/ Help! Rock shoe stretching?

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NottsRich on 06 Sep 2012
I have a pair of Edelrid Reptiles and they're great. Well, one is, the other shoe is about quarter of a size too small which ends up compressing my big toe and becoming painful after a few minutes. It still actually hurts now after climbing last night.

I've used them for in total about 20 hours (8-10 weeks, 2/3hrs a week) and they've eased a bit, but I just need a tiny bit more room out of them... Does anyone have any tips? I've heard anything from microwaves, to hot showers, to steaming them over a kettle. Can anyone recommend anything that works?

Worst case is I cut my losses and admit that buying the last pair in the shop for £40 was a bad idea. It was a good bargain at the time!

Richard88 on 06 Sep 2012 -
In reply to NottsRich: I did exactly the same. Found mine really uncomfortable and they're not even very small. Ended up buying a pair of evolv Velcro shoes and I love them, better grip on the soles too!
cha1n on 06 Sep 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

When you get this type of pain it's time to sell up and accept you made a mistake. If the shoe is going to fit you it should only take a few weeks before they fit well.

I've gone through quite a few pairs of shoes on the quest for the perfect shoe and am currently selling a pair because they didn't work out. I prefer to use the shoes for a few weeks before making a decision on if I'll keep them as I think it's impossible to know in the shop. Anyway, I'm rambling on. Just sell up, you'll make your money back at that price.
wurzelinzummerset on 06 Sep 2012
In reply to NottsRich: Get a broom handle and insert into the shoe so its end is where your big toe would be. Get a krab and thread it through the loops on the heel-end of the shoe. Find somewhere you can position this lot with one end of the broom handle on the ground and the other end, with shoe, uppermost. Suspend a 14 pound weight from the krab and leave for 48 hours.

I've just done this with some new shoes myself, and it works.
richyfenn on 06 Sep 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

I put my latest pair in the oven for a couple of minutes at about 100 degrees C. They came out very pliable so I put them on over a thin pair of socks and let them cool. Now they fit great. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it though, try and get them right the 1st time ;)
earlsdonwhu - on 06 Sep 2012
In reply to NottsRich: I have found heat plays havoc.... a pair left accidentally on a parcel shelf under the Verdon sunshine had the glue melt and sole just fell off!
NottsRich on 06 Sep 2012
In reply to NottsRich: So, I can sell up and probably break even. I can try the broom handle and weights idea (that was the next on my list). Or I can try heat, but I suspect the adhesive used softens at about 40-50 degrees, based on previous experience. There is a fine line then between softening the rubber enough to form it, and melting the adhesive so I don't think I'll try that one.

I've just had a hot shower in them (weird experience!) and was going to leave them on to re-shape a little. I got bored and it hurt a bit so I took them off to dry. I'll hang them up overnight on a broom handle and see what happens.

Thanks for the tips, I'll report back soon! Any other suggestions welcome. (Does anyone want any Edelrid Reptiles in beautiful green, UK size 8.5, very little wear? Freshly washed and in the box! Can supply pictures. £40 + p&p)
Alex Slipchuk on 07 Sep 2012
In reply to NottsRich: may sound obvious, take them to a cobler and get him to stretch them onstretching machine, half size at a time.
Andes - on 07 Sep 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

You could try using shoe trees a bit like these....

I've a pair of rock shoes that are slightly too small and storing them with shoetrees inserted really helps for fit and comfort. Makes me look like a grandad at the crag though, not cool!
The Lemming - on 07 Sep 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

I no longer buy boots smaller than my feet because I like compfort.

However on one occasion, I bought a pair of boots that needed some serious breaking in. I solved the issue by making plastercast moulds of my feet. The moulds were then left in the boots for days at a time.

Bottom line, this worked for me, especially when I heated the rubber with a hairdryer.
adstapleton - on 07 Sep 2012
In reply to NottsRich:
1) build your own bouldering wall in your garage to ensure you can spend the maximal amount of time possible climbing, more climbing = more breaking in. You can do it ten minute bursts and take the shoes off in between. This worked for me with my latest 5:10 Teams. I already had the home wall, it's not like I built it just to break the shoes in, but you get my drift?

2) endure the pain

3) take pain killers and endure the pain.

I guess my salient point is that it's time spent climbing that wears them in, they'll mould to your feet a bit, so arbitrary stretching may proove fruitless.

Also, I noticed that for me, i have to put them on just right; have to wiggle my toe into the box, press on one side to give space for the outside of my foot to get comfy. After figuring that out everything was a lot comfier.
Big Lee - on 07 Sep 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

As already stated before, there's not much you can do about length if too short. You can stretch depth or width within reason but not length as you are limited by the rand. I'm lucky enough to have a shoe stretcher at work. I've always had problems with toe depth. A heat gun is needed to soften the rubber sections over the toes before putting the shoe of the stretcher as the stretcher olone will not perminantly deform the rubber. I've bought a pair before that were too short in length to tolerate and there is no alternative other than buy a bigger pair and cut your losses.
deepsoup - on 07 Sep 2012
In reply to The Big Man:
It could be worth talking to Feet First in Chesterfield about that. A few years ago they stretched a pair of mine that were too narrow for the princely sum of three quid. :O) There are also sprays you can get that 'ease' the leather and make it more likely to stretch. (Don't suppose they have any effect on synthetics though.)

I have a feeling that professional stretching machines are designed to stretch the width more than the length though, not sure.

I don't know if I have unusually long big toes, or if I'm unusually intolerant of having that big-toe knuckle bent, but I always find new shoes hurt my big toe the way the OP describes. If I buy shoes big enough that they don't compress my big toe at all they're *way* too sloppy everywhere else.

I've tried all the tricks recommended so far, but always ended up just having to endure until the shoes (or my feet) break in.

My last pair I think I really did buy too small though. Ow! Ow! OW!
After weeks of wearing the shoes for five minutes and giving up, I decided I'm just too big a wuss to endure that much, so I used a lump of beech and some bits and bobs from by shed to make something medieval and bring the pain back to the shoes. ;O)

They're specifically modelled on my feet (with a slightly exaggerated big toe). It took flippin ages to get them right, but totally worth it. Put them in the shoe, then use the spanner to crank out the length until the shoes beg for mercy!
martinph78 on 07 Sep 2012
In reply to NottsRich: Anyone got any tips for shrinking shoes? lol.

My Red Chilli Spirits seem to have stretched, so much so that I end up with a lot of loose material/rubber over the top of teh foot and toe area.

I'm not sure if it's happened because they have got wet, but wouldn't expect that to have such a dramatic affect. They were "comfortably tight" when I bought them.

yarbles - on 08 Sep 2012
In reply to NottsRich: Nail file

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