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What Shoe should I choose to break into Aggressives?


Original Post
Gracie Baker · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0

Hi, I’m new to this site but I’ve had a question for a while and I thought this would be a good place to start. I’ve been climbing for a while, and found that my style is really technical and body-contortion oriented. I’m happiest on a vertical or slightly overhung wall. I’ve never really been picky about climbing shoes, but recently I’ve been trying to be more serious about climbing with a focus on major improvement and so I think it’s time to personalize my shoe choice with the intention of being able to be even more delicate/deliberate/strong with my footwork. 

I really like technical foot moves and precise placements, but I also heelhook A LOT.  My feet are quite flat and I can’t point my toe all that well, also my feet are wide. So it’s been difficult to break into aggressive shoes.  I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for an aggressive that might work for conditions I’ve outlined above? I have found that I like Fiveten rubber and evolv rubber, but I’ll admit right away: I may just be used to certain kinds of shoes. 

Thank you for any advice and taking the time to read this! 

*sorry it’s so long. 

Michael Martzahn · · St. Louis, MO · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 45

Have you tried any on? 

Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

The downturned shoe that is evenly snug and fits the best is usually the best option.  Don't be afraid to try women's versions of some shoes too.  For me it was women's Solutions that fit me the absolute best, namely on the heels.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Christopher Smith wrote:

 Don't be afraid to try women's versions of some shoes too.  For me it was women's Solutions that fit me the absolute best, namely on the heels.

I would think a woman would start with a woman's shoe and I think Gracie is a woman!

Gracie Baker · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0

Thank you very much! I tried the La Sportiva oxygyms, but I don’t think I was very smart about choosing a shoe for me, I think I was just throwing caution to The wind. I got really uncomfortable with my feet and didn’t seem to get better as I broke in the shoes. But, I have heard great things about the solutions. I think I’ll find a way to try some on and get some climbing done in them. 

I appreciate the advice everyone! 

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

I also have wide feet. My experience is that La Sportiva shoes don't fit my feet very well. My go-to brand used to be Five Ten and Evolv, but now I use a few pairs of Tenaya and like them a lot. I find the Ra to be good for edging, and Oasi is better on steeper stuff. If you like vertical to slightly overhanging routes, you don't need anything super downturned. Try the Ra or Inti and see how you like them.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 195

Yeah, super downturned/aggressive shoes won’t do much for you, as they tend to be better for steeper terrain.  For vertical to slightly overhanging, you’ll probably want a stiff, flat or slightly downturned shoe that is assymetrical (pointy).  La Sportiva Miuras or Katana Laces would fit the bill really well, and your wider feet would probably fit the Miura VS well.  Five Tens tend to run fairly narrow, but I would try the Anasazis (Blancos are probably the best edging shoes you can get, but sadly they’re discontinued again so you might have trouble finding a pair :( ).

Kevin Mcbride · · Canmore AB · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160

Anasazi lace

Doug Chism · · Arlington VA · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

Most people seem to like the Scarpa Vapor V as a first step towards a more aggressive shoe. 

Chris Blatchley · · Somerville, MA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

scarpa instinct vs. best heel hooks i've ever felt, and typical scarpa wide last.

Prof Snax · · GA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 15

It's hard to recommend a climbing shoe since the lasts are so fitted and one's feet vary in shape. The forums can point you in some basic directions, like how La Sportiva shoes agree with a more narrower foot. 

The best thing to do is to hit your local climbing shop and try on every dang shoe they got. By your description I'm assuming sport/boulder, no crack. Styles with a slight downturn, good rubber on the heel, and stiff sole for good edging. Those Oxygyms are a softer, flatter comfier shoe for entry level and indoor; I'd look for a more stiff sole for sure.

Matt Stroebel · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 115

I have wide feet and find that Solutions fit really well.

Chris Johnson · · Boulder, CO · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

Definitely go somewhere you can try on a lot of pairs back to back.

For me, I went from a 5.10 flat/ beginner shoe to the Sportiva Otaki's. I went into an REI, tried on some Scarpa's and they really hurt. I slipped on the similarly aggressive Otaki's and they didn't hurt at all. Seem to have a pretty wide forefoot, super locked-in heel cup, and were a good jump up in aggressiveness. They have a women's version also!

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,249
Gracie Baker wrote:

Hi, I’m new to this site but I’ve had a question for a while and I thought this would be a good place to start. I’ve been climbing for a while, and found that my style is really technical and body-contortion oriented. I’m happiest on a vertical or slightly overhung wall. I’ve never really been picky about climbing shoes, but recently I’ve been trying to be more serious about climbing with a focus on major improvement and so I think it’s time to personalize my shoe choice with the intention of being able to be even more delicate/deliberate/strong with my footwork. 

I really like technical foot moves and precise placements, but I also heelhook A LOT.  My feet are quite flat and I can’t point my toe all that well, also my feet are wide. So it’s been difficult to break into aggressive shoes.  I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for an aggressive that might work for conditions I’ve outlined above? I have found that I like Fiveten rubber and evolv rubber, but I’ll admit right away: I may just be used to certain kinds of shoes. 

Thank you for any advice and taking the time to read this! 

*sorry it’s so long. 

For the style of climbing you like (vertical techy) you don't need anything super agressive.  You want something that is fairly stiff and edges well, and you want it to be just moderately downturned.  My personal favorite shoe for this purpose has been the now discontinued evolv luchador, and the geshido before that.  In general evolv fits my feet better than any brand and they tend to be inexpensive as well which is a perk.  Just look for something that fits your foot and works for the style of climbing you like, many people seem to be advocating the solutions which are a great shoe, but they probably aren't going to be the best shoe for the style of climbing that you do.

M Alexander · · SLO, CA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 21
Chris Blatchley wrote:

scarpa instinct vs. best heel hooks i've ever felt, and typical scarpa wide last.

Second this, the instinct vs is a wider last than their other shoes, shared only by the instinct slipper. 

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

Where do you climb, Gracie?

Vertical and "techy" means different things in different places.  

If you really are going to be standing on small edges then an edging shoe and firmer rubber is going to be best.

If it is more larger features and sloping feet then a softer shoe with stickier rubber will be better etc.

Unfortunately the more into "performance" you get the larger your shoe quiver becomes. Sometimes you need a specific pair for just the crux foothold on ur proj.

SeƱor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Ken Noyce wrote:

For the style of climbing you like (vertical techy) you don't need anything super agressive.  You want something that is fairly stiff and edges well, and you want it to be just moderately downturned.  My personal favorite shoe for this purpose has been the now discontinued evolv luchador, and the geshido before that.  In general evolv fits my feet better than any brand and they tend to be inexpensive as well which is a perk.  Just look for something that fits your foot and works for the style of climbing you like, many people seem to be advocating the solutions which are a great shoe, but they probably aren't going to be the best shoe for the style of climbing that you do.

I agree with this. I've run through 2 pairs of Evolv Luchadores and love them for vertical, edgy climbs. Currently the remaining stock is all in small men's sizes but at very cheap prices. If you can find a pair that fit your size it'd be worth giving a try. I use Shamans for really overhanging terrain. 

Carter Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 10

Honestly, I would find a demo at your local gym--if available--in order to really get the feel of climbing in different styles of shoes. It's often free and a good way to experiment with different lasts/angles/styles.

Jee Ho · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

You might wanna consider the Tenaya Oasi  or the women's La Sportiva Solution.

The Oasi is down-turned with rands that are not too stiff, which can be forgiving even if you have wider feet.

Both have medium outsole stiffness and provides good sensitivity, but I find the Tenaya's to last longer. Solutions have a rather long protruding beak, which feels weird when edging/smearing.

Oasi's heel performance kinda depends on the volume of your heel. Wasn't too good for me as I did not get a tight fit for my heel, but I can live with it since I hardly do aggressive heel-hooks.
The heel on the Solution's however, is the solution for me to do aggressive heel-hooks.  

If I were to get another pair of shoes between these 2, I'd probably get the Tenaya Oasi as I find it to be way more comfortable.

P/S, I bought these shoes after testing out a number of other shoes. You too should try out as many different shoes as possible, to see which suits you best :)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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