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Skwamas and stretch


Original Post
Kenji · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Just bought my first pair of aggressive shoes (have been climbing in a pair of Mythos for the past few years). Went with the Skwamas. They aren't...comfortable. My toes bend a little at the ends, but I can stand in them just fine.

Anyway, was wondering if someone who owns a pair can tell me how much I can expect them to stretch. Half-size? Full? Not at all?

Thanks in advance.

grubbers · · Mass. · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 0

The Skwamas stretch close to a full size.

Kenji · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks for the quick response. That's quite a lot of stretch. Makes me feel better about the tightness now.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530
K B wrote:Thanks for the quick response. That's quite a lot of stretch. Makes me feel better about the tightness now.
If your toes are slightly bent and standing is easy, and the skwamas stretch that much, you may well lose a fair amount of power and precision as they stretch.

Aggressive shouldn't be painful, but they also shouldn't be easy to stand around in for maximum benefit. It's hard to size over the interwebs, but your shoes sound a half size too big based on your description.
Kenji · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Understood on the sizing. I tried on the 40s and they were just too tight. Could barely get them on, and they gave me a cramp almost immediately. I don't know that I'd be able to do anything. But I'll keep a note of this and see how much these stretch. If they turn into a floppy nightmare, then lesson learned.

Thanks for your advice!

Mike Knight · · Canton, Mi · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 50

I think being able to go down sizes comes with time. I had to wear a size 42 in my first pair but now I wear a 39. It is something that in time you can gradually go tighter as your feet get used to tight snug shoes.

jmmlol · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0
K B wrote:Understood on the sizing. I tried on the 40s and they were just too tight. Could barely get them on, and they gave me a cramp almost immediately. I don't know that I'd be able to do anything. But I'll keep a note of this and see how much these stretch. If they turn into a floppy nightmare, then lesson learned. Thanks for your advice!
The smallest size you can get on with leather shoes is what I've found to work. They stretch a lot. As your first pair of aggressive shoes, you'll probably find you sized them too big. It's fine, you'll figure it out after a couple pairs.

Also, putting them in the over at around 130-150 for a few minutes, then walking around until they cool off helps break them in. No, I'm not trolling. I've done this with many pairs of shoes.
Kenji · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks for your help, all. Super helpful. I've heard of the oven trick for things like mouth guards, but not for shoes. It doesn't mess up the rubber?

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 498

I just finished wearing out my first pair of soles on my first pair of Skwamas, and while they are being resoled I got a second pair. After using my first pair, I've decided that sized correctly they may be good to excellent for every type of climbing I do, from bouldering, face edging, and slabs to fingers to fist cracks to gym climbing. I like them better than the Otakis I wore out previously, even for single pitch edging. For my second pair, I sized up from my first pair from 43 to 43.5 so the second pair would be better for slab and cracks. Out of the box, the new pair of 43.5s felt almost exactly the same size as my worn out 43s though the new 43.5's heel is definitely slightly baggier than the worn in 43's heel. The Skwama is definitely not as plush feeling as a nice lined shoe like the Otaki or Solution, but I love them. They are not just a bouldering shoe.

jmmlol · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0
K B wrote:Thanks for your help, all. Super helpful. I've heard of the oven trick for things like mouth guards, but not for shoes. It doesn't mess up the rubber?
No. Cars get up to 130ish in the summer and people leave shoes in them. Long term it's not great for the shoe, but once or twice won't hurt it.
Kenji · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0
Brian Abram wrote:I just finished wearing out my first pair of soles on my first pair of Skwamas, and while they are being resoled I got a second pair. After using my first pair, I've decided that sized correctly they may be good to excellent for every type of climbing I do, from bouldering, face edging, and slabs to fingers to fist cracks to gym climbing. I like them better than the Otakis I wore out previously, even for single pitch edging. For my second pair, I sized up from my first pair from 43 to 43.5 so the second pair would be better for slab and cracks. Out of the box, the new pair of 43.5s felt almost exactly the same size as my worn out 43s though the new 43.5's heel is definitely slightly baggier than the worn in 43's heel. The Skwama is definitely not as plush feeling as a nice lined shoe like the Otaki or Solution, but I love them. They are not just a bouldering shoe.
I was looking at the Otakis too, but since I primarily climb indoors these days, I went with the Skwama. Have you found that the Otakis are about the same size and fit as the Skwamas?

Interested in how the larger Skwamas eventually wear and stretch.
Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 498
Kenji wrote: I was looking at the Otakis too, but since I primarily climb indoors these days, I went with the Skwama. Have you found that the Otakis are about the same size and fit as the Skwamas? Interested in how the larger Skwamas eventually wear and stretch.
Yes, the Skwama and Otaki fit is almost the same. Where the forward buckle sits on the Otaki makes that part of the shoe slightly lower volume, even when unstrapped. It actually pushed down on my wide foot and was a bit uncomfortable until broken in. The Skwama in the same size (43) is slightly higher volume up front or it just doesn't mold as closely to my foot as the Otaki did. They are the same width wise, but there is just slightly more dead air space in my Skwama basically over the top of my forefoot just behind my toes. BTW, this line of shoes fits more like Scarpas than typically narrow Sportivas.

I am going to get a pair of the Katakis in a 43.5 for all day stiff trad comfort. They are a lace Otaki. Basically the new Katana Lace. They are already available to order from Europe
Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483

That was actually the right size! I'm a 42 street and went with a 39.5. When new I would have to slide my toes all the way in forward, with the heel of the shoes folded down. Then grab the pull tabs and pop the heel around. 4 months later I can pull them on normally standing on one foot easily, but they are still snug. There is maybe 1/8" deadspace around the heel (best heel hooking shoe I've found).
I have done ARC sessions of 25 minutes with them, but it was killing me for that long. Fine for single pitches or 4 leads in the gym w/o a break.

Since climbing shoes have a slingshot rand pushing on your achilles the heel is the best indicator of sizing IMO. If you have much dead space behind your heel than you're in too big of a shoe, if the next down doesn't work that shoe just doesn't fit you. If you're really cramming down check for dead space *under* your heel, that's too small.

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

Do not put your shoes in the oven or leave them in a car. Glue delams at a pretty low temperature. They may not delaminate just sitting there, but if you put them on or bend them, they can easily. If you accidentally leave your shoes in a hot car, put them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to cool them and reset the glue before you put them on.

The best trick for leather shoes is putting them on, dunk your feet into lukewarm water and then watch a movie while your shoes dry. The water will loosen the leather and make it supple so it stretches. Once they're dry, you'll have shoes that fit perfectly.

Noah Yetter · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 105
grubbers wrote:The Skwamas stretch close to a full size.
Mine have not stretched at all, and I tend to wear them continuously for an hour of bouldering so if they were going to stretch, they would have. They fit exactly the same as when I tried them on in the store.

To clarify: I tried them on in 43, 42.5, and 42, and bought the 42s. In my mind saying they "stretch a full size" means that the 42s I have now, after ~6 months of use, ought to fit something like brand new 43s. This isn't even remotely true. They've softened up a bit their dimensions have not changed.
jmmlol · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0
John Wilder wrote:Do not put your shoes in the oven or leave them in a car. Glue delams at a pretty low temperature. They may not delaminate just sitting there, but if you put them on or bend them, they can easily. If you accidentally leave your shoes in a hot car, put them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to cool them and reset the glue before you put them on. The best trick for leather shoes is putting them on, dunk your feet into lukewarm water and then watch a movie while your shoes dry. The water will loosen the leather and make it supple so it stretches. Once they're dry, you'll have shoes that fit perfectly.
The oven works. Like I said, I've broken in at least 5 pairs of shoes this way and never had problems with the glue.
Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483
Noah Yetter wrote: Mine have not stretched at all, and I tend to wear them continuously for an hour of bouldering so if they were going to stretch, they would have. They fit exactly the same as when I tried them on in the store. To clarify: I tried them on in 43, 42.5, and 42, and bought the 42s. In my mind saying they "stretch a full size" means that the 42s I have now, after ~6 months of use, ought to fit something like brand new 43s. This isn't even remotely true. They've softened up a bit their dimensions have not changed.
How long is your foot in centimeters to be truly accurate? Or what is your street shoe size? For any shoe how much you downsize has an influence on how much you feel it stretches. I would say my Skwamas went about 1/2-3/4 of a size.

For me that would be 26.5cm, US 9, euro 42
down to
25cm, US 7, euro 39.5
Eric Carlos · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 40

Shoes can only stretch as far as the foot in them allows. Most climbers get their shoes too small, and suffer the consequences. The warm water trick mentioned above is a great way to speed the process though.

Noah Yetter · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 105
Nick Drake wrote: How long is your foot in centimeters to be truly accurate? Or what is your street shoe size? For any shoe how much you downsize has an influence on how much you feel it stretches. I would say my Skwamas went about 1/2-3/4 of a size. For me that would be 26.5cm, US 9, euro 42 down to 25cm, US 7, euro 39.5
I don't have a measurement handy but I wear US 11 or 10.5 street shoes, which LS' size chart converts to 44 or 43.5. I wear a 43 in Katana Lace, Miura VS, and Testarossa. The Skwama in 42 fits like a sock with no dead space at all. I could *maybe* get into a 41.5 but it would hurt.

Thing is, as the size number goes up, all the dimensions increase. The shoe gets longer AND wider AND taller. So even if my 42s did -- hypothetically -- stretch to the length of 43s, they're not going to stretch to the width of 43s, or the height, because they're snug-but-not-tight in those dimensions. I guess my point is the way we commonly describe shoe stretch, e.g. "stretched a half size", is a poor description of what's actually going on.
John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530
jmmlol wrote: The oven works. Like I said, I've broken in at least 5 pairs of shoes this way and never had problems with the glue.
Oh, it'll work- but you're gambling that the glue was 1) applied correctly and 2) your oven is correct on temperature. There is no gambling with warm water- and it probably works better since moisture will do a better job softening leather than just dry heat.
jmmlol · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0
John Wilder wrote: Oh, it'll work- but you're gambling that the glue was 1) applied correctly and 2) your oven is correct on temperature. There is no gambling with warm water- and it probably works better since moisture will do a better job softening leather than just dry heat.
Well, 5+ pairs of shoes later is pretty good results. I wouldn't call it much of a gamble at this point.

Poor workmanship will show up regardless, like the sportiva peeling toe issue.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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