/ New climbing shoe reality check

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L raussmf 28 Nov 2019

Just been to go outdoors looking to replace my old Evolvs which after a few years are full of holes.

Looking for something a bit higher performance shamens etc.

Im a size 11 street shoes but even 12's were curling my toes badly. No 13's to try either.

Am I just not used to higher performace shoes are are they just too small?

cheers

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stevevans5 28 Nov 2019
In reply to raussmf:

I find this really weird as I wear size 10 trainers and my shamans are 8.5... Do you have really narrow feet? The shamans are fairly wide fit 

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Angrypenguin 28 Nov 2019
In reply to raussmf:

I was surprised by some evolv the last time I bought shoes. I'm a street 9/9.5 and could get my foot into a 9 or 9.5 evolv kronos but they would have been painful for > 3 mins. Ended up at a size 10.5 kronos. I think if the fit is really good on your foot you can buy bigger because they get bigger in all the right places leaving no bagginess.

Despite what the marketing would like you to think, aggressive and small shoes do not automatically lead to better performance - only if they fit well! I think the key is finding something that fits the shape of your foot.

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L raussmf 28 Nov 2019
In reply to Angrypenguin:

Agree - if  I cant find the right size I'm all for going for something more confirtable and inevtiably cheaper!

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MischaHY 28 Nov 2019
In reply to raussmf:

You know the shoe is supposed to make your toes be crimped right? Sorry if this is obvious. 

Could be they simply don't fit but depends on foot shape etc. I used to downsize 2 sizes in Shamans. Now using Sportive and 3-3.5 sizes down in every shoe aside from alpine shoes. 

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L raussmf 28 Nov 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

Yeah just trying to understand the difference between crimped and too small! I accept Im used to my well worn stretched out shoes...thanks

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HeMa 28 Nov 2019
In reply to raussmf:

Reality check, get shoes that fit...

The next reality check is that do you really neet high performance shoes. Because if you get shoes that fit, they will be precise, sensitive and so on. And then it comes to the climbing you do (and the terrain), to pick the suitable shoes (that fit).

If you climb slabs or vertical stuff with edges, downturned shoes are not really helpful... stiff flat shoes are.

And if it is all grit smearing, then you'll want soft shoes (that fit) and so on.

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DenzelLN 28 Nov 2019
In reply to raussmf:

I found Evolv to be on the small side also.

A better idea would be to ignore the numbering on the shoes.

Im a 12 street shoe and wear an 8.5 skwama for quick bouldering burns, and some vapour lace in an 11 for everything else.

I have no definitive reason for the small shoes other than i find i can stand on a smaller edge without the shoe folding up and can generate more power through the toe, i don't feel i can do that anywhere near as well with my bigger shoes.

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MischaHY 29 Nov 2019
In reply to raussmf:

I'm amazed that my response has garnered 6 dislikes! Not sure what I did to earn that but proud nonetheless. 

What sort of grades are you climbing? I often adjust my sizing recommendations to customers with this in mind as someone climbing 7a doesn't need the same level of precision as someone onsighting 8a. 

Shoe choice is a weird one because people often recommend flat/stiff shoes for slabs for example but I did all my hard grit/slate up to E7 in a pair of the old red chilli matador lace which were downturned and incredibly soft. IMO this type of shoe is ideal for friction routes as the shoe folds and conforms to the rock which means more surface area and thereby more grip. 

On limestone though I much prefer a stiffer shoe like the Miura VS which lets you get a lot of weight on really small edges. 

If you're climbing mostly indoors then the softer the better, in all honesty. 

In terms of the 'crimped' feel your toes should be curled but not so much that the nail touches the base of the shoe. If the front of your big toe is angled into the edge then this is ideal in a downturned shoe. Obviously if they're hideously uncomfy there's no point but be realistic about initial tightness that will loosen out to a good fit in a few sessions. 

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thepodge 29 Nov 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

You probably got the dislikes for saying your toes should be crimped. Seems this is an idea that is falling from fashion. 

There's been a few of these threads lately and they always come out the same. Ignore the number and buy ones that fit. 

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MischaHY 29 Nov 2019
In reply to thepodge:

Odd. It's unquestionably true. One major function of a climbing shoe is that it shapes your foot in a way that you can put the maximum force through your toes on small footholds. Much like the strongest finger position is full crimp (in terms of maximal force applied), the strongest position for your toes is crimped over. 

This isn't the same as saying shoes should hurt, because mine certainly don't and I can't imagine climbing well in painful shoes. That being said, a small amount of initial discomfort until the shoes have stretched is par for the course and ultimately leads to a well fitting shoe that can be resoled several times (I usually get 4-5 resoles out of my Skwamas, for example). 

Of course, people are more than welcome to take a larger size that feels comfortable from the start but they do need to understand that this will mean a relative drop in performance from the shoe plus the reduction of longevity in that resoles will be loose rather than comfy. 

I wouldn't care about shoe size for bimbling up VS either but when someone is asking for a good fit on a performance shoe then you can assume they have aspirations to harder climbing where sensitivity and good, snug fit is a prerequisite. 

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The Ex-Engineer 29 Nov 2019
In reply to raussmf:

I've probably got 6-7 pairs of shoes in the cupboard, mostly because I'm loathe to throw them away if they've still got some wear left in them. However, one type can't possibly do everything so they vary from super soft velcros through to the stiffest of the stiff in a pair of FiveTen Anasazi Blancos lace-ups. 

However for the last decade or more I've done the majority of my climbing and certainly 99% of my indoor bouldering (up to V5/6) wearing one of the cheapest mainstream shoes available - Evolv Defys velcros, with an occasional detour to Evolv Pontas or Valor velcros when they've been available more cheaply.

On several occasions when climbing indoors, I've had people say that they were surprised at my choice of shoes and that I haven't felt that need to buy a supposedly "performance" model at twice the price. Conversely, when projecting my first f7c on Peak limestone last year I bought a pair of Anasazi Blancos just for that one route. It's all about understanding the style of climbing you want to do and picking something appropriate. 

What many people don't understand is that whilst climbing shoe manufacturers are going in one direction and producing an ever larger number of diverse high performance shoes at the top end of their ranges, the mainstream climbing wall industry been moving in another direction making the blocs and routes they set more "fun" and further removed from some styles of outdoor climbing. That generally means amongst other things - walls are getting steeper; there's fewer hard moves from small crimps that can rip skin or risk rupturing tendons and fewer routes feature  precise, technical and hard to use footholds.

Basically, these days if you're climbing average grades indoors, climbing shoe performance is probably less relevant than it's ever been. Also, the overlap between shoes suitable for different styles and types of climbing is getting smaller and smaller.  Shoes for steep hard bouldering are increasingly useless for trad, equally shoes suitable for hard UK slate or limestone won't be too great for a trip Fontainebleau sandstone. 

For example, Evolv Shamans have been specifically designed for climbing things like V10 outdoor boulder problems on granite. That type of climbing has little relevance to 99% of UK climbers and they are perhaps not a particularly suitable shoe for Go Outdoors to stock for their customer base. However, they do stock them and promote them as a "performance" shoe with the obvious implication that buying them will improve your performance.

So:

Ignore the disingenuous marketing that spending more will help you climb harder.  

Be realistic about your climbing standard and type of climbing.  Performance shoes are primarily designed for performance climbers​​​​​. Really aggressive downturned shoes are designed for really steep and hard climbing. Very stiff shoes are designed for hard technical outdoor routes etc.. 

Try on as many options as you can. That may mean travelling to visit one of the few remaining independent retailers. 

If in doubt, buy what fits best. If it doesn't fit then it's obviously not the right option. 

HTH

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thepodge 29 Nov 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

> Odd. It's unquestionably true. One major function of a climbing shoe is that it shapes your foot in a way that you can put the maximum force through your toes on small footholds. Much like the strongest finger position is full crimp (in terms of maximal force applied), the strongest position for your toes is crimped over. 

That might well be the case but I think like many sports they have been too focused on performance and are only just coming round to the idea that its a very small slice of the market. 

Post edited at 15:01
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MischaHY 29 Nov 2019
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

I'm not sure I agree entirely with the statement that shoe manufacturers and gyms are going in two different directions. Most new shoe models are of the soft/downturned variety which is great in the gym but pretty poor on rock unless bouldering. Consider the Scarpa Furia Air for example. 

I used Shamans for grit headpointing on  slab & vertical routes such as Origin of Species (E5 6a)Narcissus (E6 6b)Spock's Missing (E5 6b) so I think the idea that they're exclusively a steep bouldering shoe is perhaps a little contrived, but I do see your point. 

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MischaHY 29 Nov 2019
In reply to thepodge:

I'm not sure what you mean. For me it makes sense that anyone gets themselves a decent pair of shoes as soon as their footwork gets good enough to not trash them from dragging in 2 months. Climbing shoes are the one thing you can buy that makes a direct difference to your performance ( and maybe also rhino skin!), so why would you deliberately limit yourself by buying something sub-par? 

We can talk about cost, but that wasn't mentioned so I'm assuming it's not a factor. 

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thepodge 29 Nov 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

I don't think that performance is as higher priority as it once was.  

An increasing number of people at the indoor bouldering wall are there not to push grades but because its more fun than the gym. Putting maximum force through their toes on tiny footholds isn't as important to them. In fact when was the last time you saw a tiny foothold in a bouldering comp? I bet you see running and jumping just as much if not more these days and crimped toes isn't going to be helping there. 

My footwork would improve far more if my cake and biscuit input was reduced than it would with some technical crimped shoes. 

Scarpa are just relaunching the Veloce as a wide toe box in technical material so you don't need to crimp to get the fancy benefits. 

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Alkis 30 Nov 2019
In reply to thepodge:

> Scarpa are just relaunching the Veloce as a wide toe box in technical material so you don't need to crimp to get the fancy benefits. 

Wide shoes and and crimped toes are not in any way mutually exclusive.

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thepodge 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Alkis:

Never said it was, just that they are releasing a technical yet comfortable shoe. 

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Alkis 30 Nov 2019
In reply to thepodge:

My point is that you are conflating entirely orthogonal quantities, width, toe position and comfort.

Crimped toe shoes are not supposed to be uncomfortable if they fit well. The old school approach of squishing the shit out of your toes to get them in that position is not what is done these days anyway, if wearing crimped shoes the toe box shape should encourage your toes to assume that position, not squeeze them into it.

The most uncomfortable shoes I have ever had were flat lasted.

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