First, my apologies for not posting this last Sunday!!! I had been ill and had not been able to interview anyone for my post! This week, though, I have a special interview to bring you concerning our topic of climbing shoe preferences of our local climbers. I interviewed one of the owners of my climbing gym, and he’s been climbing for 33 years! When I asked him what his favorite climbing shoes were, he replied, “The ones the reps give me!” and laughed. “I’ve worn so many shoes on my feet in my life… I’ve been climbing for 33 years. I like flat, beginner-type shoes.” I asked him what he liked about them. “Well, I have Morton’s toe – my second toe is longer than my big toe – so it really comes down to fit. I don’t like really aggressive shoes. I like more beginner-type, flat shoes that fit. Fit is really what it comes down to. I teach a lot – that’s most of what I do is teach – and when I’m teaching, I just wear my [La] Sportiva TX2 approach shoes!” He wasn’t too impressed with the cosmetic makeover that La Sportiva gave their TX2’s this last year, though. I agreed with him on that. I think they ruined a perfectly good shoe (my opinion) in making the cosmetic changes that they did. There was nothing wrong with the old TX2 – it was a sweet shoe! Back to our interview with the owner, though… When asked how tight he liked his shoes, he said, “Not tight. That’s why I teach in my approach shoes. I don’t like my shoes tight at all.” I noticed that his latest pair of shoes from the reps had the velcro looped so loosely that you could see daylight between the straps, and they were only hooked so that they stayed out of the way (by no stretch of the imagination “tight” at all!). I asked him how many sizes down from his street shoes he wore his climbing shoes, to which he replied, “In EU, a half-size.” By that point in the interview, that didn’t surprise me at all. It was a good interview and I gained a lot of insight into shoes. The owner showed me some of the shoes he had available and I tried some on, one of which would be quite comfortable in the correct width (it was a women’s version that fit the length, but not the width, of my feet), which I think the men’s version would provide. It was a Scarpa Force V shoe that I later looked up the specs for online. Another shoe that he recommended to me due to my wide feet was the La Sportiva Tarantula, a beginner shoe that is made a little larger because the manufacturers know that beginners don’t like tight-fitting shoes. I do have a pair of those, and they are quite good!
So that’s our Sunday Sesh for this week. I hope you enjoyed what a veteran climber of over three decades and a gym owner had to say about climbing shoes, and I hope that it helps you in your quest for the perfect shoe for you! Enjoy the holiday!!! I’ll catch you during the next Sunday Sesh!!!