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Excruciating New Women's Solutions - when to switch sizes


Original Post
Taylor Fatherree · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 0

Hey all, I've been climbing for about 18 months total.  I mostly boulder, so I've been looking for a more aggressive shoe for months.  I'm a woman, and I've been in the Tarantulace for this whole time.  This weekend I tried on the women's Solution by La Sportive, and the shape felt way better than other shoes I've tried.  I ended up in a 37, although I wear a 7.5-8 street shoe - I think my 37s are equal to about a 6.  Anyway, they felt tight but ok in the store, but they're incredibly painful to climb in.  Especially my right foot, my toes are scrunched up against the end of the toe box, and the knuckles hurt, especially on the second toe.  Pressing down while bouldering is awful.  Even with all this, I can pop my heel out when they're on by kind of pointing my toe down and lifting my heel up.  So my questions:

Is being able to pop the heel out ok?  They feel kind of glove like some times but I can produce air when I push my ankle back and forth, not while climbing.

I've read everything I can online about stretch and sizing, but the information's incredibly contradictory - If it hurts significantly to toe down, are these still potentially be a shoe that I can break in?  Right now I feel like they're distracting me and making it impossible to use the full power of my feet - I can't enjoy the benefits, but it's only been one session.  Have others had their Solutions hurt this bad and had it work out?

Thank you!

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

Sounds like the heel doesn't really fit, as far as pain goes, the shoe will stretch and you will get used to it just give your feet a rest whenever you're not climbing. 

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

If you can't climb in them at all due to sharp pain, they're way too small. It also sounds like the shoes don't fit your foot, either. Unfortunately, I'd recommend going back to the drawing board. 

You should be able to climb in the shoes without intense sharp pain (dull pain is okay, that's your foot objecting to being wrapped tightly). Definitely use the test wall at the store to make sure they fit. 

You should also have no dead air in the shoe and moving your foot in different ways should not alter the fit at all. 

There are a ton if shoes out there that may work for you, I'd recommend starting with shoes that are slightly downturned like the Muira VS, Katana, Vapor V, etc. This will let your foot get used to a downturned shoe without being too aggressive. A slight downturn can make a huge difference without being uncomfortable to the point of pain. 

Many people will say suck it up and go straight to the super shoes, but imho, I think you should find a good shoe that fits your foot well and you'll climb better. I know alot of really strong climbers who climb in flat shoes because they fit and they out climb 90% of people in downturned shoes. 

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

It sounds as if your 2nd toe is a bit longer than 1st toe? If so, you may have Morton's toe, then most asymmetric shoes will be a bad fit. Look for somewhat symmetric last, stay away from high end shoes, unless shoes are holding you back, which is unlikely if most your climbing is indoors.


Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 250

The heel should not be popping off!

Sounds like the wrong shoe for you... I'm in the same boat. Solutions ALMOST fit me, except for the heel slippage.

Try Testarossa's. You can do a butterfly lacing to lock in the heel, and that would also relieve the pressure on the toes. Here's how to do a butterfly lacing.



simplyput · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 60

Maybe the Solutions aren't right for you.
Going from a Tarantulace to a Solution is like going from a mini van to a porsche, maybe try out something a little more in between...
Not that this is you OP, but I've been amazed at how many people think wearing an aggressive shoe is going to magically make their V3 proj go down. Technique and strength training are going to get you a lot farther than your shoe choice.

Alissa Doherty · · Boston, MA · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 105

Yikes, that's a really tight fit for Solutions! I wear a women's 37 and my street shoe is 6-6.5. After a full day of climbing, my feet hurt but I love the performance. When I was a new climber, I aggressively sized my shoes and ended up with a permanent bone growth on both big toes from being curled in the shoe. I learned the hard way that pain doesn't always mean gain.

Anyway, I swear by the Solutions so don't write them off. It sounds to me like your heel may be popping out of the heel cup because it's too small for your foot to rest inside, making full contact with the heel cup impossible. 

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 495

It sounds like the Solution is not a good shoe for you, and they are too small. FWIW, the Scarpa Instinct line is praised by nearly everyone for having about the best heel available, and I agree with that consensus. You might try the Instinct VSR from somewhere with easy returns. Most folks have to go up about one Euro size from Sportiva to Scarpa sizing, so if this interests you, I'd start with a 38.5, assuming you should have gotten a 37.5 Solution

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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