Sort Your Feet Out
I get a lot of questions about climbing shoes; how do I fit them, which ones to get…..So several months back I wrote and posted a note on Facebook about my deepest feelings for this subject. I have recently gotten a few messages about shoes again so I am re-posting it.
Before you go reading it I have a few more thoughts to add….
Recently I spent a few months back in the good ole’ USA and visited the local climbing gym. They sell all sort of brands of shoes and I was on the market to get a new pair. The cool thing there is they have a try it before you buy it policy. So I spent 3 sessions (12hours) testing different shoues. I tried every pair they had….over 15 pairs of different sizes from such brands as La Sportiva, 5.10, Scarpa, Evolve, Boreal and a couple of other small name brands I wasn’t familiar with. It was interesting!
After trying all of those shoes I am still holding fast to my Andrea Boldrini’s and what I posted below. Several guys in the gym that were very interested in my shoes tried them out and they fell in love with them too and went online to try and order them since they are not a common shoe in the US. Needless to say they available in the UAE. So if you are looking for shoes and ask my advice I am going to tell you go to Barracuda Fishing and Outdoors to get some.
Battle of the Climbing Shoes?!?!
“Trust me you want them super tight.”
“Your feet should hurt.”
“Make sure they’re comfortable.”
“Your toes should be cramped.”
“What are you doing? No one wears socks in their climbing shoes!”
“You’ll grow into them, get them a size up from your street shoe.”
There are many opinions as to buying climbing shoes and I am sure you have heard a few of these before. So lets face it when it comes to climbing shoes not all shoes or feet are the same and many climbers get confused as which to buy. There are many varieties of shoes; tight or loose…slip-on, lace or Velcro…lined or unlined…stiff or floppy…down-turned or semi-flexed? So many options it can make your head spin.
There are many different styles of shoes for different types of climbing and pros and cons to the different styles. If you are a beginner climber I would recommend a good pair of all around shoes. You want your shoes to be tight so you get good support and you also want them to be comfortable. As you climb more and and your experience grows so will your collection of shoes as has mine.
Your feet are a very important asset when it comes to climbing and when it comes to your equipment/assets you should always invest in the best. I have recently had the pleasure of using two different shoes made by Andrea Boldrini; the Apache Light and Apache Talisman. Each pair or shoes is carefully handcrafted to the highest quality in France and they make a nice selection of shoes for all types of feet and climbing other than the two which I am currently using.
Now I used to be an avid 5.10 climbing shoe user over other brands I have used like; Red Chili, La Sportiva, Evolv, Boreal, Scarpa… Compared to 5.10 and the many other shoes I have used Andrea Boldrini Climbing Shoes are the most comfortable and versatile, they provide the right amount of tension without destroying the toes; making for a natural feeling fit.
The Apache Light and Apache Talisman both have a very snug, comfortable fit without being over-tight and painful like many shoes on the market. They fit the toes nicely and do not seem to have to much volume in the toe box, nor did they give me blisters (like you might find with the Miura). They fit the heel perfectly giving the ability for stable heel hooks. Both pairs of shoes are really good for small holds on everything from a slab to an overhang. The Apache Talismans are lace-ups giving them a more adjustable fit for a wider range of feet; while the Lights are velcro making them more convenient for on/off use and tightening all around.
I have used both pairs of shoes on long and short sport and multipitch trad routes, slabs, cracks and overhangs. I find that the Talismans are a lot more comfortable for longer routes, multipitch and provide more support when slab climbing and do really well on small or awkward holds. The Lights are more aggressive and made my feet ache just a bit on longer routes. To me they are slightly better for smaller holds on overhanging routes, and bouldering.
Keeping your weight on your feet is very important and how your foot contacts the rock makes a difference in how well they stick. Both pair perform very well, give stability and tension in all the right places making for excellent control and precise foot placement. These shoes are also sensitive giving you the ability to feel the contact between your foot and shoe a lot better. They are both great for heel hooking, and smearing as well; how ever I would not use them for too much crack climbing.
I am pretty taken on these shoes and can’t see myself wearing another brand, except for my La Sportiva approach shoes. Rather you are beginner or experienced climber I highly recommend investing in either pair. I love them and I am sure you will too. If you are unsure about shoes feel free to send me a private message. I can arrange to meet you to help you get fitted.