Shoes/brands for particular foot shapes


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

Hey everyone,

I vaguely remember this coming up a few times over the years (mostly on threads asking for recommendations) and I am cursed with PITA feet (longer 2nd/3rd toe, wide toebox with extremely narrow/low volume heels) so I thought it might be nice to get a running list of people's impressions of the fit of various popular shoes and companies, especially since there are so many new shoes and brands.  I often myself sizing my shoes drastically different across companies (as an extreme example, I wear size 44 Solutions but size 13 Blackwings are too small).  This is often attributed to "running big/small," which can be true, but I'm also wondering if this is simply the result of better/worse fits.  So here's what I've found:

La Sportiva - tend to run wide and perhaps big.  I can comfortably downsize more than any other company due to the wide toeboxes (e.g: Miura, Solution) but have a bitch of a time getting a good snug fit on the heels.

Five Ten - tend to run narrow and possibly small.  Other than Moccs, the smallest I can go is about a 1/2-1 size down (size 12), and this is a performance fit.  Heels usually fit amazing, but toebox gets cramped and is the limiting factor.

Scarpa - these should theoretically be the perfect brand for me, as I've heard they run wide in the toebox and narrow in the heels, but for some reason I haven't been able to get a good fit.  Instincts were either too tight in the toes or too loose in the heels (ankle pockets).  Vapors actually fit extremely well but weren't the kind of shoe I was looking for at the time.

Evolv: these ran small for me based on Shamans, which suggests maybe narrow?  Similar to 5.10, couldn't go much smaller than street size without some serious pain.

Butora/Boreal/Mad Rock/etc: ??

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

La Sportiva run narrow all around but tend to have average taper, narrow in the heel and moderately round and forefoot they size their shoes to street shoe size so if you have an inch gap between your toes and the end of your street shoe you will get the same in there climbing shoes this is why i go down to size 5.5 from a 10 shoe.

Five ten are supposed to be pretty average width but i find they run narrow, idk wtf your heel looks like but 5.10 heels are notoriously square and are super baggy. Sizing i would go a half size to full size up from La Sportiva for a similar pain level, the teams being the odd one out.

Scarpa are wide all around with a similar heel profile to la sportiva in both heel and forefoot i also find they have a high ankle and can have it dig into the bone. The stix i found are a exception to this with them being super narrow they make my feet feel like they are in a vice.

Evolv are made to be sized to street shoe or half size down, this is pointless of course because it depends how you size your street shoe. i would say they have a inconsistent heel and a wide forefoot.

Boreal imo fit very average all around in both heel and forefoot with a similar toe profile to La Sportiva, though i have found them to have a fairly square heel but i have only tried their flatter shoes.

Andrea boldrini (euro brand probably wont apply to most here) narrow forefoot, heel and aggressive taper in toe, slightly baggy rounded heel.

My thoughts on most brands i have found though there are plenty exceptions in the brands due to various lasts.

Bill Shubert · · Lexington, MA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 55

I have your same feet. Like you, the Miuras work out pretty well but could use a little more tightness in the heels.

What really fit perfectly for me was the Mythos. By adjusting the laces I could get it perfectly tight everywhere. But the performance wasn't anywhere near the Miuras, so eventually I gave up on them.

I've tried on a few other shoes a demos. Most tight high-performance shoes that I've tried end up crushing my toes side to side when everything else fits right.

mstolorena · · Shelby, NC · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 95

Have you tried the Scarpa Force x or Techno x? They both fit me well and my feed sound like yours.

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053
Ted Pinson wrote:

Boreal/Mad Rock/etc: ??

Ted, Boreals are my go-to shoe. I have a wide square (Roman) foot with high arches, and boreals are the most comfortable (for me). As others have said they are a good "all around" shoe as well. 

Mad rocks are similar. I have six pair in various sizes in the Boyscout shoe bag. They aren't very sturdy but they are cheap.... ;)

In 39 years I've tried just about everything. I currently climb in boreal aces and have for years. Fits my trad/slab lifestyle really well. JB

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

I am definitely an Egyptian foot person. I have medium to narrow feet from heel to toe. My street shoe size is 11.5-12. I find La Sportiva to fit really well. On a performance fit I usually end up 1 - 1.5 sizes smaller than my street shoe. The typical toe box fits my toes well. 

In Five Ten Anasazi lasts my foot shape doesn't work well. I have to size down so small (US 10) in order to make everything work, especially that baggy heel, that the toes are pretty painful. I still like the Blanco's enough for what they do well that I have a pair for routes that have lots of tiny edges or pockets. My current go-to shoe is the Five Ten Quantum. I LOVE that shoe. I have it sized big for multi-pitch comfort. The toe-box shape fits me well. I can't remember if I have them in a size 11.5 or 12. But the sole is stiff enough to still give me power on somewhat small edges and my toes are not cursing me by the end of the route. 

I'm hit or miss with Evolv. The original Shaman fits me better than any other downturned shoe. I must have feet shaped like Sharma (too bad I can't climb like him). I like that I can buy the street size with Evolv and get a good fit (US 11.5). I want to like the Astroman, but something about the toebox in that shoe doesn't work for me. I sized them big (US 12) for long trad climbs and cracks. The two times I have worn them on long easy trad days, with no crack jamming, my toenail on one foot turned black and later fell off. It's weird because I don't really even feel any extra pressure there, but something causes a problem so I stopped wearing them. 

anotherclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 70

Ted,

I don't think you can only go by climbing shoe company generalizations. I describe my foot as morton's toe, wide and high volume toe box and foot, and low volume heel. Sounds similar to your foot, but I can't fit into a lot of the shoes you wear. What I've found for myself is that I have to look for lasts that are symmetrical to low asymmestrical, these are what generally fit my feet. I've tried a lot of shoes on, and what fits me is Scarpa Helix, La Sportiva Taratulace/Tarantula, and Mythos. The Helix the interior felt rough, bumpy and uncomfortable on top of the sole being really flimsy compared to the Mythos, did not buy. The Taratulace/Tarantula I despise the lack of grip of the Frixion rubber, did not buy. I basically own a bunch of Mythos in two sizes one EU size apart. Larger allows my toes to lay flat for comfort for trad leading and multi pitch with the drawback of a baggy heel, smaller size toes are crammed for more performance on top rope and single pitch sport lead. These shoes though have terrible quality control. The rands have been peeling horribly for years, and now the top metal lace ring is popping out of the leather on my newest ones, even the recent warranty replacement  looks about to do the same thing with the lace ring. La Sportiva charges quite the premium for shoes that fall apart. I'm actively looking for another brand to replace this shoe. I suspect Scarpa Force V may fit and am curious about Techno X, and I've got my eyes on the Evolv Royale which costs less than the Mythos, likely is a stiffer shoe, and it looks like they purposely reinforced the material around the top three metal rings. Hopefully better quality control than La Sportiva. Local gear shop doesn't carry any of them to try so have to mail order. 

Asymmetric lasts generally either painfully crush my smaller toes, or painfully roll them under themselves, and I'm often still left with a baggy heel. This is assuming I can fit into it. None of the 5.10 line I've tried fits me, including the moccasym which almost fits. I'd agree though that they tend to run small and narrow. 

Edit: For informational purposes, my foot is the greek type from the picture Ryan Hamilton uploaded.

Kyle Elliott · · Everett, WA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 375

I'm egyptian footed and La sportiva is my go to brand. I can comfortably order them by mail and know they'll fit.  I wear a 10.5 to 11 in street shoe, and about a full size down works great. I tend to spend a lot of time in my shoes, so a size 10 TC pro is the perfect shoe for me. I also own nago, tarantulace, and mythos. All fit well. 

I have some evolv and some Mad rock in a 9.5 and I can't even come close to fitting in them. 

Also not a fan of the science friction 

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20
Kyle Elliott wrote:

I'm egyptian footed and La sportiva is my go to brand. I can comfortably order them by mail and know they'll fit.  I wear a 10.5 to 11 in street shoe, and about a full size down works great. I tend to spend a lot of time in my shoes, so a size 10 TC pro is the perfect shoe for me. I also own nago, tarantulace, and mythos. All fit well. 

I have some evolv and some Mad rock in a 9.5 and I can't even come close to fitting in them. 

Also not a fan of the science friction 

You should try Evol in 10.5. They will probably fit well. (as long as it's not Astroman...) They size them down to fit your street shoe size so you can buy 10.5 and know it will (should) work. I also think Evolv rubber is at least as good a Vibram Edge or Grip. 

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190
that guy named seb wrote:

La Sportiva run narrow all around but tend to have average taper, narrow in the heel and moderately round and forefoot they size their shoes to street shoe size so if you have an inch gap between your toes and the end of your street shoe you will get the same in there climbing shoes this is why i go down to size 5.5 from a 10 shoe.

Five ten are supposed to be pretty average width but i find they run narrow, idk wtf your heel looks like but 5.10 heels are notoriously square and are super baggy. Sizing i would go a half size to full size up from La Sportiva for a similar pain level, the teams being the odd one out.

Scarpa are wide all around with a similar heel profile to la sportiva in both heel and forefoot i also find they have a high ankle and can have it dig into the bone. The stix i found are a exception to this with them being super narrow they make my feet feel like they are in a vice.

Evolv are made to be sized to street shoe or half size down, this is pointless of course because it depends how you size your street shoe. i would say they have a inconsistent heel and a wide forefoot.

Boreal imo fit very average all around in both heel and forefoot with a similar toe profile to La Sportiva, though i have found them to have a fairly square heel but i have only tried their flatter shoes.

Andrea boldrini (euro brand probably wont apply to most here) narrow forefoot, heel and aggressive taper in toe, slightly baggy rounded heel.

My thoughts on most brands i have found though there are plenty exceptions in the brands due to various lasts.

Yeah, that's a good point about sizing for "street size."  It's silly.  I think my foot lays flat at 46 (12/12.5) on a Brannock, so that's what I have my TC Pros sized I for cracks (flat toes, but at end of shoe), but I wear size 13 street for comfort because walking around like that all day would be super uncomfortable.  The baggy heels thing was more a factor of old 5.10 heels (Tans are still that way), but Five Ten's newer lines (HiAngle, Pink 2.0) tend to have much nicer (for me) heels.  The biggest issue with LS is in the ankles...Miuras, TC Pros, Solutions all are super high volume in that area, and I end up with big pockets if I don't downsize or crank the Laces/Velcro (Miuras I still have it, but I don't need a skintight fit there because I mainly use them for edging).

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

I've got a 'greek' foot in the illustration above and I can wear the following shoes, and not much else (I've tried most shoes from Scarpa, Sportiva, Evolv, Mad Rock, 5.10, & Butora)

Sportiva (in order of best fit): Muira VS, TC Pro, Testarossa.

Evolv (in order of fit): Agro, Shaman, Nexxo, Pontas

The Agro fits orders of magnitude better than any shoe i've ever worn. I wish they would make a flatter version for sport climbing. 

Sportiva sizes to my true foot size, not street shoe comfort size.

Evolv sizes to my street shoe size.

Will S · · Joshua Tree · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,053

I've got the "roman" shape and my best fit has been in FiveTen Anasazi lasted shoes for everything except a purely flat toed fit (nothing works for me in that case).Sportiva doesn't work for me, the Muiras are better than most sportiva for this foot shape, but the anaszi is the best I've found. Nice thing is, FiveTen uses this shape in a variety of shoes - lace, slipper, velcro with varying stiffness and different rubbers.

Most of my shoes are about a half-size down from my brannock measurement and 1 size down from my street shoe (except when "street" is a Converse or Vans shoe, which run large for their sizes). My gym shoe is usally same as brannock, no need for discomfort in the gym where even tiny holds are giant compared to real rock.

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

Yep, same foot type and experience here.  Anasazis fit beautifully, but sadly Five Ten's aggressive models don't (HiAngles are ok).

Will S · · Joshua Tree · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,053
Ted Pinson wrote:

Yep, same foot type and experience here.  Anasazis fit beautifully, but sadly Five Ten's aggressive models don't (HiAngles are ok).

Same here on their aggressive models. I'd love it if Dragons, Team, or Quantum fit my roman foot shape, but I can't get a good fit.

And while the Arrowhead fit sort of ok, the edge of the rand landed exactly at the peak of my bent toe and created a pressure point that was really uncomfortable.  I need a moderately downturned model with plenty of rubber on top for toe hooking/scums and can't seem to find one that fits.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310
Bill Shubert wrote:

I have your same feet. Like you, the Miuras work out pretty well but could use a little more tightness in the heels.

What really fit perfectly for me was the Mythos. By adjusting the laces I could get it perfectly tight everywhere. But the performance wasn't anywhere near the Miuras, so eventually I gave up on them.

I've tried on a few other shoes a demos. Most tight high-performance shoes that I've tried end up crushing my toes side to side when everything else fits right.

Mythos....  they will work as great edging shoes.... then they stretch out and become more comfy, good for general climbing.... finally stretch all the way, good walk around bouldering shoe. 

When you try them on to fit them.... make sure the laces are pulled open-- so they are doing nothing to change the fit. -Get then as small as you can get your foot into. When new use them for edging. As they stretch change what you use them on.... I usually have 3- 4 pairs lying around and I never resole them cause it changes the fit. 

Also... try on a bunch of pairs of the same size, I find that they vary, so get one that fits the right foot and one for the left foot. 

And the heal can be tightened up using the laces..... to hard to describe in words, but eazy to do. 

EDIT: when I see somebody wearing Mythos and the laces almost pull both sides together, in till they touch.... Mythos are not for them. 

anotherclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 70
Guy Keesee wrote:

Mythos....  they will work as great edging shoes.... then they stretch out and become more comfy, good for general climbing.... finally stretch all the way, good walk around bouldering shoe. 

When you try them on to fit them.... make sure the laces are pulled open-- so they are doing nothing to change the fit. -Get then as small as you can get your foot into. When new use them for edging. As they stretch change what you use them on.... I usually have 3- 4 pairs lying around and I never resole them cause it changes the fit. 

Also... try on a bunch of pairs of the same size, I find that they vary, so get one that fits the right foot and one for the left foot. 

And the heal can be tightened up using the laces..... to hard to describe in words, but eazy to do. 

EDIT: when I see somebody wearing Mythos and the laces almost pull both sides together, in till they touch.... Mythos are not for them. 

I just keep using them and resole them. If anything it teaches one to have stronger toes and calves. For many years I sized them too large so my toes lay flat and so it applied even more in this case as I had much less edging power from not having my toes crammed. 

When my feet got measured somewhat recently for bike shoes, I was told that one foot is bigger than the other, and that it is the opposite of what I had thought. That being said, it must not be enough of a difference to matter to me with Mythos. The three pair of tighter size all fit me fine with no problem. Perhaps if someone downsizes them more than I do it might matter. I can't do that as it is too painful.

I'll describe the heel tightening procedure as a public benefit to people here. As I've never seen anyone wearing Mythos that did this and didn't learn about it until last Spring, many years into my climbing passion. And oddly enough La Sportiva does not mention anything that I can find about this trick. What I do is take each lace coming out of the top metal lace ring, cross it over to the other side of the shoe and thread it under that horizontal-ish piece of lace running on the outside of the leather upper. Now pull both laces upwards to tighten and you will feel the top back of the shoe snug up and keep your heel from popping out. This works even in my larger size where I have some heel space. Guy, if you do this differently, please post back here and let all of us know. 

Oddly enough, a number of years back a climbing acquaintance asked me why I didn't lace my Mythos tighter. I told him it's because I have wide feet, I have about one inch of space, maybe a little more between the two halves of the leather up over the tongue when I snug up the laces. I look over at his Mythos he's wearing and the two halves are completely pulled together and touching. I've seen a few people who had Mythos like that, and I do believe you are correct. They have too narrow of a foot for the shoe and shouldn't be using them.

dhatstat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

I am feeling lazy and didn't read the whole thread so this might be redundant information but..... My wife has almost the exact same problem as you. She had a hell of a time finding a decent shoe that fit well. Someone suggested she try the LS katana laces and she never looked back. Might be worth checking out. She also loves the Mythos. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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