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Having trouble finding downturn shoes that don't cause excruciating pain -- pls help!

Original Post
cashmab · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 1,589

I've been climbing for nearly 20 years in La Sportiva Mythos, and have always loved them for their comfort. But recently I've been shopping around for my first pair of downturned shoes for harder sport climbing and bouldering (and by harder, I mean mostly 5.12 / V6 ish).

I've tried on Mira VS, Solutions, Testarossas, and Geniuses, and all have caused unmanageable pain in the knuckle of my big toes. What I'm wondering is if this is something that will go away after the break-in period, or if there is some way to mitigate the discomfort.

Most folks who I have talked to said that these shoes tend to be uncomfortable when they are new, but not excruciatingly painful. I don't think it's that I'm trying sizes that are too small, as there is room in the heel in most of the sizes I've tried. I've tried loosening the laces a bunch, but that doesn't seem to help much. I literally cannot put standing pressure on my big toes without the pain being unbearable.

Should I just try wearing new shoes on the sofa for a couple weeks until they soften/stretch slightly and my feet get used to them? What are my options?

jbrown2 Brown · · Bend, Oregon · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 120

Try the Evolv shaman. They are designed to have room for your knuckels. Also. Sometimes flat shoes just fit some feet better.

Paul Hassett · · Aurora CO · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 163


Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

it sound slike you try on the shoes that are bad fit for your quite stinky feet, and must try other brands. You should be able to size them quite snug and comfy, or down to very painful if you desire.

Luc Ried · · Batesville, AR · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 440

I second trying the new Evolv Shamans, they're incredibly comfortable for a downturned shoe, and perform very well.

TLyons · · Lynbrook, NY · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 110

TC Pros climb 5.14, they should be fine, get those.

Evan Belknap · · Placitas, NM · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 65

I climbed for 8 years in mythos, up to 12c, and then i got a pair of TC pros and they kinda changed the game for me. Lately, I've been trying to get some even more aggressive shoes as well, even though I have no patience for painful shoes. I hated the miuras, and just got some vapor vs, which are pretty good. I still think the TCs are the best shoe around for me.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122

Here's a third vote for Shaman's, it sounds like you really need the knuckle box feature that they have. Super comfortable shoes that climb great.

MattH · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 420

I can only wear downturned shoes with a cupped sole shape. All the others either have too much wiggle room or excruciating pain depending on size - none of the LS models you mentioned work for me. I don't know how anyone wears the non-cupped aggressive models. Evolv/Mad Rock/Scarpa all have them on at least a few of their high end shapes, and then it's just a matter of deciding which company's shape fits your foot best - for me, it's just Evolv and Mad Rock that work.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

Try all the different brands, not just Sportiva. The mythos is not a shoe that caters to any particular foot, so theres no telling which brand will fit your foot best.

Evolv, scarpa, five ten, butora, tenaya, and mad rock all make a wide range of downturned shoes. I'd recommend the mid range (similar to the muira vs) rather than the super aggressive models since it's your first pair.

The one that fits best is the one you should buy. It should not be painful, it should be snug, no dead air, and probably a touch uncomfortable with some pressure due to the downturn.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

TLyons TC Pros climb vertical/slab sounds like he's looking for something for overhangs.

TLyons · · Lynbrook, NY · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 110

The OP says nothing about overhanging routes.
You can't climb anything if you are in excruciating pain.
TCs are more aggressive than the Mythos but not wildly turned down as the Solutions and can be sized relatively comfortable and still preform well.
If something cant be climbed in TCs, work on your technique and do a few more push up/ pull ups, shoes wont make the difference.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

That's a rather myopic perspective. Different shoes are suited to different purposes...even TC doesn't wear the Pros when he's bouldering or climbing steep sport routes. The TS said he was looking for downturned shoes for bouldering, so it's pretty clear that he's looking to get on something overhanging...otherwise, he wouldn't need a downturned shoe. Sure, one theoretically could climb steep sport routes with TC Pros, but you wouldn't be much better off than with Mythos.

Henry Holub · · Altus, Ok · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 525

Another vote for the Shamans. I've found mine to be very comfortable. I can knock down several bouldering problems without any need to take them off

Trevor. · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 849

Check out the Katana Laces, I've found them to have the best comfort:performance ratio of any downturned shoes I've ever owned. Mine were slightly painful when new but broke in to be comfy yet still very high performance.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

I usually hate downturned shoes but I have fallen in love with the LS Python, although I'm not sure if they are still being made. It's slightly downturned slipper with one velcro strap at the top. Half the time I don't even need to use the velcro because it just fits the shape of my foot so perfectly. It is also a fairly soft shoe so will be similar to the mythos in that sense.

They aren't so comfy for all day long climbs but are plenty comfy for single pitch if you take them off to belay. They're only ever painful if I haven't climbed in them for a week or two (when they aren't worn for that long they start to stiffen up a bit and have to be stretched out slightly) but it only takes one session to get them back to normal fit.

Scott Bissi · · Cazenovia, New York · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 5

You also have to remember shoes fit a little tight/uncomfortable brand new out of the box compared to a good break in. Not saying get shoes that hurt to stand in by anymeans. You could maybe try a pair of your buddies aggressive shoes he's had a while.

FourT6and2 · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 45

I'm going through the same thing. Been climbing in the Mythos. Looking for a more aggressive shoe for steeper routes and overhanging boulder problems. I've tried on almost EVERY shoe out there. I had finally found a pair that were pretty comfortable out of the box: Tenaya Tarifa...


After one day of climbing with them, no more. They went from being super comfortable to me not being able to even stand up in them. No joke. I couldn't put any pressure on my feet what so ever. My feet could not support my own body weight. I had to go back to the Mythos.

I don't know what it is. I don't know how everyone uses these super down-turned shoes that are sized 3 sizes too small. It baffles my mind.

Curt Shannon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 5
cashmab wrote:I've been climbing for nearly 20 years in La Sportiva Mythos, and have always loved them for their comfort. But recently I've been shopping around for my first pair of downturned shoes for harder sport climbing and bouldering (and by harder, I mean mostly 5.12 / V6 ish).
Well, you certainly don't need a downturned shoe for that.

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205

La Sportiva geniuses are apparently very comfortable and i love my speedsters no edge. The evolv shammans and their "love bump" is used by pretty much all high end down turned shoes, from the sounds of it you don't have a hugely wide foot so i wouldn't buy this seasons shamans (pretty wide) and last seasons model can be picked up pretty cheap now.

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

If Mythos were comfortable right out of the box, you might have a more symmetric foot. Most of aggressive shoes will be built on asymmetric last, this might explain the pain you are feeling on your big toe. Look for less asymmetric shoes. Again, different companies will use different lasts for their shoes, you might need to shop around.

Evolv sells "Luchadors", comes in both laces and velcro.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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