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How to choose climbing shoes guide (Read 1958 times)

tkmalibu

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How to choose climbing shoes guide
June 13, 2019, 07:09:55 pm




I found these useful guides at http://athleteaudit.com/best-climbing-shoes / http://athleteaudit.com/how-to-size-the-most-popular-climbing-shoes and thought it might help some folks here. For the most part, the sizing guide is accurate for the shoes I've owned in the past, although overall it seems to cater mostly to the US market

SA Chris

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#1 Re: How to choose climbing shoes guide
June 13, 2019, 10:42:22 pm
The graph with the shoes is pretty cool.

sdm

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#2 Re: How to choose climbing shoes guide
June 14, 2019, 08:10:38 am
Nice chart but not entirely accurate on fit. The Instinct VS fv last is much higher volume than the Drago fz last which is quite narrow for a Scarpa. Not sure what the Drago is doing all the way down at the bottom.

teestub

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#3 Re: How to choose climbing shoes guide
June 14, 2019, 08:14:51 am
I think maybe the graph would be more useful if stiffness and downturnedness were the axes and volume was just an annotation on each model.

cheque

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#4 Re: How to choose climbing shoes guide
June 14, 2019, 10:20:31 am
I think maybe the graph would be more useful if stiffness and downturnedness were the axes and volume was just an annotation on each model.

 :agree:

BuzyG

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#5 Re: How to choose climbing shoes guide
June 14, 2019, 01:25:23 pm
Great little guide or the novice like me. :thumbsup:

Will Hunt

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#6 Re: How to choose climbing shoes guide
June 14, 2019, 01:50:30 pm
This makes me think. Its totally standard, if you go into any decent outdoor shop, to get a personalised boot fitting service if you're buying a walking boot.

In George Fisher in Keswick the lady measured my foot, asked me how much I wanted to pay and what I'd be using the shoes for (mooching/winter walking etc) and then, like Olivander's wand shop, she went to the shelves and picked out (from hundreds of models and sizes) the perfect boot. I tried a few others on to show willing but came back to the original choice.

Why do we not demand a similar standard of service? We're paying about the same amount and we get through a pair of rock shoes loads faster than a pair of boots.

Mushin

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#7 Re: How to choose climbing shoes guide
June 14, 2019, 02:10:59 pm
Nice info. These brand specific charts should be in here as well:



La sportiva has a similar chart but i dont have time to look for it now.

cheque

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#8 Re: How to choose climbing shoes guide
June 14, 2019, 02:30:18 pm
This makes me think. Its totally standard, if you go into any decent outdoor shop, to get a personalised boot fitting service if you're buying a walking boot.

In George Fisher in Keswick the lady measured my foot, asked me how much I wanted to pay and what I'd be using the shoes for (mooching/winter walking etc) and then, like Olivander's wand shop, she went to the shelves and picked out (from hundreds of models and sizes) the perfect boot. I tried a few others on to show willing but came back to the original choice.

Why do we not demand a similar standard of service? We're paying about the same amount and we get through a pair of rock shoes loads faster than a pair of boots.

It’s because we (rightly or wrongly) like to think that we’re at least as knowledgeable as the person working in the shop Will. Have you never been in a gear shop when a less experienced climber’s buying new shoes? They tell the guy or girl “I’m going to Font in two weeks/ looking to start climbing outside/ need to step up from the torn remnants of the Sportiva Tarantulas the wall sold me 6 weeks ago” and, apart from the foot-measuring bit, the process you describe happening at the hiking boot shop proceeds.

When you were in George Fisher there was probably some hillwalking wad lurking about thinking “God, look at this punter getting the full service from this bird who’s only done 170 Munros”  ;)

TobyD

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#9 Re: How to choose climbing shoes guide
June 14, 2019, 11:54:26 pm
Climbing shoes are inherently more of a subjective decision than walking boots or running shoes,  it depends on whether you prioritise sensitivity or  support,  how strong your feet are,  how flexible your ankles are... and a list of other factors that a shop assistant cannot hope to assess.  I sold climbing shoes for several years, beyond basic tight fit, its mostly a personal choice imho. On the other hand I've had a video gait analysis for running shoes, got recommended 2 choices, which both felt instantly better than anything else and I've stuck with same or similar for years. I don't think you can achieve that with climbing shoes realistically. 

moose

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Agree.  Another complication when choosing / assessing the characteristics of rock shoes, at least for me, is my willingness to vary the size I buy to compensate for a model being high / low volume (especially with lace-ups - as I figure I can adjust the lacing). 

I'll be off climbing today with a pair of Dragons and a pair of Geniuses, supposedly very low and high volume respectively but my perception of their fit is the complete opposite as the Dragons are fractionally bigger relative to my true foot size (i.e. ignoring each brands own interpretation of the sizing scale) - as they were purchased on a day when my patience for pain had worn thin (my previous pair of Dragons were a half size smaller and indeed felt very low volume!).   

You don't really get that with other footwear.  In my experience people nearly always stick to their "street shoe" size for say, walking boots, and if a model feels loose / tight will dismiss it as unsuited to their feet, and move on to a different model, rather than try the "wrong" size.

To be honest whilst I love a good infographic these seem a little redundant, as anyone who used one as the sole (sorry) basis of a shoe purchase is deluded.

tomtom

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Can we have them re-drawn in a SkySports heatmap style please? 😃

moose

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I was thinking something like this would be more appropriate:


tomtom

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Superb. The real value of the graphs though are for shoe makers to spot gaps in the market - and to see what names they can give to their latest creation.

habrich

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La sportiva has a similar chart but i dont have time to look for it now.

They have buried them deep in their website ... used to be more prominent. Scroll down here https://www.sportiva.com/sizing-technology/




Muenchener

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There‘s no logic to the whole volume thing. I mostly climb in Miuras (low volume) and Testarossas (high volume), same size, & the Testas definitely feel snugger.

Whereas I never liked Katana Laces - always felt like they were too wide and my foit could slide around.

Drew

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Climbing shoes are inherently more of a subjective decision than walking boots or running shoes,  it depends on whether you prioritise sensitivity or  support,  how strong your feet are,  how flexible your ankles are... and a list of other factors that a shop assistant cannot hope to assess.  I sold climbing shoes for several years, beyond basic tight fit, its mostly a personal choice imho. On the other hand I've had a video gait analysis for running shoes, got recommended 2 choices, which both felt instantly better than anything else and I've stuck with same or similar for years. I don't think you can achieve that with climbing shoes realistically.

Gotta say I disagree.

Yes, the final decision comes down to personal preference, and how the shoe feels, but the shop staff hopefully know how one shoe differs from another so can recommend the next shoe to try. If you tell them that you've had shoe X, but need something softer/stiffer/with more toe power/with harder rubber/more sensitive etc etc, then they should be able to bring a selection of shoes which match your criteria. Also, they hopefully know why one shoe is different from another be it inner material, midsole, tensioning, or outsole. Then, you can decide which fits your foot well enough, and offers the extra X-factor you were searching for.

Also, walking boots vary at least as much, if not more than climbing shoes. Materials, stiffness underfoot, stiffness around the heel, stiffness around the toe box, ankle height, cuff shape, level of cushioning etc.

As someone who has sold climbing shoes, approach shoes, fell-running shoes, walking boots, Winter boots, and high-altitude boots for years, I know that each one requires different knowledge from the retailer, but the customer can benefit from the shop staff's knowledge equally. However, in each area, the customer needs to make the final decision themself, so I was purely there to guide them.



Agree.  Another complication when choosing / assessing the characteristics of rock shoes, at least for me, is my willingness to vary the size I buy to compensate for a model being high / low volume (especially with lace-ups - as I figure I can adjust the lacing). 

...

You don't really get that with other footwear.  In my experience people nearly always stick to their "street shoe" size for say, walking boots, and if a model feels loose / tight will dismiss it as unsuited to their feet, and move on to a different model, rather than try the "wrong" size.

Also disagree with this. If someone has an exceptionally high volume foot you might need to get them in a longer boot to get extra room. If someone has very low volume feet, you can use insoles/inserts to get a better fit. If someone has a bunion you can stretch the boot to accommodate it. I would alter the fit of roughly a quarter to a third of walking boots I sold. Not because I wanted to, but because it would mean they get the right boot, and a great fit.





P.S. Will. If you demand that level of service for rock shoes fitting, find a shop which offers it.

teestub

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Any particular shops you’d recommend Drew?

Will Hunt

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I have to say I think Drew has nailed it there. There'll always be an element of decision making for the costumer but a well drilled shop assistant could help you narrow the field in a market that's becoming ever more complex and diverse. I'm surprised other people don't see the need for this. It's almost impossible to properly try all the different shoes out there because each trial costs about 100 quid! I'd be interested to try some of those no edge things but I'm not spending all that cash on something that might be of no benefit.
The only person who has ever shown a good level of knowledge about the various shoes available in a shop environment was Rob Haigh at the Depot and his insight, as someone who has tried lots of different shoes, was really useful.

If the market for shoes is growing and growing it doesn't seem unreasonable for it to follow the same path as walking boots. Reps coming round to the shops and showing the staff the ranges and explaining them to them. Sending staff away on fitting courses. I had a summer job at ultimate outdoors and remember they had a scheme where you could return a pair of walking boots to the shop within about a month of purchase (provided they were still in good, nearly new condition) if you'd found that the weren't really for you. That would be a great way to be able to trial shoes.

Drew

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If the market for shoes is growing and growing it doesn't seem unreasonable for it to follow the same path as walking boots. Reps coming round to the shops and showing the staff the ranges and explaining them to them. Sending staff away on fitting courses. I had a summer job at ultimate outdoors and remember they had a scheme where you could return a pair of walking boots to the shop within about a month of purchase (provided they were still in good, nearly new condition) if you'd found that the weren't really for you. That would be a great way to be able to trial shoes.

So that is literally my job for half the year. For all the different categories mentioned previously, not just rock shoes. Rock shoes are way more complicated than anything else you wear on your feet. Think ski boots are technical? Nope. Rock shoes are handcrafted, truly artisan pieces. When I do rock shoe training it can take several hours going through construction, design, material, shapes, tensioned rands, rubber compounds etc, and yet I still don't have time to get into the fine detail of how the midsoles in the different Instinct models vary from each other, or how the rand on the Furia differs from the Drago etc etc. Hopefully I impart a sense of how much goes into designing and making the shoes, and why we do certain things, which other companies don't.

In terms of trying the shoes, it's always worth keeping an eye out for boot demos at your local wall. Not only do you get to try shoes for a decent length of time, but the athlete/staff who brought the shoes, is usually pretty knowledgeable. Also, you usually get a bit of an on-the-night discount. Maybe one day we'll even organise some outdoor boot demos, where a retailer takes a deposit, then you take the shoes to whichever crag you want, and bring them back the next day. Give them a proper test.


Any particular shops you’d recommend Drew?

As mentioned above, there's usually not enough time to get into the extremely specific differences from one model to another in a "normal" training session, so the shops which have the best knowledge, are usually the ones who get the most regular visits from their rep and get drip fed the information. This will often be based partly on where the rep lives, but also how keen the staff are.

The specific shops are the ones which you will already know from their reputation, but equally the climbing walls with good shops attached can often have very knowledgable staff. Rather than naming a few, and accidentally forgetting others, PM me your location for my personal recommendations close to home.

sinbad

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It would be useful if the shops at least measured your feet, both of them. Most shop assistants ask what your street shoe size is and base their judgement on that.

When was the last time most people had their shoe size accurately measured- probably when they were kids/young adults.

So you could be wearing a street size 8 when you should really be a 7 or 9. Then they look at your foot and say whether they think it's wide or narrow, but surely measurement would be better? And knowing the difference in size between your feet would help to you decide what size you want to pick- do you size for the smaller foot and take the pain in the bigger foot etc...

It's pretty hard to size climbing shoes by feel, even in a shop, how they feel when new will be very different from how they feel for the majority of their life. I tried some well used Oracle's at a boot demo and subsequently bought a pair online (didn't sell them at the demo!?!), in the same size as I'd trialled. For the first couple of weeks I honestly thought I'd got the wrong size, they seemed ridiculously small and painful, where the demo pair were the most comfortable performance shoes I'd used. But then they broke in (yes synthetic definitely does stretch!) and felt perfect. There's no way I'd have bought them in a shop feeling that way without some facts to back it up.

Better size standardisation would be really useful and that could be achieved with more recording of measurements of people feet, in my opinion. ;)

mr chaz

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What we really need is a climbing shoe vs who climbed what graph, obviously that's all that really matters  :2thumbsup: