Breaking in another pair of climbing shoes! How small is too small?
A little over 2 weeks ago, I received a new pair of climbing shoes in the mail that only cost me $7.93 thanks to a $100 credit I had from TheClymb. After climbing in them for these past couple weeks, I can say, they are crushers!
It was almost exactly two years ago that I started this blog, and I am fitting to return back to square one! Breaking in another pair of ridiculously tight climbing shoes! I guess I really never learned my lesson the first time I purchased size 7.5 (40 EU) climbing shoes. However, this time around, I am much better prepared and am not squeezing my virgin feet into a pair of shoes, they have been put through two years of heel hooks, toe hooks, dime edges and smears. As soon as I slipped into another pair of shoes last week, I knew it would be a battle, but not like it was before.
As a climber, I rely on my shoes more than any other piece of gear to pull through the crux on my redpoint attempts. There is no separating my performance on the wall with the shoes that I wear, that is why, selecting the right shoe has lead me through 6 different pairs in the past 2 years. I have tried shoes from each end of the spectrum of performance and comfort searching for the shoe that provides a measure of comfort while maintaining the highest level of performance. This search has brought me to my size 40 Scarpa Instinct’s.
When one of the other instructors at the Santa Barbara Rock Gym told me these shoes were better than his Evolv Shamans and La Sportiva Miura’s – the gold standard for aggressive sport and bouldering shoes – I had to try them. So far, the Scarpa Instinct has surpassed my expectations and are better than any other climbing shoe that I have owned – in comfort and performance. From my Evolv Defy’s – arguably the worst shoe I have owned; to my La Sportiva Venom’s – my first 40’s; and my latest pair of Evolv Optimus Prime SC’s – a great shoe but lacking in comfort and not the greatest rubber; the Scarpa Instinct wrapped with sticky Vibram XS Edge have performed remarkably well on overhanging routes, dime edges and smears.
With suede uppers, these shoes will continue to stretch and form to my feet providing a good amount of comfort while still maintaining an aggressive down-turned toe box. Since wearing these, the cuts on my feet that appeared the first week of wearing my Optimus Prime SC’s over 3 months ago have actually healed. They are also lined with a super-soft mid-sole that feels like a massage every time I put my feet in.
I cannot say if these will be the greatest climbing shoes I will ever own, there are so many choices and styles out there that I have never tried and more coming every day. I have heard of a Spanish company, Tenaya, that has introduced a line of climbing shoes designed by world cup climber Ramon Julian to the US and I would love to get my hands on a pair. However, I am confident saying, even after two weeks of climbing in them, the Scarpa Instinct XS Edge is a performer and I am excited to continue breaking these in and putting them through the grinder.