Mountain Project Logo

Are downturned shoes necessary?


Caleb Mallory · · Seattle, Wa · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 425

TC Pro's all day.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95
Ana Tine wrote: I have clipped approach shoes for the walk-off and do find it's slightly bulky and adds weight which wouldn't be ideal when climbing so close to my limit I need to change shoe-tools.
Another tip: One routes with short, scrambley downclimb descents, use a big comfy pair of rock shoes (with socks!) as a walkoff shoe instead of your approach shoes. Then you can also climb the easy pitches in those shoes. Carry your tight shoes on your harness. When things get hard, switch to the tight performance shoes. This makes for a lighter setup than carrying approach shoes, and it gives you more shoe options. Downside is less comfortable for walking.
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 210

...and you trash your rock shoes.

Awesome replies, guys! Glad to see a lot of different opinions. One thing to be careful of, though, is equating flat lasted shoes with sloppy gym rentals. TC Pros, for example, are probably the most arduously constructed shoes available (as the price reflects) but as flat as they come. Whether you need high performance shoes is another question entirely, but I was more comparing high performance shoes with downturned/flat lasts respectively. Moccs and Mythos are on the cheaper end but definitely still outside of the beginner range, and Anasazi Pinks run about $160 and are worth every penny.

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

climbing friend,

it is absolute importance!!! you must buy most expensive shoes imaginable, $175 or $200 at least for sale!!! otherwise you will not be good climber!!!

all your flash are belong to me!

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

climbing friend,

yes, it is quite sad yes, when one hardly sees action due to lack of performance.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 210

Speaking from personal experience?

ALEXAOUTDOOR Alexa smit · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 5

flat shoes +1

Dana Bartlett · · CO · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 890
John Wilder wrote: It's pretty rare to actually need super aggressive shoes. Theyre really nice on true roofs and super steep terrain where catching a small foot is critical to the send. Otherwise, any shoe that fits your foot well will do the job just fine.

"Otherwise, any shoe that fits your feet well will do the job well."

That's pretty much the whole story right there. 


King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 430

When you find that obsessive project that has that one (or several) foot holds that require them for you to send, you will know. This is entirely individual.

Until then, carry on.

:D

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 430
Hunter Hayes wrote:

Apocalypse in rifle has been climbed in converse all stars, pump was done in high heels..

And Royal Robbins soloed the DNB on Middle Cathedral in Tretorn tennis shoes (more impressive than those by far).

But that has nothing to do with another individual and their own climbing and what shoe may be needed for them to get up their heart's desire.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
mountainhick wrote: Then there's the concern whether a downturn works at all with your feet. I have bought and tried Scarpa Instincts, Boostics, Sportiva Katana lace, Murias and Testarossas, and a pair of Climb X slippers with minimal downturn. All I get is ripping tearing pain. I can't wear them at all. My big toe anatomy is such that the toes don't tolerate such a position under load of body weight. May as well rip the extensor tendons apart and throw away my feet.

+1

This is me, too.


Tomily ma · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 305

Sharma sent dreamcatcher in Mocs (probably borrowed).  But he's Sharma. 

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 210

http://www.rockandice.com/climbing-news/ifsc-bouldering-world-cup-navi-mumbai-2017

...and Shauna Coxsey just took home the cup in Anasazis.  Kinda refreshing to see someone in the comp not wearing Solutions/Instincts/HiAngles.

Doug Hutchinson · · Seattle, WA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 135
Ted Pinson wrote:

.and Shauna Coxsey just took home the cup in Anasazis. 

And thanks to her, FiveTen is introducing the Anasazi Pro which sounds like my beloved VCSs with the heel tension they used to have (circa 2012 and before) and rubber on the toe for hooking.

https://vimeo.com/222693987

Jason Eberhard · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 71

I like flat stiff shoes for a couple reasons.  First and most importantly I'm the least likely to have foot issues from boulder falls or general overuse.  If I wear down-turned shoes my toes start to ache after a couple weeks of my regular climbing schedule.  Flat/Stiff are also more comfortable, which makes climbing more enjoyable to me than sending 1/10 of a letter grade higher(unless there is a very specific move I think this is all the benefit shoe shape gives you, rubber is a different story).

Kinobi Eman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

I am a climbing shoe designer from Italy.

http://www.kinobi.it/presentation.html


Climbing shoes are not only downturned, they have also camber (like tyres on car) and they are offset. 

Downturn = facing down. The more downturn, the more you can grab a foothold. The upper part of the shoe is longer than the sole = potential toe bulging effect

Camber = inside lower than outside in the frontpart. The more camber you have, the more difficult is to climb on the external part or the shoe.

Offset: how much they are assymetric. Like La Sportiva Mythons vs SCARPA Drago.

All these parameters varies with stiffeness.

And stiffness varies with how tight a shoe is worn. Example: an extremely cambered and downturn shoe with stiff midsole can be a super edging machine if worn tight, and a misery if worn sloppier.


In my +30 years of climbing (I am now 48), I can say that people get used on what they use. Very often it's a matter of preference and marketing.

I try to make two examples: When first Miura came out, it was outsold by 5.10 Anasazi for at least 5 years. After 5 years (and a change of midsole, by the way) Anasazis strarted they now serious decline. Does this mean that Miura is better? Or just marketing won, or that people got used to that shape? I think the latter is the best answer.


Bottom line: yes, downturn shoes are  a significant advantage in certain angles with a price to pay (wear them tight, not super tight). I ofter try the same indoor boulder with a variable angle, with the same midsole but different last, and in some cases I can do it, in some others I fall. Clear example that a shoe matter. But in case you step on footholds larger than 1 cm, there is no difference. It is then a matter of personal preference.


Ciao,

E





Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 5

I don't think it makes a huge difference except on really overhanging routes where a downturned toe really does help to grab onto holds. I am a huge fan of flat or mostly flat (Five Ten Quantum) shoes with stiff soles. I'm not sure if that's because they are better or because I am a bigger guy 6'3" 195 lbs and just need a stiffer sole to give me the same level of support that a soft shoe gives someone around 145 lbs. This has become even more important in the last couple of years because I developed turf toe in both of my big toes one Summer. (still have no idea why). Soft shoes and downturned shoes just put way too much pressure on that toe joint now. Pain ensues and then I have to overuse my arms which causes me to pump out faster. I can get away with downturned shoes on really steep routes because the pressure on my feet is not nearly as high. It shifts from holding weight to just maintaining pressure for movement from hold to hold. 

Kiri Namtvedt · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 30

A friend of mine bought the Scarpa Booster years ago and raved so much about it that he convinced me to buy the women's version.  I had to order it without trying on; it was stunningly painful but I did feel like it allowed me to climb harder on a couple of dead vertical hard sport routes...  But the pain!  The pain!  I didn't stick with those shoes for long in part because I was concerned about long-term damage to my toe joints.  My local gym started carrying them so I got to try on other sizes which allowed me to determine that sizing them bigger would not have helped with the pain, it would only have created slop.

Some time after that I bought my first pair of La Sportiva Mythos, and now I think the most important things in climbing success are comfort and rubber that hasn't worn down too much.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 210
Ryan Hamilton wrote:

I don't think it makes a huge difference except on really overhanging routes where a downturned toe really does help to grab onto holds. I am a huge fan of flat or mostly flat (Five Ten Quantum) shoes with stiff soles. I'm not sure if that's because they are better or because I am a bigger guy 6'3" 195 lbs and just need a stiffer sole to give me the same level of support that a soft shoe gives someone around 145 lbs. This has become even more important in the last couple of years because I developed turf toe in both of my big toes one Summer. (still have no idea why). Soft shoes and downturned shoes just put way too much pressure on that toe joint now. Pain ensues and then I have to overuse my arms which causes me to pump out faster. I can get away with downturned shoes on really steep routes because the pressure on my feet is not nearly as high. It shifts from holding weight to just maintaining pressure for movement from hold to hold. 

See, it's funny, because I'm almost exactly the same size (6'3 190ish), yet I find myself preferring softer shoes.  Although I agree that stiffer shoes initially feel more supportive (and I do prefer them on longer routes), I find that I develop the same level of security in soft shoes once I develop the muscles in my foot.  When I first start climbing in Anasazis or Moccasyms, for example, I feel like I have to be very conscious about keeping my feet on the holds and generally feel much less secure than in say Miuras; however, once I've done a few sessions and built up those muscles, I feel just as secure, but am able to mold my foot to more surfaces (e.g: slopers) rather than having to edge everything.  I also find my foot unexpectedly blowing off of holds a lot less in softer shoes because they're much more sensitive.  This also makes rock angle much less of a factor, as you're still able to toe-in and grab holds on an overhang.

Nivel Egres · · New York, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 160
Ted Pinson wrote:

http://www.rockandice.com/climbing-news/ifsc-bouldering-world-cup-navi-mumbai-2017

...and Shauna Coxsey just took home the cup in Anasazis.  Kinda refreshing to see someone in the comp not wearing Solutions/Instincts/HiAngles.

Seems like outdoors you mostly see her in either Dragons, Teams or Blackwings. 

Personally, I wear whatever fits the route or problem, including some cases when I wear different shoes on different feet (like a recent case when there was a crucial heel hook with the left foot and a crucial edge with the right one). 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Climbing Gear Discussion
Post a Reply to "Are downturned shoes necessary?"

Log In to Reply