/ Finding your first climbing shoe

jafferton91 - on 02 Dec 2016
I have recently started looking at buying my first shoe and decided on the Millet Cliffhanger (mens) in size 11 as i am size 11 usually. They turn up and are super tight! But then I expected a snug fit with no dead space etc. but how tight is to tight?
WildCamper on 02 Dec 2016
In reply to jafferton91:

If they hurt to wear then they are too tight for beginner shoes imo
Y Gribin - on 02 Dec 2016
In reply to jafferton91:
If they already feel 'super tight' then they are too tight. I would think more in terms of them 'not being loose'. You should be able to wear them for at least an hour with zero pain - you'll enjoy learning to climb more by being comfortable rather than in pain.
ChrisH89 - on 02 Dec 2016
In reply to jafferton91:

Gonna offer some slightly different advice.

Climbing shoes stretch over the first few sessions using them, and ones that are comfortable on first trying them on often end up being too loose after a few hours of climbing in them. So it's normal for a new pair to be pretty uncomfortable for a while until you break them in. My most comfortable and best fitting shoes were too painful to wear for more than an hour or so at a time when I first bought them: they're now perfect for long, all day trad routes.

That said it really depends on just how tight they are. My latest pair were pretty excruciating for the first 2 or 3 sessions, and now are nice and tight fitting for bouldering but I still have to take them off from time to time. So there's a balance somewhere in the middle, as you probably want your first pair of shoes to be comfortable first and foremost. I would say if you really have to force your foot in just to get them on, they'll probably be too tight for a beginner shoe (though probably pretty good for bouldering once you've been climbing a while). If you can get your foot in fairly easily but it hurts after climbing for a while, it's probably worth sticking with them till they break in properly.
Dave Garnett - on 02 Dec 2016
In reply to jafferton91:

I think it's highly unlikely to fit properly if you are relying on just finding it!
brianjcooper on 02 Dec 2016
In reply to jafferton91:
As I have previously posted, I have a painful bunion from years of cramming feet into too tight fitting climbing shoes. They should be snug without hurting. Remember, feet expand when they get hot and especially in the Summer months. Also, wearing light socks is a personal comfort thing, so don't follow the herd.

Incidentally not all shoes stretch with use. It depends on the fabric type.
Post edited at 14:35
GrahamD - on 02 Dec 2016
In reply to jafferton91:

Probably not helpful to you now but buying something that requires the sizing accuracy of a climbing shoe, for the first time, on line strikes me as prone to disaster. Better, IMO, to try and buy at a decent store where you can go through different brands and sizes to find what works for you.
Jenny C on 02 Dec 2016
In reply to GrahamD:

Seconded. Not only can you try the shoes but if you go to a decent shop the staff will advise you on which models are suitable for beginners and advise you on how they should fit.
(also please NO NOT take the piss by allowing a staff member to spend an hour doing a proper fitting, and then walking away to save a few quid by buying on line)

Regarding sizing rockshoes need to be snug - so toes toughing the end (normally slightly bent), and sufficiently close in width that the foot rotate inside the shoe. Having something this close fitting is going to at best feel weird, but whilst it will almost certainly be uncomfortable it should NOT be painful. As said above the material will stretch/give in time, plus you will get used to the feeling of not being able to wriggle your toes.

You are right about not wanting any baggy spots and very often you see people going bigger when it is just one pressure point which hurts, in that case it's usually the shoe that's the wrong shape for your foot and going bigger will just leave you with a baggy badly fitting shoe. So if the shoes are painfully tight all over try larger, but if you get pain in a specific area give up and look at an alternative model.

With rockshoes the size label is a total guess. To give you an idea of just how much variability there is between models and manufacturers, I vary in rockshoes from a 4.5 to an 8 (UK shoe size 7.5) and that is aiming for a consistent level of snugness in each shoe. I would say it is fairly unusual to need to go larger than your normal shoe size, whilst downsizing so some extent is still the norm - it does however massively depend on the manufacturer and model, but again a shop will know which shoes are small/large for the size and be able to advise.
flopsicle - on 03 Dec 2016
In reply to jafferton91:

I tend to find the first shoe is easy to find, it's the other bloody shoe that seems work shy, hiding under sofas, lurking under pack detritus....
springfall2008 - on 03 Dec 2016
In reply to jafferton91:

Put them on, then try standing on the ball of your foot on one leg - if it's hurts it's too tight.
brianjcooper on 23:04 Sat
In reply to Jenny C:


> (also please NO NOT take the piss by allowing a staff member to spend an hour doing a proper fitting, and then walking away to save a few quid by buying on line)

I totally agree Jenny. That's why there are fewer shops left on the high street.
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jafferton91 - on 10:47 Wed
Thanks for all your comments, it has all been helpful.