Shoes, "why do you have so many?"

I often turn up to the gym with 2+ pairs of shoes and almost always get a comment from someone asking why I have so many shoes?


As climbers we spend more money on shoes than almost any of the other items in our bags, and walking into a gym with 2 or 3 pairs of shoes seems may seem like gratuitous spending, however it is quite the opposite. I find more shoes cheaper in the long run, and better for performance.


High performance shoes aren't cheap, we're all aware of that. I've written a blog about the Evolv Zenist recently, but here is why I have multiple pairs:


 

A project shoe



By this I mean that once they're broken in, I use them exclusively for projecting routes that require a high performance shoe, in this case, those that require a bouldery shoe that can heel/toe hook with the best of them. I use the Zenist for mainly indoor routes, but I have also sent some of my top grades outdoors in them.

These shoes, at over £100, are a high end shoe that I want to utilise for those high end grades, and wouldn't want to be "warming up" in them.


Benefits of a dedicated project shoe:

  • Always ready for the send

  • Using the highest cost rubber in the most necessary places

  • Using these shoes exclusively on "the projects" preserves the life of the shoe

 

a training shoe

These shoes are likely to be cheaper, less high performance and are likely to be more comfortable (slightly larger) than your project shoe.

I would go for the EB Mojo or the Evolv Skyhawk. These shoes are about 60/70% of the price of a high end performance shoe, and often have thicker rubber on the sole, meaning you'll get more use out of them.

I also use "ex-project" shoes as training shoes. Having shoes re-soled gives them extra life with a small investment, and they're already broken in, but for me, at this point they're often past their prime and are now going to my training shoe.

Having a training shoe whilst casually climbing in the gym will help improve footwork because you cannot rely on the shoes to do all of the work.


Benefits of a training shoe:

  • Improved footwork

  • More Comfortable

  • Training shoes often last longer


 

The "Breaking them in" pair

This pair is less common, its usually when I notice that my current project pair are wearing out and and I personally don't want to be without a pair, so I plan ahead. I'm currently breaking in my next project shoe, The EB Strange.

I find that breaking in shoes if I am using them as a either of the above 2 options is not my preferred, often if I'm breaking in a pair they're going to become my next project shoe and they will need time before they can be "ready".

 

In conclusion


"multiple pairs of shoes saves you money"


Having 2 or 3 pairs is climbing shoes is the most economically viable option, although it requires more upfront expense to set it up. This method means that I am using the expensive rubber in the places where it will benefit me most and use the other shoes when I'm training.

All in all it is cheaper to have more shoes in the long run, and it will help improve your footwork/technique. Also, having a comfortable pair for those hours of gym climbing means you don't have to remove your shoes after every climb, or walk around in pain.




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