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Climbing Shoes for weird feet-please help

Original Post
Emily Schwartz · · West Danville, Vermont · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 20

My feet are weird and finding a shoe that feels right has been a task.

Any advice on shoes I would really, really appreciate!

My dilemma:

Shoes i most recently have used & how they affect me:
La Sportiva katanas: I love them. I love how I climb in them, the shape, the sole, etc. Unfortunately, they hurt my big toe so much that by the end of the day I am in so much pain it hurts to walk. Last season my big toe nails were nearly almost dead, both completely blue and black. They healed pretty well over the winter, but beginning to climb long days again, the nails are already bruised up (& I keep the nails cut plenty short).

La Sportiva tc pros: I bought them because I heard they were so comfortable and were a great shoe all around. Unfortunately, the fit has just not been right. I sized down from the katana. My toes feel so tight and create and indent on my toe knuckles after only an hour or two of climbing. My toes hurt even worse from these than the katanas. But, the shoes fit very loose on my heal and make the "fart noise" because of the space, so sizing up won't solve the problem. I've only climbed in them 6-7 times because I think I've give up on them & may try to sell them because of the fit.

Basically, I have very long (abnormally long) toes with large knuckles, but i have small heels. They are not normal girl feet. I have tried on many pairs of shoes at the gear shop in town (evolv & 5.10 varieties, women specific kinds, etc) I could probably try on every single shoe they have there (dozens), but I figured I'd come here for any sort of advice!! Has anyone had similar issues with tc pros and katanas and found something they like?? I'm looking to get two pairs: an aggressive pair for faces, overhangs, etc... And a pair of more comfortable shoes for long trad routes, maybe some crAck climbing.

Mike Collins · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2013 · Points: 35

try the tenaya tatanka they are comfy and I have got great performance out of them and I heard someone say they are good for mortons toe. I don't have that so I can't speak to that aspect but overall I love them

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Sounds like you're doing the right thing to find a shoe that fits - trying on numerous pairs.

You may have to find a climbing shop with more of a selection that your local one. Are there any bigger climbing shops near you? You don't want to order online, if you don't know how it fits.

I have no specific recommendations as the TC Pros and the Katana VS are my main shoes!

bearded sam · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 145

It sounds like you need to go up a half size in the Katana. I love the Katana and got my TC pro the same size. The first day out, I was afraid I got them too small, but now they are comfy and have never been "too big" for me to do the move I needed to.

bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 3,065

the only solution is to try on every pair of shoes ... and make a list ...

my favorite climbing partner has a similar issue ... and despite all the advice on what shoe to buy on da intrawebz, its all useless till you put em on yr foot and try em on the wall

it may take you hours at the store, and days running around stores to find the right shoe ...

theres no other way that works better


Danny Parker · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 50

You may want to try a pair of leather slippers, my Evolv addicts stretch out and fit my awkward feet really well! it may just take a week to get them comfortable.

Victor K · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 170

I have very low volume feet. I was lead to Tenaya Masai based on a review written by a female climber. Pressure on my big toe is a consistent sensation with many shoes. The Masai fit beautifully. Aside from my specific reccomendation, I also suggest shoes with full length laces. They allow a high degree of customization. I'm also comfortable in 5.10 Anasazi Guides and La Sportiva Mythos

Abram Herman · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 20

I have the same problems you have with La Sportiva's fit—I've tried on a lot of their shoes, and none of them fit my feet quite right. Scarpas, however, are an absolutely perfect fit for my foot type, so maybe give those a try! I got the Techno X instead of the TC Pros and love them, and I also love my Instinct VS and Instinct S for harder/steeper stuff.

The only La Sportivas that have worked for me are the Mythos, but only because I got them quite painfully tight to start with and stretched them out really good to where they're now a comfortable trad shoe. I think they're 2 European sizes smaller than my other shoes.

Emily Schwartz · · West Danville, Vermont · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 20

Thanks for the ideas and recommendations!

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,860

Old-timer's suggestion here - try a stiff shoe. You know that soft shoes need to fit tight to work well. The opposite is true, and an old fashioned board-lasted shoe (coughBorealAcecough) needn't be so tight. Aces aren't the planks that the duuuude crowd would have you believe; I've done some testy friction climbing (up to 5.11a smearing) in mine.

And I'll second the suggestion of going uyp 1/2 size in the Katanas.

Eric LaRoche · · Keene, NH · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 25

I love my Evo Bandits for cracks. My big toe is about a half inch longer than the next when curled. I found that Evo's asymmetrical cut shoes are perfect for me. I have a pair of Shamans as well for overhanging stuff and they're super comfortable.

Mike Collins · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2013 · Points: 35

I would agree about the bandits.. I got mine for 23 dollars on steep and cheap but they are one size small but I couldn't beat the price. I don't think I would pay full price but they are def a solid shoe and like he said they may fit your foot well. Trial and error unfortunately.

James Sweeney · · Roselle Park, NJ · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 30


Your issues with a tight toebox might best be served by trying some shoes from Scarpa. They're known to be a little larger in that area.

The loose heels can be remedied by using moleskin My daughters have used it as a blister remedy in their dancing shoes,so they're suitable to use for filling volume.

It might also be helpful if you stop in at the Plattsburgh Shoe Hospital! next time you're on the west shore. Mark Meschinelli will likely have solid advice for shoe fitting,
as well as the skill to customize the fit.


djh860 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 110

I think you would to well to try to pick up an much older shoe. 100% leather lace up. These have a great deal of stretch some as much as 2 sizes. I see them all the time on eBay many are like new

javd von dauber · · East Brookfield MA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 91

Try tenyana RA.

Awesome shoe too.

doligo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 269
Gunkiemike wrote:Old-timer's suggestion here - try a stiff shoe.
I don't know, Mike, but brand spanking new TC Pros are pretty stiff. It sounds like the OP's feet are not well suited for Sportiva shoes (or vice versa) - most typical Sportiva foot people size their TC Pros up from Katana. They're pretty much the same shoe, TCPs just have more material, a bit stiffer and don't stretch, hence sizing up. The OP's case, sized down TCPs with dead space in the heels and while larger Katanas being too snug, just doesn't make sense to me.
Mathias · · Loveland, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 306

A friend of mine is having a similar issue. I got her interested in the 5.10 Anasazi Guides (they have a differently shaped toe box than most shoes). She hasn't climbed in them yet, but after trying them in a store, she was sold.

Alicia Sokolowski · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 1,130

My middle toe is actually my longest toe and all my toes are generally long, so I feel your pain. I also have a small heel and constantly have heel lift problems.

For me, the Scarpa Instinct VS fixed my issues. I highly recommend trying on a pair.

V.C. C · · Folsom, CA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 50

Hi Emily,

It sounds like we have very similar feet shapes! I have a pair of women's pink Katana velcro (EU 37.0) that I like but my toes start hurting in them after just a few minutes that I felt I spent more time taking the shoes on and off than actually climbing. I also have a pair of Miura VS (also in EU 37.0) but my feet get even worse pain in them.

Now I have a pair of Evolv Shaman LV (green and purple in size 8), and my feet are quite happy in them for at least 2-3 hours before the toes start getting a bit sore. There is a little bit space in the heels but I can still do heel hooks just fine. One thing is that the velcro straps were too long for me when I tighten the shoes, so I ended up trimming them (and I heat-sealed them so the ends don't fray) so the extra length doesn't get in the way or stick themselves to the gym floor. The size 7.5 didn't have the long velcro straps problem for me, but my toe knuckles got hot spots in them so I went with the comfortable size 8.

I found that the Shaman LV has a more slim/long toe profile than the Katana velcro and Miura VS. Maybe that is why the Shaman fits my feet better. I would totally recommend trying the Shaman out if you haven't!

Hope you find the shoes that fit you soon!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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