Choosing climbing shoes is not an easy task! Many variables are to be taken into account, such as discipline, size, indoor or outdoor, the level of the climber, etc. That's why, in this article, the AlpinStore technical team helps you choose your future pair of climbing shoes.
There are 3 large families of feet.
The Egyptian foot represents about 50% of the population, the Roman foot 27% and the Greek foot 23%.
Looking at your feet, you will know which family you belong to. This information will help you orient yourself to the shape of your ideal bootie.
Two types of climbing shoes share the market.
Symmetrical or straight (centered on the second toe). Often intended for beginners looking for comfort, and allows to use all toes.
Asymmetrical (with the tip on the big toe). Often less comfortable and less tolerant than straight slippers. Intended for an audience of regular practitioners, they offer a very high level of support. Versatile and precise, they are suitable for both competitions and training.
From the point of view of comfort, a straight bootie will be better suited to a Greek foot, while an asymmetrical one will be more suited to the Egyptian and Roman foot.
It differentiates the booties for beginner climbers from those for experienced climbers. The more the camber is pronounced, the more the slipper is technical. Indeed, a cambered footwear will match your arch and give you the impression of being one with the shoe.
The first thing to do is to measure your foot, from the heel to the longest toe (usually the big toe but watch out for the Greek feet!).
The second thing to do is to follow this simple rule: choose the smallest possible size before it hurts too much.
A beginner will usually take a slipper at his size or up to a size above. Without toes curled up and thus have a comfortable foot ready to withstand long hours of climbing. Do not take his shoes too big under the pretext of being comfortable.
A confirmed climber will opt for one to four sizes below his own, depending on his level and model tested.
A slipper is well fitted when it is tight and there is no gap between the foot and the slipper.
It is also necessary that your foot is slightly compressed but without any point of painful pressure. And that your toes are slightly curled up to have more strength.
Note: All brands of climbing shoes do not fit the same way!
The heel of the bootie must be well filled, there must be no space. Thus, there will be no risk of taking off.
The choice of climbing shoes is based on your practice. Indeed, when we go on the main road where it is difficult to remove the slippers relays, it is better to have less binding for your feet, in block where you can remove them between two tests.
That's why regular climbers who do both disciplines have multiple pairs.
This discipline requires intense efforts but relatively short. The slipper will have to be very precise but also easy and quick to put on and take off. We advise you to choose a slipper whose tightening will be done by elastic or velcro.
For the cliff, it is necessary to define the type of way and the difficulty in which you will climb. In the vertical, it will be necessary to favor the rigidity of the slipper sole with a lacing which will go down as low as possible to gain precision, whereas in slope you will need a slipper which facilitates the scratch of catch.
For large routes, we are looking for more comfort. You will therefore opt for the same slippers as for the cliff, but a half-size or a size above. Unless you want pure performance and you buy a pair with one or even two sizes below. In which case, you will remove your slippers at each length to breathe your sore feet.
Elastics (or ballerinas): Elastic slippers are very flexible and close to the foot. The system of ballerinas rests on the compression and an elastic on the kick. It is necessary to take care to anticipate the relaxation of the elastic and to choose them very tight with the purchase.
Velcro: Velcro slippers have an opening on the kick. There can be one, two or three Velcro. Easy and quick to put on and take off. They are accurate if the foot fills the general volume of the shoe.
Laces: Often longer to put on and take off, lace-up slippers are