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My Guide To…

The Best Climbing Shoes for Greek Feet

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Finding the right shape and size of climbing shoes can feel like searching for a needle in haystack, especially if you have a prized pair of funny-shaped feet. Here’s my guide to everything you need to know about shoes for greek footed climbers.

Five Ten NIAD Lace thumbnail

My Top Pick

Five Ten NIAD Lace

The centralized top box and a stiff full-length sole offer plenty of support to the second toe.

Scarpa Vapor V Review

For Beginners

Scarpa Vapor V

The Vapor V is an awesome choice for beginners that smearing and edges equally well.

La Sportiva Miura

For Outdoor

La Sportiva Miura VS

A tried and tested classic that can hold its own on just about any outdoor climbing terrain.

Five Ten Crawe

For Sport

Five Ten Crawe

A performance shoe with a taste for technical footwork on steep boulders and sport lines.

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Our choice of climbing shoes has never been bigger and better than it is right now but with all those different shapes and sizes, finding the perfect fitting shoe can be pretty tricky, even for the most experienced gym bros.

When you are looking for new climbing shoes, it’s important to remember that manufacturers don’t just design shoes for different types of terrain, but also to suit different foot shapes too. Width and volume are the most common foot characteristics manufacturers cater for, although you will certainly also want to think about the shape of your toes, as this will undoubtedly impact your shoe choice too.

What is Greek Feet?

Common Foot Shapes

Greek feet, also known as Morton’s Toe, is the name given to the foot shape when the second toe is longer than the big toe. The name simply originates from the toe shape seen on many Greek sculptures, rather than any relation to your ancestral heritage. Roman feet have the three biggest toes of somewhat equal length, giving the foot a flat and wide shape. Egyptian feet have the longest big toes, which slant down in length to the little toe. 

Over 30% of the world’s population is thought to have Greek feet, making it one of the most common shapes of toes. The shorter first metatarsal puts more pressure on the thinner second toe and affects how the weight is distributed across the foot, which often leads to aches and pains at the base of the first and second metatarsals. Don’t be too disheartened though, Greek feet are known to be common in professional athletes, suggesting there might be some athletic advantage to this shape of the foot.

What makes a climbing shoe suitable for Greek feet?

Finding a climbing shoe for Morton’s Toe, things can be a little tricky. While beginner shoes can work well for this foot shape, most performance-oriented climbing shoes are designed with higher degrees of asymmetry, with the power concentrated on the big toe, the largest and strongest metatarsal.

So what should you look out for in your next pair of climbing shoes? There’s no black-and-white answer for every individual foot, but here are a few things I suggest you play around with;

  • Low asymmetric curves will help reduce that uncomfortable bending in your second toe.
  • A centralized toe box that will align power over the first and second toe
  • Shoes with a stiffer forefoot midsole will provide extra support.
  • Soft uppers, not restricted by rigid toe patches, will help reduce pressure on the knuckle of your second toe as it curls

The Best Climbing Shoes For Greek Feet

Based on the criteria I mentioned above, I have picked five shoes I think are worthy of a look.

My Top Pick

Five Ten Niad Lace

Five Ten NIAD LACE Review
Overall
7.2
(1 review)
  • Edging - 8/10
    8/10
  • Smearing - 7/10
    7/10
  • Steep Terrain - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
    8/10
  • Sensitivity - 6/10
    6/10
  • Value For Money - 7.5/10
    7.5/10

Pros

  • The full-length sole is great for edging
  • Comfortable fit
  • Secure heel cup

Cons

  • The stiffer profile makes them less sensitive
  • Best suited to narrow feet

The NIAD Lace – the next-generation upgrade of the Anasazi Lace – is a time-tested classic that has been a staple of the Five Ten line since the 1990s. This new design has a narrow forefoot and really unique central shape to the toe box, putting the tip of the shoe between the first and second toe. This unique shape makes it one of the best shoes for Greek-footed climbers in my opinion. 

With a stiff profile and a crisp edge, the NIAD Lace feels at home on tiny holds on technical faces. The upgraded heel design and highly-tensioned rand transfer power to the front of the shoes, whilst the central toe box distributes the pressure more evenly across your toes.

Five Ten NIAD Lace testing photos

Just like the original, Five Ten’s legendary Stealth C4 rubber can be found on the NIAD’s outsole and provides great friction on everything from granite to plastic gym walls. This shoe feels at home on crack and vertical face climbing thanks to its stiff full-length midsole.

While NIAD Lace will certainly inspire buckets of confidence on your vertical sport projects, their neutral profile makes them less than ideal for overhanging or steep routes. 

The NIAD VCS is also very similar to its lace counterpart, although it uses a velcro closure and has a slightly softer profile. Still a great choice for Greek feet nevertheless.

Best for Outdoor

La Sportiva Miura Vs

La Sportiva Miura VS review
Overall
7.65
(3 reviews)
  • Edging - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Smearing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
    8/10
  • Sensitivity - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value For Money - 9/10
    9/10

Pros

  • Incredible edging
  • Versatile performance shoe
  • High & low volume versions
  • Durable rubber

Cons

  • The small toe rand isn’t great for hooking
  • Not my first choice for gym climbing

Arguably one of the greatest shoes ever made, the Miura VS is a high-performance climbing shoe that can handle everything you throw at it. They do have a moderately asymmetrical shape, although the toe box will accommodate a Greek foot shape nicely without placing the entire weight on the second toe. 

The stiff profile will provide plenty of support to your toes, while the aggressive camber will pay dividends on outdoor sport climbs and tricky overhung routes. The sole is made with durable 4mm Vibram XS Grip 2 ( XS Edge on the women’s) which inspires confidence on even the smallest of footholds and allows for incredible edging ability. 

This is also helped by La Sportiva’s P3 technology, which transfers power to the front of the shoe and allows you to laser in on those small footholds. The P3 also helps maintain the shoe’s downturned camber throughout its life, making them a really durable shoe.

Like every shoe, the Miuras VS should be sized tight for performance, as the leather uppers will stretch over time. Because of their aggressive profile, they aren’t designed as an all-day shoe, so would suit shorter climbs far better than multi-pitch outings.

Best for Sport

Five Ten Crawe

Five Ten Crawe Review
Overall
7.7
(1 review)
  • Edging - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Smearing - 7/10
    7/10
  • Steep Terrain - 8/10
    8/10
  • Comfort - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Sensitivity - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value For Money - 8/10
    8/10

Pros

  • Great for all-round sport climbing
  • Percise toe box shape
  • Amazing at edging
  • Super-secure heel
  • Primeknit upper offers a sock-like fit
  • It’s awesome colors!

Cons

  • Brutal break-in period
  • Less sensitive than softer shoes

Want a shoe that’s capable of sending those really tricky projects in your life?  If so, the Crawe could be the shoe for you. 

This is a relatively new offering from Five Ten, made in collaboration with bouldering legend Fred Nicole. As it’s only moderately downturned and slightly asymmetrical, the toe box has a really nice shape for climbers with greek feet, without the very narrow forefoot like the NIAD range. It also has a stiff midsole under the forefoot, which will provide plenty of support to your toes.

Five Ten Crawe - Greek Feet Climbing Shoes

It’s billed as a single-pitch, sport climbing and boulder specialist and currently lives up to the hype. The Crawe performs really well at both styles of climbing, both in the gym and at the crag. While its stiff profile really pays dividends for working those tricky footwork sequences, the split sole allows for the flexibility you need to stick friction moves and smears.

Like every Five Ten shoe, the Crawe used a C4 rubber outsole on the forefoot, although it’s the super-sticky HF rubber on the heel that I really like.

Overall, this is a really great shoe. In fact, some people are hailing this as one of the best sport climbing shoes currently available.

Best All-arounder

Scarpa Vapor V

Scarpa Vapor V Review
Overall
8.4
(4 reviews)
  • Edging - 9/10
    9/10
  • Smearing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
    8/10
  • Sensitivity - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value For Money - 8/10
    8/10

Pros

  • Awesome for technical sport climbing
  • Great for edging and precise footwork
  • Durable Vibram XS Edge
  • High & low volume variation

Cons

  • Heel cup is a little wide

The Vapor V is a shoe that has brilliant all-round climbing capabilities and a toe box that your Morton’s toe will thank you for. Like the other shoes on this list, it too has a stiff profile and low asymmetric shape that will help keep your toes happy throughout your session. 

Scarpa Vapor V Climbing Shoe

This shoe comes with all the tools you need to tackle a wide range of terrain and climbing styles. For starters, it has a winning combination of a split sole paired with Vibram’s XS Edge rubber. This not only allows you to raise up your heel and crank down hard on the smallest of footholds but also makes the shoe great for smearing. The heel is extremely robust and more than capable of sicking a gnarly heel hook or two, while the minimal toe patch allows for the occasional toe hook.

Like most Scarpa shoes, some seriously clever engineering is going on here. The Vapor V uses both a slingshot and a bi-tension rand that help keep the shoe well-tensioned while in use, ensuring it’s not going to pop off your foot when pulling hard. The breathable and elasticated tongue also helps keep the shoe breathable and comfortable.

Best for Comfort

La Sportiva Mythos

La Sportiva Mythos

The Mythos is one of the oldest climbing shoes still in production and, to this day, remains very popular. Known to be one of the most comfortable all-day shoes in the business many big wall climbers still favor the Mythos. 

The almost completely symmetrical profile gives the shoes a central point to the toe box, providing plenty of room for the second toe, while the 1.1mm midsole and 4mm XS Edge outsole provide all the support your toes need to stay comfortable through even the longest of climbing sessions. 

The flat profile and comfortable fit lend them well to multi-pitch, all-day adventures, on both sport and trad routes. They also fit in cracks nicely and smear well thanks to the semi-flexible midsole. 

The Mythos won’t be your go-to shoe pick for sending your bouldering projects but the unbeatable comfort makes them a great addition to any climber’s shoe collection.

Ready to start searching?

While it might be a little tricky finding your perfect shoe, there is an endless sea of models to choose from, and keeping in mind the criteria I mentioned at the start of this page, paired with a little trial and error, you will find your fairy tale fit.

Local outdoor stores and large retailers like REI would have a decent range to try out and choose from. Check out our shoe-shopping article here, and best of luck finding the perfect pair of climbing shoes for your Greek feet!

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