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Minimalist climbing shoes

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Hello!

Over the past year or so I have made the transition to minimalist/barefoot shoes - it has worked grand for me, no more twisting of ankles or sore back/legs after a walk and no struggle finding insoles that work any longer.

However... for climbing this has not been as great. My feet have slightly 'grown' (splayed) and my rock shoes are too small now. Winter boots are also a bit more of a struggle as barefoot shoes just don't work with climbing crampons (but that is not as much an issue with summer hopefully making an appearance in Scotland soon...).  

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone else on here has made the transition and what your advice is? I have seen fivefinger shoes might be suitable for my kind of climbing (ie low grades, nothing too strenuous), or was wondering if even normal barefoot trainers would do? I was quite happy with LS Mythos before. I could also size up half a size or a size in those and give that a try, they were already pretty minimalist and comfy. But before I just go out and spend money on something I figured someone may have walked this road before (quite literally) and can advice what worked for them?

Many thanks!

(and yes, I do understand why rock shoes are the way they are etc etc, that is clearly not my question here - I am very happy with the barefoot transition and do want to keep climbing easy grades and not have sore toes, so any advice to help me along with that would be much appreciated!)

1
 MischaHY 19 Jun 2022
In reply to MichelleChristiana:

5 finger shoes don't work well unfortunately but what you're looking for is a slipper style shoe with a comfy size. The softer the better in this scenario which mimics the barefoot style nicely. I'd suggest something like the Unparallel Mocc in your street size would fit your expectations well. 

 Kryank 19 Jun 2022
In reply to MichelleChristiana:

I would second was was said above, with one difference that the Unparallel Up Duel is a softer and comfier slipper than the Yellow mocc. I have both and love them.

In reply to MichelleChristiana:

I’ve used minimal shoes for nearly 15years except for certain specialty footwear (mountain boots, ski boots, etc), your best option for a climbing shoe would be something wide and soft. I use mundaka which aren’t very wide but they are soft and for the short amount of time you actually wear them there’s not really much effect on your feet for the performance gained. OCUn Ozone Plus might work for you. Big boots are a problem generally as most manufacturers don’t know what a foot looks like. 
for easy routes and scrambling I generally use Altra Grafton approach shoes or the king mt. Vivo don’t work as well i find and fivefingers are not ideal.
 

the problem is you are applying a niche to a niche so there aren’t really any options, and for performance climbing shoes you won’t get much benefit from a wide and lose fit. 
there is a US company that will custom make shoes to your exact foot shape but they are expensive. 
 

For Climbing I think you will struggle to get something that fits the minimalist criteria and gives you reasonable performance, and for the short amount of time you actually wear them I don’t think it would offer much benefit aside from comfort.

 Kevster 19 Jun 2022
In reply to MichelleChristiana:

There is a climb in bare feet undercurrent around the world. 

Some can climb quite hard grades too. I suspect it's rock specific, grit maybe ok. Granite maybe a bit aggressive in the skin. 

Have you tried it? Just a passing thought. 

In reply to Kevster:

This.

Last weekend, with the help of beautiful weather, a friend convinced me to try climbing barefoot (easy, short to moderately-high bouldering on sandstone) and it was honestly a revelation! After the initial awkwardness, it became very pleasant and liberating.

Definitely worth considering imo

 AlanLittle 19 Jun 2022
In reply to MichelleChristiana:

Scarpa Veloce are soft, broad in the forefoot and comfy while still being an actual functional climbing shoe

 wbo2 19 Jun 2022
In reply to MichelleChristiana: I'd suggest anything wide and very soft.  Wider than what you used to wear can mean many things so my suggestion is go to a shop with a large range.  

Ultimately Furia air , and not too tight?

In reply to MichelleChristiana:

Grand, thank you all so much. I have ordered a couple of the shoes recommended to see how they are.

As for the barefoot suggestion - never really considered it seriously. I did come across it at some point and just thought it a bit too crazy to do, and that is partly the reason I asked about Fivefingers as that would give a wee bit of protection for the feet in cracks/on granite... But aye I'll give it a try - can't imagine a full mountain day with no footweat on though

 Iamgregp 21 Jun 2022
In reply to MichelleChristiana:

I had the pleasure of climbing with this guy in Vietnam https://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/climbing/meet-vu-nguyen-worlds-best-barefoot-climber/

He's climbs up to around 7a in flip flops, after that he's barefoot.

In reply to Iamgregp:

And Charles Albert, of course, who's climbed 9A without shoes.


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