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Is the idea of a comfortable trad shoe bs?

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 neuromancer 06 Sep 2020

Have tried searching, and I tried the normal advice given in every thread -

a) upsize your normal shoes (arpias 2 uk down, but then they become floppy and unsupportive)

b) buy TC pros (they're too narrow at the toebox - I have wide feet that normally fit the scarpa instinct shape)

I feel like I've tried pretty much every kind of shoe but none give me what i'm after - support and confidence. I trad climb pretty much all over the UK, but usually either yorkshire grit or pembroke limestone.

If it's for harder stuff, I have Instinct Laces (2 UK down) and Stix V2 (2.5UK down) which are both great.

I've tried the scarpa stiff 'trad climbing shoes' - Maestros - in 1 UK down, and they were both soft AND unsupportive AND gave me no confidence in foot placements as I couldn't feel anything, and the weird softness would make your toes roll off tiny holds. I could see them being more supportive if downsized further, but that would defeat the whole point. Spent the whole time overgripping because i didn't know if my foot was going to slip.

Any ideas? Pretty much everyone I know just climbs everything in the same pair of shoes - easy trad, bouldering, sport - and gets on and suffers with painful feet.

Post edited at 09:06
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 1poundSOCKS 06 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

> Any ideas? Pretty much everyone I know just climbs everything in the same pair of shoes - easy trad, bouldering, sport - and gets on and suffers with painful feet.

I nearly always wear comfy shoes for trad. I find I climb really badly when my feet are sore, I don't tend to weight my foot properly. Been using 5.10 pinks and Scarpa Force for Yorkshire Grit and in Pembroke last week. They didn't cause me any problems and I never thought about the shoes, which is usually a good sign.

And I just bought some Otaki a half size up from my usual and they're not ideal for the hardest sport routes but I'm keen to try them on some harder trad routes when I get chance. Maybe worth seeing if they fit you? Supportive and precise.

I also have wide feet BTW.

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 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator UKC Supporter UKC Supporter 06 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

>  Pretty much everyone I know just climbs everything in the same pair of shoes - easy trad, bouldering, sport - and gets on and suffers with painful feet.

Is that really true - everyone I know (mostly old old guys obviously) just wears the same shoes for everything and don't suffer with painful feet!

Chris

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 ianstevens 06 Sep 2020
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Wild tangent here - but is this because old gents who have been climbing for 40 years are used to crap shoes? If you’ve served your apprenticeship in the 80s or before, chances are you learnt to climb with shoes that were very different to modern day offerings. As such, The experienced are used to and “grew up” with a shoe that doesn’t fit with mm precision and rubber that could hold up a small house, so are less bothered by shoes that aren’t perfect such as the OP describes?

This is entirely a Sunday morning thought from someone who started out in the mid 2000s, so would be interested to hear thoughts from EB/Firé (sp?) users et al.

p.s. Not saying the shoes are the be all and end all at all, clearly people did great things in EBs etc that I still can’t do in £100+ shoes  

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 ianstevens 06 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

And to actually answer the thread - I’ve got a pair of BD lace ups which are great for this. Super comfy and I’ve done E1/2 in them. For scale, I’ve only done E5 with top end performance shoes.

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 henwardian 06 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

I wear the same thing for everything. Like 1pound, I use Pinks. They do get a bit more imprecise and sloppy when they start to wear out but I'd say they remain pretty good for half their lifespan. I've never climbed anything hard because I've just never been strong enough for that but they serve pretty well up to E5/6 6b and French 7c. If you are doing hard trad it does often seem like multipitches only have one really nails pitch so you could consider taking 2 pairs of climbing shoes on the route. I'm not sure what you would do on hard sport multipitch, there are a lot of routes with strings of French 8 pitches one after another so most likely you are going to just have to use your boots of pain and suck it up.

One more tip I find with tight shoes is that if you havent had to walk too far to the crag and it's a bit cold, your feet will be smaller and feel a lot better in the shoe. So picking a N or E face or climbing higher altitude buttresses can pay dividends.

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 Ciro 06 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

I tend to just go half or one euro size up from my "performance" size for a comfy trad or long indoor boulder session shoe (Miura VS or pretty much any other LS shoe for me, but they do fit my feet well)

A slightly looser shoe will feel a bit sketchy when you're used to being locked in tight, but in fact makes little difference except when you're operating at the limit. More mileage in them should allow you to relax and stop overgripping.

Also if you only ever climb in tight, supportive shoes your feet could be quite weak, which means they'll get sore as they tire in a looser shoe. Do you spend much time doing activities barefoot? It's a good way to strengthen the feet (for climbing and for just general functionality).

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 climbingpixie 06 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

Another vote for 5.10 pinks for trad. They're pretty comfy and have served me just as well on vdiffs as E2/3s. They've been fine for a lot of Euro sport too, though I do have a secret stash of original 5.10 whites for climbing at Malham.

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In reply to neuromancer:

I think the idea of a "trad shoe" is BS. What on earth makes a shoe suitable for placing nuts and friends?

I don't really see why you need a different shoe for a trad route compared to the sport route next to it, whether that be an E6 next to a 7a in Cheedale or an HVS next to a 6a in Horseshoe?  And how is the same shoe going to optimal grit slab smearing at Stanage and 300 mtrs of crack climbing in Lofoten just because they're both trad climbing? Or in your case Yorkshire grit of Pembroke limestone?

I swear a decade ago no one in the UK talked about "trad shoes" - of course there were soft sensitive shoes and stiff supportive shoes, and different models in those genres would fit different feet shapes better or worse, but "trad shoes" seems to be mainly an american thing even though it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense there. Many of what US websites might call as "great trad shoes" seem to be high tops which protect your ankles a bit in wide cracks, but they don't seem to be generally rated much for thin cracks anyway!

Are you really saying you want comfortable shoes that perform decently? 

Post edited at 10:19
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In reply to TobyA:

> I think the idea of a "trad shoe" is BS. What on earth makes a shoe suitable for placing nuts and friends?

I think it's more the length of time you would typically spend on a trad pitch. It's not unusual to spend an hour on a single trad pitch, whereas I'd say that was fairly untypical for sport.

Hence the emphasis on comfort.

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In reply to planetmarshall:

Well, maybe, but a) if you spend an hour leading a pitch on grit you're probably doing something wrong, but it's still trad. b) People climb long multipitch sport routes - sure, not too many in the UK, but plenty in other places. And c) I walked past Raven Tor yesterday, amazing looking routes but unsurprisingly considering the routes, the climbers there working their projects seemed to be spending A LOT of time in their shoes - sure, much of it was hanging in their harnesses, but it wasn't like they were coming down after every go and pulling their shoes off their heels. I don't imagine though that you are going to be able to even work the moves of say an 8b+ in anything other than whatever you find the best shoes are for you!

I just don't reckon a "trad shoe" makes any sense in the UK, and little sense elsewhere, not unless you only climb much much below your limit on trad - in which case what we are really talking about is a "comfy shoe".

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In reply to neuromancer:

It's all fit in the end and I find I can't get much to suit my feet well, but I now stick with Boldrini Tigers for almost everything.  They are a good combination of stiff - stand on dinks stiff - but supple somehow for smearing and the lacing system is good.  I do have a pair of Boldrini Apache, which are the same volume, but more downturned.  I got these for harder things, but find I never put them on as the Tigers seem capable on everything.  Boldini also do Spiders which are stiff, but the last is different and I don't find them comfortable.

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 galpinos 06 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

Following this with interest as I’m currently looking to go just go a size up in the velcro versions of my current shoes but keen to see if there is a holy grail.

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 galpinos 06 Sep 2020
In reply to TobyA:

You may get upset at the terminology Toby but I think we all know. what the OP means, a show that is comfy (enough) to wear all day, multiple routes, multi pitch etc but that still performs well enough so that you still trust them and can climb “hard for you”. It would also be suitable for long multi pitch sport (but we don’t have that here. Imagine a day at Gogarth, Pavey etc, lots of slow climbing fiddling with gear, building belays, maybe abbing off. It all involves a lot more time in your shoes than 4 redpoint burns of approx 5 minutes in a day.

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 1poundSOCKS 06 Sep 2020
In reply to galpinos:

> You may get upset at the terminology Toby

Something touched a nerve.

I have shoes I never use for sport and only use for trad. And vice versa. The rock type, style of climbing and length of time spent on a pitch can all lead to differing requirements. Seems daft to not have specific shoes if you can afford the initial outlay. 

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In reply to neuromancer:

Find a shoe in your price/quality/style range that fits the shape of your feet with no pressure spots (this is very personal, so I think recommendations of particular models is largely irrelevant}. Buy them tight for optimum performance on single pitch and sport stuff and either use them for long routes when they are older and stretched or buy the same shoes in a larger size.

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 Ciro 06 Sep 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> I don't imagine though that you are going to be able to even work the moves of say an 8b+ in anything other than whatever you find the best shoes are for you!

Of course you can. A tight performance shoe will give you an efficiency edge for sending a sport route, but it's rarely a prerequisite to perform a single move on anything other than a limit boulder crux.

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In reply to galpinos:

Do you wear the same shoes for trying a route of whatever your top grade is on grit as you would for doing some big multipitch on Lochnagar or Scafell? I don't (or don't normally - currently I'm trying to get as much wear as possible out of some shoes for a UKC review so I'm using them for everything).  Definitely this year, but I'm sure most years actually, a good majority of my trad climbing is single pitch. If you live in Bangor or Lancaster or Glasgow, I could see some people doing most of their climbing on multi pitch, but for a lot of us single pitch cragging is the norm. 

I totally see why you might have a shoe you like on limestone and different one on gritstone, but do people really change their shoes from trad climbing at  Willersley Castle Rocks to sport climbing up the hill at  Intake Quarry?! 

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In reply to Ciro:

Fair enough. So you work a route in one pair of shoes and then have a "sending pair"? Do you go for a totally different shoe or just different size/more worn in pair of the same?

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In reply to TobyA:

Get Moccs and stronger feet

:P

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In reply to neuromancer:

It might be helpful if you said what is hard and easier for you, just because I guess that might have a big impact on how useful recommendations are. If hard for you is 8a and you want comfy shoes for trad E4s, sorry I can't help! But I'm currently testing a pair of 5.10 Kirigami - they aren't expensive, they fit my wide forefoot rather well (never had 5.10s before because all the models I've tried were too thin for me, or rubbed against my ankle bone badly!). I've climbed 6b and HVS/E1 in them which is hard for me. Normally I'd put whatever are my "best" shoes at the time trying routes of those grade - normally something quite tight that I wouldn't want to wear for long periods, but in the 5.10s I can climb the routes and keep them on after with no discomfort - so have been impressed. It's the standard stealth rubber so they seem as sticky as anything else I've used.

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 jon 06 Sep 2020
In reply to ianstevens:

> ... so would be interested to hear thoughts from EB/Firé (sp?) users et al.

EBs were probably the most uncomfortable shoes (they used to be referred to as boots) I've ever owned. I must have had dozen or so pairs. One thing you might not realise is that they used to shrink rather than stretch. They fell out of favour after a completely useless 'improvement' which cleared the way for other brands of which Boreal Firés were probably the biggest leap forwards. Apart from their superior rubber, they fit my wide feet too

Post edited at 13:44
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 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator UKC Supporter UKC Supporter 06 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

I know I'm not the target audience for this thread, but for what is it worth, I have always worn lace-ups. If you get a model that laces right to the toe you can completely change the feel of the shoe by cranking-up/loosening off the laces - loose for long easy routes, tight for more technical stuff. You don't get that option with velcro shoes,

Chri

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 Jon Greengrass 06 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

Give up climbing, I did for over 10 years because I was fed up of not being able to get a pair shoes that fit properly. My feet are wider than an H  fitting. I had a boot fitting at Altberg once, when the fitter saw my feet he said I’d probably need to go fully custom, but I don’t have that kind of money. I suspect there are other people like me who were never able to get climbing shoes to fit properly and gave up on climbing, so you are unlikely to see them posting on here.

I took up climbing again a couple of years ago and made myself a semi custom pair of shoes, I reckon they are worth about 2 V-grades because they fit so much better. I also have a pair of Ocun Oxi+ wide fit shoes but even they are too narrow, I still had to size up to be able get  my feet into them and as desultory have dead space at the toes, which makes standing on small footholds impossible, still they are the best shoes I ever bought.
 

Post edited at 15:05
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 ianstevens 06 Sep 2020
In reply to jon:

> EBs were probably the most uncomfortable shoes (they used to be referred to as boots) I've ever owned. I must have had dozen or so pairs. One thing you might not realise is that they used to shrink rather than stretch. They fell out of favour after a completely useless 'improvement' which cleared the way for other brands of which Boreal Firés were probably the biggest leap forwards. Apart from their superior rubber, they fit my wide feet too

Interesting indeed, thanks for sharing. I’d always presumed the less aggressive shoes d’jour were comfy, but that makes perfect sense given the name with which they were referred to (I.e. boots). 

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 galpinos 06 Sep 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> Do you wear the same shoes for trying a route of whatever your top grade is on grit as you would for doing some big multipitch on Lochnagar or Scafell? 

Currently, yes! Hence I was interested in the replies as I want something comfy that I can trust. I have a pair of worn in whites that I wear if the route is at whatever is currently my limit, though I might wear some work in pinks if it’s a crack. Grit “mileage” is done I the pinks.

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 Ciro 07 Sep 2020
In reply to TobyA:

I'll usually have one pair of Miura VS, one pair of Solutions and over pair of Speedsters that are in new and tight fitting condition in my bag, and come out for sending depending on the route. Working shoes will be older resoled miuras and solutions and/or a size or two up.

Although sometimes, depending on the footholds, I'll actually find that I was climbing better in the older shoes and the sending edges go back in the bag.

I should add that I've never sent an 8b+, but I have a few long standing projects in the low 8s.

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 Andy Hardy 07 Sep 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

+1.

Also, shoes are often softer/baggier after a resole, so when your best pair have worn out and been resoled, use them for the "all day" routes/sessions

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 flaneur 07 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

As Toby and Robert say. Instinct laces fit and work well for you, laces usually offer more adjustment than velcros, so buy a pair a half or full size bigger. You can further adjust the size with thin socks. My favourite shoes are 5.10 whites (RIP), size 9 for 3 minute routes, 9.5 for 60 minutes, 10 for 8 hours.

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 C Witter 07 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

I've managed to find only mildly uncomfortable (climbing multipitch on a hot day) to thoroughly comfortable shoes that are still very precise and supportive, so I think you just need to keep looking.

I'm only going down 1.5 sizes in Evolv, 1 full size in Scarpas and half a size in new 5.10s and Boreal shoes. And that's for what I consider a "performance fit", rather than for "comfy". I suspect going 2 to 2.5 sizes down may be a bit excessive!

I have found that shoe fit is about more than size, though. E.g. I've a pair of 5.10s stonelands I bought cheap that are a whole size down, but are very soft and a bit sloppy because of the build (though I still like them for grit bouldering circuits), whereas my whites are 0.5 sizes down and feel great on tiny holds. The newest pair are very stiff and attack my heel a little in hot weather, whilst a year-old pair have softened up quite a bit on all fronts, but still feel able to tackle delicate limestone footwork.

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 GrahamD 07 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

I usually wait until my best pair stretches, then wear them with socks.

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In reply to neuromancer:

I find Miura laces to be a good trad shoe, but they fit my feet well.  I think fit is most important, followed by stiffness - nothing worse than standing on pointy spikes fiddling gear in in slippers.

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 MarkH55 07 Sep 2020
In reply to ianstevens:

My EBs were so comfortable I remember walking to Gimmer Crag in them from the NT campsite, I was wearing nice thick socks as well, though.

I've got a lovely comfortable pair of 5.10 laced greens at the moment, only wear then on 'easy stuff' but given I only climb to HVS/E1 I should really be wearing them on everything.

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 Monkeydoo 07 Sep 2020

What shoes you NEED is an illusion created by manufacturing needs ! 

1 pair of shoes is not good for business  ! 

Bit like mountain bikes , £5000 bikes are not 5 times faster than £1000 bikes ;-) 

I know a guy who climbs e7 in flat shoes and a nutter who climbs vdiffs in solutions each to their own ect 

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In reply to neuromancer:

I have three main pairs of shoes 

An aggressive pair for indoor and outdoor bouldering and steep RP attempts. (Banana and slightly soft shoes) 

A comfy pair for long multi-pitches and general all day tradding. (flat and stiff shoes) 

A pair for sport onsighting and harder trad routes. (stiff slightly downturn edging shoe). 

Most of my trad is around the vertical plane on longer routes. I think you need to think about the climbing you do and what shoe suits it best like people have suggested a grit "trad shoe" will probably not be the ideal shoe for limestone trad. So I think the idea of a "trad shoe" is rubbish but there are shoes that are and aren't good for certain types of trad. 

Edit: My girlfriend is very glad my shoe search is over as I had this same issue trying to find a new "trad shoe" to replace my blancos. In the end I've found the La Sportiva Kataki to be excellent, being pretty comfy but stiff and slightly downturn maintaining enough performance on the smaller holds and is worth a try as they fit like a tc pro but with a wider toebox

Post edited at 11:22
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In reply to neuromancer:

Agreed about the Maestros - a very inferior replacement for the Techno X. If you have Scarpa shaped feet you might still be able to get hold of a pair of those at discount. 

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 Kevster 11 Sep 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

I find the sportiva solution really comfortable. 

Have climbed all day in them on limestone, granite and slate. 

Just cos the look aggressive doesn't mean they are uncomfy. Need something else for the down climb tho.

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In reply to Jonathan Lagoe - UKC:

Interesting. I've got a pair of Techno X that I got half price a few years back. I've found them great, for me, anything I can do in my Miuras I seem to be able to do in them. So you think the Maestro is not a worthy successor?

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 rgold 12 Sep 2020
In reply to TobyA:

It's so dependent on foot shape.  I have a pair of Maestro Mid's that are more comfortable for me than TC Pros and perform just as well on edges and better on smears.  The only thing they're worse at is certain off-finger cracks, as their toe profile is rather high.  Chris Kalman seems to agree about most of this as well. http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web19c/ms-scarpa-maestro-mid .

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 neuromancer 12 Sep 2020
In reply to rgold:

Worth noting - my return to this thread - that the Maestro Mid is significantly stiffer in structure than the Maestro (now known as Maestro Eco).

The Maestro has a half length midsole like a performance climbing shoe - which would be great if you wanted to downsize them to balance this out and gain the support; but then you defeat the purpose of trying to get your toes flatter for crack climbing and comfort. So what happens is you constantly feel like you're rolling off of edges, and I got loads of calf pump wearing them (in comparison to say, Instinct Laces).

I fully take the point above that perhaps I just have weak feet - a weird one to suggest, but at least it has some merit as an explanation as I've always worn smaller shoes - but largely I think the concept is wrong. Nobody writes on the reviews for approach shoes when discussing climbing "yeah they're soft but you can edge in them if you have muscular feet".

What else is worth trying? My foot is reasonably broad, but not very asymmetric - i.e. chisel shaped, where my toes don't taper and little toe is almost as long as my big toe. I want the shoe to be the one I pick for, say, 10 pitches between hvs and e2, rather than thinking - I guess I'll just suffer on the route so I have confidence in my feet.

Post edited at 08:27
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