Last updated on April 11th, 2023 at 06:19 am
While most climbing shoe manufacturers design their shoes for Egyptian foot shapes, shoes specially tailored to Roman feet are rare, and your options are slightly more limited.
The Roman foot is defined by having the three largest toes all the same length, with the fourth and fifth toes of descending size. This results in a square foot shape, often wider than its counterparts. People with Roman feet can be prone to aches and pains due to some muscle and ligament imbalances. They are also at risk of “hammertoes”, a condition where toes curl downwards instead of pointing straight forward.
THE TOP THREE
The Best Climbing Shoes For Roman Feet
Through a combination of research and testing, we have identified some of the best climbing shoes for Roman feet. Here are a few of our favorites.
MY TOP PICK
Five Ten NIAD Moccasym
A proven classic with over 20 years of crushing experience, the Moccasym’s comfort and fit are unparalleled. The next-generation NIAD Moccasym utilizes an unlined leather that allows for stretch and conformity to the shape of any foot, while the slipper design makes them easy to take on and off.
Their low profile makes them ideal for crack climbing, and while they use a stiffer board-lasted construction, they still hold their own on slabs and volumes. The blunt toe box will give your Roman feet plenty of room, and evenly distribute your weight across your prominent toes. Although the new Moccasym is narrower than most shoes on this list, the symmetrical shape and neutral last make them one the most comfortable shoes available.
While the new Moccasym has a tensioned heel rand, the inherent nature of the slipper design makes heel hooks feel slightly insecure. Nevertheless, the Moccasyms is a worthy addition to any climber’s collection for long days out and extended gym sessions.
BEST FOR BOULDERING
Butora is a Korean company that came into the climbing scene in 2015 and quickly became a favorite with wide-footed climbers. The Acro is an aggressive shoe with low and high-volume versions, although it is the high-volume model we recommend for Roman-footed climbers.
The coverage of Butora’s Neo Fuse rubber along the top makes toe hooking a breeze, with the heel rubber equally generous. The high tension rand helps the heel stay snugly in the cup while hooking and minimizes dead space.
The Neo Fuse 4mm rubber contributes to this shoe’s semi-stiff construction, which means it isn’t as sensitive as other bouldering shoes. While you wouldn’t want to take the Acros out on an all-day multi-pitch, they will certainly come in handy on your projects and steep climbs.
BEST FOR SPORT CLIMBING
Scarpa Instinct VSR
This slipper-like shoe with a single velcro strap is a master at edging, thanks to Scrapa’s clever tension systems and the use of Vibram’s XS Edge sole rubber. Whilst this shoe inspires confidence on the smallest of edges, it performs well on most types of terrain.
The wide toe box gives plenty of room for your square feet, and the bi-tension system forces power into the front of the shoe. The toe box is more pointed than the other shoes on our list, but we still think this is one of the best climbing shoes for Roman feet currently available.
The uppers are 100% no-stretch Lorica and can be sized true. The Vibram XS Edge rubber sticks on everything, and although these shoes aren’t as sensitive as other aggressive shoes, they pull well on pockets and huecos, making them ideal for single-pitch sport.
The stiffness and wide toe box make them unsuitable for crack climbs and slabs, but they will do well up steep limestone overhanging routes and are comfortable enough to wear for short multi-pitches.
BEST FOR INDOORS
The Drago, fast becoming one of the most popular climbing shoes ever, particularly with gym crats and pebble wrestlers.
This super-soft performance shoe will give you plenty of sensitivity for the tiniest footholds, smears and friction moves. The generous rubber around the front makes toe hooking a breeze, and the aggressive asymmetrical profile generates power off the smallest crimps.
The soft construction makes edging more challenging for newer climbers that have yet to develop muscles and ligaments, so we recommend the Dragos for intermediate and advanced climbers.
They will not give you the support for the long climbs, but for short bursts of power, they are an excellent addition to any gym climber’s arsenal.
What Makes Climbing Shoes Suitable For Roman Feet?
Because climbing shoes are the only thing operating you from the rock, it’s critical you get the perfect fitting shoe. Poorly-fitted or painful shoes can hold your performance way back, reduce how well you can feel the rock and ultimately interfere with your love for climbing.
Roman feet will be happy in climbing shoes with wide toe boxes with a more rounded toe box. Pointy, aggressive shoes will cause the toes to curl downwards and leave dead space at the end of the shoe, interfering with your ability to edge effectively. In addition, the big toe area might feel roomy and have some dead space.
Pointy toe boxes will also cram the knuckle of the third toe into the shoe. Sizing down might be necessary to get the big toe against the very tip of the shoe, and that poor third toe will have no wiggle room.
What Are The Right Shoes For You?
The feet are the foundation of our bodies. They are responsible for holding us up, providing balance, support, and locomotion.
Roman feet are a tricky one. Most climbing shoes are designed for Egyptian feet, and it might take a while to find a suitable pair. Finding a well-fitting pair for people with Roman feet is critical. Roman feet can be prone to muscle and ligament imbalances, leading to biomechanical problems and conditions like hammertoes.
Be sure to try several pairs of shoes and see which ones work best for you.