Selecting climbing shoes is no small matter! A lot of variables are to be taken into account, such as discipline, size, indoor or outdoor, level of the climber, etc.
There are 3 main families of feet.
The Egyptian foot represents about 50% of the population, the Roman foot 27% and the Greek foot 23%.
By looking at your feet, you will know which family you belong to. This information will help you to orient yourself towards the shape of your ideal shoe.
Two types of climbing shoes share the market.
The symmetrical or straight ones (centered on the second toe). Often intended for beginners who are looking for comfort, and allows you to use all of your toes.
The asymmetrical (with the tip on the big toe). Often less comfortable and less tolerant than straight shoes. Intended for an audience of regular practitionersthey offer a very large bearing accuracy. Versatile and precise, they are suitable for both competition and training.
From a comfort point of view, a straight shoe will be more suitable for a Greek foot, while an asymmetrical shoe will be more suitable for the Egyptian and Roman foot.
It differentiates between booties for beginner climbers and those for experienced climbers. The more pronounced the camber, the more technical the shoe is. Indeed, an arched shoe will fit your arch and will 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 beware of Greek feet!).
The second thing to do is to follow this simple rule: choose the smallest size possible before it hurts too much.
A beginner will usually take a shoe at his waist or up to one size bigger. No curled toes and so have a comfortable foot ready to endure long hours of climbing. Nor should you take your shoes too big under the pretext of being comfortable.
An experienced climber will opt for one to four sizes below his or her own, depending on the level and the model being tried.
A bootie fits well when it is tight and there is no gap between the foot and the bootie.
Your foot should also be slightly compressed but without any painful pressure points. And that your toes are slightly curled up for more strength.
Nota bene : Not all brands of climbing shoes wear the same!
The heel of the shoe must be well filled, there must be no space. This way, there will be no risk of taking off the shoes.
The choice of climbing shoes is made according to your practice. Indeed, when you go on long routes where it is difficult to remove the boots at the belays, it is better to have boots that are less restrictive for your feet, than boulders where you can remove them between two attempts.
That's why regular climbers who do both disciplines have several pairs.
This discipline requires intense but relatively short efforts. The shoe must be very precise but also easy and quick to put on and take off. We therefore advise you to choose a shoe that can be tightened either by elastic or velcro.
For the cliffyou have to define the type of route and the difficulty that you're going to climb into. In vertical climbing, you will have to favour the rigidity of the sole of the shoe with a lacing that will go down as low as possible to gain in precision, while on slopes you will need a shoe that facilitates the climbing of holds.
Elastics (or ballerinas) Elastic booties are very flexible and close to the foot. The system of ballerinas is based on compression and an elastic on the instep. It is necessary to take care to Anticipate the relaxation of the rubber band and choose them very carefully when you buy them.
Velcros : Velcro slippers have an opening on the instep. There may be one, two or three velcros. Easy and quick to put on and take off. They are accurate if the foot fills the general volume of the shoe.
Laces : Often more long to put on and take offthe lace-up slippers are the ones that offer the better alignment to your feet, and are often the only alternative for people with thin feet.