If The Shoe Fits – A Guide To Climbing Footwear Part 2

Styles

There are three dominant styles of climbing shoes available neutral, moderate and aggressive, each one has its own pros and cons and is designed for a specific type of climbing so keep this in mind when shopping.  Neutral shoes are often the go to design for beginners firstly as they look more like normal shoes, secondly because they are made for comfort which is something that those starting out are really looking for before they head to more intense climbs. The flat and thick soles are especially good for anyone not used to putting so much strain on their feet, they also make it easier to stabilise into cracks. If you are planning to have a long day climbing possibly with some walking in between neutral styles are going to be your best bet here.

Styles
Styles

The in between style is moderate which you will notice has a more pronounced curve underneath, this is called camber and is there to support the foot on more technical climbs. If you can’t begin to understand why this is necessary you probably don’t need a pair, however if you’ve felt like your feet were a little cumbersome in your climbs these may be the style for you. The soles on moderate shoes are also different as they are made from less dense rubber and allow you to feel a lot more of the surface underneath you, something that complicated climbs demand often.

Shoes
Shoes

The final variation to tackle is the aggressive style, which if you’ve ever seen the bend in the sole of these shoes you will agree that the name is fitting. Aggressive shoes take the ideas of moderate climbing footwear to thee next level, though they are clearly aimed at professionals. Here the soles are super thin allowing for a natural feel underfoot, it also means that the soles wear away quicker and there is little protection between your feet and whatever they may come into contact with. Many of these shoes are also designed to that there is more tension on the heels and that the structure underneath channels to the big toe instead of spreading evenly. This is to help with pressure on your dominant muscles and essentially aide you when perched on the most precarious of footholds. Aggressive shoes will really help you if you are technical climber looking for some more suitable shoes, whereas amateurs and those climbing casually might find their design more of a hinderance. Even though many different companies have gone to great lengths to create shoes for specific purposes not everybody’s feet are the same. You may have wide feet or feet that bend in an odd way, but don’t be worried because there will be a shoe out there for you, it may just take some trial and error to track it down. By simply looking at the shape and style of the pro footwear it might give you some hints at how to better your stance while climbing, if anything buying new climbing shoes will make you more conscious of your feet while attacking the rocks.