After a year and a half of once-a-week climbing, my very first pair of climbing shoes, the Cragsdance, show hardly any wear. Here's a photo Shell Shell took of it on its very first day:
And, 18 months later:
Apart from being a little worn, and much dirtier, it is still good. The soles are still solid and everything else intact. So, what's a girl to do when her climbing buddy found holes in his Cragsdance, and decided to buy new shoes? I mean, new shoes! New! Why can't I get some holes in mine so I can buy new ones too? :"(
He took some time off his gleeful gloating to laugh at me, and said I didn't need to wait till my old shoes are totally trashed, to get new ones. He had a very, and I mean, very valid point!
So, ta-da..... I settled for the Evolv Elektra!
It is not a performance model, definitely not one a pro would choose, but good enough to be my second pair. They are a better fit compared to my Cragsdance, since these actually hurt my feet. Well, yes, a "good fit" for climbing shoes mean they are way too snug to be comfortable. The toes are supposed to be cramped and squeezed till they are slightly curled, and can't move at all.
This extreme snugness enables the climber to effectively use tiny footholds and pull off techniques like heel-hooks and toe-hooks. So, when it comes to climbing shoes, one or two sizes smaller than the regular is ideal. Here's a shot of me with one foot in my new Elektra and the other in my normal flats:
It's a dull, throbbing pain, having my foot squished like that, which is not as bad as sharp pains, I suppose, and it gives way to numbness after several minutes... which I'm not sure is a good or bad thing =P
The top flaps don't cover my foot completely - climbing buddy said it's because my feet, though very small, are quite fat. *hmph* Anyway, I'm too pleased with my new Elektra to be offended. Ah, my pretty, pretty shoes..... =)
These pretty shoes seriously pinched pretty hard! Granted, I might have been a little too ambitious, choosing a route I'd failed to complete in all previous attempts as my first today. After the first few moves, the pain became nearly unbearable. However, about half the route onwards, it started to mellow and by the time I finished, there was no more pain. I actually finished the route! I didn't clean it, but at least I reached the top =P