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Did I buy too small? [Beginner]

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 Chrisso-94 12 Sep 2020

Hi all,

Really new climber here, and just this weekend purchased my first pair of shoes.

I have been hiring the first 3-4 times, not sure on exact model but they were 5.10s in a size 11 (I wear UK 10 in trainers)

I went to my gym yesterday and took advice on fitting etc. I ended up with 5 10 Kirigami's in a 10.5

I've put them on just whilst sat on the couch and within 20-30mins they become very sore on my big toes. The big toe is most definitely bent a bit, i couldn't begin to work out how much, but its not comfy.

I am really concerned I have the wrong size, but prior to the gym visit I tried the following...

- Boreal Joker plus

- evolv defy

- tarantulas

- scarpa origin v2

I honestly, can't find a comfortable fit at all. My feet are differing sizes, left foot larger than right by half a CM. If I get a snug fit on my smaller, right foot, the left foot pays for it.

Equally a snug right foot fit is too big for my right and causes 'creases' when I tip toe.

The shoes I have now are synthetic and allegedly won't stretch much at all so could have to deal with this pain...

The other option is buying a pair of tarantulas in a size 9 which really hurt my feet, but I hear these stretch up to a full size and could work much better.

I'm at a total loss right now, I don't want to come across as fussy, and I know the shoes haven't broken in, but it just hurts my toes so much it distracts me from wanting to climb...

I equally don't want the gym to think they wasted time with me, unless I just be hard faced and say I tried them of an evening after a run and they don't fit at all (I went the store at mid-day).

Please can I have some advice, I'm really struggling and it's beginning to demotivate me

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In reply to Chrisso-94:

Welcome to the eternal struggle!

A breaking in period is usual with new shoes, synthetic or otherwise. But I would suggest that the shoe style could be wrong for your feet, given you've gone for a moderate size and still feel discomfort from static wear. 

The gym will understand – you're not the first climber to struggle with this, and you certainly won't be the last. Just head back and ask for more advice. It'll be worth it when you find the right pair. 

Good luck!

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 JHub 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

The first pair of shoes I bought I could barely get on my feet but once id warn them in they were about perfect!

I now get all my shoes from Ebay ( often ppl are selling cos they think they bought wrong size, or just didnt like climbing as much as they at first thought). If you're careful you can pick up a nearly new pair for under £20 and if they do turn out not to suit you haven't wasted as much money. Might be a way to find some you like?

Best of luck

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 Chrisso-94 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

Just really want to find something that works, it fits my heel perfectly but is really hurting my toes so much and I just don't think its something I can "work with" 

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In reply to Chrisso-94:

They are too small. The perfect fit for all round shoes are snug, tight, but comfortable. Your toes should be flat but snug against the end of the shoe. Synthetic shoes don't really stretch a lot, especially length wise. You'll hear from a lot of people who have shoes that don't fit properly and think you also should have shoes that hurt, but trust me - when you find the perfect pair you'll realise they are all in bad relationships! (This doesn't apply to downturned shoes). 

Another big problem is shoes that bend the big toe inwards, causing pain on the knuckle when loaded. Asymmetric shoes solve this issue for me. 

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 Chrisso-94 12 Sep 2020
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

My toes are most definitely not flat.

Big toe is raised a lot and each toe is bent a bit less than the big toe.

I'm going to call the gym now and explain that I came early for the fitting when in reality id be climbing late... 

At this point I genuinely do not know, what to go for now. I haven't a clue...

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In reply to Chrisso-94:

What are your feet like? Wide? Narrow? 

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 Chrisso-94 12 Sep 2020
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

If I am honest, I really don't know.

I wear brooks running shoes, and they are the "normal" width they offer, I can go measure them if it helps?

Spoke to the gym, they are gonna be iffy over a refund I can tell already, but I'll just go full Karen and use the "i bought these under your advice" line

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In reply to Chrisso-94:

I wouldn't worry too much about 'creases' in the shoe, every flat shoe will crease on an edge, but it should be supportive, and shouldn't feel sloppy or loose. Bent toes in climbing shoes can cause a lot of health problems, especially when a beginner will be spending most of their time on slabs and big holds. I don't think it's acceptable for shops to allow beginner climbers with no shoe knowledge to get shoes with this fit. Whilst to a degree the onus is on you to know if they're comfortable, I think they should offer you an exchange if the fit is inherently wrong (especially if you expressed discomfort at the fitting). If you really do have significantly different feet sizes (you can get them measured at good shops) then some climbing brands have done split sizes in the past. Evolv don't anymore, others might be able to suggest brands that do. 

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 CampusBored 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

As a first shoe I'd always recommend finding one that keeps your toes flat when weighting them, should obviously be snug but if you can't climb you won't learn - disregard the shoe numbers and judge by trying them on!

You'll know when it's time to look at downsizing (potentially a year + of solid climbing) and even when downsizing, the perfect shoe should only crimp your big toe slightly and your second toe by a faint amount, all others need to be snug but straight - following on from that (more years im afraid) you'll need a plastic bag to get your shoes on, but thats a different story!

I also have a slightly larger left foot (not enough to warrant a different shoe size) I have no advice for this I'm afraid - other than it gets easier eventually!

Good luck mate.

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In reply to CampusBored:

https://img-9gag-fun.9cache.com/photo/aAwNV4R_460s.jpg

Imagine people thinking this is good. Ouch! 

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 Chrisso-94 12 Sep 2020
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

THIS!!!!

the second pic is my foot.

Every single toe is crimped.

Big, id say 50%, then 40 30 etc

None, are flat.

I'm going to try the same shoe in a UK 11, i think my toes will touch edge, be flat, but crease when on a hold, but if you say its no biggie, then I'm happy with that.

Just to confirm then for sanity

- all toes flat, but at the end

- no gaps at the heel at all, the material should be almost glove like at heel

- when standing on tip toes, or a small hold as a test, the crease is fine, providing my toes dont slide around?

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 jezb1 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

First pair of rock shoes should be comfy and snug, allowing your toes to be flat.

If you progress and want more aggressive shoes then you may well want bent toes, but not yet.

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 Bilberry 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

Honestly you have to be climbing really quite hard before discomfort is involved.  Snug but comfortable will take you to 7a and E5.

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 Chrisso-94 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

Heading to the climbing shop in 30mins, so is the consensus, that a crease is fine?

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In reply to Chrisso-94:

Even stiff hiking boots crease, it's normal. If you want support and flat toes then you need stiff shoes which will have a thicker mid sole and not bend so easily, though they are less good on smears and volumes. No shoe is perfect, but a good all rounder will be snug but not hurt, have no gaping spaces or large amount of flexing material on top (as much as possible), and offer some support with some sensitivity. Like a boxing wrap, super snug but not painful. 

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 Chrisso-94 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

Went to the store.

Explained situation.

Able to change size no problem, went up to a UK 11 (half increase)

Anything more would have buried my right foot which is the smaller of the two.

Fit is a lot better, my toes have the tiniest tiniest bend, id say maybe 5% or less (virtually straight)

I do still have a hotspot, right on the big-toe knuckle, but apparently that is near standard on all shoes and is very hard to avoid. Is this true?

Apparently in a month or so the rubber will have softened enough to not apply pressure until a callous forms

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In reply to Chrisso-94:

> I do still have a hotspot, right on the big-toe knuckle, but apparently that is near standard on all shoes and is very hard to avoid. Is this true?

> Apparently in a month or so the rubber will have softened enough to not apply pressure until a callous forms

It's really tough to find shoes that fit you perfectly. Street shoes are baggy and padded, whereas with climbing shoes a few mm is massive. Most people put up with some degree of either discomfort or bagginess somewhere because they can't find the ONE. As far as hotspots go, they can not feel too bad but get a lot worse after an hour of climbing. On the other hand the shoe can give and then fit perfectly. Welcome to the nightmare of shoe hunting! Once you find the one, buy several pairs as they will discontinue or change it. 

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 CampusBored 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

Glad you got your shoes sorted and yeah it's going to be impossible to find the perfect shoe straight out of the box - on more advanced shoes it's your feet that make the shoes 'near perfect' over time and yeah hard rubber + snug = hot spots, could always wear a blister pad or some thin socks for your first few sessions.

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 munkins 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

I've got large, wide gnarly feet and my right is half a size bigger than my left. I've had a dozen or so climbing shoes over the years and I have two choices, pain and performance or pain free but less effective shoes. Last time I went out to Thailand I took an inappropriate pair of shoes with me, after a week I ended up trying on every large climbing shoe in Ton Sia and buying the biggest one. They hurt like buggery but I was climbing a grade harder and feeling much more confident pretty much immediately. I've still got them and they still really hurt but they work better than my other shoes on steep stuff.

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 Wilderbeest 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

Like most I have one foot 1/4 size bigger than the other...

There should be a section for shoes on UKC where you can advertise for “shoe buddies” , people who have the opposite sizing problem to you. 
Buy 2 pairs of the differing sizes and swap left and right ones over.

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 Snozzwanger 13 Sep 2020
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

I must be a victim of wearing shoes too small but i cant climb in  anything else - must be a confidence thing. Certainly cant stand on little dinks so well with big flat shoes but then i do have massive feet.

Flat, snug shoes for a beginner i agree.

Id love to know where La Sportiva get their numbers from, there must be some logic to it? I take a 47 in their approach shoes and a 43 in their skwamas?

Scarpa i find tru(ish) to size and evolv and 5.10 i have to size up.

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In reply to Snozzwanger:

> I must be a victim of wearing shoes too small but i cant climb in  anything else - must be a confidence thing. Certainly cant stand on little dinks so well with big flat shoes but then i do have massive feet.

For sure larger feet will suffer more from shoe sag. Getting stiffer shoes would somewhat help, especially if you're bigger/heavier, but depending on your climbing style that might not be conducive. 

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In reply to Chrisso-94:

Fitting climbing shoes and boots is tricky, until you find a make and size that you know from past experience is just right for you. Bear in mind the following:


There is no consistency of size scales between the different makes of rock shoes - ignore the quoted sizes completely and go entirely by how the shoes feel on your feet. Start by putting a bare foot on the outside of the sole to see what size roughly fits you.


It is impossible to judge the size of climbing shoes and boots sitting in comfort on a bench in a shop. They have to be weighted for a considerable time. Some shops allow you to take shoes home as long as they are only worn around the house. That exercise is usually good enough to eliminate shoes that are badly out in size.


Most of us have left and right feet that differ typically by up to about half a size. So, one usually has to compromise. Another solution is to buy two pairs of different sizes, a larger size that is optimal for the larger foot, and a smaller size that is optimized for the smaller foot. Then use the tighter sized pair for the hardest climbs and the larger pair for all other climbs. I suppose, if you are getting really clever you could mix and match so that each foot has its optimally sized shoe, as some have suggested. (I never bothered to do that).


If you do buy a size that turns out to be slightly too large for normal cragging, don’t discard them. With thin socks, these may turn out to be just the thing for multi-pitch climbs that take many hours. Bear in mind that when climbing all day, feet tend to swell.


Tighter shoes definitely have a higher rock-climbing performance than looser shoes, but the gain in performance is actually rather small and can easily be offset by an enormous gain in pain. I personally disliked really tight shoes for anything other than one pitch climbs. Tight shoes can be absolutely crippling if you climb in them all day.  Some people take their shoes off at stances to relief the pain. (But, if you do that, make sure your shoes are very well belayed: dropping shoes on a big route or mountain can be seriously bad news!)


Walking down from a crag in rock shoes can be pretty painful, because the toes get forced into the front of the shoe. Really tight shoes can be almost crippling in descent to the point that you end up coming down like a crab, taking a lot of weight on the hands to relieve the wretched feet! It’s best, though, to carry relatively comfortable descent shoes for descending from long rock routes. 


As a beginner, you absolutely do not need very tight shoes. It would be a pity to be put off climbing simply because your feet are screaming in pain.


Most of us older climbers did serious damage to our toes and toenails when we were young by wearing climbing shoes and boots that were too tight, although it was probably the big mountain boots that did the most damage. If you don’t believe me, ask almost any old climber to show you his feet, if you can bear the sight! This may make you think twice before buying shoes that are too tight.


All the comments about comfort are much less applicable to sport climbing than to trad climbing, because in sport climbing one does very little walking around, and is lowered to the ground, and the default position is often sitting in a harness with no weight on the feet at all!


Apologies for rambling on; I had intended to make a short reply! Anyway, good luck and happy climbing.
 

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 TomD89 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

Would recommend the Tarantulace over the Tarantula. I found I kept trying to pull the velcro strap tighter and tighter over time to counter stretching and the buckle eventually gave way. The laces are superior for a nicer fit over longer time. Good for up to around V5 before I started blaming the shoes for falling off. Could you not buy 9.5 if 9 are painfully tight then use the laces to adjust fit?

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 Lisa Jones 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

The best beginner shoes in my experience are the La Sportiva Mythos. Soft leather so they’ll stretch but they will be comfortable like no other! Id advise a size below your street size as they run big but honestly when I first started climbing they changed my life. No good for heel hooking or edging on tiny stuff but I have used them up to 7a indoors and 6c outdoors.

 I don’t think you should have any pinch point, although you’ll break in your new shoes more I’m sure. Your shoe certainly shouldn’t be ruining your climbing. Good luck and enjoy 😊 

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 Anoetic 14 Sep 2020

I either take my street shoe size or size down, the most extreme being 4 sizes (la sportiva).  I’ve worn a lot of makes and multiple models from each: la sportiva, Scarpa, 5.10, butura, evolv.  I can take a pair straight out of the box and wear them at the crag.  Will they be tight, definitely , will they be painful or do I have hot spots, definitely no.  
You don’t have the right shoes for you....there are plenty out there, the trouble is when the place you go to buy only has a few models, or you get bad advice.....

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 Timmd 15 Sep 2020
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> Imagine people thinking this is good. Ouch! 

Indeed.

I used to wear tight shoes when I climbed harder, and now having dodgy elbows I wear 5:10 Urban Approach Pro shoes which are about as good as the original Guide Tennies were.

 I like going for walks, and noticed toe joint pain the day after wearing climbing shoes, I figured I'd wear tighter shoes again if I get good enough again to warrant them, and keep happy toes in the meantime.

Post edited at 14:32
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 Chrisso-94 15 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

Tried tarantulaces, and the 9.5 is just far too big on my feet unfortunately, as in even with socks and tightening I can't get them to work.

These 5.10s in size 11 feel absolutely wonderful, but if I can work out how to include an image, I fear this may cause issues (excess crease)

Climbing https://imgur.com/gallery/bikVf6r

Post edited at 15:29
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 Chrisso-94 15 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

Image added, is that crease going to be a problem? Its when I stand on my tip toes it happens 

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In reply to Chrisso-94:

The other issue with climbing shoes can be volume. Sometimes the width of the shoe is good, the length is good but the volume is too much so there is too much material/space on top. Lace ups or lower volume shoes can solve this.  This looks a little bit like the case with the image you shared, though it doesn't look like a terrible fit. Try standing on small edges (the edge of your doorframe or some steps) and see if it feels supportive. 

https://tinylink.net/6bmQk  These images should give you an idea of what normal edging creasing looks like. 

Ultimately if they fit ok it might be worth just sticking with them for now and if you find better fitting shoes down the line you can upgrade. It's not a bad thing to have a couple of pairs for different things. 

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 Chrisso-94 15 Sep 2020
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

Thanks for the continued replies.

In the store I tried the footholds. Felt fine, was able to stand on their V6 holds they are for testing, super small.

Idk if this helps, but despite the creasing my feet do not budge, toes don't slide around etc, it just folds up 

Happy to use for even 6 months then change

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 Rod_Vortex 16 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

I don't know if anyone else has mentioned it yet, but have you tried taping up your big toes? I have some tighter shoes which caused me a lot of grief until I put a strip of climbing tape around my big toe (not a bad idea to shave your toe first, if they're hairy). 

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 tripehound 16 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

I have one foot slightly bigger than the other. I buy my shoes not too tight and stretch the shorter one (or both) using a stick cut slightly longer than the shoe and rounded off at the front. Forced in and left for up to a month it helps stretch the boot. I do this periodically till it's finally comfortable. It saves selling off boots that don't fit.

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 Cobra_Head 16 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

).

> Please can I have some advice, I'm really struggling and it's beginning to demotivate me

Take them back and get the next size up.

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 Mical 18 Sep 2020
In reply to Chrisso-94:

Try wearing silicone toe protectors and if they are lace up leave the bottom two lace strands a bit loose. I stopped the hot spot on my scarpa maestros instantly doing this. May work for you. 

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