/ Boreal Jokers - Do they stretch much?

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Bisonkills - on 07 Aug 2013
Hey there,

New climber here, have been bouldering for a few weeks and decided to take the plunge and buy my first pair of climbing shoes. I went for some Boreal Jokers, in a 6, which is the same size as my street shoes.

Now, I know they are meant to be a tight fit, but I'm getting some serious discomfort on my big toes. My toes are slightly curled with these shoes. Now, I've been told they will stretch to fit a lot nicer after a few sessions. I've been wearing them round the house with thick socks to try speed the process.

Any advice? Should I perhaps get them a 1/2 size bigger, or just bite down and break them in?
Jimboandrews. - on 07 Aug 2013
In reply to Bisonkills: I started out in them a few years back and had to swap them for a larger size, they never really stretched, also have a pair of Joker Plus Velcro's that I use still for bouldering, climbing wall's etc, again their a very snug/uncomfortable fit and I've had them easily two years and they've not budged at all, which is good in this case as I purchased them small for the that reason but you get the idea.
Bisonkills - on 07 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimboandrews.:

Thanks Jim, that's helpful. I may try a half size bigger. Only used them for 15 mins and around the house so far, so hopefully the shop will let me exchange them.

What should I be looking for in a good fit. Should my toes be fully extended, but touching the ends?
climber david - on 07 Aug 2013
In reply to Bisonkills:

If theres no marks on them then tell the shop that they havent been work outside as they may not take them back if they have. Not all shops but tiso for sure dont take them if they've been worn outside
RichardMc - on 07 Aug 2013
In reply to Bisonkills: Love Jokers, especially for climbing on grit. On my third pair now. There won't be a whole lot of stretch - get half a size larger.
However I also have a pair of Boreal Silex which are just a bit stiffer laterally and work a treat on limestone.
pyrrho101 - on 07 Aug 2013
In reply to Bisonkills: I've had a pair for around a year and can confirm that they don't stretch at all (and most certainly not lengthways!).
Jimboandrews. - on 07 Aug 2013
In reply to Bisonkills:

A shop should change them, a good shop will allow for wearing in the house to see if they are going to be a good fit.

They should feel comfy but when laced up limit movement in the foot so the shoe doesn't rotate or move. For now though concentrate on having a comfy shoe, you could climb hard but with horrid painful shoes that grade will soon drop along with any enjoyment.
Bisonkills - on 07 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimboandrews.:

Yeah, still learning what a 'good' fit is. I'll look at exchanging them on Saturday. I got them at my local climbing centre, so it should be fine. I was led to believe a bit of pain was the norm, but having work them round the house for a bit, I think it's clear they're just a tad too small length wise.
Bisonkills - on 08 Aug 2013
In reply to Bisonkills:

Oh, if anyone can provide general advice on what a good fit should constitute, that would be helpful! Iím currently seeing two opposing opinions. One being

A)Climbing shoes should be very tight / a bit painful and

B)Just buy a comfortable shoes that donít crush your feet.
CurlyStevo - on 08 Aug 2013
In reply to Bisonkills:
I'm not a great fan of the jokers. I and some of my friends have found the rubber is not as high friction as other brands and tends to suddenly slip rather than creep (like 5:10 does). The sole also tends to soften up too much to allow a looser comfy fit.

Have you looked at the scarpa thunder or red chilli Sausalito?

As you may gather I prefer a looser fit (for which stiffer soles are definitely better) and also wear socks in mine (better on cold days and stop them smelling when climbing on hot ones!)
Jenny C on 08 Aug 2013
In reply to Bisonkills:
> (In reply to Bisonkills)
>
> Oh, if anyone can provide general advice on what a good fit should constitute, that would be helpful! Iím currently seeing two opposing opinions.

The problem is that words like "tight" "pain" and "comfortable" are all subjective.

Rockshoes need to be tight enough that there is no movement of your foot inside the shoe, this means far tighter than normal street shoes/trainers and yes your toes should be touching the end. First impressions of having no movement in your shoe might be that it's hurting and too tight, but whilst I wouldn't describe a well fitting pair of rockshoes as comfortable they certainly shouldn't be painful.

Regarding toes most people fit rockshoes with their toes bent. Try to stand on a skirting board with bare feet you will see that you instinctively bend your toes. Fitting shoes with your toes flat means that when you curl them up to get maximum holding power, you instead pull them back from the end of the shoe and away from the hold.

We currently stock over 40 models of rockshoe! One reason being that no two people have the same shape feet and it is essential that you try on a selection of different models to find the right shape shoe for your foot. If a shoe is uncomfortable/painful in just one area disregard it, as going bigger will just leave you with an baggy badly fitting shoe.

Regarding stretch ALL rockshoes will stretch/give to some extent over time. Generally unlined leathers will stretch the most, synthetic materials and lined leather (like in the Joker) won't stretch a lot but will give/ease over time. Bear in mind however that the rubber won't stretch, so the length of the shoe is pretty much fixed.

Rockshoe sizing is at best subjective, so don't get hung up on what it says on the box and instead focus on how it actually feels/fits on your foot. I once tried on our entire range of rockshoes and for a comparable fit I took anything from a UK 4.5 to a UK 8 on my size 7.5 foot.
CurlyStevo - on 08 Aug 2013
In reply to Jenny C:
"but whilst I wouldn't describe a well fitting pair of rockshoes as comfortable"

mine are comfortable, if I kick my heel back I can fully straighten all my toes, I can walk quite long distances in them without thinking about it and never get sore feet. Whist very much a mid grade climber all my best rock climbing ascents on my profile are wearing these shoes (apart from the bouldering one which was prior to buying these shoes)
n.LiVE - on 08 Aug 2013
In reply to Bisonkills: I know how much of a pain it can be trying to find the right pair. It took me ages to buy mine after going through all the advice/information there is out there, especially with sizing. I am size 10 normally, 11 in boots but bought size 8.5 sportiva turantulas in hope they would stretch but still be a tight comfortable fit, which is what happened so I guess sometimes you just have to take the plunge and go for it.
I found that when your climbing tougher stuff you dont notice the pain haha and you can take them off at belays.
sianabanana - on 08 Aug 2013
In reply to Jenny C:
Well said.

It mostly comes down to personal preference.

I have always worn my shoes with curled toes. It took a while to find a shoe that fitted my feet correctly, not just the toes, but across the arch and in the heel. My current shoes fit great but I still take them off between climbs mostly just to give them a stretch. They are not painful though as they are wide enough for me in the toe area and have no pressure points.

My argument is that if your toes are not curled normally, when you go to use your toes on a foot hold, you will curl them up leaving a gap in the shoe and not being able to edge well because of it. But that's just a theory, and I have many friends that go for a non curled up fit and climb better than me :)

If its painful, try on another shoe. You will wear your shoes out in no time, so next time you come to buy you will have a better idea.
CurlyStevo - on 08 Aug 2013
In reply to sianabanana:
I don't curl my toes in my shoes any more than they are naturally. the smaller toes tend to be a bit curled naturally especially as the shoe bends the big toe stays pretty much straight.
Bisonkills - on 08 Aug 2013
Everyone:

Thanks for all the very helpful replies.

The main issue I have with the shoes at the moent is that my big toe is really butting up against the end of the shoe, my smaller toes are slightly arched. The shoe is exerting quite a lot of pressure on my big toe(s) when I use them. This becomes painful after about 10-15 mins of use. If they were just ever so slightly longer, they'd be ideal I think.

I am going to see if I can try out a half size bigger this weekend.

CurlyStevo - on 08 Aug 2013
In reply to Bisonkills:
It could be that you have symmetric shoes which favour a longer second toe and that you need asymmetric ones which favour a longer big toe, looking at the sole and the shape of your feet often makes this obvious.
Jenny C on 08 Aug 2013
In reply to Bisonkills:
> The main issue I have with the shoes at the moment is that my big toe is really butting up against the end of the shoe, my smaller toes are slightly arched. The shoe is exerting quite a lot of pressure on my big toe(s) when I use them. This becomes painful after about 10-15 mins of use.

If the big toe is so squashed that it's painful to stand on a climbing hold, clearly the shoes don't fit. In a new pair of shoes I would expect you to relieved to get them off after a session, but being in pain after just 10 mins is totally unnecessary.

Try the next half size larger but if you have to go up more than a size to get the big toe comfy you almost certainly you need to try a model with a slightly different toe profile. It's also worth reminding you to keep your toe nails cut short, as long nails digging into other toes (or the end of the shoe) can make a real difference.
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Tubb93 - on 08 Aug 2013
In reply to Bisonkills:
As jokers aren't particularly aggressive shoes and don't stretch much i would look for comfort from the word go. Although any space in the shoe will mean that standing on small holds becomes harder. Also Boreal say that your trainer size should be the size you go for in jokers unlike most climbing shoes which you drop down half a size or more.

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