If the Shoe Fits
Whether it’s your first pair of shoe’s or your fifth pair of shoes at some point you’ll find yourself in front of a wall full of funny shaped, painful looking shoes thinking ‘’Which one do I need?’’.
And that’s what we’re here to shed some light on. Although it would be nice if there was one shoe that could do everything, I also wish I could wear my track-pants out to dinner, and that just frankly isn’t the case. Ask most seasoned climbers and they’ll tell you they have multiple pairs of shoes, each ideal for a different situation.
First pair of shoes; So you’re starting off climbing and you quickly become sick of the sweaty, stinky hire shoes from the gym. You’re ready for your first pair of your very own climbing shoes. This is probably one of the hardest climbing-shoe-purchase decisions you’ll make. What you want to look for in your first pair of shoes is something that is comfortable and easy on your feet, you don’t want to turn yourself off climbing before you even start and you don’t want to be taking off your shoes every five minutes. You’ll also want something that can be used in a variety of situations and will last a while, because you’ll likely be trying out lots of different styles of climbing. For your first pair of shoes we recommend the La Sportiva Tarantulace or Mythos. Both super comfortable, easy to fit shoes, that you will be able to wear in a variety of situations as you begin your addiction to climbing.
The Tarantulace has extra thick (5ml) rubber at the toe so the soles don’t wear through as quick. New climbers are pretty hard on their shoes so this feature will help your shoes last a little bit longer while your figuring out your foot technique. The Mythos have a good toe on them so they’ll be able to get you through some of the harder stuff as you progress.
Bouldering shoes; Once you discover that falling onto big soft matts is fun and climbing without a harness is a lot less hassle you will realise that bouldering is a whole different ball game to top roping. While bouldering you’ll often find yourself in an array of strange positions trying out difficult moves that require more awareness of your body positioning than other climbing styles. In this situation you want a soft sensitive shoe that has a strong downward pointed toe. The softer, more sensitive rubber will allow you to feel the holds better meaning you can be more intuitive with your foot placement, while the aggressive toe will give you the power to push through big strength moves. Two great bouldering shoes that tick all these boxes are the La Sportiva Skwama's and Solutions.
General gym and outdoor shoes; If you’re going to be dabbling in both indoor and outdoor climbing you’ll want a shoe you can keep as you progress through harder grades and use for a variety of different styles and moves, such as heel hooks, toe hooks, crimpy climbs, powerful climbs, or overhung climbs. Our go to shoe’s for this use are the La Sportiva Miura VS and Katana Lace. Both these shoes have rigid soles and aggressive downward toes to reduce toe flex and increase precision and trustworthiness of foot placement, for technical or overhung moves.
The Katana’s are commonly spoken of as one of the most comfortable aggressive shoes because of there inner sock. Where as the Miura VS is favoured for its Velcro straps making it an easy shoe to slip on and off between climbs.
Trad climbing shoes; If you’re brave enough to enter the world of Trad climbing you’re going to want the right shoes for those moments when you’re on the side of a cliff fiddling around with gear trying to place the right piece. In this situation it is best to have stiffer, more supportive shoes that will take some pressure of your calves and reduce fatigue while you’re standing on edges placing gear. Our recommendation for a great trad shoe is the La Sportiva Miura, they will suit all your trad adventures, whether it be easy, hard or somewhere in between.
Multipitch shoe; When you begin taking on multipitch routes you’ll quickly discover comfort is key, if your going to be spending numerous hours in your shoes you don’t want them to be spent in foot-cramping pain. In saying this you also don’t want to compromise performance and regret your shoe choice when you get to the hardest pitch in the climb. A great shoe that satisfies both comfort and performance needs is the La Sportiva Mythos. The Mythos are superbly comfortable but also have a good enough toe to get you through some of the more technical stuff.
“Mythos are ridiculously under-rated. People think they are only beginners shoes but you can do some seriously hard climbs in those shoes. They’re a shoe every climber should own’’ – Andrew Gill, K2 staff member