/ Crack Climbing Shoes

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George Frisby 20 May 2019

I'm looking for some new climbing shoes which will do well in thuggy grit cracks. Listed some potential preferential features below. I realise that not many shoes will have all of these properties but thought this would give a good indication of what I'm looking for.

  • Flat profile - good for minimising pain in jams. 
  • Thick/durable uppers, maybe with some extra rubber protection on top of the toes. 
  • Good for smearing - as not many grit routes are continuous crack.
  • High tops/ankle protection for offwidths
  • Narrow fit, as I've got quite a low profile foot. 

The Butora Altura seems like it is perfect for all of the above, and even comes in a wide and narrow fit, but they are not sold by UK retailers so are really expensive to ship here and if they don't fit will be a pain to return. Thought about getting the TC Pros but they are very stiff so was unsure if they would be any good for grit smearing. 

At the moment I have the old Five Ten Stoneland Lace ups, which are perfect as they are flat profile and very durable. They are not designed to be a 'crack climbing' specific shoe but work very well on the grit. Unfortunately they are not in production anymore. Like these, I thought it would be useful to see if anyone else has been surprised by any non crack climbing specific shoes which actually perform really well on grit style cracks, or if anyone knows any shoes that are mainly sold for the crack climbing US market that we can buy over here. 

Thanks, George. 

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deepsoup 20 May 2019
In reply to George Frisby:

Boreal 'Ballet Gold' perhaps?

It's been a while since I've seen a pair but I'm pretty sure they're still making them.

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Andy Reeve 20 May 2019
In reply to George Frisby:

Hi George

I've used Scarpa Techno Xs for a fair bit of crack climbing. They're not quite as flat as would be ideal for cracks, but that does mean that they are a fair compromise for smaller edges and smears.  No ankle protection either - but I got mine in a size that I can wear socks with them. That way I look trendy whilst immobilised in some horror-width shuffle.

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Otis 20 May 2019
In reply to George Frisby:

Don't quote me on this, but I recall scarpa maestros may come in a high ankle version more suited to crack climbing  

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Boredoftheforum 20 May 2019
In reply to George Frisby:

Not sure if they are narrow enough but black diamond do a flat lace up with partly covered laces that I find particularly good in cracks (if not memorable enough for me to remember what they are called). Again possibly a bit wide scarpa do a mid top version of the maestro I think.

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Andy Reeve 20 May 2019
In reply to George Frisby:

Otis and Boredoftheforum - ah yes, never seen them before, thanks

https://www.scarpa.co.uk/climb/maestro-mid/

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slab_happy 20 May 2019
In reply to Andy Reeve:

> High tops/ankle protection for offwidths

I can highly recommend the Saltic Nio ankle protectors -- make any climbing shoe into a hightop!

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In reply to George Frisby:

5.10 are releasing the new Grandstone some time this year, ticks a lot of boxes. 

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George Frisby 21 May 2019
In reply to Otis:

These look perfect for what I need, although from reading online these may bit a bit wide for my feet. 

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George Frisby 21 May 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

They are still in production! I imagine board lasting will mean they are very stiff though, which might not be good for grit smearing? Look like a great shoe and may see if I can try them on somewhere, would be great for OWs. 

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George Frisby 21 May 2019
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

Will keep an eye out for when these come out, look great. 

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andi turner 21 May 2019
In reply to George Frisby:

The Ballet Gold is probably the best boot I have used for the purpose of hanging out of off-width cracks.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/anditurner/47714404462/in/photostream/

Needless to say, they are super stiff and as such not much cop for smearing! There is something else in the pipeline though from Boreal which might be a bit more versatile. However, ultimately you won't get a stiff and sensitive shoe. For me, I tended to switch between a stiff boot and something really soft depending on the width of the crack.

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petegunn 22 May 2019
In reply to slab_happy:

+1 for the Saltic ankle protectors

http://www.saltic.cz/en/nio.html

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Phil79 22 May 2019
In reply to George Frisby:

5.10 anasazi pro is flat and has loads of rubber across the toe of the toe. I find them great for stuffing in cracks, very comfortable. Good for smearing too.

Obviously no ankle protection though. 

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Big Lee 22 May 2019
In reply to George Frisby:

Never had any problems smearing in TC-Pros to be honest. They've got enough flex but can still be very precise. I've done loads of friction/slabby stuff at all angles without problems. They generally suit a narrower foot also. 

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Rob Parsons 22 May 2019
In reply to andi turner:

> ... There is something else in the pipeline though from Boreal which might be a bit more versatile.

What's that?

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Martin Bennett 22 May 2019
In reply to George Frisby:

La Sportiva TC Pro - last time I was there it seemed as if it had become America's favourite  - almost everyone had 'em. Designed as an allrounder and crack climbing boot.

If you happen to take 42.5 in La Sportiva I might be persuaded to sell you the practically unused pair that I have.

Post edited at 13:24
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George Frisby 22 May 2019
In reply to Martin Bennett:

Unfortunately a bit small for me, I'm a 43/44. Thanks though. 

George. 

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slab_happy 22 May 2019
In reply to petegunn:

> +1 for the Saltic ankle protectors

As modelled by Ondra on Belly Full of Bad Berries (with TC Pros, I think?):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOlLYFPQlvk

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flaneur 22 May 2019
In reply to slab_happy:

Good suggestion. I know people who have DIY versions made from ankle supporters but these look very neatly done. There does not appear to be anyone in the UK selling them, how do they size?

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Andy Reeve 22 May 2019
In reply to slab_happy:

> As modelled by Ondra on Belly Full of Bad Berries (with TC Pros, I think?):

Nice, I'd never seen these before - my ankles will thank you.

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Boredoftheforum 22 May 2019
In reply to flaneur:

> Good suggestion. I know people who have DIY versions made from ankle supporters but these look very neatly done. There does not appear to be anyone in the UK selling them, how do they size?

I have found a new pair on Ebay so I'll report back when they turn up!

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Boredoftheforum 23 May 2019
In reply to flaneur:

Mine have just turned up.

First impressions are good, they should do a decent job of protecting my ankles while not restricting movement.

One word of warning they are tight; I have fairly big feet with a high arch and quite chunky heels (5.10s fit my heels well) these things are an absolute swine to get on and off! I got the largest size 46-47 (I have size 48 feet but my rock shoes are usually several sizes smaller) and could just get them on, I wish I had warmed up first as I thought I was going to strain something. 

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cb294 23 May 2019
In reply to slab_happy:

I hate that video. All the effort with having a cameraman suspended near the anchors, only to cut away for a crag view for the essential, technical move (getting upright again after the inverted section)...

The ankle protectors and crack gloves are great, though. Would not be caught crack climbing in the Elbe sandstone without. 

CB

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flaneur 23 May 2019
In reply to Boredoftheforum:

That's very helpful. Sounds like it would be best to size close to usual street shoe, hope yours stretch a little.

In reply to everyone else:

Any recommendations for shoes for finger or peg scar cracks? Seems like they should have a narrow toe profile, no down-turn, and enough flexibility to stuff into tight pockets but sufficient stiffness to use adjacent face holds. A tall order? I'm more likely to fit evolv, tenaya or five ten shoes than scarpas or la sportiva.

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slab_happy 24 May 2019
In reply to flaneur:

> That's very helpful. Sounds like it would be best to size close to usual street shoe, hope yours stretch a little.

Yeah, I'd go with street shoe size. Mine still require a bit of wrestling to get off at the end of the day; I guess they have to be fairly close-fitting (and sturdy of elastic) not to get displaced.

Worth it not to have permanently lacerated ankles, though.  And they seem pretty durable.

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Joe Murphy 26 May 2019
In reply to Martin Bennett:

Hi ive just been reading the post, i may be interested in the shoes, where are you based? 

cheers 

Joe 

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wbo 27 May 2019
In reply to George Frisby:bit late, but given the 'vagaries ' of Sportiva sizing then if you're 43/44 in street shoe sizing then La Spo 42,5 will be too big.  If you're 4344 in other rock shoes they might be ok

Post edited at 08:37
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alasdair19 27 May 2019
In reply to George Frisby:

The sportiva mythos tick all the boxes apart from high ankle. I used then a lot on grit, chamonix granite and Yosemite. Buy small as they stretch a fair bit. 

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Butty 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Otis:

Yes they do, I got myself a pair and they seem ace so far 

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LucaC 18 Jun 2019
In reply to George Frisby:

I’ve been using Scarpa Maestro Mids. Great shoe, highly recommended. They size a bit smaller than Scarpa usually do so give yourself a bit more wiggle room in the sizing for a flat foot when crack climbing.

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TimMorgan 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Martin Bennett:

Hi Martin, I could be interested - could you drop me a message with details.

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gobbledigook 19 Jun 2019
In reply to George Frisby:

I'm on my second pair of la sportive TC Pros. I love them as a comfortable all day shoe that can get aggressive of you want to stick your toe in and are pretty good at edging. 

I wear my street shoe size for comfort, but you could downsize a half if you want a tighter fit (probably unnecessary for grit)

You can get then from Bergzeit , initially I ordered two pairs to get the sizing right, and sent one back. 

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