Finding a rock-climbing shoe can be a very confusing task. There are lace ups, Velcro shoes, shoes with slingshot heels, downturned, flat and even some with patents on their fancy lacing systems!

Firstly try to work out what you would like the shoe to do. Are you after all day comfort, do you want to stand on 5 cent edges, scum on volumes in the gym? Once you have worked this out you can start to narrow down your choices. Ultimately in the end it will come down to fit and how the shoe feels on your foot. 

For correct fit La Spotiva suggest about 1-2 sizes smaller than your street shoes for Trad climbing shoes and 2-3 sizes down for performance shoes. Performance shoes tend to have less structure in the midsole meaning they rely on your scrunched toes to create an edging platform. Remember that climbing shoes stretch, about a full size for unlined shoes and half a size for lined shoes.

Differentiating different models of climbing shoes into Performance , All-Round and Begginer catergories is a great way to start to sort through our large range to hone in on the right shoe for your purpose. More aggressively downturned shoes tend to lend themselves better to steep terrain where your foot is grabbing the holds and pulling you in to the wall. Flatter shoes are better on slabs, cracks and anywhere you need to be in the shoes for long periods.

On high-grade climbs with poor holds a softer performance shoe like the La Sportiva Futura, Solution, Skwama, Testarossa or Red Chili Voltage are perfect. Indoor focused shoes like the Theory are also very soft to allow good deformity when scumming on volumes. More structured performance shoes such as the Otaki, Miura VS and for a flatter performance shoe, the Miura will give you the best performance on tiny edges.

For a general purpose shoe the La Sportiva Katana, Finale, Mythos, or the Red Chili Ventic and Spirit VCR are the best choices. The Katana edges well and has and agressive sling shot rand, whereas the mythos is soft and sensitive, perfect for slabs. Another Shoe of note is the La Sportiva TC Pro. It has been specially designed for long routes where performance and comfort are needed. It also has extra protection over the toes for added comfort during crack climbing.

When comfort is a must you cant go past the La Sportiva Tarantula, Tarantulace, or the Red Chili Circuit. These shoes are designed with less tension on the heel, a neutral shape. This allows the foot to be flatter with less curved toes.

Foot shape will make a difference too. If you have a wide foot try the La Sportiva Otaki, Skwama, Theory, or the Red Chili Voltage. For narrow feet I suggest using women's models if you can size down to them. They are narrower and have lower volume.

It is important to find the correct balance between comfort and performance, to suit your level of climbing. As always, feel free to ask any staff about our great range of rock shoes.

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  • Mac Brunckhorst