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Dr_Crash

First rock shoes

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Hi,

 

I'm getting my first pair of rock shoes, having decided to start rock climbing to be a rounder (and I don't mean waist shape here) mountaineer (I just do ski mountaineering for now), and to be able to get my kids out of the gym they're currently climbing at.

 

I'll start by doing weekly climbing at Marymoor park (or a gym if the weather doesn't cooperate) then head to Exit 32 or other local spots. I also want to be able to reach summits where you need to climb. Having no idea what I'll like the best I don't want to commit to a type of shoe that favors one activity versus another.

 

It's a bit confusing... I tried on some La Sportiva Mythos who have been recommended as a great all around shoe. I wear a US 8 1/2 (European 42, though it's labelled as 41 on La Sportiva boxes) and was convinced that a US 7 (La Sportiva 39 1/2) was okay. My left foot feels totally jammed in that thing (it's th elonger foot) but in a size 40 my smaller foot is pretty comfortable, and I was given the advice to size to my smaller foot. I understand the reason for that, but sure hope that the left shoe will stretch enough in length to accomodate my poor left foot smile.gif

 

What are other comparable shoes to try? The 5.10 Moccasym? Others? The Mythos is pretty expensive ($120) and while I can buy that I don't mind paying less either :P

 

Thanks in advance,

drC

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Number one priority for beginner rock shoes is COMFORT - you aren't going to be cranking on dime-edges, so you don't need your shoes super tight. After comfort, the next priority is to get shoes that match your lycra climbing tights. It's important to look good out there. wink.gif

 

Moccasyms don't have a lot of support - probably not a good all-day-in-the-mountains or beginner shoe. Go with something pretty stiff, comfortable, and board lasted. Boreal Aces are pretty popular and meet that criteria. Lots of good shoes out there, and frankly it doesn't matter that much what shoe you get as long as it is comfortable. Just CLIMB CLIMB CLIMB!

 

wave.gif

 

 

p.s. I see on the sidebar that one of this website's sponsors is selling 5.10 Spires for $69. Probably not a bad choice if they fit you OK.

 

Edited by Alpinfox

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What alpinotter said.... get some burly shoes that will survive your newbie poor footwork. once you destroy some burly shoes you might appreciate the difference if you move to thinner soles like on a slipper.

 

in addition to the ace you can try any one of a number of cheap blocky shoes like the 5.10 spire, bufo unbreakable, la sportiva cliff, etc.

 

anything board lasted and cheaply priced will do.

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Exactly what AF says! Think comfy, or at least, not painful. Don't listen to salespeople telling you to get them too small. It is nice to have them as snug as possible. For that you just need to try all sorts of different shoes and see which fits your feet the best.

 

Do NOT get them so small they hurt walking around the shop for 5 seconds. Getting them extra tight so that they hurt may be helpful when you're climbing, say, 5.10+ face, but it sounds like you're not there yet.

 

And if you're primarily interested in peakbagging with small amounts of technical ground, I'd consider just getting some approach shoes with sticky rubber. Fitting them snug will help with the climbing, but of course, could hurt on long approaches.

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Is it wise to look at beginner-only shoes like the Cliff? I don't really want to spend $90 for a shoe that won't last long. I also don't want to get specialized shoes (banana-shaped, very asymetrical, etc.) of course, but wanting something that will last past my beginner stage is why I was looking at the Mythos. My reference for beginner/intermediate/expert classification is Climbing's 2004 Gear Guide BTW.

 

I'm sure you guys are right re: comfort. How can you gauge how much a shoe will stretch, and how much of the pain-in-the-store will really last? The only guideline I have is the salesman... But I know that for ski boots, if I get them to be snug but okay in a store, I'll hate them a few weeks later when the liner will have stretched, so I was thinking on the lines of "it's okay if it hurts at first" (only if it *does* stretch of course).

 

And no, I'm not simply interested in peak-bagging. But I want that to be an option.

 

drC

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Yes, they will stretch depending on the shoe. Mythos for example seem to stretch a good couple of sizes.

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Is it wise to look at beginner-only shoes like the Cliff?

 

Keep in mind, Chris Sharma can probably climb 5.13 in flip-flops.

 

Any shoe with modern sticky rubber on it is going to get the job done for you. By the time your technique outgrows your shoe, you will probably have trashed the shoe anyway.

 

Good luck.

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I think this trashing shoes business is being overstated. Mostly beginners will trash the rubber soles and the rand around the big toe. This is usually repairable damage as long as the leather body of the shoe is sturdy - which is often what is meant by 'beginner shoes' (though a lot of that beginner/intermediate/expert designation is just BS marketing jive).

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Unless you are climbing 5.10 frequently, you don't need to size your shoes like a Chinese princess to do the moves. For general use, especially alpine, "snug" is fine. On long alpine routes, spending hours on your feet, you don't want any pain. On sport routes, unless your ability is up above 5.10, you don't need the extra compression. Beginners should size their shoes "snug but comfortable" out of the box, and don't count on the shoe to stretch appreciably. AFTER climbing for several months you can buy a second pair of specialty shoes if they are needed.

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If you're looking for a recommendation, the Boreal Ace is a good choice, and will serve you as you gain skill...

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Point well taken re: skills being more important than the shoes. Thanks for the advice, guys. I'll shop with an open mind. I'm glad I haven't bought the lycra tights yet, so I can get that color-matching thing out of the way for now, I'll just buy matching tights wink.gif

 

drC

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I disagree with reccomending certain models of shoes. In my opinion (which is mine) shoes shoult fit YOUR feet. If you buy ski boots, mtn boots, bike shoes, etc. etc. it's the same game, the first priority is to find which shoes fit YOU and then pick from the available pool of fitting shoes.

 

That being said, most shoes will stretch to conform to your feet a certain amount. I agree that there is going to be no performance difference between a board lasted tank and a bananna peel sport shoe when you are starting out. I would get the cheapest thing you can that fits your foot.

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A few general thoughts here, on shoes:

 

- True, you don't need them cripplingly tight. A lot of newer shoes, and not just the ones that are all banana-lasted, have a more shaped fit that gives you lotsa performance that's not dependent on toe-folding, as it used to be. Look for a cambered sole (i.e. viewed in profile, the shoe will have an arched shape).

 

- Just because most beginners get shoehorned into super-stiff board-lasted things doesn't mean you necessarily should. There is a lot to be said for being able to feel what's under your feet, and going with a more shaped shoe that is more sensitive will allow you to get good edging performance and feel what's going on under your toes. DFA surmises that a lot of beginner shoe abuse stems from the fact that, in board-lasted shoes with 5mm rubber soles, you can't feel a damn thing.

 

- The Sportiva Mythos, while a favorite of crack climbers, has all the support of a pair of socks -- if you're gonna be doing much face climbing, keep this in mind, as they may not be the best choice. Also, while they are a bit more sensitive than stiffer shoes, they are also dead flat, which means you'll have to resort to sizing down for performance.

 

- If one pair of shoes gives you a huge difference in fit between feet, try a different pair of the same model, as sometimes rock shoes are quirkily sized due to hand construction or a factory mix-up or something. Or, if your dogs are just mismatched, try a company like Evolv, which does split-size pairs.

 

- For sure try on lots of brands and models. A lot of people find that their feet fit best in a certain brand of shoe, e.g. those of us with normal feet that fit in La Sportivas vs. those of us with mutant feet who prefer the ghastly fit of 5.10s or Tenayas. (A little joke. Ha ha.) You're going to be spending a lot of time in your shoes and a lot of money on them, and there's tons of models out there, so try on lots. You might even look into buying a couple pair of cheaper shoes, such as some of Sportiva's newer price-point models, Mad Rocks, or one of the Eastern European brands. This way you might get two different types of shoes, so you can experiment with them on different terrain and see what works best, and have more options if terrain dictates it, without spending a whole lot more than you'd spend on one pair of more pricey models.

 

Happy climbing! wave.gif

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Just an additional note:

 

Shoes like the anasazi and some others are made of "cowdura", a synthetic leather and stretch very little. So be sure and check the material, as well.

 

BTW? We are going to bolt DFA to the churning buttress this weekend!

 

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

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When I bought my first pair of shoes, (Mythos), I made the mistake of buying them too big. Toes, flat, barely touching the end of the shoes. They stretched roughly a mile, and I was better off climbing in sneakers.

 

Get a lined shoe, no silly slippers or the like. Then make sure that your toes are solidly shoved in the toebox. What feels way too tight for a beginner is often perfect when you're used to them. Aim for toes slightly bent.

 

Oh, and all shoes stretch to your feet. A lot. I have never been able to find a truly comforable shoe in the store, but after sweating in them for a month they've all become quite nice.

 

DON'T worry about the price. Get something that fits, that's beefy, and will work. Too many people skimp, buy Moccasyms that are too large, and can't climb very well as a result.

 

Unfortunately, in a year you'll have a much better idea of what works for you, no way around that.

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I second what cracked said. Don't buy them too big. you want pretty solid feel all around your foot. One thing I don't see mentioned. Try the shoes and don't go by the sizes. The last that differant companies use is each a bit different. I find anything Scarpa to be just a little wider but just a bit shorter, all the La sportivas I've tried are narrow, etc. Use the numbers as a guide and adjust.

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It's a bit confusing... I tried on some La Sportiva Mythos who have been recommended as a great all around shoe. I wear a US 8 1/2 (European 42, though it's labelled as 41 on La Sportiva boxes) and was convinced that a US 7 (La Sportiva 39 1/2) was okay. My left foot feels totally jammed in that thing (it's th elonger foot) but in a size 40 my smaller foot is pretty comfortable, and I was given the advice to size to my smaller foot. I understand the reason for that, but sure hope that the left shoe will stretch enough in length to accomodate my poor left foot

 

I'm US mens size 8 1/2-9 all around and have size 40 Mythos. They're pretty well fit for slabby stuff but too loose for anything edgy (for that I use an older pair od LS Synchro's, also size 40 but lined and lasted so they didn't stretch). If I were to do it all over again, I'd go 39 1/2. In your case, 39 1/2 sounds like the way to go. They WILL stretch, a LOT. But all things being equal, once they break in they are super comfy.

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In regards to the mythos (which I love, btw), Im going on my second pair in two years now because they have stretched so much that they are too big. I got them either a 1/2 size or full size smaller than my street shoe size at the time. Just something to keep in mind if you are looking at them...they DO stretch a lot.

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Dryad can pick up a pair of La Sportiva Cobra slippers for you on sale in France for $44 EU (or $53 US). We're getting ripped off here, big time.

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if price is a big concern try out a pair of mad rock shoes. ($69) my partner picked up a pair to tide him over so to speak. he was very skeptical but finds them really comfortable and likes the rubber on them better than the la sportiva. i agree w/everyone else. don't listen to the shoe sales guys who try and get you to size down to discomfort on your first pair of shoes. buy them snug but not painful. you'll have plenty of time to by small, painful shoes later when you really need the sensitivity. wave.gif

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when you really need the sensitivity. wave.gif

The more climbers I meet, the less sensitive I get.

BUt very true about the shoes. My daughter climbs in shoes that are three sizes too big. They still stick and she loves to climb. Good combo.

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To continue to beat said deceased horse: For beginners, I usually recommend a slightly stiffer shoe, like a board-lasted model. Mythos are great shoes but get pretty floppy fast, and if you don't have the foot strength, won't do you as much good as a stiffer pair will - Especially f you want your shoes to be all-around for now (you can buy a quiver-full of specialty shoes later) i'd say get one of hte slightly boxy models with good, high rands that will take some beatign from toe-dragging and crack-bashing, like some of the 'all-around' models mentioned above. Most importantly, as previously mentioned - fit them to your feet - Sportivas tend to run narrow - that's why I like them, and Boreals/5.10s tend to be wider. I haven't tried any of the other brands. And, yeah, you don't need to hammer your toes to death - I can fit my Miuras down so I can dime-edge at Smiff, but a buddy has a looser fit pair that he can do all-day routes in. Same shoe, different sizng concept. So now that you are thoroughly confused, what was the question again?

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Dryad can pick up a pair of La Sportiva Cobra slippers for you on sale in France for $44 EU (or $53 US). We're getting ripped off here, big time.

 

Oh yes we're getting ripped here, that's for sure. Same for skis, and most of the recreational equipment. For many brands we're even getting ripped compared to Canada, let alone Europe! The $120 (just reduced from $137) Mythos can be ordered from TP and Cham3S for a whopping $83 plus overseas shipping and these are the obvious places, not the cheapest ones probably. Sometimes I think I should have accepted that job in Paris but then, I like the immediacy of accessing the outdoors here much better (even with 4 less weeks of vacations).

 

Where is Dryad picking up shoes, and when? I'm going to France in June.

 

drC

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Any shoe will be OK. Don't sweat it too much. But here are some things to keep in mind:

 

1. Get them about 1 size too small. So, for you, approx 7.5. Your toes should NOT curl up, but they should be pressing against your shoe firmly.

 

2. Get a sensative shoe. There is no reason to avoid small foot holds when you start to climb - just avoid crimpy hand holds. Do some traverses with good hands and bad feet. Marymoore wall has TONS of stuff like that.

 

3. Try different models. Some will fit your feet better than others.

 

4. Lace-up shoes are good if you are going to wear them all day.

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