Thursday, 13 September 2007

Climbing Shoe Woes

Does anyone else have this problem? As soon as I find a pair of climbing shoes that really work for me, they stop making them. Why is that? Am I alone in suffering this disappointment and inconvenience?

I have had a pair of Evolv Athena shoes for about 9 months. They were small, very positive and a bit sore to start with, and now I can hardly bear to be parted from them, in spite of their filth and stench. They make my footwork feel invincible, although I know fine well it isn't. There are folks in favour of small shoes, and folks who don't believe in sore feet. I don't believe in sore feet either (mostly, and definitely when it comes to "ordinary" shoes), but I am firmly converted to the notion that small climbing shoes means an ability to stand on very small edges.

My fabulous but stinky Athenas

My Athenas are just about to go through at the toes (I blame one session on the newly-painted lead wall at Alien Rock for the accelerated thinning of the rubber) and I want a new pair. I searched every online shop I can find, across the globe, and finding a size 5.5 Athena was impossible. Then the nice people at Gear for Girls told me that Evolv have stopped producing them. WHY?? Why, oh why, oh why, oh why, oh why?

So I now have a pair of the Evolv Elektra. They're comfortable, and they fit well, but they're very soft. They're not terribly good for standing on small things, or for edging, but I think I will be able to wear them all day every day for a long while.....which is what I am going to be doing. We'll see how they stand up.

Shiny new Elektras
I also have a pair of 5.10 Sirens, which I bought as "comfy-all-day-shoes" but haven't worn very much. The rubber on them is very sticky, but I have a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach that the shape and fit isn't going to be good with my feet. I hear so many people say that 5.10 are the best shoes ever, that they only wear 5.10 blah blah blah. Absolute nonsense, if you ask me. All shoes are different, and everyone will find a shoe that suits them (if only they buy enough pairs!). I like Evolv shoes (but maybe that has something to do with the asociations with Greek deities!) and I can't wear Red Chilli shoes. It's just a pain when the manufacturers in their great wisdom change or stop making the shoes that are perfect for you!

Sirens, Athenas and Elektras
Does anyone know about the new Evolv Hera shoe? I have heard it's on it's way, and I think it must be the replacement for the Athena, but I can't find anywhere that stocks it in order to work out what size I need.....without shelling out a fortune in postage. And I can only find US sizes. Any ideas?


DaveR said...

I have a pair of Boreal Stingers that are nearly ten years old. Their the only pair of shoes I wear to climb steep stuff on my board and at Dumbie. Dunno what I'll replace them with but I've been getting by by resoling them.

Tony said...

Have you thought about getting them resoled with a nice big toe patch? Not quite as good as new, but I've found it preferable to experimenting with new and untried shoes.

Jen T said...

Hi Emma - I have a pair of Evolv Bandits. They're not female specific but a very similar feel to the Athenas. Got mine from Cotswold Outdoor so they might be worth a try.