Elements of a Sport Climbing Shoe

Elements of a Sport Climbing Shoe

Shoe guru Tyrone dives into the world of sport climbing shoes, unravelling the key elements while offering examples suitable for different climber abilities and climbing styles. In this video, Ty offers shoe model recommendations for those advancing into higher grades, a category he aptly calls "Emerging Sender." He then moves on to shoes suitable for climbers wanting edging precision to match their footwork skills, called "Technical Specialist," and finally looks at shoes suitable for overhung and powerful routes, which fall into the "Sport Master" bracket.

The Elements of a Sport Climbing Shoe

Before you select a shoe for sport climbing, understand the approximate angle of the rock you are mostly climbing, whether super steep, vertical, or slabby. Also, know the rock type you are focused on; shoes that work well on technical vertical granite do not perform as well in steep limestone caves. Lastly, match your ability to the shoe you select. A shoe that performs well while toe-hooking tufas is unlikely to benefit a beginner standing on edges in Skaha.

The basic elements to understand are

The profile speaks to how downturned the shoe is, generally a more aggressive shoe is better in steeper terrain

Asymmetry refers to how straight or curved the shoe is, the higher the asymmetry the more power is pushed toward the toes, often sacrificing comfort.

Flexibility refers to the amount of support a shoe offers. Stiffer shoes will edge better but will lose sensitivity.

Laces offer fit versatility but aren't as convenient as velcro.

Tension in the shoe delivers power to the toes & feet and is created with thin pieces of rubber which run over the toes and around the heels.

Ty’s Top Picks For Sport Climbing Shoes

Emerging Sender*

Technical Specialist

Sport Master

Trying on multiple pairs is recommended to find the perfect match for your foot shape and climbing objectives. A well-fitted shoe enhances precision, support, and overall climbing enjoyment, making the selection process worth the effort. For a comprehensive understanding of fitting a climbing shoe, please read our Climbing Shoe Fit Guide

*While these categories aren't officially endorsed by the brands, they provide a useful and playful way to look at the shoes on our display wall when you have so many options. We often choose to own one pair in each category, or more, and pick whichever suits the day's objective.

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