If you are climbing hard routes these days, downturned shoes are most likely what you’re in.
If you’re perhaps a little on the old-school side and/or you’re just used to using more comfortable shoes, it can be hard to see the light first time you pull on a pair of more assymetrical, downturned shoes, like SCARPA’s Vapor V. Especially if you judge them from this one experience … One might even conclude you only benefit from such shoes if you are climbing super steep, super hard terrain.
It was interesting, then, to read some thoughts from Dave MacLeod, who’s put up a few hard routes himself, on how such shoes are more versatile than people think.
In a nutshell, MacLeod points out how all-arounders can also benefit from downturned shoes, and puts together a great synopsis on one of the ways that downturned shoes – designed right – actually offer more support to the foot, which makes climbers able to climb harder. And that was the intent all along behind SCARPA Climbing Line Manager Heinz Mariacher’s intent with what he calls ‘active-tensioned rands’ in SCARPA’s downturned rock shoes these days.
Another good point MacLeod makes is, take advantage of demos. It can definitely be a trick to size a performance rock shoe just the way you want, since there’s often a lot of break-in and stretch involved. Being able to demo a rock shoe that’s already seen some use and been broken in somewhat, not to mention just be able to understand how the shoes feel on the rock rather than on the sales floor, is a great place to start.