"Cat Feet:" choosing the right climbing shoe.
A short while ago, I was talking with a climber who was new to the gym, having just moved to Boston from Spain. We were having some fun with the language barrier in terms of climbing gear (not usually part of foreign language study) and when it came to shoes, she called them "pies de gato," or "cat's feet." I fell in love with the phrase and wanted to adopt it here in the US but I couldn't get it to catch on. I guess climbers are mostly
No matter what you call them, good shoes are the most basic tools in the climber's toolkit. Whether you're on boulders, top rope or a multi-day ascent of El Cap, you're going to want a pair of good climbing shoes to help you get to the top. Shoes have evolved over the years from leather boots to soft-soled tennis shoes to the purpose built rubber soled shoes we wear today. As the sport developed, so did the gear but the essence of climbing is the same. See the pic below of Royal Robbins, one of the pioneers at Yosemite in the mid 20th century. The boots he’s wearing are far from what we’d consider typical climbing shoes today.
Today, climbing shoes are offered in a wide range of options designed for different types of climbing at different levels. For example, bouldering and trad climbing have very different shoe needs--trad climbers need something comfortable they can wear all day while boulderers often want the highest performing shoe they can cram their foot into for short periods of time. The huge amount of brand, style and color options can make choosing a climbing shoe a tricky deal. Therefore it's important to get some advice before you throw down your hard earned cash. Depending on the type of climbing you prefer or your level of climbing, we can help you find the right style and size.
For information on what kind of climbing shoes to get for your needs, ask a MetroRock staff member at either location. We offer a range of shoe options in our gear shops for everyone from the beginner to the seasoned veteran and we're happy to give you advice. If you don’t see what you're looking for on the shelf or we don't have your size at the time, we’re happy to make special orders for you.
If you want to fine tune your shoe search, we occasionally host