/ How much difference will more technical rock shoes make?
I've been using Evolv Electra's for all my climbing, indoor, sport, trad, long mountaineering routes, and I really like them and they are very comfy and good value.
I'm not climbing very hard- trying 6c/ 7a at the indoor wall, and not lead harder than 6b+ outside, but I'm hoping to get on some harder routes this year.
How much difference do more technical shoes make? Will it be like the difference I found winter climbing when I upgraded my B1s for B3s and everything felt a grade easier, or is it more like you won't notice the difference unless you're an elite climber?
You don't need crippling shoes to make you climb harder, just climb more often.
You can climb harder routes in your current shoes but a tighter fitting technical shoe will help especially outside where you may have to stand on tiny edges. You will get more push and pulling power from your toes.
You could relate it too "floppy shoes" a open hand grip and "technical tight fitting shoes" to a positive crimp hold.
Keep your comfy shoes for long routes and use your new shoes where you will have the benifits from extra edgeing, power and pulling on small holds.
I would probably go for a flat technical shoe first rather than a "toe down" shoe although depends on what you like climbing. On steep and overhanging climbing toe down shoes can give you more pull and power, but are not very good for smearing in if you prefere slabs and walls.
'I've been using Evolv Electra's for all my climbing, indoor, sport, trad, long mountaineering routes, and I really like them and they are very comfy'
Sounds like you already have the right shoes... you really like them and they are very comfy. Ive only been a lowly punter, but i reckon Those qualities in a shoe will see you through some Grades yet.
I am interested in this post... similar situation for me. Currently climb to 7a toprope and 6b+ on lead, and my Boreal Joker Plus shoes have got close to wearing out (after only a year!).
I have been very happy with them but have found they are not good for edging on the really tiny foot holds on slab climbs (which I like). Obviously at this level I don't need down turns, but do need more edging capability for sure. Not quite so bothered about sensitivity as I am not the most 'delicate' climber.
I have quite wide feet (size wider than they are long); can anyone recommend any shoes for me to try? (preferably with velcro or slip-on as I like to get very small shoes and slip off between climbs)
I struggle with width in shoes, am currently finding five ten anasazi Velcros surprisingly comfy.
>I am not the most 'delicate' climber.
Too much top-roping and clumpy footwork suggest things that would help more than a better pair of shoes.
5.10s work for me, and I have wide feet.
What makes you think I do too much toprope? As I stated; I need more edging capability.
In reply to Choss: Thanks for that. How do you find the edging of them?
Good enough. The Verdes are the best edging anasazis i believe, but are lace ups.
Cool. I'll add them to my list of shoes to try. Shame about the Verdes though; I do hate lace ups.
Katana Laces are stiff, precise and fairly wide (too wide for me, I prefer Miuras). But, as the name suggests, lace-ups.
"7a toprope and 6b+ on lead"
Of course, climbing more on lead won't increase that 7a, but it will narrow the gap between the 2.
Re: shoes, a more technical shape will make a difference, but only if they still fit right. A common mistake is to buy some 'technical' shoes that are so painful they're actually detrimental to your footwork. It's possible to get something more aggressive (yes, even with a downturn) that still fits well.
I've always gone for fairly comfy shoes. However, if I do anything particularly technical, I notice my foot rotates slightly in my baggy shoes. The last pair of shoes I bought, I spent about an hour trying shoes on (I normally take about 10 minutes!) to try to get shoes that were snug, well fitting, but not too loose.
They cost me £80, but I save them just for 'best', if I am trying something harder, and the rest of the time I keep on wearing my floppy old shoes, reserving a really nasty pair for the wall.
I think you will notice the difference if you are currently feeling your feet slide in your boots and if you are using particularly tiny footholds.
It depends on the route, even indoors. Going back some years there was a route on a moulded section of my local wall that was probably about 6c+ or 7a. I could get up it in a Boreal Vectors but not in Boreal Aces. The Vectors facilitated more precise foot placement and the toes went in the pockets.
I don't think having one sub-grade difference between toprope and lead is that strange. Most people I know climb toprope a grade higher - it is easier after all!
Yeah I would always ensure fit is good first. Funnily enough my current shoes are an 10.5 which is 2.5 sizes smaller than my usual 13s for other shoes. But I have done all day multi-pitch in them and had no problems (except maybe the walk down if I didn't climb with trainers!).
Maybe it's just me (or the walls I climb at) but if anything I find the toprope routes harder! They're often more fingery (because they're vertical) and don't have 'clipping holds' (often a bit of a recovery). Also shorter, so the grade has to come from it being plain hard, rather than just long.
Reading that, maybe I should turn this around and learn that I need to work on bouldery, fingery routes...
Luckily at the WW, the toprope walls are the same hight and (at least I think) the same difficulty as the leads for the grade (though variation between setters). There are many lead overhang routes, but a good slab lead wall and a few nice toprope slab walls. Pretty good balance I find.
I find this of the training walls at Big Rock to an extent. The routes are often more enjoyable than the longer ones in the pit. Though there are still "clipping holds" because almost all the top-rope routes are also provided with bolts for leading, though very few bother except during the annual leading competition as it's barely worth it (at 8m they're not much more than highball boulder problems really).
Persevere with lace-ups if you can, they definitely give better control over fit and adjustability than any velcro or elasticated slipper will. And fit is crucial when it comes to performance. And by 'fit', I don't mean 'tightness' to the point of pain, just a good snug fit for as much of the length of your foot as is possible.
Good point! I had meant to say the same myself!
I did try them a bit a year ago, but after many shop hours (and a few with rental shoes at the wall) I found that I had slightly 'better' performance on small holds with tighter shoes.
I find the tightness of my current shoes (for example) to be no problem what-so-ever while climbing, but being on for a few straight hours gets a little uncomfortable. Hence why I have preferred velcro as I can whip them off and easily between climbs (or pull the heel down/off when belaying on multi-pitch). I don't doubt that lace ups perform better (who'd go with the hassle if they didn't?) but for 80-100 quid it's quite a punt to find I still dislike them after buying. If I got into more technical climbing (big overhangs etc) then I'd probably put up with the annoyance of lace ups, but I am not there atm.
Trouble is, because of my weird feet shape, to be comfortable enough to wear for 3 hours straight, I have found that they are too 'loose' for decent climbing performance. I am sure there are some shoes where that wont be the case, but I haven't found them yet (also cost is a factor).
If you're finding your current shoes too imprecise to target really little holds or that they're rolling off little edges as you load them up or that you just can't bear the weight on your toes in such soft shoes* then some stiffer shoes with sharper edges will probably be noticeably better. Mostly you'll see the benefit outdoors unless your local wall relies on features for feet or has lots of fancy pocket holds to make the footwork harder.
*I have a pair of Elektras and have worn Defys for years but these days they're too soft for my creaky old toes on little limestone edges.
I generally find in my stiffest shoes I can get a little more weight onto my feet or keep it there longer from a less stressed position, it's a subtle difference but noticeable. It can be enough to make the difference between linking up a route or not but it's rarely enough to mean I can do a particular move in one pair but not the other.
Stop hanging out with inveterate top-ropers, that will help your grade.
FWIW, I have a pair of Jokers and find them too stiff to boulder in, but great for edging.
"Most people I know climb toprope a grade higher" being the actual quote.
Do you not warm up on toprope? Everyone (without exception) I know does. And lead ropes can't always been brought all the time.
I lead as hard as I top rope indoors, I can either do a move or I can't basically and that's all that stops me getting to the top. Nowt to do with the rope heading up or down for me but I can appreciate that a lot of people have issues with their head on lead. I warm up traversing or in the boulder room.
Back to the OP - personally, I find shoes make a massive difference to me and my ability to stand on small edges.
IMO a toproped ascent is a compromised ascent and for me I've not really done the route unless I've led it. A top rope gives subtle physical as well as psychological assistance unless there is some slack in the system. At my local wall you see belayers almost cranking people up climbs, they turn round telling all and sundry thev'e just climbed a 6b or a 6c. I think not.
You know what they say about big shoes? I think you're telling fibs!
Nothing to do with the head for me (I do enjoy a good plunge on lead), but more with arms getting pumped easier. For slab climbing I climb 6c on both, but on vertical walls I can can climb one grade higher on toprope due to reduced arm pump as no clipping. Though one of my 7a's was an off width crack which I think would have been the same on lead as top rope, but unfortunately the route isn't set for lead.
Lol. Jealous much Mark? :)
Nope, I warm up with some traversing and then some easier leads, working up to harder stuff, as do most people I know.
I generally warm up with a bit of bouldering and/or some steady leads. I do find the distinction between leading and toproping indoors rather odd given it's the perfect place to safely build confidence really pushing yourself on the pointy end of the rope.
I lead a grade or two harder indoors than I top-rope for the simple reason I don't try hard on hard routes on a top-rope. Or at least I did last year, I haven't tied in for months :(
You really don't know when your chain is being yanked, do you?
Nope, I warm up bouldering, traversing and with some easy leads. If everyone you know is warming up with top roping, then you need to persuade your partners to lead more/all the time. This will improve your climbing more than fretting over shoes.
Fair enough. I personally find bouldering boring (I know it can be good for technique) so just toprope to warm up (or all evening if I haven't space for my rope). The others in my group do the same but none are much into bouldering (except one couple).
Sounds like improved clipping technique will see to that.
I'll leave the yanking to my missus thanks!
I don't think a few top ropes to warm up is going to make a huge difference. On top rope I can blast three climbs non stop which is also good for training my endurance for longer climbs outdoors.
And if my shoes are worn, why not look for new ones of a different type? They are good shoes in all respects (especially smearing) but just don't work that well on very small (2-3mm say) edges.
But you can't stop to clip. Clearly it's not very effective.
Yes, we all need to buy new shoes.
Not sure how it is 'clearly' not effective. In fact I changed from doing alternate top ropes to warm up to consecutive climbs (with no breaks) on the advice of a very experienced climber I know. When you are limited to 15m walls then climbing a '45m' wall is clearly good practice. And I would have thought you'd be so fast at clipping you'd barely stop climbing... :)
.....but leading, down climbing, then leading again or leading all three, pulling the ropes between each lead would be even better training!
Semantics aside, as much as people say "shoes don't make a difference until X grade" having a pair of shoes that I trust makes a massive difference. The key to climbing well is being able to use your feet and it's a lot easier if, when you put your toe onto that tiny edge or smear, your brains says, "that feels solid". I swear by Anasazi Velcros. Great all round shoe, edges well, smears well, pretty comfy. Having said that, I climbing indoors in instinct slippers as they have a little more power in the toe for steep stuff, i got them cheap and you don't get small footholds indoors so I don't need the velcro "magic", just the ability to toe-down.
X depends on the grade people climb, usually one grade below their onsight limit to allow them to buy new shoes but criticise others
...for easy 45m routes taken at a sprint.
Personally I'd suggest given what you said about pumping out while leading that you might want to work either on relaxing on lead or minimising the wasted effort in clipping. Or both. Top-roping routinely addresses neither.
All that assumes you care that there's a discrepancy in your lead/TR grades which you may not.
Not something that bothers me personally. I love leading but do like the toprope slabs (simply more of them at my wall).
In reply to galpinos:
Yeah I can see your point, but that takes way more time than blasting up three easy topropes (I usually do a range of 4+ to 6a on one wall; whatever grades they have in that range). I guess part the problem is that there are not a huge number of lead routes below 6a... those that are there I got bored on long ago.
Thanks for the shoes recommendation. Those and the 5.10s seem to be popular on this thread so I'll look into them.
Thanks I am primarily focusing on making adjustments to my climbing training - climbing more often, trying harder routes, being more focused, trying to identify where I can improve etc as well. So I know I don't need them to climb harder, but what I wondered is whether they would help?
I found having more technical boots and crampons made a real difference for me winter climbing, sure I could have climbed harder in my La Sportiva Trango S evos and grivel airtechs, but upgrading to something more technical definitely helped. I'm just wondering if it's a comparable for rock boots, or if the difference is so marginal it's not worth bothering with?
Thanks, that's really helpful!
They might give marginal benefits such as the rubber being better or the edges less rounded but in all honesty, all these new down-turned, uber-moulded shoes are a licence to print money. It's possible you've reached the 6c plateau that plagues most mid-grade cimbers. They only thing that cures it is more mileage on the wall coupled with some light finger strengthening/core exercises.
It's nothing like winter climbing at all.
I think we've found the problem! Only wear your rock shoes for when you're actually climbing. Take them off between routes, or slip your heels out of them. I'm surprised you've not seen others doing this.
In reply to someone else:
...who said they only ever warm up on top ropes and without exception has only seen others doing the same (or words to that effect). I never warm up on TRs, nor does anyone I climb with. Fair enough if you don't bring a rope with you but otherwise, why not just lead something?
Shoes do make a difference, whatever people say who have never persevered with better ones.
I don't know anything about Elektras. Are they 'beginners' type shoes? At the high 6s / low 7s level it is well worth having a pair of fairly technical but not overly aggressive (ie you don't need down-turned) shoes. Things like anasazis (green/white/velcro as per preference), vapours, masai, etc.
Once you're in to the mid French 7s I think it starts to be more worth wearing a pair of down-turned / more aggressive shoes. I felt like Blackwings really helped me out on some routes and problems last year. These sort of shoes take much longer to get used to though and will inevitably feel weird and uncomfortable to start, so in your case I wouldnt bother just yet unless you expect to advance quickly. You'll also need two pairs if you go down this route, as you won't want to wear them for trad.
And take a pair of flip-flops, or buy yourself some athlete's foot cream.
I take it you haven't read ANY of the thread? The discussion about velcros?
We don't need to know about your foot fungus dude! :)
If you do go for laceup anasazis as discussed above, then whites (blancos) are stiffer than greens (verdes). Some people swear by them but I found the heel tight on my achilles and hence uncomfortable, and prefer greens.
Both are apparently soon to be discontinued and replaced by a new pink. Don't know which it will be closer to in terms of performance/fit.
He is right about keeping your shoes on for 3 hours. You will never get a decent pair of well fitting shoes that you can keep on comfortably for that long - of any type - it's no wonder you are rolling off edges. If you don't want to take them off then you may be better with an indoor pair and an outdoor pair.
Thanks for the heads up about the stock. I'd definitely not want pink (totally clash with my outfit).
Yeah I do take off in between... always have! This is hence why I wanted velcros. Just Fraser and kenny don't read before posting :)
Thanks for the heads up about the stock. I'd definitely not want pink (totally clash with my outfit).
They will Look wicked with deep blue Jeans, might Trade in my brown VCSs
:) ah but I wear a ridiculous multicoloured 80s style outfit (not spandex! Lol)
If your shoes are foot shaped and fit you really don't need to. I don't think I've compromised at all on performance with my current pair but I could wear them all day around a long Font circuit yet they'd still be the pair I'd grab for a hard redpoint.
Elektras are female fit (whatever that means) versions of the Defy in pink. They're superb shoes but being very soft soled you need strong feet to use them on edges.
Erm, yes I have - see my earlier post, but the OP was actually talking of shoes in general I thought. However your posts seem to have hi-jacked the OP's to the extent that I thought I'd try and make a helpful point. Feel free to ignore the advice.
In reply to jkarran:
Yes, agreed in principle, but I am slightly surprised you manage to keep your RP shoes on for a prolonged period.
The point was I mentioned many times I remove shoes in between climbs.
But yes, thread somewhat hijacked. Back to the OP.
If they don't fit for standing/walking they cause too much pain while climbing to be effective. Also I tend to buy flat shoes which helps.
Bit impractical if you only have one pair of shoes and do a lot of multipitch climbing... I would rather have a well-fitting pair of shoes that I can wear all day than a super-tight pair of shoes that crush my toes so I can climb half a grade harder - I'll be crap either way but I may as well be comfy :P
PS relating to the OP, I used to have Defy's (i.e. similar to the Elektras) and liked them for the smearing, but now have velcro Bandits and am much happier with the edging and toeing.
Well I popped into Urban Rock on my way to climbing yesterday and after trying on 13 different shoes (in various sizes) I ended up with the Evolv Bandit SCs in a size 10.5 (I am normally 13 wide and 12 length).
Well I must say... the performance in small pockets and tiny edges was fantastic. Night and day compared to my old shoes in that respect and pretty comfortable. Finally did a slab route I could never do in my old shoes due to the tiny edgy foot holds and a couple of pockets. Shame my forearms were having a shocking day!
Also I found the Five Ten Anasazi velcros fitted my feet well but the Evolvs just pipped them.
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