You need to know how snug your rock climbing shoes need to be. Do you need to wear painful climbing shoes? Are going to be able to stop hiding your feet? Never underestimate the value of a well-fitting pair of climbing shoes. Let’s talk about feet for far too long, debunk some myths, and how should climbing shoes fit.
A lot of development went into making climbing shoes the snug, performance-oriented slippers that they are now. The main benefits of climbing shoes are their sticky rubber soles, the proximity of the toes to the front of the shoe, and the snug fit. Shoes should be snug without being painful to wear.
Climbing Shoes Are Typically Worn Very Snugly, But Why Is That?
Your toes will take a beating as you climb. You can’t feel or control the ball of your foot if it’s buried in the back of your shoe. In addition, if your climbing shoes are too loose in certain areas (typically the heel), your foot will be able to move around in them, increasing the likelihood that you will lose your footing and fall.
The goal of purchasing street footwear is to ensure that the toes do not strike the front of the shoe and that the foot has sufficient room in all directions. All of the components of a good pair of climbing shoes should snugly surround the foot. Climbing shoes aren’t designed to be worn on the ground.
Climbing shoes are notorious for being too snug in the wrong places. The main issues with the discomfort of climbing shoes are:
- Initial technical climbing footwear was crafted from leather, which, with time and use, grew in size. The best fit for a climbing harness used to require drastic downsizing by the climber after only a few months.
- Nowadays, most shoes are made of synthetic, lined, non-stretchy materials, or feature a lot of rubber. Because of this, it is crucial to get the correct size the first time around when purchasing any of these.
- It’s not the job of climbing shoes to provide comfort, but they also shouldn’t hurt all the time.
- Newcomers may feel uncomfortable initially. Your toes and feet will become slightly accustomed to their new position.
- Most significantly, not all feet are the same shape, so shoe designers have created hundreds of different styles to accommodate them. For the most part, this is the source of the problems.
The Real Story Behind Too-Snug Climbing Shoes
Get a pair of beginner, flat climbing shoes that are snug but comfortable fit if you’re just starting. It’s as easy as that. The most common problem we see is inexperienced climbers using improperly sized, down-turned shoes. You might order a half size up from your normal shoe size if you’re not used to the heel drop of more aggressive footwear. The shoe’s inability to properly support your foot is exacerbated by the discomfort caused by loose areas and hot spots.
It’s also important that the shoe’s shape is a good fit for your foot. Determine if you have a wide or narrow foot, a large or small heel, and a high or low arch. Climbing shoes are specialized footwear; choosing the right pair requires careful consideration of your foot shape and the shoe’s design.
The same holds if you’re shopping around for a second pair or have been climbing for some time. Great, low, and aggressive footwear comes in a wide variety of styles. If you’re looking for a shoe that will help your performance, don’t feel like you have to commit to just one brand or model (Solutions aren’t the only solution). A high-performance shoe that doesn’t quite feel right at first might be tempting to buy in the hopes that the fit will improve over time. Don’t. If you look around and try on a few different pairs of shoes, you’ll eventually find one that fits your foot properly.
If You’re Wearing Climbing Shoes, Should Your Toes Be Curled?
To a large extent, that is correct. Toes are kept close to the front edge of the shoe in climbing shoes, even those designed for beginners. The most noticeable symptom is a curved big toe, which is also the most painful.
There shouldn’t be much of a downward angle (more than 45 degrees) between the big toe and the shoe when first starting out. If the shoe is a good fit, it will prevent any serious discomfort from occurring in this position.
When you’re using holds, your feet will flex excessively if you don’t have the downturn. This can make the foot more uncomfortable as the shoe presses down on it. Sadly, this is a common issue with rental footwear.
Flat and loose-fitting hire shoes are the norm because of their design. If you pull them on too tightly, they won’t feel comfortable and might even hurt. As soon as you can, purchase a set for yourself. When you put on a quality pair of climbing shoes, your toes will naturally curl inward.
How Should Climbing Shoes Fit?
Follow these guidelines if you’re shopping for your first pair of climbing shoes or looking to replace a previous pair that didn’t fit properly: –
- You need to invest in a pair of flat, straight-toed shoes. Zero declines; asymmetrical (not twisted inwards)
- Make sure they fit your foot by trying on a bunch of different pairs.
- Scarpa typically accommodates a wider foot and a larger heel than La Sportiva.
- Consider a pair of Women’s Flats or Low-Heeled Shoes (same thing) If your foot is narrower – Avoid preoccupation with gender stereotypes.
- Make sure they’re a snug fit in all the right places on your foot.
- The right pair of climbing shoes should be snug, but not uncomfortable.
- Watch your step, especially your heel.
- Bad signs include wrinkles or bunching up when pressed down.
Get these cleats if you’re an intermediate or advanced climber: –
- Think outside the brand box. The likes of Butora, evolv, Unparallel, Tenaya, and others produce footwear of the highest quality.
- Different shoes are needed for different types of climbing, such as crack climbing and steep overhanging routes.
- Remember to take your foot and heel size into account.
- Find out how low you can go before the pain becomes unbearable.
- Learn your shoe’s asymmetry threshold.
- Between sets, you may want to remove your shoes, so slip-on or straps are a good option.
To What Extent Can You Stretch Climbing Shoes?
In most cases, yes, but it does vary from shoe to shoe. Leather and suede are natural materials that stretch more than synthetics because of their softness. A shoe that has been lined has had the interior fabric specifically designed to prevent the shoe from leaking out. The rubber content of a shoe can also affect how well it maintains its original form. The internal rubber shanks help the shoe maintain its form and strength.
Our standard recommendation is to find the size that works best for you, and then to consider going down a size if you want your purchase to last as long as possible. The Mythos and the Anasazi are two examples of shoes made from very soft leather that can grow by as much as three or four sizes over time. A full size can be accommodated by a stretchy material like Katana Lace. Unlike leather shoes, synthetic footwear may only expand by half a size, if at all. The Evolv Phantom, which is made of synthetic material with a lot of rubber, may not stretch at all.
Climbing shoes are one of the most important pieces of gear for a climber, and it is crucial that they fit properly. With so many different brands and types of shoes on the market, it can be daunting to try and find the perfect pair. Hopefully, this article has given you a better idea of what to look for when shopping for your next pair of climbing shoes.