When I first bought my pair of climbing shoes I didn’t think about it too much, I found a pair on sale which fit, and that was about the amount of thought. Of course, I picked some spectacularly technical, bent toe, likely a size too small keepers which I didn’t use so often, because I didn’t climb so often, so the fact that they made the souls of my toes die was not too inconvenient. Add in weekly climbing trips and pretty soon I had the makings of ingrown toenails, and an inability to even place my big toe tip against the wall without tears on the edges of my eyes.
New shoes were definitely needed. This was at the end of September, I got some good assistance from the store clerks in the climbing gym store, picked up a pair of these bad boys and honestly have never looked back. While it took quite some time for my toes to recover from the last pair that brutalized them, there was an obvious and instant difference in how happy my feet felt, how often my toes hurt, and how little I ever worried about my foot position since.
Now I have been climbing in them regularly for almost 7 months, sometimes up to 3 times a week, and I love them. They are not super technical, which is fine for the levels I am climbing, and they have enough of a stiff edge to let me use really small holds comfortable and without tiring my feet too much. I am confident and comfortable in them, and have not remember the last time a foot slipped off a hold. It let me move comfortably into lead climbing, and on their two outdoor trips they held up fine to excessive mud, and a totally novel slab experience which was completely dependent on my previously non-existent smearing technique. My foot placement confidence skyrocketed even faster than my fear of heights plummeted, and my climbing skill has steadily increased.
If you are looking for something to use as you get into climbing more seriously and regularly, these are an awesome introduction shoe. Enough feel and sensitivity to climb 5c comfortably (haven’t tried harder 🙂 ), comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time, and I even read a review where one tested walked to the crag and back in them. Everyone has a misconception that climbing shoes have to HURT to work. This is false, and adding pain into a new hobby is the BEST WAY to ensure your new found fix is going to fizzle and fade. They should be snug but not constrict blood flow, tight but you should be able to walk in them, and if you start getting ingrown toenails you seriously need a larger size. Pushing the fun is the BEST way to turn a fix into a passion, and honestly, we newbies don’t need super hardcore technical shoes anyway, because our lame uneducated feet wouldn’t do them justice anyway :-).