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17/09/2003 at 12:26

I want to get some shoes but I don't really know what I'm looking for. You mentioned that sizes can differ. Do I really need to worry too much at this stage, cos I just need something for indoor wall climbing say once a week.

I have just spotted these on ebay:

I am size 10-10.5 (UK) and these are 11. They are only currently at £1.24 so I could get these very cheap (prob the shoe size). If I lace them tight them the extra length shouldn't be a problem....or will it when I'm trying to get a good grip?

Also on separate issue, is climbing good for developing the muscles in the lower back? I tried getting up anoverhang the other week and found it hard lifting my legs up. What sort of exercises can I do (apart from crunchies and free-weight leg raises) to cevelop the correct muscles?

Cheers fella

17/09/2003 at 12:26
Oh one more thing, do I really need to buy anything else like one of those little bags of chalf dust or talcon powder, or whatever they put in it?!
17/09/2003 at 12:34
You're more likely to need a pair of climbing shoes that are SMALLER than your normal shoe size. You won't be able to use small toe holds if your toes aren't all the way to the end of your shoes.

The other problem with climbing shoes is the huge variety of shapes of shoes. Your best bet is to go to a shop that has a stock of climbing shoes and find some that fit well - make sure you test the toe edge on the edge of a step or similar. Then try and find them cheaper online (if you're cheeky)

Even if you're 'only' climbing indoors you still need to have shoes that fit, otherwise they'll hurt and you won't enjoy yourself.

A chalk bag is useful if you're prone to sweaty hands - but some places don't like you using it so check it out. Don't forget to get a small carabiner to attach your chalk bag to your harness - or a belt to attach it to if you're bouldering.

Have fun - it's been ages since I've been climbing - I really must get out there (pity it's all rubbish Sandstone down here)
17/09/2003 at 12:37
I have been climbing occasionally for ages (which means the odd indoor or outdoor climb every couple of years) and at the moment I just own a pair of rock shoes and a helmet (which you don't need indoor). A harness would be next on my list, though I have always got by with hiring or borrowing one. Never been tempted to buy a magnesium powder bag but I'm not climbing at the level where that is an issue.

I wouldn't buy shoes unseen, unless you have tried the model and the size on first. They do come in different shapes and they can be even more agony than necessary if you get the wrong shape. And you do want them to fit very well. If you have an unusual size you should be able to get cheap ones from a sale somewhere, in a real shop, rather than online.

Have fun climbing :)
17/09/2003 at 12:43
Cheers guys.
ok I'll take your advice and pop along to a shop. Can you recommend anything in London? Do you have sale periods on climbing gear? I don't really want to spend too much as I won't be spending too much time on it.....just hoping to pop down once a week and do bouldering.

The place I'll be using is the converted-squash court in crystal palace sports centre. apparently you can go down wheneve, for as long as you like, for just a couple of quid. Very difficult though with just little nicks and holes in the wall to grip on.....hence why I need decent shoes and chalk powder.

Whats are the best makes of shoe?
17/09/2003 at 13:12
Snow and Rock near Chancery Lane station is good; The YHA shops too...used to be one in Covent Garden but I think it moved
17/09/2003 at 13:35
Hi Daz, Just saw the post. As I said on my e-mail to you and re-iterated by a number of people above the problem on climbing shoes is that different makes have different shapes and their may also have different real sizes in relation to the declared size. You really have to try them on - most people would climb without socks in the shoes so if you intend to do this try them on without socks. You should, as Mrs CBP says then try them out on some edges to see if they stick.The more your foot fills out all of the empty spaces in the shoe the more stick (less slipping) you will have.But try not to get a shoe that crimps your toes up too much. If possible, when you've found a shoe you think you like, keep them on for 20-30 minutes moving around to see if heat builds up in the shoe and consequent swelling of feet causes discomfort.
Good shoes that I've used are La Sportiva (had to put that one cos they're Italian), Boreal, 5.10, Red Chili Pepper also Asolo and One Sport are not bad - they may not all be available in one store.
Snow and Rock is pretty good - at least last time I was there about 5 years ago, but make sure you talk to someone in the shop who is a climber and knowledgeable - just like buying running shoes or a bike.
The chalk bag is probably useful if you'll be climbing on small holds that get greasy. Some places don't allow you to use it, others do. Cheapest way to fix it to your waist is a piece of string or climbing tape. Thread it through the loop on the bag and then tie string around your waist. The most important thing about the bag is that you can get your fingers in easily and move them around so they get covered in chalk. If the bag has too small a hole you can be hanging from one hand while you're pissing around trying to chalk your fingers.

Oh, one important point - when you fall off don't shout "Banzai", it's considered particularly bad form : )
17/09/2003 at 13:42
Re. Overhangs. Crunches and leg raises will help develop abdominal muscles. You should also develop the lower back muscles with reverse crunches (? - not sure of the proper name in English). Lie on a support for your hip area (careful with the jewels) with your legs held by a support. Lower trunk downwards and then back up - but not beyond 85° otherwise you will damage your back. When you get good you can do these while holding weights in front of your chest for more resistance. You should probably have a gym instructor show you this - most gyms have a piece of equipment specifically for this exercise which can also be used for the abs by turning your body the other way round - raising your trunk to near vertical and lowering to prone position.
17/09/2003 at 15:17
Is that where you lie on your belly and arch yourself backwards with someone (or something) holding your legs down?
Good one, cheers.
Might pop down to that shop on Saturday to try a few styles out, and then do what Mrs CBP refers to as 'cheeky' :O)

17/09/2003 at 15:42
No, that is the best way to give yourself a permanently f****ed up back.
You should be going the opposite direction to what you are saying but obviously you can't do that on the floor.

This piece of equipment is about a metre high, feet and hips are at the same level but only hip area and feet touch the equipment. From a virtually horizontal position you bend the trunk forwards to almost touch the floor with your face, then come back to almost horizontal (85° like I said before). This really strengthens your lower back muscles and glutes.
Another good exercise for the lower back and glutes is the reverse leg curl. Lying on your front on the machine you curl your leg backwards against a weighted bar. This exercise mainly targets your hamstrings but done properly and slowly strengthens the back muscles as well.
Also try the dead lift. Stand upright with long weights bar held in your hands. Bend forwards letting the bar follow the direction of your legs till almost touching floor. Pull bar back up the same way without bending legs. You'll feel the back muscles pulling like crazy so start off with fairly low weights.
17/09/2003 at 15:43
Hey, and remmber Daz, your first pair of climbing shoes shouldn't cripple you (that's the job of your second and subsequent pairs).

Ever seen a climbers' feet? Yuk, worse than runners'. Bunions, deformed toenails, lovely ....

Good brands (or ones I like, anyway) are La Sportiva, 5:10 and Boreal... just like Firemonkey says! Red Chili are OK, but come up very small. Watch out for anything suspiciously cheap as they are probably thown together in some sweat shop and will stretch horribly.
17/09/2003 at 15:49
Yeah, I got crippled early on that's why I now use oversized shoes. Still I find that up to European grade 6a it doesn't make that much difference.
Presently using the Red Chili but boy are they oversized. I have normal shoes as 8 and a half. These are 9 and a half.
Suffering is for the young folk - been there, done it.
17/09/2003 at 15:55
Aaaah! The pain of climbing shoes - but it's a near-religious experience when you take them off! (which is usually 0.0005 seconds after finishing a climb!)

17/09/2003 at 16:10
I once took them off before finishing the climb and finished in bare feet (like climbers in the 1930's). Also that was a near religious experience.
17/09/2003 at 16:19
Nice one - think I mut be a bit of a girlie 'cos I gave up on one climb this summer cos my feet hurt so much!!!!

La Sportiva Mueras (spelling?) and hot weather (and swollen feet!) don't mix!
17/09/2003 at 16:21
Hmmmm, have to say I'm intriguing to find out just how these shoes feel. I recall the guys at the climbing mentioning they can be a bit harsh on the feet.....?

Great, I'll buy a pair sat and be on the walls by next week. Rock'n'roll
But if I start getting bunions, that's it! hit the road jack!

Oh yeh, cheers firemonkey I've got you now (re: exercises). I can actually do the dead lift at home with my bar-bells.
17/09/2003 at 16:31
There you go. Be really careful when buying the shoes - don't let them convince you that you have to have really tight fitting shoes - they probably do cos they climb at a high level - you're not going to get there for at least a year. Unless of course you're an undiscovered phenomenon.

Saw your posts on Porkers. I went to school (boarding) in the Midlands - Wolverhampton. Really hated the place and then ended up studying in the Poly there (think its now a Uni.) Changed my whole perspective on the place - had a great time.
Know why you moved to London though.
17/09/2003 at 16:32
all i need to do now is find some kind of exercise for my hands and wrists...
17/09/2003 at 16:34
Signing off now so pick you up tomorrow if you have some more questions. Going to pick up the prize for my 25th place in category for the Marathon on Sunday. Exciting - it's the first time I've won anything in a race since I left school.

17/09/2003 at 16:39
i forgot about that mate - how did you do, time,etc ? what was prize?

nice one!
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