Footwork is one of the most important aspects of the climbing technique. That’s why the prime task of every responsible climber is to pick the right footwear. Choosing your first pair of climbing shoes is challenging but requires much attention because improper footwear is a waste of money and a weak point in your climbing gear that may lead to injuries.
Climbing Shoe Construction
The shoe upper uses leather or synthetic materials. Both materials are great but have certain limitations. Leather has a natural quality for molding feet, which, of course, provides more comfort. Synthetic materials are better at moisture regulation and breathability.
Climbing footwear also uses different closure systems. Lace-up shoes offer superior adjustability, so when you get swollen feet, you can loosen the laces a bit. However, velcro provides superior on-and-off convenience. Slippers are soft and, thus, provide greater sensitivity. Also, since they have no fastening system, they have the lowest profile good for negotiating cracks. However, you need to size sleepers small and still bear the risk of losing them during aggressive climbing.
The sole is what you need to pay the most attention to. Here’s why.
Flat vs. Downturned
The industry distinguishes between flat (neutral), moderately downturned, and aggressively downturned shoes. If you’re a beginner, flat-soled rock climbing shoes are the best place to start, though experienced climbers also value them for all-day comfort. Such shoes tend to have a stiff midsole, which is less sensitive but works great when you need to stand on tiny edges.
Downturned (cambered) shoes put your feet in a more powerful position helping negotiate challenging routes. They often have a thinner sole made with sticker rubber for a better feel and grip. Moderately downturned shoes are close to all-rounders, and aggressively cambered shoes are best for overhanging climbs.
How Tight Should Climbing Shoes Be?
The tighter the climbing shoes are, the more support they provide. They should fit snugly and accurately. Otherwise, you risk getting a bunch of problems like chafing, blisters, and abrasions. You should avoid empty space between your toes - they should be slightly bent. It will greatly increase the sensitivity. However, overly small shoes wear out much faster and cause discomfort.
Best Climbing Shoes for Sale
We carry a variety of men’s and women’s climbing shoes made by such trusted brands as Butora and Garmont. We understand that performance sports footwear can cost a bundle. For that reason, we always put several climbing shoe models on sale, so you have an opportunity to buy a high-quality product at a decent price.