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climbingbetty

Preferred boot fit

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I got a pair of Scarpa Mont Blanc's for a trip up Rainier next month as well as ice climbing. I normally where a size 7, but when I tried on the 38's they felt cavernous. The store didn't have the 37.5 in stock, so just for kicks I tried on the 37s. They actually fit really well! Especially with some SuperFeet in them to prevent elongation and mostly to support my arches. They felt like they were an extension of my foot, almost the way my alpine boots feel, though not quite as tight.

 

Here's the rub: when walking downhill (toes pointed straight down the sloop) on the little ramp in the shop, my toes, mostly only in the left foot, crash into the tow box. Not anything painful, but noticeable. My fear is that it may be tolerable for a few steps in the store, but could become more painful with thousands of steps down a mountain. No beuno.

 

However, 90% of their usage will be for vertical ice climbing in the East which there is no problem with, even when trying to aggressive kick the toes like when front pointing.

 

I don't mind a few black toenails, but if I end up in excruiating pain and can't walk down a mountain, that could be a really dangerous (and dumb situation).

 

So, do I swap them for a pair of 37.5s to be safe, or am I over thinking this? I tired them on with my winter socks, on a super hot day, so I'm thinking there's a chance that they will have more room with a lighter weight sock (for an August Rainier ascent) and when it's cold and the tissue contracts a bit more.

 

How do you prefer your boots to fit?

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I had a pair of alpine boots "shrink" when resoled, and thought they'd be ok... climbed a modest sized mixed alpine wall, and was pretty much lame by the time I got down. You may be able to try some lacing tricks that might keep your foot from moving in the boot, but if your toes touch at all, even just barely, I'd say hold out for the larger size, or try a different boot...

you mentioned they fit "like your alpine boots" -- I'm curious why, if you own a pair of alpine boots that you like, why you are buying another boot for a summer ascent of Rainier?

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If you descend 9,000' on Rainier in those boots your toes will be mashed. I wear Scarpas that are a hair too small for my feet and I have lost count of the number of toenails they have claimed. It's in the double digits.

 

You will appreciate the performance fit on ice, however.

 

One option would be to rent a pair of plastics for your Rainier trip for your feet to flop around in and then save your sweet new Scarpas for Frankenstein, Dracula, and Pegasus back east.

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Rainier in August - 9,000 vertical feet, sunny - your feet will bake. This advice comes from a former New England girl who froze her toes many times back home and does lots of snow slogs now in the Cascades.

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What I did to my plastic boots that were just a little too small was this. I literally cut the toe end of the boot liner off. My toes simply project from the liner into space, inside the plastic shell. I have absolutely no problem with them now and I have the snugness that I like in the instep and ankle. It took some balls too cut off the end of the liner boot, but It turned out to be very worthwhile.

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Rainier in August - 9,000 vertical feet, sunny - your feet will bake. This advice comes from a former New England girl who froze her toes many times back home and does lots of snow slogs now in the Cascades.

 

You think the Mont Blancs will be too warm? I was also looking at the Scarpa Charmoz which are more like the Sportiva Trango, but both my partners are wearing their winter boots (despite the fact that one of them has both the Nepals and the Trangos), so I thought I'd err on the side of warmer too. Especially considering that plastic double boots seem to be required by all the guiding servies on the mountain.

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Keep in mind that your feet are also smaller earlier in the day, so depending on when you tried on the boots that might affect it.

 

I know nothing about ice climbing, but fwiw, my mountaineering boots are a 39.5 and fit perfectly. I typically wear a size 7.5-8 shoe with normal thickness socks. I recently picked up a pair of Mont Blancs that fit me almost exactly the same way, in a size 39.5. I realize that shoes fit everyone differently, but I also have trouble believing that you'd be happy with a full 2.5 (European) sizes smaller than me if you're only .5 to 1 full size smaller. Another one of my friends with the Mont Blanc is very happy with them in a 37, and she's typically a size 6.

 

If I were spending a bunch of money on boots, I'd want to make sure they fit really well. I would at least try on the 37.5 before deciding to keep the 37. I'd also try on some other brands, since Scarpa tends to run wide and it sounds like those boots may not be an ideal fit. If your toes are hitting the end, it's pretty clear that the 37s are too small for hiking.

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Hmmm... I'd go with the half size larger. You can fill the boot with a little extra sock for the vertical ice (I agree, you want good tight performance for ice). Then you can use the boots on Rainier without the toe injury.

 

I've gotten to the point where I'm gonna quit trying to marry the two sports as much - yes there is "approach" but my alpine boots will be a good mix of tight and a little flexible.

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Here's the rub: when walking downhill (toes pointed straight down the sloop) on the little ramp in the shop, my toes, mostly only in the left foot, crash into the tow box. Not anything painful, but noticeable. My fear is that it may be tolerable for a few steps in the store, but could become more painful with thousands of steps down a mountain. No beuno...

However, 90% of their usage will be for vertical ice climbing in the East which there is no problem with, even when trying to aggressive kick the toes like when front pointing.

 

My experience has shown me that if my toes slide to the front of the boot while walking downhill, they do the same while frontpointing on vertical ice. I've lost toenails over both.

 

Having a low-volume foot is a hassle. Shoe "size" is one dimension, and it's usually the only one that we are given by the boot manufacturer. When I try on boots I tell the salesperson I have a really skinny foot, and see what happens. It's taken a lot of trial and error for me to understand what fits and what doesn't.

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If they're uncomfortable in the store they will be even worse for real. A half size difference in shoe size measurement is less than 1/4 inch so the 37.5 should not be that cavernous.

 

But, two things:

 

1. If you haven't tried this yet: when I'm walking downhill and notice my toes banging I'll retie my boots so that the foot part is looser and the ankle part is tighter. I think most mountaineering boots these days have a lace lock thing to facilitate this.

 

2. I had a similar problem with the women's version of the Charmoz when I tried them on (outside toes being crunched when walking downhill), but the size up that fit width-wise was too big length-wise. I bought the men's version in the same size (38) which fit a lot better. A lot of the men's versions of mountaineering boots are available in small sizes which is nice for women with wide feet but local retailers won't have them (I had to order mine from scarpa.com).

 

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Toes hitting in boots is not good in any circumstances except technical climbing, and not even then sometimes.

 

from your description it sounds like you need the 37.5. Don't compromise just because they didn't have your size in stock.

 

If you want a tighter fit in the 37.5 put a thicker insert or thicker socks. Something where you can adjust it to not hit your toes on the downhill.

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