Get ready for technical footwork.
Red Chili designed the Men's Stratos Climbing Shoe for hard edging on technical routes whether you're at the gym or crag. A two-part last equips the Stratos with a stiff toe and flexible heel. The stiff toe maximizes edging performance on the smallest footholds, while the flexible heel includes a strong slingshot rand to ensure a secure fit. Red Chili added a rubber toe cap to reduce stretch and ease toe hooking. The leather footbed practically eliminates any slipping, and the RX2 rubber gives a great grip on slippery stone. An ever-so-slight downturn helps you conquer more overhung routes at the gym, but this shoe works best on dead vertical routes.
- Synthetic upper with rubber toe cap
- Leather footbed
- Two-part last
- RX2 Rubber sole
- Item #RDC000A
- Q & A
Finally, a narrow shoe!
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
- Fit: True to size
- Size Bought: EU 45 / US 11.5
I've always maxed (or come close) the laces/velcro straps on my shoes. Eyelets/buckles are generally touching, which is rough if you need to edge and there's torsional movement from an overly-wide shoe. This last month, I went in search of a shoe with a good lateral fit.
I wouldn't say my feet are extraordinarily narrow either--for me, the standard 'D' width is satisfactory with most running shoes, I've never tried the 'C' width because it seemed unnecessary. Obviously, there's no such width component for climbing shoes, and I've tried on so many shoes that I never thought I'd find an acceptable size. Depending on fit, I run between euro sizes at 45-46 (US 11.5-12), already a disadvantage because I'm toward the high end of the manufacturing bell curve, where there's not as much availability or special attention given. The climbing shoe manufacturers often assume that all proportions scale equally as foot length increases, but I'd wager they are actually alienating a considerable proportion of tall climbers.
I wanted to stay with a velcro shoe (previously used a Red Chili Spirit that was completely maxed but was synthetic and didn't stretch), but they all tended to lack the adjustable range of laced shoes. I tried about twenty shoes. The 5.10 Anasazis and the Scarpa Miuras came "closest" but were still unwearable. With the Anasazis, the slingshot heel dug into my Achilles and the forward-most Velcro strap cinched so far down that the toe-box bulged and creased into the base of my toes. Two of the three Velcro straps were maxed. The Scarpa Miura was a beautiful shoe but the eyelets were close to touching and there's enough leather to expect some stretching. Some pressure on the Achilles but not quite as bad. Sadly, the Miura was perfection along the foot... if they made a narrower upper, I would have accepted the Achilles pressure.
Enter Stratos. My fit is very good. The eyelets are gapped between 1/2" near the toe to 1"+ at the knot. No digging in the back of the heel, some space up front to curl my toes, toe-box width is close to ideal. It has great grip and dust wipes easily. Not much of a downturn but the sole's got strength and helps reinforce a toe stance. Thanks Red Chili! The site mentioned it fits narrow feet best and they weren't BS-ing.
Thanks for bearing with me, the post ran long but hopefully it's a help to others with narrow feet.