Rock Climbing Shoes – Fit is where it’s at
In the world of rock climbing shoes there are a lot of choices these days. Here at Water Stone we stock a lot of them. But you can’t afford to stock them all so you have to narrow it down at least a little bit…. Our goal has always been to offer a huge selection of shoes from many brands in each sub category of shoes. There are aggressive shoes, trad shoes, beginner shoes, all day comfort shoes, etc etc so ultimately if you get the climbing bug you will end up owning your own fleet of shoes.
With that said, I always tell people, especially beginners, to go for fit and comfort first and worry about brand, etc later. Because in reality the best shoe is the one you can wear comfortably so you can focus on the climbing part and not be desperately anticipating getting the damn things off your feet. So in each category of shoe if you take your time and try on a bunch of them you will likely find that model that matches the shape of your foot best. Aggressive, down turned last shoes, often the primary choice for bouldering and steep routes, require a tighter fit while a general fit all day shoe can have a relaxed fit where you have upsized a little bit. Plan on putting several different brands on your feet to compare. Ask questions about stretch, stiffness, durability, performance, etc. Our staff are all avid rock climbers and nerd out on this stuff all the time. They all have their opinions but do get that what works for them won’t necessarily be right for you. So come by the shop and put some shoes on your feet. Try them on the bouldering wall. Then you can make a good choice to help you enjoy the New River Gorge wonderland of climbing. Here are a few of my picks of shoes that we stock and why:
I am not typically a down turned shoe guy (old worn out feet) but this model actually works for me. For an aggressive shoe it fits well right out of the box and performs with the best of them. It comes in two widths giving you options to dial the fit in. The orange model is the regular fit and the blue model is the low volume fit.
This one has become my everyday shoe. One of the best fits I have ever seen right out of the box. I climb in this shoe more than any other simply because it does everything I need it to do and fits like a glove. And don’t overlook a key detail, price. This is a high performance shoe at a great price.
This actually was my go to shoe last year and I still use it a lot. The reason once again is fit. Although slightly stiffer than the Spirit VCR it still fits and performs great. It fits a lower volume foot well, as do several other shoes in the Tenaya line. I like this one and all of the models that Tenaya makes.