If Cinderella’s shoes were tight enough, she wouldn’t have left it that midnight. But the climber’s life is no fairy tale. How shoes should be worn in climbing is a different story.
Have you ever gone wall, rock, or mountain climbing? If you have, how did your feet go? Some may have been too focused on the other essentials in climbing like helmet, rope, harness, etc. that they have subtly discounted the importance of footwear.
Acquiring the right shoes for climbing is as important as having the courage to reach the summit, or joining the climbers’ team, to begin with.
Now, suppose you have your shoes on, how should it fit you? How should climbing shoes fit in general?
Right Footwear, Right Fit
Getting the right footwear in a climbing adventure seems to have been underrated, or ignored at some point. Yet, we all know it should not be. After all, the climb starts with a single footstep, and you can only do so if your feet are well-equipped.
As an outdoor enthusiast, you know better. The right footwear comes with the right fit. But, when can you say that the climbing shoes you are wearing fit you? How fit is fit, then?
How Fit Is Fit?
Climbers reveal that one good thing about climbing shoes is that the toes spaces are very close to the shoe front that the feet will fit well enough, restricting the movement. The soles of climbing shoes are also made of sticky rubbers.
According to avid climbing shoe users, it will take a long whole for climbing shoes to become too tight for their feet. The tightness will be gradual depending on the performance of the user and the shoes’ exposure to different hard things such as rocky roads. However, if the climbing shoes are worn properly, the user feels the tightness but it is not painful.
But, how tight should climbing shoes be? Climbing shoes must be worn so tight because of the pressure climbing will put into your toes. So, make sure that your toes are positioned well at the front of the shoe to be able to have much control over your steps and your shoes themselves.
Another thing, make sure that your heel fits the space at the back of the shoe to prevent the shoe from moving around your foot, otherwise, you would slip off holds.
Unlike other shoes that need to have space for your feet to feel comfy when moving anywhere, climbing shoes must leave no space for your feet to move around while climbing. Because in a climb, your shoes are meant to climb and it should not be anywhere else.
Does size really matter? The answer is yes, at least for climbing shoes. But, how will you know that the available size is right for you?
Sometimes, our feet can be treacherous. It looks smaller and bigger for any size of shoes we happen to grab from the display rack. At times, a size seven feet will not fit a pair of shoes with the same size.
The best way to reconcile this is to not just try your feet on but to really feel how it fits you. Luckily, there is a general rule of thumb for this.
Rule 1. When wearing them is painful for your feet, then they are too tight.
Rule 2. When the shoes are too comfortable for you, then they are too large.
Rule 2. When you are not comfortable wearing them at all, then they are the perfect pair to buy
Wait, there is more! When can you say that your climbing shoes are too small or too big for you?
Your climbing shoes are too big when:
1. Your feet can move around inside your shoes.
2. You can feel a gap or space between the opening of the shoe and the heel.
3. Your shoe is bunching.
Now, there is only one indication that your shoes are too small for you - it is too painful to wear them!
Finding The Right Fit
How does a climbing shoe fit? Of course, it should fit you well. But, how will you know that such a fit is the right one?
Well, your kind of “fit” should be determined by the type of climbing you intend to do. Is it wall climbing or rock climbing? Or is it mountain climbing?
Your experience level may also be part of determining your “fit.” An experienced climber knows how to navigate his body, especially his feet better than a novice. So, the kind of “fit” of a pro may not necessarily be the same as that of a newbie in climbing.
Are Climbing Shoes Supposed To Hurt?
The straight answer to this is “No.” The whole climbing experience is already painful to think about, at least for those who are still getting the hang of it. So, why let your feet suffer?
If they should not hurt, then, why do some feet are in pain? Here’s why;
1. Modern shoes right now are made of synthetic materials and they have larger rubbers. They are not stretchy, so it is vital that it fits you right at your first use so your feet will not feel the hurt.
2. Climbing shoes that are made of leather stretch up a few sizes over a period of time. You will only get its ideal fit after a few months of usage.
3. Newbies are not used to the fit of climbing shoes. It takes time for their feet and toes to adjust to the shape of the shoes.
4. Not all shoes fit all feet. Climbing shoe designs are made for varying shapes of feet.
5. Climbing shoes are not designed to give comfort, but they should not also be too painful. If you feel that your shoes are giving you constant pains, you might be wearing the wrong size.
Assessing the Fit
After all, you are your own feet. No one knows your feet’s fit better than you do. As a climber yourself, you must know how to fit climbing shoes.
So, here is how to assess your fit:
1. Your toes must be positioned at the end of the toe box, leaving no dead space.
2. Your feet should snug around the sides of your shoes.
3. Your heels should fit closely on their intended space on the shoes, too.
We have learned a lot from this article, have we not? Finding the right climbing shoes as well as knowing if they fit us is certainly not a walk in the park. A lot of things should be taken into account before buying our climbing shoes.
You see, we do not buy that pair of climbing shoes just because they are good-looking or affordable, or just because they belong to the brand we adore. We buy them because they fit our feet.
Even though finding our “fit” takes time and effort, but, the results will be rewarding for sure, especially when we finally found our kind of “fit.” So, never give up!
In time, you will know what your feet need. Or you may ask someone to help you find your fit; but, know that the only person who can tell how climbing shoes fit you is you, yourself.