A pair of climbing shoes is a crucial product for climbing, regardless of its environment (cliff or room). Its choice is sometimes complicated when one observes the panoply of products existing on the market.
Climbing is not just a discipline that requires strength in the arms. Great agility with our feet is necessary for a natural evolution on the difficulties. The higher the level, the more precise and highly technical our footwork is. This footwork will allow us to unload our arms and let a more rapid evolution on the difficulty we face in front of us.
"Finding a slipper at your feet is not always easy. “The making of a slipper responds to several factors. First of all, they are designed to meet a specific practice; then when we go in depth, we discover the technicality of the products with their sole more or less rigid. Finally, the shapes are different and ultimately the choice of the corresponding size.
Amateur or with an advanced level in the middle of climbing, the problem with a climbing shoe is that they are uncomfortable. That`s why a good election is paramount.
Through this article, we will bring you tips that we think are essential for your selection of climbing shoes and avoid falling into mistakes.
It is essential to know your practice well to find yourself in the market that offers different types of climbing shoes. This diversity is necessary to meet the needs of the discipline (area of difficulty and type of climbing).
Depending on the geometry, we can distinguish them in:
Its shape is straight, with a slightly centered tip. Some models have a slight asymmetry. It is very close to conventional shoes. It is intended primarily for beginners, for their degree of comfort and allows using the majority of toes. Its discipline par excellence is the traditional climbing on several lengths or the tracks having a small degree of difficulty.
It is a perfect option for beginners. It`s a slipper that will allow them to progress quickly. The lanes will not have micro jacks. The precision offered by a straight bootie will be sufficient.
Practitioners of traditional climbing are fans of this type of slipper, for their comfort. Indeed, when you have to spend several hours on a cliff, it is better to have a comfortable bootie.
The sole and shape of the booties are foot-shaped but very exaggerated. The transmission of force focuses on the big toe. To bring as much precision as possible and to be able to find a perfect adhesion on micro took.
An asymmetric slipper has an off-center design. The big toe bears all the pressure because it is the strongest. This focused tip allows you to bring high precision to your movements.
This type of slipper is much less comfortable than its colleague "symmetrical." It is much more demanding and requires a time adaptation. He is less tolerant and forgives little mistakes.
His public? It goes to an audience already having a certain level. He can put on shoes for training or to get a performance. Its environment may be block or climbing sports.
It is a slipper that is intended for sports climbing and block. Because as much as the level increases and the way demands precision. These disciplines evolve over a relatively short period. Bulk difficulties are a little effort, and the climbing routes are relatively short. Nothing comparable with tracks of several lengths. That`s why the comfort of these slippers is left a little aside on this discipline.
This characteristic is a part of the soul of climbing shoes. The stiffness or flexibility of a boot is not visible to the eye. It will be necessary to wear the slipper to distinguish it and to try to fold its front part.
Both confections have advantages and disadvantages, as well as their playgrounds.
The making of these slippers comes from its construction that incorporates an intermediate plate that provides more or less rigidity.
These products are a real asset as soon as we have to load our strength on very small catches. It privileged domain is the slab with a vertical profile. These limits come when they meet the Devers, when it is necessary to push flat foot, low heel on the broad zone of adhesion of block type. This capacity allows us to save energy, especially in our calves.
For who? For Beginners who lack tonicity in the arch.
The big jigs, which deform the slippers and climbers who come back from wounds to relieve the use of the fingers.
The flexibility of a climbing shoe brings you great sensitivity. You get great contact with the cliff, and you notice all the asperities. They are much more deformable to adapt to the catches encountered.
Their favorite place is the big cant and with overhanging profiles. It will suit perfectly for the discipline of the block and in SAE. Likewise, he is very popular in sports climbing for his perfect adaptation to encounters.
Its softer gum and flexibility give it a disadvantage: its wear. Indeed, its wear is a little faster than its rigid counterpart.
However, for users who already have an excellent technical background, the flexibility will adapt to the election of the size. If you choose a size, a little smaller foot will be more condensed and therefore will make the shoe more rigid. But beware this is reserved for expert users to solve concrete problems.
For who? The feather weight of the discipline. People want to develop their feelings. Heavy-gauge tracks and blocks in and out of the room.
Characteristic for the choice of your slippers, the shape of the latter, more precisely its sole.
This type of shape resembles a regular shoe, and it respects the anatomy of the foot. Its spatula or curvature is slightly upwards. The width of the foot is respected. We have to make a comfortable bootie. This construction is intended for the leisure, the occasional practice, and the beginners.
On this type of slipper, the big difference comes to be located on the internal width of the footwear. The foot will be more compressed to be closer to the foot. At the level of the vault plant, one stays on a flat sole which can be slightly plunging downwards.
This type of slipper is intended for practitioners with an intermediate level, who have acquired the basic techniques of climbing and who are autonomous.
Its shape is plunging with a scratched from. Its sole is very technical, and his footwear is also functional. We talk about Fit Fit and very close to the foot.
Slippers built from this form are very very technical. It allows obtaining the best benefits. The significant disadvantage is its comfort. Sandals of this type are very uncomfortable.
They will be perfect for difficult blocks or to put together a project of technical ways.
They are reserved for experts. So do not fall into excess.
Leather remains a noble material and very present in the construction of climbing shoes. Its properties bring significant benefits. First of all, it`s a material that gives way slightly. It allows you to get a custom climbing shoe on your foot. Indeed, the slipper will stretch slightly, but also will stretch on the sides or at the level of our toes, to obtain a real second skin.
The return of the medal is that if you choose too big a size at the beginning, it will relax and therefore become too big.
This type of slipper practically does not deform. These slippers are more for occasional use and entry-level models. Besides, the second disadvantages of synthetic materials are bad smells. Indeed, in time this material manages fewer odors than leather.
The latest treatments and technological advances in the liners have made very considerable progress but do not reach a natural material.
This type of closure is better known as a ballerina. The significant advantage of this system is a great comfort and a boot and heaving very easy. The disadvantage is its stretching.
Indeed, with time the elastics relax, and the precision of the tightening decreases. Also, picks with heels can be problematic because these shoes tend to move.
They will be perfect for indoor use for their comfort. Some users wear them for conventional routes of several lengths, for their support and comfortable releasing in the relay.
This closure system is an alternative, at the base, of the elastic closure. The footwear is very comfortable, like a ballerina. Only that its adjustment is easily realized through one, two or three velcro. This type of closure offers a precise and fast adjustment. Moreover, it is enough to detach them to remove the pressure exerted. A big advantage when we try a sporty track, classic tracks of several lengths or else try to block.
You can find velcro pulling in the same direction or the opposite direction. This helps to control the force and pressure exerted.
Velcro is present on a large number of slippers.
This is a classic closure system, but it is still beneficial. It`s the only way to put pressure where you want it. If you have a little weird foot, this closure system will suit you perfectly. It usually is suitable for people who do not force too much on the shoe size. The lace is less practical than velcro or ballerina.
You find him on a large number of models, but he goes to slippers more classic to recommend proper maintenance.
After describing the different models and designs of climbing shoes, we will enter the world of the choice of size. A moment often critical for beginners, but also for confirmed climbers. We invite you to be well imbued with the previous descriptions because the choice of the shoe size will be linked.
The climbing shoe must be like a second skin. Beware; however, the suffering must not be exaggerated. We must find the balance between sensitivity and efficiency.
The fitting must be carried out meticulously. You have to take your time, even if the salesman has to take out fifteen or twenty pairs and spend an entire afternoon. The choice of your slipper will reflect on your performance. If you have the opportunity to test them by taking a press on a socket or the bench, do not hesitate. It will allow you to know the sensitivity and the feeling of pain during use.
The first sensation is to feel that the slipper is well filled. Your foot must occupy all the space, with a toe, curled up. You must not touch any emptiness, neither at the heel nor the level of the arch.
The goal is to transmit as much force as possible and to prevent the bootie from twisting when we exert the slightest pressure. A slipper that moves during your progress will bring you insecurity.
It is true that a very tight slipper brings more precision and allows achieving a whole force on the mini-sliders, holes or heels. However, be careful not to fall into the confine and choose a size too small and therefore suffer instead of taking pleasure.
It is clear that the degree of suffering depends on everyone. But, the feeling of pain should not happen. Otherwise, your body will be more reactive to the pain felt than to the strength you must exercise.
We advise you to try your climbing shoes at the end of the day because your feet tend to swell.
Attention also to the materials of confection. Slippers made of materials (leather) will tend to stretch and deform to the shape of your foot while those made of synthetic material will hardly give way.
The morphology of our foot must be taken into account. Indeed, there are three-foot shapes. The Egyptian foot, which is characterized by the larger toes more advanced. The latter represents 63% of the population. The Greek foot, in this case, it is the second toes which are the most advanced. This foot morphology affects 31% of the population. Finally, the Roman foot or square foot, the four toes are all the same length, the last remaining smaller. Present to 6% of the population.
After determining your foot type, you will be able to decide on the sensation you must have inside the liner. The compression effect will not be the same for a Greek foot as for a Roman foot. Then you will find the type of shoe that suits you best. We will see him later.
Of course, the length of your foot is a critical factor in choosing the size. But you must take into account the width of the latter. Indeed. A full foot will be different than a fine foot, even if they have the same length.
To overcome this difference, we will play on the lacing system. You will find three types of ballerina, velcro and lace lacing.
In short, if you can try your climbing shoes do it and take your time. Take a model adapted to the morphology of your foot and responding to the activity you are heading for, or for the use you will make of it. Think of comfort and performance by trying to put aside suffering. Beware of design materials; the leather will stretch when the synthetic does not move. Leave alone the marketing effect, the colors and the range of technologies that the slipper can integrate. Rely on your feelings inside the slipper.