/ Ultra newb loosing grip in Boreal Jokers???

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L triniriderz - on 25 Aug 2017
Howdy,

Ultra newb here, just a bit of a observation that I will throw out there and see if it just because I am a total punter or if I need to change my shoes to better suit my strengths..

A bit about me, I am current working in the North of England and have recently taken up climbing and bouldering at a local climbing centre, (No experience previous) I have a back ground in Track cycling and endurance sports so my legs are what I would class strong and I never really get that fatigued in the legs even when I very first started, I have really taken to climbing the last few months but I have noticed a problem that has started to become quite frequent and that is loosing grip as I push up with my legs esp on slopers, I actually noticed this from day one if I am honest on certain foot holds..

I am using the Boreal Joker as I have been told it is a very good beginners shoe and the fit is fine but I am not all that happy with the grip, Certainly I am not ruling out this simply being a technique issue from myself and blaming the tools but I would like to know what others have felt or if you have been in a similar situation.


Tar

john arran - on 25 Aug 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

The rubber on Jokers is comparable to the best rubber on any shoes - certainly close enough such that a beginner is very unlikely to be able to tell the difference. What's far more likely is that there's dirt/dust on your shoes when you're climbing, as that will make far more difference than different rubbers. In fact, some of the stickier rubbers tend to attract dirt more readily so will actually be among the worst performers unless you're very careful to make sure they're really clean when you step onto the wall. A quick spittle-rub at the foot of the wall is the usual way to make sure you're getting the best friction possible when you really need it.
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 25 Aug 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

And once you lose confidence you tend to stop commiting to the foot placement... making it more likely to slip. CLEAN shoes and properly WEIGHT the placement, don't halfarse it
L triniriderz - on 25 Aug 2017
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Indeed mind games at work,

that all for the comments, I will get the shoes wiped over far more frequently and see how we go..


Deadeye - on 25 Aug 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

It's not just the push that matters but the angle of the push. Slopers are all about pressing the foot in with your centre of gravity away from the rock. If you hug the rock (centre of gravity close to it) then the push becomes more parallel and less inward... and hence slips.

Climb slabs such that you are balanced with only fingertip pressure onto the rock.
GrahamD - on 29 Aug 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

If the fit is fine, then I'd say its technique rather than the shoe. Paradoxically its often physically stronger beginners that have this issue because on a lot of climbs the feet don't matter as much for them.

I find it useful when seconding slabs to sometimes see whether I can just stand there hands free or finger tips on the rock (not on a hold) and try to feel the balance of it.
kyaizawa - on 05 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

The Boreal Jokers didn't really work for me when I tried them years ago; aside from the wider fit, I found the stiffness combined with the harder rubber meant I couldn't get them to grip too well. Worth bearing in mind I am fairly short and more crucially, light (8.5 stone), so can noticeably feel the difference between Vibram's XS Grip and XS Edge rubbers for example.

If you're in a similar weight range, it could be the rubber and it might be worth considering a softer rubber; however too soft and they will wear through fast, especially with more "novice" footwork. Otherwise, as others have said, it's probably down to combination of boot cleanliness or proper foot weighting (ie technique).
radddogg - on 05 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

There's a video on youtube - maybe E9 6c - in which Johnny Dawes holds a pint glass upside down holding the flat base with the tip of his index finger and his thumb tip on the side of the glass. Essentially two smears working perpendicular to each other. The balance of friction, angle and force is so finely tuned that the pint glass is held there seemingly against the laws of physics.

Think about the angle you are pushing against the foothold, think about your centre of mass, think about the pivot point your hand holds are creating. On slopers or even smears, try to get the angle of force as close to perpindicular as possible to maximise the force and therefore the friction generated.

One of the biggest issues I see with beginners is trying to reach too high for hand holds. This puts much more effort on your arms and stretches your body flatter against the wall, reducing the angle of your foot placements. Working your feet higher forces your torso out, increasing the angle and therefore friction of your foot placements.
Andrew Kin - on 05 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

Pay for coaching to show you how to use your feet properly. As a newcomer I would be surprised if you were using 20% of the available grip from a good pair of shoes (Which the Joker is). As long as they fit correctly.

I have paid for hundreds of hours of coaching for my daughter and it always comes back to properly weighting the feet and knowing your balance points. She can lead 7b+ indoors and still she was getting coached how to climb a slab on sunday using 20% hands/80% feet. Its amazing the benefits you find once you stop relying on your hands.

ripper - on 05 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

Nobody's said it yet so maybe it's not the case anymore but I seem to remember that in the dim dark distant past, boreal shoes tended to have a smoother, shinier finish to the rubber when new, compared to other brands - so maybe just need a bit more breaking in/roughing up?
Andy Hardy on 05 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

As others have said, I'm betting 10:1 it's a technique problem, but just to check, hire a pair of boots from the wall, or borrow a mates pair (if possible)
C Witter on 05 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:
As far as I understand, the rubber is the same type used on the Boreal Lynx (Zenith) - which has been used to climb up to 9a. So, I'm afraid it's not the rubber. I've noticed that, when wet, this rubber can become a little "slimy"; and I've seen friends new to climbing doing odd things like chalking their shoes (clue: it doesn't improve the grip). I've also been to climbing walls where the holds are extremely dirty, with a slippery mixture of dirt, sweat and chalk - this can be a factor! But, these things aside, it's probably your footwork.

By the by, although people talk about "footwork", a lot of footwork is actually about your body position as a whole, as well as your mind (trusting your feet). Getting these things right allows you to put appropriate force through your feet. Some good tips from others already, but I find just centring your attention on your feet really helps, as it gets you reflecting on what you're doing, what's working, what's not. My feet tend to slip only when I'm overfocused on my hands or feeling scared.
Post edited at 16:49
JRJG - on 05 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

I started climbing this spring and bought Boreal Jokers/Jesters or whatever they're called.
I can't say I have had any trouble slipping, only time my feet slip frequently are because either I've found a wet patch (outdoors), sheep shit (again outdoors), if the hold is badly polished or I am rushing and hence not paying enough attention to my feet.
I'm not in a position to give advice particularly, but if I were to, it would be; footwork.

Keep the shoes, focus on footwork, smearing, edges, 'silent feet'.

JRJG
BarrySW19 on 05 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:
It's pretty hard to work out what the problem might be over the 'net. Investing in a lesson from a pro would be an easy way to work out what is going wrong and get you on the path to good footwork.

An alternative would be to hook up with a club, and ask the better climbers for some tips.
Post edited at 17:25
kyaizawa - on 05 Sep 2017
In reply to C Witter:

> As far as I understand, the rubber is the same type used on the Boreal Lynx (Zenith) - which has been used to climb up to 9a. So, I'm afraid it's not the rubber.

Interesting point. The old Jokers (blue) uses the FS Quattro, which is the one I tried - definitely not the rubber used to climb 9a. Depends which model the OP has, but still not entirely sure they all use the same rubber - the Mutant/Lynx, etc. uses "Zenith", whilst the Alpha/Joker are listed as using "Zenith Quattro". Not sure if they are one and the same, as the Boreal website is suitably vague.
John Stainforth - on 05 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

Boreal Jokers used to be my favorite shoe, and they are not just for beginners. Experts used to use them as well, especially for longer routes.

There is nothing like some real friction slabs (not very common in the UK) to really find out how to use the rubber on ones shoes.
L triniriderz - on 27 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

First off thanks a lot for the info,

I thought I would update the thread for anyone that is interested.

Long and short is I have realised how important making sure the soles are clean as can be during my sessions, I clean the soles after every session and it has made a difference, also cleaning holds of old chalk etc is something I look at now where needed.

I have had some instruction over the last few weeks but since I have been doing a belay and top rope course plus a bit of bouldering outdoors I will be focusing on my footwork over the coming weeks now I have ticked off a few basics to get me started on ropes.

I will be interested to try a pair of 5.10 shoes with the Stealth C4 rubber, The Jokers are "ok" but I am certain there is better out there, I would quite happily give up a bit of longevity for better grip..


Time will tell I guess....


Tar

L triniriderz - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

Something I did not add but should and would ask for feedback is when the soles of the Jokers do "let go" it is very much like there is a lot of grip to there being none, I do not feel there is any warning before it goes, no transition if you will..

I have done a fair bit of motorcycle racing over the years and I can compare it to some race tyres as in there is a ton of grip to a certain point then it lets go without warning and you are on your ass..

Is there a known sole that offers a bit more feel and feedback before you pop off, I am finding this "mental" situation of not trusting my feet on certain holds is probably going to hold me back as I progress..


Regards
MischaHY - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

Anything with XS Grip 2 is phenomenal. Wait until your feet are a bit more used to climbing shoes, but yeah - the Jokers are like clogs compared to something like the La Sportiva Skwama for example.
Jon Greengrass on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

> Is there a known sole that offers a bit more feel and feedback before you pop off, I am finding this "mental" situation of not trusting my feet on certain holds is probably going to hold me back as I progress..

yes, Five.Ten stealth C4 was generally considered to offer the most creep before loosing grip completely compared to Vibram, Red Chilli etc. but I haven't bought or had a pair of rock shoes resoled in ten years so maybe things have changed?

I never got on with stiff shoes and found it much easier to use marginal footholds by moving to a softer shoe with a thinner or no mid-sole, the disadvantage is you then need to build up your toe strength. If your local wall will allow you climb to barefoot this will do wonders for your footwork and foot strength.
John Stainforth - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

What I really liked about Jokers is that they are really tough and can be kept going for years with resoling. I used to get them resoled with 5.10 (Stealth) rubber. That combination really worked well for me.
L triniriderz - on 30 Sep 2017
In reply to John Stainforth:

Out of interest where would be the best place for such a service?,
JIMBO on 30 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

Using feet properly doesn't mean passively placing them on a hold. The feet should be working to hold the foothold. Strong toes help.
You say they fit well... most people have them too floppy. If the toes are flat they will not be as strong as when they are bunched together. (Thinking about how much stronger crimping is for your hands.)
Body position is helpful, as others have said.
Are the shoes (and holds) clean. I don't just mean free of mud or chalk. I find after a few weeks of climbing indoors (so no mud) the sole develops microscopic ridges that give more easily and slip. A spit and rub to squeaky clean always makes a difference.
alx - on 30 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

I have never got on with the Jokers, like you I cannot seem to make them stick to holds like other shoes, plus they dye your feet something silly!

Had the best performance from either Scarpa or La Sportiva but it's courses for horses, everyone has their own preference. You can only find out what suits you best by trialling different brands and types out.

L triniriderz - on 30 Sep 2017
In reply to JIMBO:

Fit is spot on, toes touching slightly curled,. I have been cleaning the soles after every session since I first posted but I have just found that the grip is not what I expected, as a new climber I cannot say this is not due to poor form..

Having looked at the process to resole I think I will just order up a half C4 stealth rubber sole kit and for sh#ts and giggles resole them in the workshop, it looks like a fairly straight forward job if you take your time and use a decent bonding compound.

I will draw a line under it for the time being and may report back after I have used C4 rubber, no doubt it will have at least a placebo effect??.. I actually really like the shoe for comfort but I have read that quite a few people find the sole hit and miss?..

Anyway thanks for the opinions,
Regards
SenzuBean - on 30 Sep 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

One other issue that I didn't see mentioned is the age of the rubber. Did you buy the shoes second-hand, or were they sitting on shop shelves a long time?
Rubber will oxidize even in the absence of use, and this oxidation makes the rubber stiffer and less able to conform to the micro-texture. This will reduce the co-efficient of friction, sometimes very noticeably. If you did buy second-hand or just older shoes - then you may have this problem. A wire-brush will quickly dispatch the top layer of oxidized rubber if this is the case. You can do it anyway to make them grippier temporarily.
L triniriderz - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

Nope purchased brand new from a climbing shop in August, new stock..

Regards
Wayne S - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

I think you could risk wasting money on a resole kit. Sand the bottoms of the shoes you have, and spend the resole money on a second (Different) pair of shoes and then compare the two shoes types side by side. Another option is go to a wall and use some hire shoes. I doubt the issue is your shoes, but as soon as you discount this you can start looking in other areas.

I am often suprised what you can climb in what, I have often climbed V3 in trainers when mucking around at the wall when taking my daughter climbing. Though this may be as much a statement on just how good Scarpa Crux approach shoes are!
Pero - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to triniriderz:
I had the same issue with the Jokers. I got a new pair to replace my old Red Chilis and my feet were slipping off holds left, right and centre at the wall. I had brought my old battered pair and as soon as I changed into them I could climb again.

I offer no explanation for this. But, I would ditch the Jokers or get them resoled with 5.10.

There must be something about them that means they don't suit everyone.
Post edited at 10:09
1poundSOCKS - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

> I am using the Boreal Joker as I have been told it is a very good beginners shoe and the fit is fine but I am not all that happy with the grip, Certainly I am not ruling out this simply being a technique issue from myself and blaming the tools but I would like to know what others have felt or if you have been in a similar situation.

I'd say the best thing to do as a beginner is get in the habit of blaming your footwork, and work to make it better. The shoes will be fine, as long as they're not too baggy.

Most/all of us blame the tools at some point.
L triniriderz - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to Pero:

Yeah it seems people either get on with them or hate them the more reviews I look at, I have ordered up some half C4 stealth rubber and will mount hopefully later this week, for the cost of £20 odd it is worth a punt. The shoe is comfortable so I will be very pleased if the C4 proves as good as is stated and could very well be the perfect match for a all day shoe that works better for me.

I guess time will tell.


Regards
Pero - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to triniriderz:
Just to add another point. Shoes in my experience seem to be very specific. I got a pair of La Sportiva Jekyll, a beginner's shoe, for the wall and a pair of Mythos ( a more expensive, intermediate shoe with a good reputation) for outdoors. But, what do you know, I can't get on with the Mythos and the Jekylls feel like a technical shoe to me. True, they have 5.10 soles now, but I lead up to HVS in them and they feel super solid seconding up to E2 5c.

My feet are size 47 and the Mythos are so long, pointy and floppy that I feel like Pierrot the clown in them!

I'd like to try the Katanas but they don't come in my size.

All the other makes seem to be too small at 47 and too big at 48, so I'm limited to La Sportiva at the moment. Assuming I've given up on Boreal.

So, personally, I'd take all this advice about the merits of any shoe with a pinch of salt. If a shoe feels wrong, it's wrong for you.
Post edited at 17:28
L triniriderz - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to triniriderz:

Well to put this one to bed I used a pair of 5.10 Anasazi pinks yesterday only used once previous with someone that had purchased an incorrect size so the sole was "as new", they are fantastic. Honestly, and I know it is probably in my head but I am way way more confident and actually managed to climb 1 grade higher than previous, of course natural progression cannot be pushed aside. I did 15 pitches yesterday and was grinning like a monkey rather than worrying the next foothold would be my last, bit dramatic granted but you get the point..

So I will keep the new sole I have for a later date and will crack on with the 5.10s that I got for a very good price.

Not much more to add at the moment, other my misses is going to give this climbing lark a punt and I think starting off with the C4 sole is probably the way to go as long as she can fit a pair of 5.10s..


Thanks everyone for the input,


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