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Intermediate shoes for indoor bouldering


Original Post
Jonathan Manning · · Los Angeles · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Hi all,

My first pair of shoes is finally blown out (rubber in front of big toe splitting). So I wanted to see what your opinions were about a good choice for an intermediate shoe, specifically for indoor bouldering.

Unfortunately I can't boulder outdoors as much as I'd like, so most of my time is spent in my gym. That said, I climb 4-6 times a week and am moving into the V6 range (occasionally a V7). So I definitely want a shoe that's more aggressive than the Scarpa Origin I was using before. But my main dilemma is how expensive of a shoe should I get if I strictly boulder indoors. I'm very committed to bouldering and want to push myself but I also don't want to drop a dime if you think the top-line shoes are better saved for outdoor.

So, what do you all recommend for someone in my situation? Should I just stick with something cheaper and simpler or go for the higher end aggressive stuff?

As far as a higher end shoe, I was thinking of the Scarpa Instinct VS, Evolv Shaman, or La Sportiva Skwama (I have wide feet). But part of me also thinks I should just go for something like the 5.10 Moccasym given the lower pricepoint. (This selection is based on the limited inventory of my gym).

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162

A Mocc and a Skwama are such completely different kinds of shoes that it doesn't make sense to compare them to each other. If both of those is on the table, literally any shoe will work.

I really like my Katana Laces for general use on plastic pebbles, plastic walls, sport, and some trad. Good edging, tiny bit of downturn, still fairly comfortable, works on most kinds of terrain. If you will only be bouldering, you can probably get something more specific.

Jon Frisby · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 100

geartrade.com

I never buy shoes over $110 and I never buy anything that retails under $160. Cheap shoes are bullshit

Jonathan Manning · · Los Angeles · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

I should clarify that I am not comparing the Moc and Skwama (or any of the shoes for that matter). I was just saying that I am trying to decide between buying something more expensive and aggressive or just get something cheaper (which typically means less aggressive) such as the Moc. Definitely not going to get anything under $110. But also just not sure how much more than that I should spend.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air · · Portland, OR · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 0

I would recommend getting something that is pretty soft; I believe the Anderson brothers recommend this in their training manual. La Sportiva Pythons(if you can find them as they have been discontinued), Scarpa Dragos, 5.10 Team VXI, 5.10 Team 5.10, and La Sportiva Futuras are a good start. I have heard of people wearing super-tight Five Ten Moccs. I liked my Tenaya Oasis; they were pretty soft, but not as soft as the ones listed above. It would be best if you could find a place to try them on, so you can get a shoe that fits your foot the best. If you're serious, get a pair of really nice shoes for when you actually need them and another pair to warm up in.

Andrewww · · Concord, NH · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 620

The Skwama is what Sportiva replaced the Pythons with, they seem pretty sweet but Sportiva won't split size shoes.

I really like my Shamans, they are much softer and more sensitive than the older version, plus when it's time to resole them you send them on back to Evolv and they completely replace the front rubber and because they have all the tooling there for their shoes, you get a pretty much brand new shoe back, down turn and everything like out of the box.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483

Skwamas are significantly more supportive than the pythons were FWIW. I still have my pythons which are worn to paper thin under the big toe and prefer them for steep indoor bouldering, I can wrap my toe over holds fully.
For slab to just a bit past vertical and gym routes the skwamas are great. If there is a demanding heel hook the skwamas flat out kick ass. Sensitive enough and don't have any bagginess to the side that the pythons do for me.

Erik Keever · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 245

I have wide feet as well. Here's a lesson that cost me quite a bit to learn: The shoe MUST fit the width of your foot as well as the length.

I've written off ever wearing a lot of those Sportivas my pull-hard boulderfriends wear simply because it feels like Adam Ondra is training grip strength on the sides of my feet (Not just really uncomfortable, I mean PAIN between the bones from the compression). Or if they have stretchier tops (e.g. Five Ten Rogues, Anasazis), the side walls will "bubble" out to fit the foot, which will make edging... difficult (And here in Oregon, "harder" means "progressively thinner vertical edging" about, oh, 95% of the time).

The first shoes that properly fit my foot were Scarpa Vapor-Vs. Then I discovered Feroces, which fit my feet like a pair of foot-gloves and I love them. Holding them up sole-to-sole, the bottoms of my Feroces (and Vapor-Vs) are close to a cm wider than those of my 5.10 Rogues, even though both the Scarpas are close to a full size smaller.

So I guess... TL;DR: Wide feet? Try Scarpas.

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

I only wear used shoes in the gym. Never spend more than $50 on gym shoes. Plastic eats then up. There are plenty of folks on here selling great shoes with plenty of life left in them for cheap. Shoes are shoes, it barely makes a difference in the gym. If your shoes are the limiting factor, train harder so they are no longer.

Steve_Sil. · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2012 · Points: 105

Your profile says you are in LA. Take a drive out to the FiveTen outlet store and try some of their shoes on. You can often find a good deal and make sure they fit your foot type.
fiveten.com/us/hiangle-turq… are on sale now.

fiveten.com/explore/retail/

AndyN Nagy · · Dayton, Ohio · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

If you're doing mostly indoor bouldering, try to find the old model shamans in your size (will likely be your street size). Most places have them at closeout prices (I got mine for about $90) and you'll end up with a relatively high end aggressive shoe for pretty cheap. If they only have the newer model in your gym's shop, try them on to get a general idea for fit and see if they work for you. I'm not sure if the sizing changed much between the two models so you may want to google around about that.

Dylan Pike · · SLC, UT · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 35

I have wide feet and wear feroces also.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air wrote:I would recommend getting something that is pretty soft; I believe the Anderson brothers recommend this in their training manual.
This definitely makes sense from a training perspective - wearing a softer, less supportive shoe will require more force exerted by your legs, particularly calf muscles. Softer shoes also tend to be more sensitive, which encourages proprioception and good footwork. From a performance perspective, however, having a little bit of extra power from the shoe is nice (especially if you're going to be in your shoes all day), so I'm not sure if this is the best advice for the TS if he's looking for a shoe that is going to help him climb harder grades.

I've noticed that a lot of pro climbers train in Moccs or other slippers.
Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483
Ted Pinson wrote: This definitely makes sense from a training perspective - wearing a softer, less supportive shoe will require more force exerted by your legs, particularly calf muscles. Softer shoes also tend to be more sensitive, which encourages proprioception and good footwork. From a performance perspective, however, having a little bit of extra power from the shoe is nice (especially if you're going to be in your shoes all day), so I'm not sure if this is the best advice for the TS if he's looking for a shoe that is going to help him climb harder grades. I've noticed that a lot of pro climbers train in Moccs or other slippers.
Gym holds are huge, really no need for any extra power. They smear easier on the 'blob" disc type feet also. On those rare occasions my gym uses really small screw on jibs for feet I might bring in my outdoor shoes.

A year ago I went from vapors to pythons for my gym shoes. This fall I got on a very thin vertical route that I had tried in 2015. Last year the arch of both feet cramped up on two dime edges. This year that same spot was a rest stance, I could easily stand there all day. I attribute that to training with a softer shoe in the gym.
Jonathan Manning · · Los Angeles · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Thanks for the advice, everyone! I ended up going with a pair of 5.10 Moccs, sized down pretty tight. I asked my friends who work at the gym and they all recommended them over something more aggressive since I strictly boulder indoors at the moment and they said to just wast until I start going outdoors more to invest in something higher end. Used the moccs for my session last night and I already really like them!

I was debating if I needed shoes more aggressive than my first pair (Scarpa Origin) but all I really needed was the rubber back, since it had worn down to the leather layer; so I think the advice to stick with softer, cheaper shoes for the gym is good. I can definitely feel my big toe and calves working--which is good since I want to improve my footwork. I And since I spend so much time in the gym, hopefully that'll get to a decent point by the time I start getting outdoors.

Brian L. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 90
Jonathan Manning wrote:Thanks for the advice, everyone! I ended up going with a pair of 5.10 Moccs, sized down pretty tight. I asked my friends who work at the gym and they all recommended them over something more aggressive since I strictly boulder indoors at the moment and they said to just wast until I start going outdoors more to invest in something higher end. Used the moccs for my session last night and I already really like them! I was debating if I needed shoes more aggressive than my first pair (Scarpa Origin) but all I really needed was the rubber back, since it had worn down to the leather layer; so I think the advice to stick with softer, cheaper shoes for the gym is good. I can definitely feel my big toe and calves working--which is good since I want to improve my footwork. I And since I spend so much time in the gym, hopefully that'll get to a decent point by the time I start getting outdoors.
Consider reading up on how to ID when your shoes need a resole to save some money in the future. Don't let it get to the point where the rubber is cracked, broken, or worn through before sending them in.
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190
Nick Drake wrote: Gym holds are huge, really no need for any extra power. They smear easier on the 'blob" disc type feet also. On those rare occasions my gym uses really small screw on jibs for feet I might bring in my outdoor shoes. A year ago I went from vapors to pythons for my gym shoes. This fall I got on a very thin vertical route that I had tried in 2015. Last year the arch of both feet cramped up on two dime edges. This year that same spot was a rest stance, I could easily stand there all day. I attribute that to training with a softer shoe in the gym.
Absolutely! I should probably say that I climb in Moccs (or, currently, Pinks which are similar) 90% of the time when gym climbing, and definitely noticed the same effect (training in soft shoes really builds up your calves for the real deal). I do like more aggressive shoes for bouldering, however, as 1) there tend to be lots of really small footholds on overhanging walls 2) heel hooks 3) toe hooks. 1 is manageable, 2 & 3 are not in Moccs...there's just not enough rubber on top of the shoe for toe hooking or technical heel hooks.
Jonathan Manning · · Los Angeles · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Yeah, I didn't even think about resoling until it was too late. But also, they were my first pair and not the best things--pretty cheap quality. They got pretty baggy really fast even though i sized them pretty tight so in addition to new rubber I also needed a better fitting shoe; still keeping them as warm up shoes though. But this time around I'm definitely going to keep an eye on the sole/rand wear so I can get my new ones resoled.

Brendan Blanchard · · Boulder, CO · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 590
Erik Keever wrote:The first shoes that properly fit my foot were Scarpa Vapor-Vs. Then I discovered Feroces, which fit my feet like a pair of foot-gloves and I love them.
YES. Scarpas are worth a try for wide feet. I never knew what a well fit shoe felt like until I tried some Scarpa Instinct slippers in an EMS. I slid them on and they made that shoe-fart sound when all the deadspace comes out, and I looked up at the guy and said "These. In this size." and promptly paid and left. Same has held for the second pair of those I got (4 years/2 resoles later), and my two subsequent pairs of Instinct VS'.

Definitely consider the Instinct VS as an indoor shoe. You might as well shell out if your pursuit is indoor—regardless of how crusty curmudgeons might de-value that pursuit on the forums or elsewhere. I use my Instinct slippers as my primary gym shoe because they're comfortable, precise, and sensitive and I don't mind the less effective heel hooking for most gym climbing. If I'm really interested in something heel hooky, I'll bring the VS pair in for the day.

To echo what Jon Frisby said, I consider 15% off MSRP to be the most I'll pay for any piece of climbing gear, because you can find almost anything for 15%+ off at any given time online. Specifically, check out Amazon and find a price-tracker for it to keep you updated, sometimes their algorithms drop Scarpa shoes 30-80$ off the MSRP for several days at a time.
Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135

FWIW a decent resoler can put a toe cap on shoes. Any shoe that I use in the gym has gone through multiple resoles and about every other time they get a toe cap.

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

Eh, they're never the same after a toe cap.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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