Why It’s Better to Buy Climbing Shoes in a Shop

Photo credit: Gideon Haden ChomphosyThere’s no denying that online shopping has its advantages. Your selection is unrivaled and you can buy whatever you need from the comfort of your own couch. This is a fine approach if you’re buying a bottle of shampoo or a decorative lamp. It isn’t always the best method for buying outdoor gear. Sometimes you need to make your purchase from a physical store. Shopping online is convenient, but it’s not always the best option. Here’s why you should buy climbing shoes in a store rather than buy climbing shoes online.

The fit of your climbing shoes dictates performance.

You always want your footwear to fit properly. Sometimes you can get away with a pair of shoes that fit a half size too big or a half size too small. A pair of sneakers that are a little too loose or a little too tight won’t make or break your walk around the park. Some activities require the perfect fit, though. Rock climbing success depends on your shoes fitting properly. A half size in either direction can mean the difference in sending your project.

Climbing shoes don’t fit like street shoes.

Even if you wear a men’s U.S. size 10 in most every type of shoe you’ve ever worn, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should order a size 10 climbing shoe. Not only do climbing shoes tend to fit differently than normal footwear, many people prefer to go down a half size, full size, or more when it comes to climbing shoes. Climbing shoes are meant to be worn tight.

The fit of a climbing shoe varies by brand.

Finding the right fit for a climbing shoe can be a fickle thing. Even if you find a brand that fits well, a different brand of climbing shoe could be slightly bigger or smaller, or it could just not fit the shape of your foot.

The fit of a climbing shoe varies by model.

There are many different types of climbing shoes intended for different types of climbing. Even shoes within the same brand can fit your foot differently. For example, an all-day shoe intended for multi-pitch climbing won’t fit the same way as an aggressive climbing shoe for bouldering.

Knowledgeable staff can help you get the perfect fit.

Reading online reviews can sometimes help you find the right fit, but this isn’t always reliable. The arches and profile of a foot make shopping for shoes a tricky process. A knowledgeable employee at an outdoor gear store can help you identify dead space, hot spots, and help you find the climbing shoe that fits your foot like a glove.

The online return game is a nightmare.

Many online retailers will let you return climbing shoes and try new ones until you find the right fit. This is great, but it can lead to a long and tedious waiting game. You wait the 5-10 business days for a pair of ill-fitting climbing shoes, send them back, and repeat the process until you get the right fit. This can all be bypassed by purchasing climbing shoes in a store.

On the subject of sales tax.

As of March 1st 2017, Amazon charges sales tax in the state of Arkansas. Even if saving that less than 10% was enough to entice you to buy climbing shoes online in the past, that incentive is no longer there.

Help support local businesses.

When you buy climbing shoes in a store, or any other item for that matter, you help support your local economy and small businesses. More often than not, the price of outdoor gear in stores is comparable to online prices. You could maybe save $10 by shopping online, but if $10 isn’t going to break the bank, you might as well help support your community.

If you’re looking to buy climbing shoes in Northwest Arkansas, stop by and see us! We carry climbing shoes from Evolv and 5.10. Check out our selection of climbing gear, hiking equipment, camping supplies, and outdoor apparel while you’re at it!

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