Today, I’m switching it up a bit. Since I didn’t get a chance to interview any of my fellow climbers about their climbing shoes at the climbing gym this week, I interviewed a non-climber to see what his idea of a climbing shoe would be. We’ll refer to our good-natured friend as JJ. When asked if he knew anything about climbing shoes, JJ replied that he didn’t. My next question was to ask him what he thought would be important in a climbing shoe. “Just climb barefoot. You don’t need shoes.” He thought for a few seconds. “Well, you’d need shoes in the gym, I guess, so you don’t damage the walls, but outside, you’d need shoes just to walk to the rock you’re going to climb with. And then you’d need shoes to drive there with before you walked to the rock you’re going to climb, so you’d need three different pairs of shoes. That’s too many.” I explained the idea of approach shoes to him and he replied, “Why don’t you just wear a pair of tennis shoes?” I asked him next about the shoes just to climb the rock with, once you’re at the rock you want to climb, and what he thought the shoes would need to be like. “Toe protection. You want to use your toe to climb, but they’d have to be soft shoes with a padded toe. Ankle-high. Lace-up, like wrestlers’ boots. They’d have to be stretchy, tight fitting, but soft.” I asked him if he thought he’d have to size them up, down, or the same as his street shoes. “Same size, but tighter than my work boots, because I like my boots a little bit looser, and I would wear thick socks. A high-top climbing boot. That’s what I think a climbing shoe would have to be like.” Thank you, JJ, for your time and thoughtful attention!
JJ has some good points, and understands the basics of climbing as far as what parts of your feet you want to use to climb with to a degree. He was emphatic about toe protection. There was no mention of rubber, but he did have the idea of lace-up, high-top climbing boots that were soft and that fit well. He had the whole process of getting to the crag in mind, too. He was thinking about what you have to wear to get to the rock you actually want to climb as well as what to wear just to climb the rock you want to climb. I agree with him – three pairs of shoes is too many! Thank goodness for approach shoes to fill the gap! Or tennis shoes, if you prefer! I really enjoy these interviews with people. They give me great ideas and insight into what really goes on in our world of climbing…and outside it!
This has been the Sunday Sesh, No. 4. I hope you all have a great week, and if you don’t read any of my posts until next Sunday, I’ll have another Sunday Sesh post for you then! Thanks for reading!!!