe with a removable insert that would alter the toe shape and forefoot stiffness - so you make it point down more, or make it edgier/smearier; and maybe some way of altering the fastening to make the shoe painfully tight or day-long comfy. But I can't imagine it would be possible to make it genuinely good at any of those things (and the extra gubbins would probably make it expensive too)
AlanLittle - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to remus:
> (In reply to nniff)
> [...]
>
> As a counter example to this you have ski boots (and some winter climbing boots) with thermo fit liners.

Neither of which depend for their performance on getting the tips of your toes within a couple of millimetres of the snow.

(Fortunately, otherwise even more people would come back from expeditions minus the odd toe or two)

nniff - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to remus:
> (In reply to nniff)
> [...]
>
> As a counter example to this you have ski boots (and some winter climbing boots) with thermo fit liners.

You want a thermo fit liner on a skin tight shoe? I'm sure you'd be pleased to pay the extra too.

How about a clamp-on sticky sole too while you're about it.
nniff - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to ripper:
> (In reply to Dez500) I can imagine a shoe with a removable insert that would alter the toe shape and forefoot stiffness -

The old Asolo Canyons (IIRC), immediately post EB debacle, had a sloppy fit and quite a few people made insoles out of lino to stiffen them up. I think John Arran put a piece of credit card in his shoes for a route on Frogatt so stiffen them up too.
ads.ukclimbing.com
rockaddict - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500:
Anasazi VCS do everything i need. Bouldering, trad and sport.
Ciro - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500:

Climbing about 6 years, mostly sport until I got into trad this year, smattering of bouldering.

My perfect rock shoe would perform pretty much exactly like my size 37.5 la sportiva speedsters, whilst remaining as comfortable as my well worn in size 38.5 la sportiva velcro muira after 45 minutes of battling for a trad onsight.

Alas, I believe these two features to be mutually exclusive.
Monk - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500:

There's no one answer to this - like others, I am an all-rounder.

18 years climbing. Trad. Perfect fit.

18 years climbing. Bouldering. Perfect fit.

18 years climbing. Sport. Perfect fit.

18 years climbing. Indoor. Perfect fit.

Further subcategories will depend on the rock I am climbing (e.g. softer smearing shoes for grit, harder edging shoes for slate) or the type of climbing I am doing (comfortable without sacrificing performance for long routes, tight and technical for routes at the edge of my ability). Indoors I want to retain some performance, but I really want durability. Price is another aspect that weights heavily, with shoes now being very expensive.

I'm not trying to be flippant, but your question is a ridiculous over-simplification of a complex area.
GrahamD - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500:

20 bouldering good fit
20 trad good fit
20 long trad with socks
20 sport good fit
20 wall comfortable fit

Best alrounder for me is the Spirit VCR velcro because the 3 velcro bands allow me to cater forwide forefoot whilst being able to seperately tension the middle of the boot.
Rockmonkey1977 on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500: 3 Years, sport climbing indoor and out with some bouldering thrown in for training. Personally i'd like a very down turned shoe (ie Scarpa Stix) but with more room or a softer material over the knuckle of my big toe as this is always getting painfully squashed. I find velcro fastening the best as it allows good adjustment but are speedy to get on and off... I hope that helps
Rockmonkey1977 on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Rockmonkey1977: Maybe heat mouldable over the top of the toes to give a custom fit in that area...? And that could possibly be extended to the heal to to really create a well fitted heal pocket...
ripper - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Rockmonkey1977: not sure how that would work, but a heal pocket on a really tight technical shoe would be an excellent addition
remus - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to nniff:
> (In reply to remus)
> [...]
>
> You want a thermo fit liner on a skin tight shoe? I'm sure you'd be pleased to pay the extra too.
>
> How about a clamp-on sticky sole too while you're about it.

Not at all. I was merely pointing out that it is likely a bit premature to suggest that nothing useful can be mass customised on a rock shoe.

To an extent some people already do custom fit their rock shoes. They buy them too tight, put them in a plastic bag, boil for a couple of minutes than put them on so that they cool to the shape of their foot. Obviously you need to be pretty careful about not melting the glue.
kingofthering on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Dez500:

Yeah maybe some people do. But the most people i know who climb really hard donīt give a rats ass about stuff like that an climb in any shoe and fit them snug but not painful. Never heard adam ondra complaining about the regular Miura lace ups.

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