What’s the best multipitch shoe? I’m looking for something new. My heel is popping out of my Five Ten Sirens and Evolv Elektra Laces. I’ve downsized both shoes and my toes are slightly bent, yet my heel still pops out after a few hours. The funny thing is that I don’t have a narrow foot. In fact, my foot is flat and fat. Any suggestions? I will add that my sport/bouldering shoe is the Five Ten Anasazi, and I’m a fan of that heel cup but worry that it wouldn’t be conducive for long, all-day ascents.
—Gentrye Houghton, Amarillo, Texas
Your feet have two basic parts. The front has five wiggly units called toes. The rear is a bulbous chunk of meat and bone, the heel. For reasons that only chaos or evolution can explain, your forefoot can be wide, yet your heel can be narrow. So it is possible that your shoes squeeze your toes yet are loose in the heel. I, however, think your shoes just don’t fit. I do find it odd that you say your heels pop out after you wear your shoes for hours, and that this happens in models from two brands (although I read an independent review from a woman who also did not like the low
heel on the Elektra.) This suggests to me that your shoes are too big because you should not be able to wear climbing shoes for hours straight.
Most people fit their shoes snug and painful when new, allowing for stretch. After stretching, your shoes should still squeeze your feet, and you will only want to wear them while actually climbing, then take them off. Removing your shoes will give your feet a rest, and let the shoe itself shrink back just a bit after having been warmed up and stretched in use.
Since you are having trouble with the heel, and are looking for an all-day, long-route shoe, I recommend a high top—a feature in many of the best multipitch shoes. The extra height will lock in your heel just a bit better than a low-cut. The Scarpa Maestro, the Evolv General or La Sportiva’s TC Pro could work well for you.
Go to a shop and try them on. Go in the morning before your feet have swollen, and try the shoes on barefoot. A new shoe should hurt a bit and get tolerable after a couple of weekends of use. If you get the fit right, your feet won’t scream while you climb, but you’ll be relieved to strip the shoes off at the belays. Gear Guy has spoken!
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