New Shoe Help

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 JoshClimb 27 May 2022

Hey Everyone! 

I've recently started bouldering and absolutely love it. I'm looking to get my first pair of shoes now - it will be solely for indoor gym use.

Just wondering what you guys would recommend? 

I've heard mixed reviews on the tarantula, with some saying there isn't any point on get them as you will quickly "outgrow" them and might as well get a better shoe.

Possibly these? 

Scarpa Velocity V
Scarpa Reflex V
La Sportiva Kubo
La Sportiva Zenit 
La Sportiva Aragon

Any advice would be great. I appreciate the majority recommend going to a shop to try them on but I haven't really got any shops nearby and the only one has a few brands I haven't even heard of so I'll buy online and just return if need be... 

 Kevster 28 May 2022
In reply to JoshClimb:

Buy something comfortable. Snug is fine. Painful is not. 

You're starting out. The first few pairs of shoes won't be significant over good technique and experience... Which you'll gain whilst wearing them out. 

 Cake 28 May 2022
In reply to JoshClimb:

Just don't go too expensive, as the rubber wears through so quickly. For your second pair, you may have more of an idea what you want from a shoe.

 PaulW 28 May 2022
In reply to JoshClimb:

Good advice from Kevster.

Don't overthink it, so long as they are snug they will be fine. And they are not a forever purchase. First shoes do tend to wear out quite quickly until footwork becomes more precise.

But for shoes in future then really try and get to a proper shop.

 ripper 28 May 2022
In reply to JoshClimb:

I'd echo what others have said, and add that if you are buying mail order then get three pairs minimum and just accept you'll have some return mail cost. That way you can try them all on and see which fits the shape of your foot best - which is by far the most important consideration. Scarpa have a reputation for suiting wider feet, and Sportiva narrower, but that's probably an over- simplification. If there's no shop near you, maybe think about combining a trip to a decent shop with a day climbing, eg. In the Peak or Lakes? Or to one of the bigger climbing walls, many of which have well stocked shops on site.

 edodai 29 May 2022

After spending the last 5 years looking for the perfect pair, here's my advice

First, if you can, absolutely visit a specialised shop. Shoes are so subjective that buying online without trying them first is very very difficult.

On beginner shoes:
They exist for a reason! They are designed to be comfortable and they will last longer. The rubber is usually harder, meant to be abused by beginner's inevitable clumsy footwork.
The fact about you "quickly outgrowing" them is, in my opinion, a bit rubbish. I have recently climbed had to climb again in my first pair or beginner shoes (old Boreal Joker) and I found that in most situations they can perform as well as my recent "performance" expensive shoes (Otaki) (...Obviously not as good on more advanced moves that you won't be even attempting for at least a couple of years).
Those who say that are just making excuses for they poor technique ;P
A mate who has had the Tarantula is still climbing hard in them. They are one of the best beginner shoes for a reason.
I don't recommend getting really cheap ones like the Decathlon ones though.

The main thing you really need to care about is comfort.


What are the brand you mentioned you local shop has? I would seriously consider travelling to a well stocked specialised shop, even if it's like 2 hours away. I've done it several times and never regretted it.
If that really isn't an option for you, then I'm afraid you'll have to get lucky online shopping. If you need advice for size, Bananafinger has a handy calculator at the bottom of every shoe page.

Good luck!

-- [edits for grammar and clarity]

Post edited at 19:06
 climbingpixie 29 May 2022
In reply to JoshClimb:

Where are you based? It would be worth making a trip to a bouldering wall with a decent shop as they'll usually let you try a few problems with the shoes on and that's the best way of getting a feel for how they fit. I bought a new pair recently and the ones that felt best out of the box were actually really sloppy on the wall and the ones that initially felt awful turned out to be amazing sticky foot gloves as soon as I pulled on. I'd never have known that if I'd got them mail order or even just tried them at an outdoor shop.

In reply to JoshClimb:

Get yourself a cup of tea and read through - it will give you some ideas. I reviewed the Red Chili and Five Ten ones in that group test and can heartily recommend the Five Ten Kirigami - if they fit your feet well they can climb reasonably techy stuff in them and they don't cost a stupid amount.

 mrjonathanr 30 May 2022
In reply to JoshClimb:

Choose shoes which fit your foot shape. Take your socks off and look at your toes. 2 things to note:

1. Which toe is longest? big toe- look for a last which is marketed as more asymmetric. 2nd toe- go more symmetrical.

2. Do you have a broad or more narrow foot?

This may give you some ideas: 

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