TC Pros hurt both my wallet and feet!


Original Post
Kat Hessen · · San Diego, CA · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Third day climbing in new TC Pros, so I might be a little ahead of myself...HOWEVER: these motherfluffers hurt like snow in July. Two main issues:

1. My Morton's toe loses all feeling and lust for life, constantly bent to the breaking point next to my other toes (which feel surprisingly fine).

2. My ankles (which are not the pretty, dainty kind that many men and women are blessed with, but rather a sturdy, well-built set of hoofs that never sprain or whine -- not quite cankles, but on the thicker side for my shoe size) are being squeezed and compressed beyond what seems normal. It's now past midnight, took my shoes off after rapping down around 5pm, and walking is still painful and awkward. 

My question: do I just need to "wear them in" for a bit longer? Should I do the shower-then-hang-loose trick? Some people cut away the rubber around the ankles -- is it too soon to butcher the shoes now? And would stretching them help my Morton's toe in its quest for relative comfort? OR -- should I just get different shoes?

Good to know Tommy Caldwell has delicate wee ankles though. I guess that's just about all that differentiates the two of us. 

Politically Correct Ball · · From WA to AZ · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Do what I do:

1) Don't buy TC Pros, or any shoe that doesn't fit your feet. For me that rules out all La Sportiva shoes. For others that rules out all 5.10 shoes. If they didn't fit you shouldn't have bought them.

2) Don't wear stiff edging shoes unless you're climbing 12s. Tommy Caldwell uses TC Pros to climb 14s, not 10s. 

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128

Seems you're learning that the best shoe is not the one with the highest price tag or biggest names sponsoring them, but rather the shoe that fits your foot the best. A cheap set of entry level shoes that fit your feet really well are far better than top of the line shoes that dont fit well. The TC pros use an asymmetrical toebox (as do most shoes) which is the worst type of toebox for someone with Morton's toe. You want something with a more symmetrical toebox such as the Mythos or possibly the Tarantulas. At the minimal you want something classified as semi-asymmetrical or "light" asymmetry. Shoes with symmetrical toeboxs are not that common, but most companies make at least one model.

I've never owned TC Pros, only borrowed them so I cant speak from experience. However, Sportiva's website lists the shoe as being made from unlined leather which means it should stretch quite a bit overtime. The Mythos are also unlined leather and they stretched substantially over the course of a few hundred pitches. As such they should become more comfortable with time, although my recommendation would be to find a shoe that is better suited for you foot type.

LewisL · · Asheville, NC · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

I love my TC's, but they are far and away the largest sized shoe I own. I usually squeeze my size 12 feet into a 10, but my TC's are 11 1/2.  Still stiff enough to edge on granite or gneiss up to easy 5.11, comfortable enough to wear for a multi-pitch climb without having to take them off at every belay station.  I found the ankles bothersome for the first few weeks, then they stretched out.

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 0

If you aren't climbing "advanced" level routes then your shoes do not need to be uncomfortably tight. Even when people are climbing "advanced" routes they may choose to wear comfortable shoes. I wear 5.10 moccasyms for everything I do because they are comfortable.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 748
Politically Correct Ball wrote:

Do what I do:

1) Don't buy TC Pros, or any shoe that doesn't fit your feet. 

This is the answer.  It took me YEARS and pairs of Scarpa, Evolv, La Sportiva, etc. to find shoes that fit AND can perform.  I still haven't found a shoe that fits my toes and my heels properly, so I've settled for a little bit of slop in the heel.  Most people have a hard time drawing the distinction between pain and discomfort.  Discomfort/tightness doesn't distract you when you're climbing, pain does.  If the pain is so bad that it distracts you or limits you while you're climbing, those shoes aren't for you- no matter whose name is on them or how much they cost.  FWIW, I see people in janky ass old Evolv Defys sending 12+ all the time.  Shoes can help, but it's not a limiting factor for us mere mortals.  Find a good shop with tons of selection and take some time and find a shoe that fits YOUR feet.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 1,865

Most people I know who climb in TCP's had to buy two pair.  And there's a steady stream of "worn for just a few pitches" TCPs for sale here as well as folks looking to trade for a 1/2 size different.  Clearly there's something about that shoe that makes sizing problematic.  Maybe it's just that newer climbers don't know how a stiff shoe is supposed to be sized.  Or maybe, as 20 kN suggests, people are buying it b/c it's the high end shoe-of-the-stars; "Air Caldwells" my friend calls them.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0

I wholeheartedly agree that getting a shoe that fits well is MUCH more important than getting a shoe that other people love or are supposed to be awesome. That said, the TC Pros are one of my favorite shoes. I am generally a person that fits La Sportiva well and does not usually fit Five Ten well. That is until they made the new Quantum, which I freakin' love. Both are stiff soled shoes that allow me to wear a bigger size but still get a lot of support for standing on tiny edges. Good news for my bad toes. Lastly, TC Pros will not stretch much more than 1/4 size. They are leather, but all of the rubber on the shoe really makes it keep the shape. The shower in the shoes trick probably won't work for TCs.  Good or bad depending on your needs. 

jason.cre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 0

I find TC Pros to fit pretty awful if you have Mortons Toe.  From my experience it will not get better over time.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

You may have sized too aggressively...or need to break it in more.  As a leather shoe, the TC will break in, but it also won't fit every foot.  You might have more luck with an Anasazi last...wide heels, try the Tan (Velcro) or Moccasyms (will fit any foot since they stretch to fit).  The toebox is much more amenable to longer 2nd/3rd toes.

aaron hope · · Walnut Creek, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 180
Gunkiemike wrote:

Clearly there's something about that shoe that makes sizing problematic.  

This is my experience with the TC Pros. I sized my first pair like all my other climbing shoes and hated life. They eventually stretched and felt better but still painful. My next pair I went a size up and they are glorious. I think these shoes don't need to be uber tight to perform well. I should probably add that I bought them for Yosemite slabs and cracks and they are the best (and most comfortable) shoes for those purposes once I found the right size. 

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438
20 kN wrote:

I've never owned TC Pros, only borrowed them so I cant speak from experience. However, Sportiva's website lists the shoe as being made from unlined leather which means it should stretch quite a bit overtime. The Mythos are also unlined leather and they stretched substantially over the course of a few hundred pitches. As such they should become more comfortable with time, although my recommendation would be to find a shoe that is better suited for you foot type.

The TC pro is fully lined, if sized properly they will not stretch. I have a 26.5cm foot (42 street) and used a pair that were 40.5, that was a slightly bumped up knuckle on the big toe when new and ended up almost flat after ~60 pitches. The "stretch" that I ended up getting out of them was the end of my toe pushing the rand out PAST the sole. At most maybe a 1/4 size. If you think that you need a "performance edging" fit go with a size that bumps your toe knuckle up, then go up half a size. They will stay that tight flat toe fit. That said I don't think they are really the bees knees, don't friction smear well, don't jam thin hands for shit, have the sensitivity of a 2x4. 

Also for the OP, the pro just doesn't work for anyone that has a true mortons toe, there is just nowhere for your second toe to go in that shoe. My second toe is just a hair longer than my big toe (not a full mortons toe). I like the katana lace for moderate granite trad, sized comfortably with some dead space in the heel. Only a half size down from my street shoe. They jam thin cracks, edge decently and smear well once broken in. For the 5.9 and below stuff I've been wearing pinks with thick wool socks, they could stand to be a hair stiffer. 

rkrum · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 15

My experiences are a little different than most apparently. I found I have to downsize the TC pro significantly for it to be worth anything more than a generic, flat, stiffish beginner shoe. And I have a mortons toe. The actual last of the shoe may not stretch in length, but the upper will break in (read: stretch). When that happens and the rest of the shoe softens as well, you're left with pretty mediocre edging performance.

Yes the break in period is really not fun, but if you put up with it, you eventually will get one of the better combinations of performance and comfort I've found in a shoe. Assuming the shoe actually fits the shape of your feet to begin with...

walmongr · · Gilbert AZ · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 50

I  only went  half a size smaller then street shoe. They still took awhile for them to break in. I can wear them all day without issues sounds like you went to small. 

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

Mine actually shrank a bit.

Kat Hessen · · San Diego, CA · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Hey, loads of good advice here. I jumped on the chance to get the TCPs half off a few weeks ago, as forking over anywhere near $100 for shoes is already more than I'd ever imagined paying for footwear until I recently started climbing. I actually have Tarantulas (my first shoe), but those are a good size too big as I bought them right after having foot surgery and the Doc said no tight shoes until I was healed up. I wanted the Mythos, but my shredball mates kept praising the TCPs, so when the chance came to get "super cheap" ones, I jumped on it. Most climbing shoes seem to hover at around $100 anyway. 

Your replies have mostly validated what I came to suspect -- these kicks are not great for Morton's toe, and I've seen other threads complaining about the ankle situation. Seeing as most of you doubt they'll stretch to accommodate my tricky tamalitos, I'm gonna set my TCPs free and start looking for better options. I do find it a bit puzzling to try on climbing shoes at the shop, as most are painful for the first few climbs anyway... Hard for a noob like me to know the difference between pain that will "wear out as they wear in" and a downright bad fit. 

Like all things in life and in climbing, I suspect the ability to judge footwear will come with practice. Much appreciate everyone's input. Next time I catch Tommy on the flipside I'll just have him sign my New Balance Howling Ondra shapeshifting tech flip-flops instead. 

Politically Correct Ball · · From WA to AZ · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

90% of people who buy TC Pros climb 5.8.

Meanwhile I climb 5.11 in clown shoes & socks. 

Money isn't going to make you a better climber. Stop it.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438
Politically Correct Ball wrote:

90% of people who buy TC Pros climb 5.8.

Meanwhile I climb 5.11 in clown shoes & socks. 

Money isn't going to make you a better climber. Stop it.

If having money isn't going to make them a better climber than shouldn't they buy TC pros and genius? 

Politically Correct Ball · · From WA to AZ · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0
Nick Drake wrote:

If having money isn't going to make them a better climber than shouldn't they buy TC pros and genius? 

wat

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438
Politically Correct Ball wrote:

wat

You forgot to say *SPENDING* money isn't going to make you a better climber

Politically Correct Ball · · From WA to AZ · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0
Nick Drake wrote:

You forgot to say *SPENDING* money isn't going to make you a better climber

Neither will.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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