Confessions of a Tight Shoe Addict

So tight...

So tight…

Hello, my name is BJ and I am a recovering tight shoe addict. When I first moved to Colorado 15 years ago, I fell in with a crew that encouraged me to get my shoes really tight. So my first pair of Miura’s were 42s (I have a size 12/46 street shoe). This went on for years, and I judged a shoe’s merit on how painful it was at first. I came to expect several weeks of pain and torture, but knew that in the end it would all work out once things stretched and conformed to my feet.

And then something happened last summer. I’m not sure what exactly, but suddenly I was finding almost all the shoes in my quiver were feeling too uncomfortable. Was I losing my pain tolerance? Had my feet somehow grown bigger? Were they making shoes smaller without telling anyone? I had been wearing 42.5/43 Sportiva’s comfortably before, but had to go up to 44s this year, and that seems more in line with where I should be.

Most modern shoes are built well enough that they don’t rely on your foot being crammed in them to get performance anymore, but it’s taken me a while to adjust. And while some still claim that shoes will stretch a lot, for most models this just isn’t true. Sure, if I cram my size 46 foot into a 42 shoe, it’s going to stretch a lot, because there is a ton of pressure on the shoe. But 44s haven’t stretched and become too baggy, because they are closer to the proper fit.

Many people seem to be getting away from the cult of the tight shoe, but for those out there who still think that buying new shoes has to be a pain-inducing experience, there is hope! I admit, it was scary at first to order a bigger size. What if it stretches too much? What if my shoes are too sloppy? But I have yet to have a problem with this, even though I’ve gone up two whole Euro sizes over the last couple years.

So this is message is for those still cramming their feet into too small shoes. There is hope, you are not alone. And you can bet your feet will thank you down the road!

2 Responses to Confessions of a Tight Shoe Addict

  1. While I agree that the stigma of the tight shoe has been happily waning as shoes are constructed better and people are getting smarter about fit, it is also well known that “our feet become longer and wider with age, as the tendons and ligaments that link the many tiny bones lose elasticity. This allows the toes to spread out and the arch of the foot to flatten” (quote from Google). This could also be a reason for your increase in shoe size over the years……regardless, no one should have to suffer the ills and pains of too tight a shoe in these modern times. You don’t mention it but this habit can be especially damaging over a lifetime of climbing.

    Ri August 2, 2016 at 12:58 pm
  2. Dude, now I have bone spurs, and all shoes cause me pain.

    Mike November 3, 2016 at 10:56 pm
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