Buying climbing shoes
The golden rule for the best shoe is: it has to fit! But what does that mean exactly for a climbing shoe? It is no use choosing a shoe carefully if the size is not right. If the shoe is too wide then you will slide around it, shoes that are too tight can be so painful that you don’t want to wear them at all.
Rules of thumb
Since climbing shoes are a handmade product, every pair is individual and thus we recommend trying them on in the sport shop.
A climbing shoe has to be tighter than a street shoe. But how much?
For performance-oriented climbing on the smallest of steps the shoe has to clearly be under your normal size, in order to give enough sensitivity. Tight shoes are just used for one pitch climbs or bouldering and are taken off immediately afterwards. Ambitious climbers frequently have several pairs of shoes, one pair being really tight for the more difficult projects; the others are somewhat more comfortable for climbing and training.
For all-round use you should not buy shoes that are really tight, so that you can still enjoy multi-pitch climbs without your feet hurting. For crack and friction climbing, shoes that are too tight have no advantages. Shoes with a mid-sole have sufficient edge stability if they do not have too tight a fit.
Beginners, pleasure climbers and children should buy climbing shoes only marginally – if at all – smaller than their normal shoes. The precision is compromised, but the shoe does not need to be worn in first and will not be painful on longer climbs.