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The Best Climbing Shoes for Roman Feet

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Searching for a fairy tale fit with your climbing shoes is never easy, and becomes even more difficult if you have Roman-shaped feet. Here are a of my few top tips to help with your shoe search.

Veloce Thumb

My Top Pick

Scarpa Veloce

With one of the most unique toe box shapes, the Veloce that perfect for Roman feet.

La Sportiva Tarantulace

For Beginners

LS Tarantualce

A hugely popular beginner shoe with a wide toe box and a lace closure to fine-tune the fit.

Butora Acro

For Bouldering

Butora Acro

A wide-fitting performance shoe with enough underfoot support for funny-shaped feet.

Instinct Lace thumb

For Sport

Scarpa Instinct

A laser-precise toe box makes the Instinct lace the king of technical footwork.

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Finding the right climbing shoes for your foot shape is no easy task, regardless of the foot shape you have. 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. 

What are Roman Feet?

The Roman foot is defined by having the three largest toes all the same length, with the fourth and fifth toes of descending size. It’s also one of the rarest foot shapes out there, with only 10% of the population thought to have this toe shape.

Common Foot Shapes

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.

What makes a good climbing shoe for Roman feet?

The crux of any climber who is buying new shoes is finding a shoe that fits your foot shape. However, it is even harder for Roman-footed climbers. If you have this foot shape, I think it’s going to be tricky to find a perfect-fitting shoe, as many shoe brands simply don’t cater to this foot shape. And cramming your foot into a highly pointed narrow to box it like toe-torturing hell.

Will suitable shoes are going to be few and far between, I suggest keeping your eyes peeled for a shoe that ticks a few important boxes. The most include;

  • A medium to wide forefoot
  • A toe box with a wide, rounded edge
  • A low asymmetrical shape to keep power centered over the first and second toe

These factors assume that comfort is high on your priority list. If sending hard is more important, then a more asymmetric shape and more pointed-toe box will come in handy, at the expense of some comfort, of course.

The Best Climbing Shoes for Roman Feet

If you’re not sure where to start on your shoe search, then allow me to offer a couple of suggestions. Taking into consideration the factors I just mentioned, here are, what I consider to be the best climbing shoes for Roman feet currently available.

My Top Pick

Scarpa Veloce

Scarpa Veloce Review
Overall
8.25
(3 reviews)
  • Edging - 6/10
    6/10
  • Smearing - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Comfort - 10/10
    10/10
  • Sensitivity - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Value For Money - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Pros

  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Ridiculously comfortable
  • Extremely breathable and lightweight
  • Vegan-friendly

Cons

  • Not great for heel hooking
  • The velcro strap is unnecessarily long
  • The rounded-toe box isn’t great for smaller pockets
  • Rubber disappears fast

Best For: Bouldering in the gym

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Scarpa Veloce is without a doubt the best shoe for Roman feet I have ever come across.

The reason I think this is due to its one-of-a-kind toe box shape. There’s no other shoe with a fit like the Veloce. For this shoe, Scarpa designed a new shape with a significantly rounded toe box. The extra space added on the outside edge provides more space for your mall toes to lie naturally, reducing the need for cramming your knuckles against the toe box. The big toe box isn’t overly asymmetric either, so it keeps the power centered over the first and second toe.

Scarpa Veloce Foot Shape

When it comes to the criteria that I think make a climbing shoe suited to Roman feet, the Veloce ticks all the boxes.

In terms of performance, this is a soft gym-specific shoe, to takes well to smearing and friction-dependent moves. If you want something with a little more edge support, then check out the new Veloce Lace here.

Best for Beginners

La Sportiva Tarantulace

La Sportiva Tarantulace Review
Overall
6.7
(10 reviews)
  • Edging - 7/10
    7/10
  • Smearing - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 5/10
    5/10
  • Comfort - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Sensitivity - 6/10
    6/10
  • Value For Money - 8/10
    8/10

Pros

  • Super comfortable
  • Great for new climbers 
  • Excellent, secure fit
  • Low price 

Cons

  • Limited performance

Best For: Beginners indoor and outdoor

Here’s one for the beginners; the La Sportiva Tarantulace. So why do I think this is a good choice for all my Roman-footed friends out there?

I think it’s a wise choice for Roman feet for two reasons. The first is the last shape. The Tarantualce is built on what Las Sportiva calls the RL45 last. The R stands for “rounded”, the L for “large”, and the 45 refers to the asymmetric curve of the shoe, which in this case, is very low.

All these shape characteristics lend themselves nicely to Roman feet.

The second reason I think this is a wise choice is the lace closure. The 7-eyelet lace closure will allow you to fine-tune the fit with a much higher degree of control than you get with a velcro shoe.

Best for Performance

Scarpa Instinct Vsr

Scarpa Instinct Lace
Overall
8.35
(5 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

Best For: Spicy sport lines

What shoe should a Roman-footed climber turn to when they want a little extra performance in their lives? As I mentioned at the start of this page, finding a serious sending shoes that offers your Roman feet the perfect fit is going to be tricky.

That said, I think the Scarpa Instinct Lace might do the trick nicely. 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 it’s still fairly round, and the laces will offer some adjustment in the fit department.

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. 

Best for Bouldering

Butora Acro

Butora Acro Review
Overall
7.3
(1 review)
  • Edging - 7/10
    7/10
  • Smearing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 8/10
    8/10
  • Comfort - 7/10
    7/10
  • Sensitivity - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Value For Money - 7.5/10
    7.5/10

Pros

  • Cheap(ish) performance shoes
  • Solid at edging
  • High and low-volume variations 

Cons

  •  Lacks sensitivity
  •  Stiff compared to other performance shoes

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.

What’s the right shoe for your?

Best climbing shoes for Roman Feet

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.

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