Pat Metheny with a quick look at a few of the basic shoe differences to consider when entering the vertical world of climbing.

For more information on local (indoor) climbing:

Roanoke — The River Rock —

New River Valley — Crimper’s Climbing —

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Hey folks, this is Pat at Back Country Ski & Sports here to talk to you today a little bit about climbing shoes.

We’ve got two new awesome gyms in the area within an hour or so from Roanoke. We’ve got Crimper’s up in the Christiansburg area and The River Rock down in Roanoke.

With those new additions to our climbing community, we’ve had a lot more people coming into our stores asking us about shoes, and about climbing shoes and how to fit climbing shoes. What’s the difference in climbing shoes?

So, I’d like to talk about some shoes today and just go over the differences and answer some of those questions.


The difference in a rock climbing shoe, compared to our everyday hiking shoe?

The shoe is much smaller and much tighter. It really is not engineered or made for walking at all. It’s actually made for the vertical world and not a horizontal world where our traditional shoes are used to every day.

The shoe cannot be allowed to slip or rotate around our foot when we’re rock climbing.  So, having a very slim, low-profile, very tight-fitting shoe is very important.


Some of the features that make a climbing shoe a climbing shoe:

The sticky rubber that wraps all the way around the shoe. We notice there’s no heel wedge, no shock cushioning under most climbing shoes’ heels.

We’ve got a very sharp-edge rand of rubber that runs the length of the shoe.  A very tight fitting heel cup.

Some shoes have laces, some shoes have velcro. Velcro is definitely faster for ease on and off in and out of gyms.

Whereas, lacing tends to get a better fit for a more problematic foot, and you can really dial that shoe in to your unique foot shape.

Mad Rock Flash

The first shoe we’re going to look at today is from Mad Rock, it’s the Flash.

Its a synthetic blend, leather shoe. Velcro, easy on and off. Two big heel cuffs to pull it on. This shoe is actually unique in the fact that it has a gel shock under the heel for those folks that, getting into bouldering, don’t have a crash pad yet and might be jumping around without it.

For under a hundred dollars, this a great entry-point shoe for a lot of folks out there.

Five Ten Rogue

One of the other shoes I’d like to talk to you about today is the Rogue from Five Ten.

This is a new shoe for Five Ten. Unlined leather, C4 rubber, made in the USA for only a hundred dollars, I think this is a great price-point shoe.

It fits incredibly well, not quite as aggressive. A fairly flat fit, built off their Anasazi last. For the beginner to intermediate climber that’s looking for a more comfortable shoe this is great, great option.

It comes in mens and womens sizes and colors.

Five Ten Anasazi LV

If we have anybody out there that has particularly narrow or low-volume feet, Five Ten does make a shoe that’s just for you, the Anasazi LV.

LV standing for low-volume, again we’re looking at a velcro shoe. This is a leather shoe that is lined, it’s lined with Cordura, so it is not going to allow the leather to stretch as much.

This has been a great shoe in the lineup for years, its a good option if you’ve got narrow or smaller feet.

La Sportiva Solution

The Solution is a heavily downturned shoe from La Sportiva, it’s made for aggressive climbing.

If you’re attacking hard problems at the bouldering gym, or trying to ascend some hard routes outside this is a good option for you.

Polyurethane molded jacket to keep its downturned shape, so you can count on this shoe keeping its shape for the long term. 3D molded heel cup, great for heel hooking. It’s actually got extra rubber on the toe for toe hooking as well.

Velcro closure, pulls in two different spots, velcros in one spot. The Solution is for the people who are really looking to up their game in the climbing world and, this probably isn’t going to be your first shoe. Not the most comfortable shoe on the wall, but for such an aggressively downturned shoe, they did add a little bit of width to the forefoot so it’s surprisingly comfortable for an aggressive shoe.

Aggressive climbers, highly recommend this shoe.

La Sportiva Mythos

Lace-ups are kind of your traditional climbing shoe. For all day comfort, for shaping the shoe around your foot, if its not the most normal shaped foot in the world, the lacing allows you to sprawl the shoe out and suck it back together where you need to. So, there’s nothing that fits quite like a lace-up shoe.

The Mythos from La Sportiva is a great option. La Sportiva is a European brand, a European-made leather shoe. Unlined leather, so it is going to stretch a little bit.

They do make this shoe in mens and womens options. Whether you’re crack climbing, or you’re multi-pitch climbing, this guy’s going to allow you to be a little bit more comfortable and climb all day.

Not as popular a bouldering shoe, but again, all-day climbing: cragging, trag, top-rope — this is a good option.


This is just a few of the models we keep in stock here at Back Country Ski & Sports.  But keep in mind, all the features are incredibly important but what is most important is the fit.

Please don’t order your climbing shoes blindly.  Trying them on in the store is hard to do.  If you can try them on in the store, get off your feet, get on a couple of climbing holds, that’s your best bet.

If at all possible, Demos are a great option. Our friends at River Rock and at Crimper’s Climbing Gyms hold demos throughout the year, so stay tuned to their websites.

Tune in to our website, Like us on Facebook, we’ll send out reminders letting everybody know when we’re having demos and when we’re doing other fun events.

My name is Pat and thanks for tuning in today.

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