/ Sticky boots.
Is there such a thing?
After a serious ankle injury nearly four years ago, I have tried in the last few months to get back on rock.
I have searched high and low for a sticky boot, as opposed to the sticky ballerina shoes that seem to be the norm these days.
I remember my first rock boots, my PAs in the sixties were actually boots, as were EBs, although I concede they offered little ankle support.
All I find these days are approach boots, which seem to merely give a nod to stickyness by having a bit on the toe area.
The only thing I have are my 20 year old Mescalitos, which weren’t that sticky, but a brilliant scrambling boot, but fast wearing out. I’m thinking of having them resoled, but with what I’m not sure.
5:10 briefly had a guide tennie boot, but I can’t find them any more, I liked the dotty stealth rubber on my old tennie shoes, but I hear that rubber is no longer available.
So is that my only/best option, resoling my mescalitos with 5.10 dotty? Or is there a better rubber available for that, or a better boot to buy?
Thanks in anticipation.
A combination of low climbing shoe plus ankle brace/support might give you more options for the amount of support your ankle needs, anything from a tubigrip to a rigid brace.
The only ones I can think of are La Sportiva TC Pro but they don't come as far up the ankle as the old PA's or EB's did. You could try some mountain biking ankle protection. Take a look at G-Form. I wear these on the mountain bike as my ankles feel vulnerable following a bad break a couple of years ago.
Why do you need boots?
Ironic that you whinge about "ballerina shoes" - the Boreal Ballet is pretty much your only option if you want to buy new old-fashioned climbing boots.
La Sportiva TC Pro or Scarpa Maestro Mid are both available in the UK.
Boreal have a new version of the Ballet out next year.
High top rock boots are great, I’m not sure if they’re what you’re looking for however.
Another option might be Sportiva Rockjocks, which are discontinued but you might be able to find a second hand pair on here.
> Why do you need boots?
Because when smearing, or on small ledges/toeholds, my ankle can’t maintain the downward pressure, hurts a lot and quickly tires.
I did some climbing and scrambling this summer in hiking boots, up to vdiff, very comfy, but the lack of stickiness is stopping me progressing.
As far as scrambling bootys go:
You can get La Sportiva TX4 mids (approach shoes/booties). Also Five Ten Mens Guide Tennie Mid, the new style of tennie (search for both those). A few other similar options exist, and you can see that sort of thing and try them on in Snells (Chamonix) or Aux Vieux Campeur (various French locations). Many things like that aren't imported to the UK. I do all my searching for that sort of stuff in France or Italy each summer.
I must say, tho, that TX4s and modern Tennies (at least in the shoe versions which I've tried/owned) don't give you much confidence for your ankles as the heel stack height is just too much (not like the low slung original Tennies, which I still have and hang-on to and treat like gold dust to last as long as poss.). My girl damaged her ankle badly rolling over in a TX4 shoe. We've both tested modern Tennies and returned them as the ankle stability is just not there.
Also, I've just ordered a So Ill "The Approach" to test, but I think this will be pretty lacking in any kind of support from the videos, so probably won't work. But it is a sticky booty. And I think it is fairly flat/low-slung.
Best of luck. You are not alone.
Boreal flyers mid
No climbing shoes offer real ankle support and most approach boots are all too clunky to climb in. There are some low top approach shoes that are decent on easier climbs but if you're looking for ankle support I'd give these a try. The sole seems thinner than most approach boots which should give more sensitivity on more vertical climbs.
I don't think a little bit of suede wrapped around the bottom of your ankle bone with any of the high(er) topped shoes is going to provide any significant amount of support, it's more there to protect against abrasion.
I've never tried them (never even seen them!) but Boreal do a cold-weather rock shoe that comes much higher over the ankle:
I don't know how easy it will be to source these in the UK but maybe worth looking into.
If all else fails, I'd have a look at the Sportiva Boulder X Mid boot. Technically an approach shoe, they do have sticky rubber. I have the low version and if worn snug they edge well on small holds. Not ideal, as it is still not a climbing shoe, but it will be better than using regular boots.
Another idea is:
if you have just one bad ankle/foot, you can climb with an approach shoe/boot on the bad foot and a regular rock shoe on the other good foot.
I did this for a whole year a few years back when I screwed one foot badly. One advantage was when we went to the Dolomiti, where it is all multipitch and scramble off..., I only had to take one additional scramble boot up the climb for the descent. The other descent boot was already on my foot! It is a nuisance having to carry two descent boots/shoes up climbs now that my foot has recovered and I can wear two rock shoes again
I don't know how serious you injury was and whether it is possible to recover full strength. But from personal experience continuing to wear supportive footwear is only going to lead to more muscle wastage and an increased likelihood of another even worse ankle injury.
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