| Mad Rock Men s

Mad Rock Phoenix climbing shoes

The Fine Art of Buying Shoes

Of all the gear you are likely to purchase as a rock climber, your first pair of rock shoes will give you the single biggest and immediate leap in ability. Yet from there on in, the murky world that is a climbing shoe is likely to haunt you every time that you put your over-tight shoes on, or roll off of an edge...

Climbing shoes are an integral part of your climbing cupboard - but the variety and myths make buying the correct shoes increasingly more difficult. It is infinitely more desirable to spend the extra time and effort in purchasing your shoes, than regretting a hastily or ill-informed decision each time you put them on. Climbing shoes do more than look aesthetically pleasing - they are extensions to your body and if bought correctly can enhance your climbing greatly. Below is a guide to buying rock shoes, based predominantly on design as apposed to the Manufactures name, which is usually shrouded in fable and mystery (if their marketing department is any good).

General Rule of Thumb for beginners
- Comfortable is too large
- Painful is too tight
- Uncomfortable is perfect

Fit : First and Foremost

The most important factor to consider when choosing any rock shoes is finding a pair that fits well.

Your "fit" should be determined by the type of climbing that you intend doing, combined with your experience level. Remember that leather upper shoes are likely to stretch over time (mostly in lateral width), while lined and synthetic upper shoes are not likely to stretch much at all.

Climbing shoe sizing varies from brand to brand and, just to confuse the issue, often from model to model within a brand. Use numerical sizes purely as a guideline. As a rule of thumb, the level of shoe discomfort increases proportionately to an increase in climbing "level". This is primarily a result of molding the foot into as firm and precise an appendage as possible in an effort to eliminate "roll" (due mainly to weak feet or the shoe being to big and rolling around your foot) and increase sensitivity (sensual feedback) and pin-point controlled.

Shape of last

There are various sole patterns to accommodate various types of climbing and foot shapes. Some are more asymmetrically displaced towards the big toe than others. Generally speaking lasts vary from flat mildly asymmetrical to pronounced / aggressively down turned.


Designed for the advanced climber and particularly suited to steep environments.

Recommended shoes:

Because the very nature of steep/overhanging routes forces you to try to curl your toe down in an attempt to pull you in the route. Thus strong foot muscles and a shoe that helps get in beneath the roof, to the grip are necessary.


Designed for the intermediate and advanced climbers these are the most all-round types, but excel in vertical to slightly overhanging.

While a pronounced camber is ideal for steep routes, on vertical / midly overhanging routes the down-pointed nature of the foot makes edging and smearing difficult. The moderate last offers a performance fit, often associated with a mildly stiff midsole which together give great precision, great edging ability and good smearing ability.


Designed for the beginner and intermediate climbers and particularly suited to easy angled / vertical climbing.

Generally the easier the grade the bigger the [foot] holds and thus the need for an aggressive shoe wanes. Coupled to this, the less steep the route is, the more the climber stands on his/her feet. Therefore the mild last is significantly flatter than any of the others. Also, as one tends to stand more in these, they often feature a stiff missole (offering greater support and a roomier toe box.

Share this article

Related Posts

Mountain climbing shoes
Mountain climbing shoes
Vegan climbing shoes
Vegan climbing shoes

Latest Posts
Rock climbing training gear
Rock climbing…
In last year s Health Issue (No. 167)…
Amarillo rock climbing House
Amarillo rock…
1986 Following a number of trouble free…
Socks with Rock climbing shoes
Socks with Rock…
I have noticed that hardly anyone wears…
Trekking to Everest Base Camp
Trekking to Everest…
Before you read our Top 10 Tips you really…
Make your Own Climbing holds
Make your Own…
I recently had an idea to build an outdoor…
Featured posts
  • Rock Pillars climbing shoes
  • Mountain climbing shoes
  • Vegan climbing shoes
  • Gym climbing shoes
  • Rock climbing shoes online
  • Ice climbing shoes
  • Kids Rock Climbing shoes
  • Rock Climbing shoes for kids
  • Climbing shoes kids
Copyright © 2021 l All rights reserved.