Which rock-climbing shoes and harness are best for a beginner?
I'm just starting to get into gym and rock climbing. Could you recommend a pair of all-purpose shoes and a harness that would serve me well in the gym and outside? Jesse Indianapolis, Indiana
There are dozens of choices for you, Jesse. Probably most important are the shoes. You want to start with a reasonably comfortable pair of rock shoes, then get into the tighter, less comfortable, higher-performance shoes as your feet get stronger and the nerve endings in your feet die off. Ha, ha!
Five Ten Spire shoesSpire shoes
Five Tens Spire shoes ($92; fiveten.com) would be one good choice. Theyre a good-performing shoe built on a semi-flexed last, meaning they fit more like a regular shoe than a hard-core rock shoe. And that means theyre fairly comfortable. Stealth rubber provides plenty of grip, and the lace-up design means you can tighten them for more support. La Sportiva Cliffs ($90; sportiva.com) also offer a comfortable, low-cut, lace-up design that wont have you crying for mercy after a few pitches in the gym. And, like the Spires, they are well-priced. Mad Rocks New Phoenix ($70; madrockclimbing.com) provides good rock-shoe features in an even more affordable package.
For a harness you want a clean design and good fit. Mammuts Focus ($45; mammut.ch) offers that at a great price. Its well-padded but not bulky and has ergonomically cut leg loops. Black Diamonds Alpine Bod ($35; bdel.com) is perhaps the quintessential light harness, but it might be too spartan for extended periods in a gym. Metoliuss Safe Tech Harness ($79; metoliusclimbing.com) might be a good one to start out with as its designed in such a way to minimize operator error.
Have fun, and climb safely!
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