How to choose a climbing shoes

The climbing shoes are one of the most important parts of climbers’ equipment. Technologists and designers in leading companies are constantly developing new concepts for the design of shoes, the materials they use, and last but not least, the look. The world’s best climbers are sending exclusively difficult routes, with precise footsteps, and the latest shoes models have to meet their requirements.

The main features of the climbing shoes are their hardness and shape (how much and how they are curved).

Hardness is determined by the rubber hat is put on the sole and the construction of the shoe itself. In recent years, the most technically advanced shoes have to be made with a sol with two parts. The break of the rubber is in the area of the arch, thus the shoe fits very well on the foot and can flex when the climber use very small footholds. Depending on the rigidity and thickness of the rubber, the climbing shoes can be rigid without losing comfort and sensitivity.

The other main feature is the asymmetry of the shoe. It is measured in two directions – how much the shoe is curved to the thumb and how much is curved like a hook. Following the current trends in development, the top models of the leading brands are asymmetrical in both directions. Thanks to this form, climbers can, with less effort, use the small steps of the overhanging routes.

Considering these features, we should be able to choose the most suitable climbing shoes, depending on what type of rock we most often climb and what type of route we prefer.

It is widely believed that vertical and slightly overhanging routes require rigid shoes, while in the steep overhangs is better to use soft shoes. According to my immodest experience on rocks, this division is far from the topic. With soft shoes, the climber has better filling about the shape of the footsteps. The soft rubber assumes the relief of the step and stands very stable. Whether you’re stepping on a thin crimp or on a very bad smear step, soft shoes will not cheat you. This is achieved on the one hand by the characteristics of the rubber itself, on the other hand, by the construction of the shoe. With precision, soft shoes, you can rely on the footsteps of both steep overhanging routes and technical slabs. If your home crag is dominated by limestone slabs with blade-sharp steps, with soft shoes you will suffer a lot. The problem is that you will feel just how sharp the step is and for such routes it is better to choose a more rigid model. The climbing of vertical and almost vertical routes with soft shoes is hard for the feet, but it has its advantages.

The main difference between rigid and soft climbing shoes comes when there are very long moves of vertical and slightly overhanging routes. Then, with a softer shoe, the heel falls slightly down, as the sole bends, and this may be enough to get two centimeters under the hold. In this case, more suitable would be harder shoes. With them, the bending of the arch and the fall of the whole body down is much less. Another, very specific case where it is good to choose a rigid shoe is when we have a toe hook or a heel hook. If the load is very high and the hook is not stable, the soft shoe bend and the foot goes out of the hole. In this case, harder shoes could help a lot.

Last but not least, the shape of the heel of shoes is very important. The main thing is that it should be such that it sticks tight on the foot. If it does not fit well, in heel hook, the shoes can get off. It is important that the rubber is not too thick to allow the climber to feel exactly where he is steps.

It seems that the choice of climbing shoes is not easy at all. Even some very obsessed climbers sometimes wear different shoes at the same time, according to footholds on the project. Others find fault on their climbing shoes when they “slap” from a bad step. The truth is, the stronger the climber is, the less depends on his shoes!

The end of the summer and the beginning of the training

Beast makerFrom a climber’s point of view, autumn is the best season – the rocks are dry, it’s not too hot, we have satisfied our desire to swim in the sea and watch the stars and now we can focus on hard projects. Falling yellow leaves and the shorter days remind of the approaching unwanted winter, but while there is still sun, everything is fine. But there comes a moment when you wake up, look out the window and you see the snow – this cold, white thing that lovers of winter sports have prayed all summer… Yes, it’s true that it’s beautiful and white when you look outside, sitting next to the radiator, trying not to think about what to wear in order to stay dry, but it is not suitable for climbing outdoor. And at this moment you realized  that you will not be able to climb on rocks so often, that you will have to remember the “super-good” beta for the crux till next year and … you have to go take the quickdraws in the snow.

This is the negative side of the winter. But there is another point of view, and it is that winter is the time when we can take on hard training sessions and next season we are in even better shape. About the types of workouts there are so many written materials, systems, programs that we will have to read the whole winter to read them all. We need to know a few things. The most important is that there is no such thing as “too much power”. We must not forget that the technique is just an elegant use of strength. Another important thing is persistence. Regardless of what kind of training system we will come up with, it is important to just follow it. And the third thing that is good to remember is that we have to keep ourselves from injuries. There is also a lot to read on this topic, but the main thing is finding a good  warm-up for our workouts.

The other thing we have in the winter is the thick clothes, watching the weather forecast, waiting the sunny and quiet days and… a nice red wine, of course!

The climber’s WAY OF LIVING

Autumn

With the coming of autumn, except the cold nights, the yellow leaves and the smell of walnuts, there is also the time for “hard” projects. Еvery climber associates them with difficult movements, a lot of rope hanging, pain in all muscles, scrubbing the skin of the fingers to blood, a lot of anger… And all this is not always rewarded with the successful climbing of the dream project. And even in the cases when the route is already sent, you immediately begin with a new one, which is not easier at all. The joy of success is evanescent, compared to the evenings when you lie in your sleeping bag and remind yourself of every movement, every hold, every breath. Еach morning when you wake up and realize you’ve dreamed your project again, you’re happier and more excited to climb to death on the rocks. Actually during this process you are much happier than when you did the project. And… right now… you need a new one!

“The mystique of rock climbing is climbing; you get to the top of a rock glad it’s over but really wish it would go on forever. The justification of climbing is climbing, like the justification of poetry is writing; you don’t conquer anything except things in yourself…. There is no possible reason for climbing except the climbing itself; it is a self-communication.” —Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi⠀

Pocket (on) desire

Perseus knee pad with additional pocket“Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.” Tennessee Williams, “A street car named Desire”.

Unless this present moment leaves a slow-moving trace, traceable trace in the form of a dark purple lividity on your otherwise perfect thigh.

The Perseus knee pad now can be ordered with an additional pocket, where to put a piece of neoprene. This way the knee pad protect your skin even in the most painfull knee bars.

Silicone against slippage

Danaë knee pad with silicone dotesSilicone enters more and more in our everyday life – cosmetic products, plastic surgery, repairs, probably in a lot of foodstuffs…

The silicone founds application in Go Clinbing knee pads, in particular in Danaë model. The silicone dotes, placed on the inside of the knee pad, have very good grip on the clothing or the skin and prevent the ripping off. In this way, the knee pad remains in place all the time, while climbing. You can rely on it to be right where it should be when you need to use it!

Paranoia

Paranoia 8bParanoia is the name of a route located on one of the most popular spot for sport climbing in Bulgaria –  Small cave, Vratsa. It goes through the most overhanging part of the sector. The crux is in the roof, followed by a very good no hand rest with a knee bar and the second crux comes as a reward. It is a slightly overhanging slab with risky movements where it is not surprising to fall. The grade is 8b.

I first tried Paranoia in the spring of 2012. Some friends climbing Pranoia and I decidet to try it with them. I couldn’t do their variants to the crux in the roof, and I was forced to find my way to use the holds with a lot of knee bars. In the process of climbing I found that the knee pads I have aren’t the best weapon. The first thing that hindered me was that they were very difficult to put up and I realized that I spent more time putting knee pads than climbing. This gave me a motive to think of a model of a knee pad that can be easily put on and pull off. So the first modifisation of Danaë knee bar pad appeared. Then I realized that for a very key knee bar, just in the middle of the roof, I needed a knee pad that I could put as close as possible to the knee. Those, that I have did not working – either they stood too high, or dropped, or were very thick and trubled the knee bar. It was time for Perseus knee bar pad to come on the scene. Unfortunately, all of these improvements were not enough at all, and I kept falling. Crunches with weight, pull-ups, climbing the route to unconsciousness, regardless of the conditions… So I spend next four years like that. Mentally I couldn’t sustain to fall almost every time on the same move, and I stoped climbing Paranoia.

This spring I found myself again at the Little cave, and I decided to check if Paranoia’s movements had become easier. At first I did not see any difference, some things I had forgotten, I had lost the sense of movement, but soon I began to get used to it. I did a few good attempt and I motivated again. What comes around, goes around and alas where I fell, I will fall again. That was the situation at one point. After a steady siege, I did the roof. The test after, was really very good, but I fell on the second crux. Paranoia remained a project. The next day I was not satisfied with climbing, and I decided I was tired. On the third day, after the warm-up I decided to try again, without expectations, just to see how many moves I can do. And I did it! I climb the roof and while I has resting, I realized, that I couldn’t affort to fall again from the second crux.

I do not think the four years in which I have mostly climbed Paranoia, are lost time. They’ve taught me a lot of things, I’ve done a lot of improvements on the knee pads, new models have come up.

Thanks to Sava Chapanov for the photos and to Joanna Ivanova for the video!

More colorful Danaë knee pad

For the new season the Danaë become more colorful. There is a lot color combination and we have troubles to choose.

In the photos below you can see all combination. If you have favorite, please write a comment!

Acrisius knee pad is getting even better

Knee pad Go Climbing, Acrisius modelOnce I used the Acrisius knee bar pad, it seemed to me that I could make it even better – lighter, most durable, easier to to put on and better fitting on the leg. In the new improved version of Acrisius, the bands with the buckles that serve to fix the knee pad to the leg are replaced with elastic and velcro. This way you dont feel the rigid strip on the back of the knee. The elastic is soft and does not fell when moving. The fixing of the knee bar pad is much more precise.

Now you only have to find the best knee bars in your new project!

Update for Acrisius knee pad

The pocket of Acrisius modelNow the knee pad Acrisius is better! On the inside, under the rubber, there is a pocket in which a neoprene can be puted. The neoprene is cut so that it fits exactly without blowing the knee pad and without being smaller and having empty space. In this way the knee pad becomes much thicker and can also be used for painful knee bars. By removing the neoprene piece, Acrisius again becomes thin and precise, very suitable for technical knee bars. So the Acrisius model becomes quite multipurpose and can serve faithfully to every climber. All you have to do is give him a chance to show up!

New rubber for the knee pad Go Climbing

Leonidio, Twin cavesAfter a lot of tests at various crags in Bulgaria and Greece, the new rubber Vibram, which we use for шге knee pad Go Climbing, proved their qualities. The new rubber has several advantages over that which we have worked until now. It is a little thinner than the old one, making a kneebar much more precisely. With a thin rubber the sensitivity is increased so that you can feel if the knee is exactly on the desired crimp. Also, the new rubber is thick enough so that almost completely eliminates pain. The knee bar pad Go Climbing with the new Vibram rubber are specifically for those climbers who ride on his precision and thrust on his technique. This rubber has a better friction that the previous. This way you can found a perfect kneebars and even no-hand rests in places where it looks unbelievable.

More about knee bar pads Go Climbing, and for the various models, you can find here.

We can only wish you sunny days, challenging projects and impressive climb.

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