This is one of the most common question a climber will ask when first starting out climbing. Now because of many different opinions upon this topic, there are no specific answers. But with this, there are many reasons behind these answers. This is what we will be talking about today.


What Happens When You Wear Socks?


The answer is pretty simple. Nothing extraordinary really happens when you wear socks climbing. Sure, the biggest thing you might notice is your sweaty feet or a slightly tighter shoe, so why would this be such a controversial topic? Well there are other factors.


First off, there is a stereotype around this look. When an experienced hardcore climber that has not worn a sock in his or her rock climbing for years, looks at someone who is wearing a pair, they almost immediately assume that you are new and or unexperienced in the sport. Now I still see many experienced rock climbers wear socks in their shoes, so as of why this is such a stereotype in the rock climbing world I am not sure. But just as a warning, you might get some awkward looks if you come across some of these people.


When you put on a shoe with socks on, many people lose a lot of feeling in their shoe on small footholds, especially if the shoe is already pretty flat. This could possibly cause some performance issues that climbers would not at all take on. I must say, the extra quarter of a centimeter cloth layer between those toes and the rubber of that shoe does feel like it makes a difference. But if it does create performance issues, then why wear socks at all?


Why Wear Socks?


Socks do provide comfort in uncomfortable shoes. When training three times a week every week during the winter season, I would have to train with aggressive asymmetric shoes (In this case, my evolv shaman's). These were awful shoes to train in because of these reasons, but since I only had those shoes at the moment and did want to spend $100+ on some new flatter shoes, I decided to go the sock route. This one change made training in those shoes actually bearable. Now, I probably did lose some performance with socks on, but since I was only training, I was not at all worried about the results and instead just focused on getting stronger. Sometimes I still use socks for this reason.


Socks are great for small foot injuries during training. Along with continuous training with aggressive shoes, I came across many foot issues. Socks once again solved this issue. At the moment it was a large cut on the bottom of my left foot from a rocky beach I was on earlier that week, and I did not want it to reopen. Normally, just a bandaid would not solve the issue , because as you climbed, the bandaid would just fall off. But on with the sock and gone with those worries. The sock usually keeps the bandaid in place to keep the cut from reopening.



So those were some of the reasons to wear socks and some not too. For me, I will only wear socks occasionally when I train (for the reasons listed above), but otherwise I go barefooted into the shoe. Now I do not care for the stereotype. A person should not care whether a person is wearing socks or aren't. I get what the stereotype is trying to do, but it is completely unnecessary.

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  • Rock Runners - Zach

Overview

Black Diamond Zone retails at $139.95 on the official Black Diamond website but you can find them as cheap as $94.95 on Amazon. For a mid-tier price, the Zone is an excellent choice for both beginning and amateur climbers.


I have experienced these shoes first hand and I can tell you right off the bat that these shoes run a bit small and hardly stretch out due to their overbuilt rubber soles. I would say either a half or whole size up from your everyday street shoes. The rubber soles, however, add a great amount of support and stability when climbing on small footholds, allowing for tight precise movement on flat or smooth walls. The zones also have a breathable knitted top section that is great for long sweaty climbing sessions. Overall a great bang for your buck buy.


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Comparison


Pros:

The sturdy, overbuilt, sticky fuse rubber allows exceptional edging and precision on the wall. The knitted upper section of the shoe lets in the air creating a cool climbing experience all throughout your trips. Double velcro strap design makes for an easy prep before the climb and stays strong during climbs. Due to the overbuilt rubber, the shoes a remarkably sturdy and will last a lifetime.


Cons:

The heel hooking potential with these shoes is lacking a bit, there is a bit too much cup space for the average wearer and it tends to scrunch up the back of the shoe causing an unreliable hook. However, in the case that you do fill the backside of these shoes, we have heard that they preform great otherwise. Due to its heavy downturn, the shoe tends to be uncomfortable for climbers with more flat feet.


Look and Style

While everyone has their own preference in taste and style, I think the Zone is one of the best-looking climbing shoes on the market. The variety of colors gives a personalized feel and contrasts well with the dark bold midsole. The zone has a shape similar to many of its predecessors but its two-strap design and background color shades really catch the eye as a sharp-looking shoe (in my opinion).




Closing Thoughts:

All in all, the Zone has proven to be a great climbing shoe. If you are looking at a shoe that can handle hard climbing and keeps stable even on the smallest of holds you have found an obvious choice. The Zones won’t break the bank. for any flat-footed climbers out there, these downturned shoes are rough on flat feet so be wary before buying ad definitely give them a test run. Regardless of the shoe you buy, make sure you try it on to get the right size and fit for your feet. Happy climbing!


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We sifted through hundreds of some of the best aggressive climbing shoes to bring you our ultimate top 4 list.


4: Butora Acro









The Butora Acro is a great choice for both wide and narrow footed climbers for its stiff and sensitive edge, providing immense comfort and versatility. For indoor, outdoor, slab, or overhang, this shoe stands above many, The Butora Acro tends to have a bit too much space in its heels for the majority of climbers. They are still relatively new to the climbing scene and at a great price for the quality, this shoe can be picked up for $160 on Amazon.


Find Butora Acro on Amazon


3: Evolv Shaman












Evlov shamans are an ultra-aggressive sho designed by Chris Sharma. His unique "love bump" pushes your big toe forward with cleverly designed midsoles. love bumps allow you to stay snug in the front of the shoe without the pain of balancing the entire weight of your body on one toe. The Shamans compete with the modern group of high-end shoes that combine performance and comfort. They are excellent on steep angles.


However, testers tend to find them lacking on more technical, vertical terrain such as slab. Testers also suggest buying a half-size up from your street shoe size. They also stretch significantly over their lifespan, which generally tends to happen with the majority of synthetic based shoes. These shoes come at a similar price to our last ones at about $165.


You can find Evolv Shaman on Amazon


2: La Sportiva Genius


















La Sportiva claims that the Genious is “the most advanced performance-built design on the market.“ and with a high price tag of nearly $200, you would hope they would be. Being one of the most Aggressive shoes on the market the genius performs outstandingly well on vertical, technical, terrains well as a fantastic heel hook and toe hook potential. The Genious uses Vibram XS Grip 2, this is Vibram’s softest and stickiest compound, which prioritizes sensitivity and grip over edging performance and durability. Unfortunately, this means that resoling generally will be more expensive due to the lack of edging material which requires a custom made sole. Overall the Sportiva Genious is a great option and definitely deserves to be on your radar when looking for more aggressive shoes.


You can find the La Sportiva Genious on Amazon


1: La Sportiva Miura VS
















Take everything you know about the Sportiva Genious and add better edging, durability, and style. In our opinion, La Sportiva Miura VS is the most precise edging shoe on the market. It has three velcro straps and a not to stiff not to soft feel that is designed for maximum comfort when on vertical slopes and chips. using the same Vibram XS Grip 2 rubber as the genius, it has the same sensitivity and grip potential. The Miura tends to favor climbers with more narrow feet, but it would surely work with anyone. Its strong toe structure allows you to stand on the tiniest holds throughout your rout. We think you would be pleasantly surprised with how much this shoe truly accomplishes. Coming along with a general price of $180 this shoe quite expensive but still well worth the price.


You can find the La Sportiva Miura on Amazon

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