A classic climbing shoe with a comfertable, old-school shape that is perfect for Morton’s Toe.
Stiff and sticky, the NIAD lace was created to tackle the technical vertical projects in your life.
A true legend in the climbing shoe world, the Miura is stiff and aggressive, perfect for outdoor sport climbing.
Right now there are literally hundreds of climbing shoes you can choose from, your choice of climbing shoes is bigger and better than it has ever been. However, because all these shoes are designed to fit different shapes and sizes of feet, finding the perfect fitting shoe can be pretty tricky, even for the most experienced crag veterans.
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 to fit 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.
Greek feet, also known as Morton’s Toe, is when the second toe is longer than the first 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.
It is thought that over 30% of the world’s population has 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 metatarsal. 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.
When it comes to climbing, finding a climbing shoe for Morton’s Toe, things can be a bit tricky. Most climbing shoes that are performance-oriented are designed with higher degrees of asymmetry, with the power concentrated on the big toe, the largest, and therefore strongest, metatarsal.
Nevertheless, allow me to share some of the best shoes I have tested that I think are most suited to greek feet.
The Best Climbing Shoes For Greek Feet
Because your weight is centred over the middle of your foot, shoes that have a symmetrical shape are going to be your best, as this will reduce that uncomfortable cramming sensation of your second toe. If you get a lot of pain from your Morton’s toe, you will probably want to stick to stiffer climbing shoes. Although they will inevitably be slightly less sensitive, shoes that are a bit stiffer will cause less strain on your second toe as they will provide a little extra support on your toes.
That said, here’s five shoes that I think fit this bill.
OUR TOP PICK
Five Ten NIAD Lace
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.
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 CLIMBING
La Sportiva Miura VS
Arguably one of the greatest shoes ever made, the Miura VS is a high-performance climbing shoe that can handle everything you throw at them. 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 shoes 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 BOULDERING
Five Ten Crawe
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.
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 FOR ALL-ROUND
Scarpa Vapor V
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.
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 too. 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, there’s some seriously clever engineering going on here. The Vapor V uses both a slingshot and a bi-tension rand that help keep the shoe well tensioned whilst 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.
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.
What Makes A Good Climbing Shoe For Greek Feet?
The shape of the climbing shoe that is suitable for someone with a longer big toe is very different from a shoe suitable for Greek footed climbers. In my opinion, the biggest factor that will determine if a shoe is suitable for Morton’s toe is its degree of symmetry.
Roman and Egyptian feet will allow for more power to be exerted on the big toe, allowing these climbers to use more asymmetrical shoes. For greek feet, asymmetrical shoes will likely cause unwanted pressure onto your second metatarsal, which will probably lead to some pain and discomfort at the base of the toe. Therefore, I suggest looking for a shoe with lower asymmetry, although you will still want to ensure your toes are slightly crimped, as this puts your feet in a strong position when loading your body weight.
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!