Crack climbing is one of the toughest parts of any ascent on rock and one that can keep you occupied for hours on end. Despite some saying it is also the safest, the toll it takes on your arms and legs is like no other type of climbing. This is why you need to be equipped with the best crack climbing shoes you can find. You don’t just want to take on such a challenge, you want to be able to overcome it.
This particular technique in climbing involves sticking your fingers and toes between two slabs of rock and using them as a lever to further ascend the wall. It is therefore crucial that your feet are protected from the extreme stress this situation entails, and this is where the best shoes for crack climbing come in. In the crack climbing shoe reviews that follow, we will show you the best options on the market today.
How To Choose Crack Climbing Shoes – Buying Guide
All climbing shoes, and especially crack climbing shoes, need to be built with the best materials. Durability and toughness are crucial in this sport since the shoes will come into daily contact with rocks and sharp edges and have to be able to hold up to repeated wear and tear. Crack climbing shoes from Scarpa, La Sportiva, Butora, or any other brand resort to high-quality leather for the upper, for the most part, while the sole is made of rubber that is engineered precisely to provide the maximum amount of friction against the rocks. This combination has shown to provide the best strength while leaving the foot relatively free to breathe.
The sole of a crack climbing shoe will have to face extreme forces when you cram your foot into a crack, so it has to be able to endure the hits while keeping your feet glued to the rock and sustaining your whole body as you push for leverage. That’s a lot to ask from one layer of rubber, but luckily manufacturers have gone to great lengths to ensure that it is up to the task, by using the highest quality compounds to let you trust in your shoe with utmost confidence. Despite not providing your foot with much breathability, you’ll be glad to have a nice thick sole to help you on your ascent if the going gets rough.
The upper of climbing shoes have a delicate role, one in which power and grace have to be balanced with breathability. An upper also needs to be strong and sturdy since it will spend its life surrounded by rocks. Leather is the most common material that will be used for the upper of crack climbing shoes, as it is very tough but also breathable, while it can stretch to snugly fit the shape of your foot. Some brands use synthetic materials to do the job and they can be equally as tough, albeit less stretchy. There are pros and cons to each upper material, and the decision is entirely up to your personal preference.
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The choice of closure systems mostly comes down to one of two options, laces or no laces. If you don’t mind tying strings, then laces are probably your best bet to have a shoe that perfectly fits your foot, since you can adjust them precisely every time you tie them up. If you don’t want to be bothered or if you don’t like fiddling around with tired fingers, you can also opt for shoes that use velcro straps or slide on like slippers. The fit here is much less customizable, but it does make the shoes much easier to take on and off after long days at the crag.
The downturn of a shoe indicates how much the shoe sole is bent. A sharper bend, called an aggressive profile, will help you generate more power when you step on your holds but will tire your foot quicker. This can be useful if you’re inside a gym if you’re focused on speed or if you’re tackling a smaller boulder but may prove a problem on longer climbs. A flatter sole will generate less power but will keep your foot in a more natural position and is thus recommended for maximum comfort on long multi-pitch ascents.
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Q: What Is Crack Climbing?
Crack climbing is a type of rock climbing in which the climbers follow a natural crack on the rock wall to ascend. It is done by jamming your hands and feet into the crack, twisting them so that they “jam” in and lock in place, and then pulling / pushing on them to generate leverage and hoist yourself upwards.
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Q: How Different Is Crack Climbing From Sport Climbing?
Sport climbing uses anchors that are already fixed on the wall to place the ropes that secure the climber, while crack climbing, as a part of traditional climbing, means that the climber places removable protection as they climb and then removes this protection once they are done.
Q: How To Fit Crack Climbing Shoes?
Crack climbing shoes should fit tight, and your toes should not be able to fully extend but rather be slightly curled together at the tip. A good starting point is your regular shoe size but if you're not sure then just order several different numbers and return the ones that don't feel right.
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Globo Surf Overview
Crack climbing is one of the most challenging but rewarding parts of climbing, but it cannot be done unless you have the right gear by your side. In this article, you’ll find the best options on the market so you can make an informed choice and head to the walls with confidence that you have the gear you need.
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