/ Which "next level" rock shoes?
I have been climbing for about five years, normally twice a week indoors and once a week outside. I can lead up to VS comfortably and am now looking to push my grade.
I have only ever climbed in Scarpa Force shoes and have had three pairs and numerous re-solings. As I push my grades, I really don't trust my feet/shoes.
I'm looking for something more confidence inspiring but not too technical or downturned. I do climb multi pitch and want something I can wear all day without being crippled.
I have looked at the Scarpa Vapour and Boostic shoes but I'm worried these may not fit the bill.
I have around £100 - £120 to spend and ideally want a comfortable, hard wearing shoe I can edge in and smear with.
Any recommendations or reviews would be greatly appreciated.
The only answer is whatever fits - there's really no substitute for going down to a shop and trying on lots and lots of shoes that fit the description of what you want.
I have never really got on with Scarpas (although it sounds like you do) so favour 5.10 and La Sportiva. Like you I like comfort over anything too radical. My "go to" shoes are Anasazi velcro, Katana velcro & lace ups for pretty much anything. Check out and see what you reckon....I would say however if you don't trust your feet you may also want to work on your footwork (irrespective of shoe choice) as follows:
- visually line up the foothold and place your foot correctly ONCE
- ie don't move your foot around too much once it is placed
- always use several lower foot placements instead of one big high step
- use twice as many foot movements as hand ones
- film and review video footage of just your feet
This is just one person's opinion but it might offer something useful.
Good advice from Morgan. It's possibly more to do with your footwork than your shoes per se.
Practice one time, accurate, foot placements. And don't do loads of high steps/rock ups. practice intermediate stepping up on small holds and features.
As to shoes, there are plenty of more technical shoes which aren't too aggressive and you need to find what works for you. It's mostly down to your footshape so try a lot on. Snug not overly tight. Easy fit more techie shoes that work for me are La Sportiva Katana velcros. Oddly perhaps, 5-10 Anasazzi Pinks also work well for me. Neither are downturned, good at edging and smearing ie. prceise all rounders. La Sportiva Miuras are perhaps the most precise shoes I've used but they are quite an aggressive shape (though not downturned) and aren't comfy straight from the box unless you have odd feet!
Less techie but v comfy and not at all bad are Boreal Jokers. These may not be a huge step up for you however.
It's a truisim though that, at low'ish grades, it's rarely your shoes that hold you back! So think footwork primarily. Though the right fitting shoes should help.
On no account buy any shoes that make you climb harder. You're three times as strong as me already and I'll never keep up.
Anyone making recommendations make sure they are for lead-lined boots.
See you in Scotland in a fortnight chum!!
Given what you say about your level and requirement I would say the vapour is likely to be more appropriate than the boostic
For me at the moment it's Tenaya Ra's. Not the most agressive shoe but they fit perfectly and feel very sensitive. I can climb just as well on slabs as I can on steeply overhanging roofs wearing them and they pretty cheap as well!
Another good exercise to improve your footwork (I suspect footwork is one of the things that a lot of people neglect to work on specifically) is silent climbing. Your foot placements should be perfectly controlled, trying to climb silently will force you to be controlled.
As others above, definitely something that fits.
On a different note, I feel you've contradicted yourself slightly... you want something "not too technical or downturned" for multipitch that aren't too crippling, yet you're considering Boostics?? Vapours maybe, but then I also I found that the Velcros don't smear particularly well.
I would probably recommend something flatter - the Tenayas recommended above, or something like the Anasazi VCS/(LV)/Verde/Pink. I'm a massive Five Ten fan, think their rubber and fit are fantastic and as such own/have owned 10 pairs or so...
Alternatively, work on a multi-shoe system - rather than having one pair that does it all, have more technical pairs, and other which are more comfortable and suitable for wearing all day.
If your Forces are sized correctly then they really shouldn't be holding you back until the mid e grades at least. I suspect they're either too big, or you need to work on trusting your feet (or both of course!).
As the Forces are no longer available the Vapour Vs are an excellent shoe. They're reasonably stiff so good for long routes and edging. I'm on my second pair and they seem to be becoming increasingly popular. LS Miuras, Anasazi Pinks and Evolv Bandits are all similar in regards of stiffness, although the fits are quite different. There's not much point in having a more technical pair of shoes in a 'beginners' fit though, so make sure you get them sized correctly.
Boostics would be entirely unsuitable!
Best bet is to go to a reputable outdoor shop with a big stock of shoes and explain this exactally. If they're worth their salt, they'll be able to find you a good fitting pair that are suitable for multipitching in comfort with performance.
For what it's worth, i'm in the same position where i'm after some mid-high performance multipitch shoes, and i'm getting some Scarpa Techno X. Can be got for around £100. They are super comfy, and fairly technical still.
Might be worth a try on :)
I progressed from Scarpa Thunder's to Katana's and found a huge improvement; I have since moved onto Katana laces and then finally La Sportiva Pythons (I mainly boulder at the moment).
I have a pair of Forces that I got cheaply and often put them in my bag for a spare pair, on holiday etc, and find them very comparible to the Katana velcro's in terms of feel and fit.
Ironically the forces have taken me up some of my hardest climbs (admittedly I only climb E1/F7a), just because they have been the shoes I was wearing that day.
As others have said I would guess that the Forces will take you a couple of grades higher at least (as long as they are the right size).
I wore La sportiva Testarossa's and solutions for a bit, but found that they were actually holding my climbing back as they are just too down turned and were affecting my smearing. Not to mention that they were painful.
Try loads on in the shop and see what feels good I always stuck with Anasazi velcros as they just felt good on my feet. The gear hoarder in my always wanted a pair of down turned shoes for "best" but honestly never got to the point of my shoes holding me back with the Anasazis.
Is it really ironic, or is it that the effect of shoes on climbing is overrated (and maybe it is largely psychological)?
The other thing is that I would never dream of thinking that I need fancy shoes to climb up to French 6b indoors (close to my hardest grade), but this is about E3 in trad? (knock a few grades off for the indoors/outdoors thing though)
After all climbers have got up E4s and harder in approach shoes...
Of course maybe I am wrong and I would fly up E1 instead of crawling up VS if I only spent more than £75 on my shoes :)
Not a bad thing, surely, given that psychological barriers are what stop 95% of people from climbing harder.
Thanks for taking the time to write that Morgan. Excellent advice. Many thanks. M
Ha!!!! Good one chum! How come you climb spicier stuff than me then??? See you in God's country soon mon!!!!
Thank you all for your much valued opinions. I think you are all right that it's the guy in the shoes rather than the shoes on the guy. Over the last year I have been consciously working on my footwork and placements, with still a way to go it seems. I think buying anything downturned at the moment would be a mistake as I don't boulder much and stay off the roofs, and as more than one of you said the Forces would probably take my grades up if only I climbed differently. Right, practice, practice, practice!!! Many thanks guys and girls,
My leads are only spicy 'cos the cams keep falling down the back of whatever crack I'm grunting up. See ya soon matey :-}
If they fit, La Sportiva Katanas might do the trick.
Not too radically shaped, so all-day comfort isn't an issue providing you get the right size. They do however stretch a bit (up to half a size), it's taken me a couple of pairs to settle on a size. In terms of confidence inspiring, I find the edge good and the rubber sticky enough, having owned 5.10 Anasazis in the past, which are obviously king when it comes to grip (switched to Katanas due to the Anasazis unnecessarily painful heel).
In terms of durability; I climb once or twice a week indoors, every other weekend in the summer, and find I go through a pair every 6 months.
It's quite refreshing to see someone take the good advice given and not go and buy a new pair of shoes anyway.
I had some scarpa force shoes once and whilst they never fit my foot shape well, they seemed like a good shoe, perfect for what you need shoes for. Sometimes sizing a shoe a bit smaller can help if you're rolling off of small edges but to a certain extent this is making up for lack of strength in your feet.
I chose to buy a new pair of shoes after all. Nothing aggressive but a pair of Boreal Jokers and what a world of difference. I think it's simply because my 3 times re-soled Scarpa Forces had "bagged out" that the new Jokers seem so confidence inspiring. Edging is precise, smearing is easy and heel hooking a joy. Used them inside and on a recent trip to Neist in Skye and they performed superbly well and were comfortable at belays etc. Thanks again for preventing me buying the wrong shoes guys.
Short answer: the more you climb, the sooner you'll realise that you need more than one type/pair of climbing shoes. Horses for courses and all that. (I have different 4 pairs on the go just now)
Mate, you were the beast of Neist!! Great day's cragging :-)
The beastlet to your beast chum...
Steve McClure sets the routes at my local wall - last time he was doing a bit of coaching, cruising up 7b in approach shoes.. If I ever find myself thinking I need to change my shoes to climb harder, I just have to remember this...
I've seen a person campusing a crux of boulder problem (I think it was about 6c) while 6 of us couldn't climb it even using our feet. I managed to get to the top some time later though.
Thanks guys. I had a master class with Steve McClure and he used his approach shoes and was amazing, but when he put his rock boots on he was unreal. Shoes do count or else everyone would wear comfy trainers.
Are you sure you've taken the right message from that? Seems like "7b is piss to 9a+ climbers" might have been closer to the mark...
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