Buyer’s guide to climbing holds

1. April 2021
Buyer's guide

Anyone who has ever been in a climbing or bouldering hall will confirm it: As soon as you enter the hall, your gaze is drawn to the colourful variety of holds. Climbing holds in all imaginable colours and shapes are an essential part of training on artificial climbing walls. But what distinguishes a blue sloper from a green bar? What are climbing holds actually made of and how are they manufactured? And what should you consider if you want to equip your home climbing wall with holds and steps? We have taken a closer look at these and many other questions. Let’s dive into the colourful world of climbing holds…

Climbing holds – manufacture and materials

Let’s start from the beginning. How are climbing holds made and what are they made of?

Climbing holds can be made of a wide variety of materials. In addition to models made of wood, which are mainly used for grip and finger training, there are also some models made of stone. However, the majority of all climbing holds and steps are made of plastic. Depending on the application, shape and processing technology, mainly composite materials such as polyurethane and polyethylene are used here. However, the exact material composition sometimes varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. A good example of this is Wataaah. Holds from this manufacturer are made from a composite material specially developed for the company and consist of 30% renewable raw materials.

Simply put, however, it can be said that climbing holds are usually made of quartz sand, synthetic resin and paint. This mixture is pressed into moulds in a liquid state. After curing, the holds are removed and are theoretically ready for immediate use. With a little manual skill and patience, climbing holds can be designed by anyone who is willing to put a bit of work into making them for their bouldering wall at home. How this is done and what you need to pay attention to will be the topic of an article on the subject of making your own holds coming up shortly.

However, one should be aware that self-designed climbing holds can have both constructional and qualitative weaknesses. Professionally manufactured climbing holds, on the other hand, have been subject to DIN EN 12572 since 2009, which sets out strict safety standards for artificial climbing facilities. So if you are looking for climbing holds intended for a sports club wall, nursery and school or if you want to play it safe at home, you should make sure upon purchase that the holds have been produced according to this standard. In addition, EN1176 applies to nurseries, schools, playschools and playgrounds. The brand Entres Prises manufactures holds accordingly.

Climbing holds – shapes and suitability

Climbing holds come in countless colours, shapes and qualities. Broadly speaking, however, climbing holds can be divided into three groups: Handles, slopers and bars.

  • Handles
    Handle climbing holds come in many sizes and shapes. From the mini jug to the classic “beer handle” up to extremely large roof climbing holds, anything exists. Handles are used in many tours. However, they are particularly popular with beginners and for moderate tours in overhangs as well as in roofs.
  • Sloper
    Sloper holds are rounded holds with little or no edges. Tours with slopers are considered very finger-friendly climbs, but also require some real skill and technique. Climbing slopers always involve a lot of flexibility and body tension. Beginners and children in particular tend to find this type of climbing more difficult.
  • Bars and tongs
    Bars and tongs are holds that require some finger strength. It is not uncommon to install these holds as additional steps due to their comparatively small size. Climbing on tongs and bars puts a lot of strain on hands and fingers. Especially for untrained people, this can quickly lead to pain and injuries. For this reason training in this area should be increased rather slowly.

The choice of the right holds depends strongly on the type and inclination of the wall, as well as the climbing ability of the target group. Personal preferences should also be taken into account when choosing climbing holds. In general, however, climbing thrives on variety and for this reason alone it is advisable to use a mix of several different shapes of holds or, if possible, to create climbing routes with an individual character. This not only makes climbing more fun in the long run, but it also leads to more versatile and effective training.

Practical tip for hold sets!

Especially when you are planning on changing climbing parts on a self-built wall it is often difficult to find the right holds. In this case, it may be worth purchasing complete starter sets such as the Mega Pack 30 from Metolius. This way you can get a complete range of climbing holds of different sizes and characters in one go. In addition, such complete sets usually also include bolts and eyelets so that you can attach the holds to the wall straight away.

Once you have found out which holds work best for your home bouldering wall, you can expand the wall precisely with the appropriate holds. Again, there are often additional hold sets with five to ten holds. However, they all have the same colour and a similar size.

Climbing holds for children and children’s rooms.

Climbing is very much in vogue and, in keeping with the motto “early practice makes perfect…”, young climbers are equipped with a small bouldering wall in the children’s room or garden at home, in addition to a swing or sandpit. However, there are a few things to keep in mind, both indoors and outdoors.

If a climbing wall is to be set up in a child’s room or in an area of the house where people also play and romp around, it is important to ensure that the climbing wall does not pose an increased risk of injury. For this reason, neither sharp-edged nor pointed holds should be used here. It is also advisable to avoid holds that protrude whenever possible or to pad them appropriately when not in use. As an example, this could be done by putting up a mat in front of it.

The requirements for outdoor use are completely different. They are primarily concerned with weather resistance. Not all climbing holds are UV and weather resistant. This means that holds may lose their structure and colour over time. It is also important to take care of a weather-resistant anchoring. Metal parts such as bolts and eyelets must be corrosion-resistant. The material of choice here is definitely stainless steel.

However, no matter where you set up a climbing wall for your offspring, the most important thing is that the holds are suitable for children. Large slopers and small bars are usually not appropriate for children. It is advisable to use medium-sized handles or special children’s holds. Furthermore, there are often hold sets consisting of animal figures or letters. These holds are also well suited for small children’s hands and add a visual accent to the children’s room.

Climbing holds – bolts and attachments

The correct attachment of the climbing holds to the climbing or bouldering wall is a point that contributes greatly to safety. Holds that twist or are even loose can become a significant danger for the climber and other people, especially on larger walls. To prevent this from happening in the first place, it is advisable to pay attention to a few things.
In principle, climbing walls are equipped with threaded eyelets. These hold onto the wall from behind and allow for a hold to be screwed on using an M10 size Allen screw.

However, not all bolts are the same. Depending on the place of use and hold, they have to meet different requirements. As already mentioned, stainless steel screws should be used in outdoor areas. If galvanised bolts are exposed to the weather for a long time, they often rust. This, in turn, can lead to a rusting bolt that ends up stuck in the thread and beyond that a loss of load-bearing capacity.

Climbing holds are usually attached to the climbing wall with hexagon socket screws (Allen screws). These bolts either have a cylinder head or a countersunk head. The hold that is to be screwed on determines which type of bolt is used in a specific case. There are holds that are specifically designed for the use of countersunk bolts, others require bolts with cylinder heads. Under no circumstances should holds be screwed on with the wrong bolts or bolts that do not fit properly. At the area just around the bolt in particular, climbing holds are subject to considerable strain. If this area is not loaded in the correct place or unevenly due to the wrong type of bolt, the hold may break in this exact place.

Large holds and volumes usually have additional smaller screw holes that secure the hold against twisting by means of chipboard screws. As these bolts are screwed directly into the wood of the climbing wall, no threads need to be set beforehand. However, they do leave a small hole in the wall after the hold is removed. Furthermore, extremely small steps and holds are usually only fastened by means of chipboard screws, as an M10 sized threaded bolt would simply not find room within the hold.

Depending on the product, bolts and threaded eyelets are also included in the distribution package of the climbing holds. So if you are in the process of building your own bouldering wall, this can be quite handy.

Conclusion

If you consider yourself to be in the lucky position of having a bouldering or climbing wall at home, you should take a little time to choose the right climbing holds. There are shapes, colours and types aplenty to be found in the climbing holds sector. Whether a vertical, sloping or overhanging wall is to be equipped, there is always something suitable here. Grip sets are particularly suitable for the initial equipment of a bouldering wall. It is not uncommon to be supplied with additional fastening materials such as bolts and drive-in eyelets.

LANDING CHECK: LARGE CRASH PADS

23. March 2021
Equipment

Sometimes size does matter! For example crash pads that provide solid protection for extended, multi-level boulders.

Fortunately, companies have also realised that boulderers prefer not to have to aim when falling. The result: this season there are more big crash pads available than ever before. Here’s an overview of the most important 2 sqm landing pads.

Edelrid Crux: large, green and popular

When Edelrid presented the Crux in 2009, it was a beanpole among crash pads. After all, it is 210cm long and 115cm wide. A 4-layer sandwich construction with different foam hardnesses easily fits into the 10cm height. Even if the pad is delivered unfolded: folded twice, it can be carried to distant places with the well-designed carry system. It is not surprising that this pad has been a bestseller at Alpinetrek.co.uk for a long time: it is not only the Goliath among the boulder mats, but also offers an unbeatable price per square metre.

  • Pad size: 210cm by 115cm = 2.415 sqm
  • Thickness: 10cm
  • Price (RRP): €249.95
  • Price per sqm: €103.50/sqm

By the way: the Crux Tent can at least be considered an amusing idea: with a pole system and a tarpaulin you can put up a tent using the Crux Pad as a base. Nice for spending the night right at the boulder spot.

Ocun Paddy Incubator: new and really big

The technical manufacturer Ocun also produces mega mats. It goes by the name “Paddy Incubator” and continues the well-known quality of Ocun pads. At exactly one metre, it is slightly narrower than its Edelrid counterpart – but that is not the only difference. Three layers are covered by robust Cordura (2x 2cm PE foam on top and bottom, 6cm open-pored PU foam in between). In addition, the pad consists of three parts: the two outer parts can be folded and the pad can then be folded again in the middle.

  • Pad size: 210cm on 100cm = 2.10 sqm
  • Thickness: 10cm
  • Price (RRP): €269.95
  • Price per sqm: €128.55/sqm

Mad Rock Triple Mad Pad: the three-parter

At 2.05 square metres, the Triple Mad Pad from Mad Rock just makes it into this list. If we had taken volume as a yardstick, it would have been right at the top, with a whopping 13cm of foam wedged between the nylon outer shell. The crash pad weighs a reasonable 6.5kg and can be folded to 61cm x 112cm and 39cm height for transport. The gaps between the individual elements are covered with hook and loop fasteners during use, so that you can’t get your foot caught and injure yourself.

  • Pad size: 183cm by 112cm = 2.05 sqm
  • Thickness: 13cm
  • Price (RRP): €239.95
  • Price per sqm: €117.05/sqm

Metolius Magnum crash pad: the luxury mat

At around €400, the Magnum crash pad from Metolius is not for the budget conscious – but with its details it is something for perfectionists. The two folds are each bevelled by 45° – this effectively prevents the pad from being knocked through or bent over. Folded together, you can carry a good nine kilos on your back in a 122cm x 69cm x 33cm box. Inside the pad is a sandwich construction with two closed-cell and one open-cell foam layers. The pad also comes with a storage pocket for shoes, chalk and other small items.

  • Pad size: 183cm by 122cm = 2.23 sqm
  • Thickness: 10cm
  • Price (RRP): €399.95
  • Price per sqm: €179.35/sqm

Conclusion: luggage nightmares

All pads have one thing in common: owners should have at least one combination to transport the pad together with some bouldering friends. In exchange, they all have a huge landing area that is hard to miss. As all the boulder mats shown are at least 10cm thick, you can dare to try your hand at climbing the highballs: almost an art in itself. With such a pad on your back you are well prepared to go all the way. If you fall, you fall well. And that is the job of a crash pad.

One last thank you to my namesake Sebastian, who as the crash pad expert in our customer service department helped put together this list. Thx! And now it’s your turn: have we forgotten a pad? Do you have any experiences or favourites to share? Let me know!

GET RID OF YOUR EQUIPMENT – THE ENTRY INTO THE WORLD OF ULTRA-LIGHT

18. March 2021
Equipment

Today we want to take a look at the topic of ultra-light walking and ultra-light trekking. We’ll take a look at how I came to explore this topic, what entering into the ultra-light touring world looks like and what you should consider when doing so.

Ultra-light – that’s what I’m talking about

The term ultra-light has recently become increasingly common in the outdoor industry Large, bulky equipment is a thing of the past and now more and more outdoor enthusiasts are turning to ever lighter alternatives. The term ‘ultra-light’ is not conclusively defined. As a rule however, a pure equipment weight (without food, water and fuel) of approx. 5 kg is spoken of as ultra-light, whilst equipment weighing 5 – 9 kg would be term lightweight trekking.

The advantages are obvious: if your luggage is light, you not only feel freer on the move, you also travel more quickly and can cover longer distances. It also protects your joints and back, so pain and fatigue don’t occur or take much longer to set in.

The first step – a lighter backpack

In recent years I have suffered from severe back problems. This was partly due to my build, but also due to bad posture that I developed in my youth. Since then, I have managed to keep the problem under control through targeted training, but there is one thing that hasn’t changed: I can’t carry heavy backpacks. It’s not that I immediately collapse under the load of a 15 – 20 kg backpack, but I sometimes have to end a tour after just a couple of days because of the pain. So, for me, there’s one logical conclusion: I need a lighter backpack.

My first step was not anything to do with ultra-light equipment. I just took a look through my packing list and checked it critically. The main aim was to find things that I took on every tour but actually never used . I’m not talking about pieces of equipment like a first-aid kit, which you rarely need but you should always carry on longer tours. It was more a case of leaving behind the three packs of spare batteries, the fifth spare penknife and the huge spare torch.

All these useless, surplus or unused items can just be left at home on your next tour. If you still tend to pack too much, there’s a simple trick: take the smallest backpack possible! The more space you have, the more you pack. Also, larger backpacks are also heavier than smaller ones.

Weight optimisation – targeted selection of equipment

Once your packing list has been trimmed down to its essential items, you should also take a look at the remaining equipment a bit more closely. There are often items which are total overkill for your planned tour. Do you really need that thick winter sleeping mat for a three-day tour in summer in central Europe? Equipment required for the tour should always suit the length, terrain and weather conditions. So, if I’m on the road for three days in August in the local low mountain range, the chances are that I won’t need a down jacket. I can also opt for a lighter (and less warm) sleeping bag.

If the weather forecast is good and stable, you can leave some of your rain protection and spare clothing at home. Tours in winter or in high alpine terrain require a different packing list. However, even here, discipline can save some weight.

Wherever possible, you should try to replace a heavy piece of equipment with an (already owned) lighter piece. With large, heavy things like your rucksack, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and tent, there’s a lot to save. It’s also worth considering whether equipment can be completely removed from the packing list. The tent is a common point of discussion in this regard. A lightweight tarp or bivouac could also be an option.

Once you have optimised your equipment in this respect, it is time for the scales and a first test run. For me, this phase was the decisive one as it allowed me to considerably reduce the weight of the equipment I was carrying with just a few targeted measures and at no additional cost.

Ultra-light equipment – the featherlight alternative

However, depending on the equipment you have, there are areas where you can save a little weight. For me, this was my sleeping bag. I have an extremely warm, and correspondingly heavy, down sleeping bag for the winter as well as a second model for the summer. This one is older and made of synthetic fibre, but is in no way inferior to the “Camping in winter in the North Pole” gear. As for the backpack itself, I was able to find comparatively light models in my personal inventory, but I discovered that by replacing it with an ultra-light model, I could save even more weight.

My experience reflects reality here. The first pieces of equipment that are normally swapped for ultra-light alternatives are the so-called ‘big four’. This is your backpack, sleeping bag, tent and sleeping mat. In terms of backpacks for example, models such as the Ultra Tour by Montane, which offer plenty of space at under 1 kg.

For sleeping bags, there is often no way round a down sleeping bag. This is because down sleeping bags are significantly lighter than their synthetic fibre counterparts, while providing the same level of thermal insulation. The choice of sleeping bag is particularly dependent on where you’re heading on your tour, the expected temperature and your personal feeling of warmth.

However, there are heavier and lighter models with comparable values. Three-season sleeping bags such as the Hitchens UL 20 by Big Agnes come in ultra-light versions weighing less than 800 g. If you only tend to travel in summer, so you don’t need an excessively warm sleeping bag, you can find even lighter models.

As mentioned, in terms of ultra-light hiking/trekking, the question of whether you really need a tent is often discussed. If you’re heading out in good weather in the summer, a tent may actually be superfluous and could be replaced with a much lighter tarp or even a suitable bivvy bag. However, this decision has to be made individually, as it depends strongly on personal preferences and needs. Ultra-light tents such as the Laser Ultra 1 by Terra Nova weigh less than 500 g and therefore offer considerable weight-savings over their conventional counterparts.

The sleeping mat sector is also highly competitive. It is not unusual for foam mats to be used in the ultra-light area. This type of mat usually weighs around 400-500 g. The advantage of this is that they can be used to stiffen the rucksack, allowing them to be packed away safely and helpfully. If you want something even lighter, you should take a look at air mats. Mats like the NeoAir Xlite by Therm-a-rest weight a good 100 g less than their foam counterparts, depending on their size.

Conclusion

If we add up roughly the weight of the ‘big four’ now, we get to a value of just less than 3 kg. If we combine this with the method of limiting ourselves to only the most important pieces of equipment and not taking any unnecessary items, we can enjoyed multi-day tours with very little weight. If this is still too much of a burden, you can move on to optimising other items such as food, cooker and clothing. What makes sense, and what the tricks of the trade are, is explained in separate articles for the various outdoor disciplines.

BICYCLE CARE INSTRUCTIONS

16. March 2021
Care tips

Spring is just around the corner and both trails and roads are slowly becoming passable again. So, it’s time to get the bike out of the garage and get fit again. After all, it has been standing around almost all winter and now needs some maintenance.

With a few easy manual tricks, the bike is ready to go again in no time and you can swing into the saddle. How does it work? Like this:

1. Basic cleaning

Depending on how dirty the bicycle still is, you can first use a sponge and brush and clean the frame, fork and rims with water or special bicycle cleaner . You should not use any aggressive cleaning agents, such as chain cleaner, as these can attack rubber seals – washing-up liquid is absolutely fine. Cracks, deformations or other suspicious spots are best checked by a mechanic.

2. The chain

If the chain is very dirty, you can clean it with a special brush or toothbrush. Chain cleaners, like this one from Finish Line, also remove old oil residues. If the chain is not very dirty, a cloth is sufficient. Then you should treat the chain with chain oil or grease. Simply hold the inner link plate of the chain and turn the crank. Excess material is removed, because it attracts dirt. Make sure that no oil gets on the brake, especially when using spray oil!

But even with the best care, the chain will wear out at some point. When this happens it must be replaced (often in combination with the chainrings and sprockets). It is not only important to find the right chain for the respective system (9-speed, 10-speed, 11-speed…), but also the correct chain length. You can find out everything about changing the chain and how to calculate the correct length with our chain length calculator.

3. Gears

First you should check the gear cables. These should not have a kink and should be easy to operate. If the latter is not the case, you can treat the cables as well as the front derailleur and the gears with some thin oil. If this doesn’t help, you should take a closer look at the gears.

4. Brakes

You should first check the brake pads. If they are worn out, they need to be replaced. On classic V-brakes, this can be seen by the fact that the transverse grooves are no longer visible. To do this, simply open the fixing screw of the pads with a suitable Allen key and take out the pad together with its holder and replace it. It is best to adjust the brake so that there is a maximum distance of 2 to 4 mm between brake pad and rim and the front part of the pad (in the direction of travel) touches the rim first. This prevents annoying squeaking.

Maintaining disc brakes is harder, but should still be carried out regularly. You should also check the pads for wear and replace them if necessary. Usually you have to carefully turn the piston and the brake calliper with a screwdriver. You can tell whether the brake needs to be bled or not by if the distance between the brake lever and the handle is less than a finger’s width. It is best to consult a specialist.

5. Wheels

Spokes and rims also wear out over time and must be checked. You can check whether the tension of the spokes is correct by pressing two adjacent ones against each other. If these can be pressed against each other easily, this may be an indication that the tension is too low.

The rim can easily be checked in two ways. First, grab a flat screwdriver and hold it against the rim with a two millimetre gap. To make sure it is tight, simply lean it against the frame or luggage rack and fix it with your fingers. Then turn the wheel. If it touches the screwdriver or is not missing much by then, the wheel could have a lateral runout and must be centred.

Finally, you should try moving it now it is installed. If there is lateral movement, you should adjust the hubs or check the quick release or the wheel bolts to make sure they are tightened correctly.

6. Tyres and inner tube

First check whether your tyres have enough air. A poorly inflated tyre will ride worse and wear out faster. You can usually read the maximum pressure on the tyre flank. As the maximum pressure is not always the optimum pressure, it makes sense to determine it specifically. Depending on the type of bike, tour length, load and terrain, this value can vary widely. We have collated all the important information on tyre pressure for you in our calculation tools. You can use these to quickly and easily calculate the ideal air pressure for your wheel: Mountain bike, Road bike, Touring bike.

If larger cracks are visible in the tyre or if it is very worn, it is better to replace it completely, as foreign bodies can collect in it, causing even more damage.

If the inner tube is punctured, you can patch it up with a simple set like the Tip Top – bike repair kit – as long as the hole is not too big – or simply replace it completely. If you are unsure, pump up the tyre in the evening and leave it overnight.

7. Headset

If the handlebars jerk or wobble when braking, the headset may have come lose. To tighten it again, you must loosen the screws on the stem and tighten the vertical headset screw with short turns. But careful: If you tighten them too much, the steering can be impaired. Don’t forget to tighten all bolts again. A tip: lift the wheel and tap the handlebars. If it turns to one side by itself, everything is fine.

8. Bolts

Last but not least, you should check the quick release, seat clamp and other bolts. It is best to always work by hand and not with an electronic screwdriver. This prevents you from overtightening bolts.

Bike care: Professional maintenance is essential

Even if you regularly maintain your road or mountain bike at home, it can’t hurt to take to a mechanic once or twice a year – preferably before and after the season. The professional can check the bike much more reliably for any defects and also adjust the gears and brakes to their optimum settings.

PACKING LIST: MOUNTAIN BIKE DAY TOUR

11. March 2021
packing list

With a mountain bike, you can head out on almost any terrain. Whether you want to explore gravel paths, take off into the mountains, or head deep into the forest on wooded tracks, off-road bikes can take you anywhere. The following packing list is designed for tour-oriented mountain biking, it is not a packing list for a day in a downhill park or similar.

Cycling clothing for mountain bike day trips

Option 1: Good weather









Option 2: Cooler temperatures with rain showers (in addition to “Good weather”)






Option 3: Continuous rainy weather (in addition to “Good weather”)







Provisions



Bike Equipment










Other Equipment






Creating a packing list for mountain bike day trips is not an easy task. An MTB tour in the middle of summer has completely different equipment requirements than a tour in late autumn. You should therefore consider as carefully as possible in advance what to expect on the planned tour. How long will your tour be (do you need lighting), what weather conditions do you expect to encounter (rainwear, warm spare clothing, sun cream) and what terrain can you expect (protectors)?

Of course, you could simply take as big a rucksack as possible to be prepared for all eventualities, but that is not very helpful. After all, the laws of gravity also apply to mountain biking, and every gram saved in a rucksack makes the uphill passages easier and saves energy. Over time, every cyclist will discover their own personal balance between weight-saving and comfort.

Of course, safety always comes first, you should never skimp on a bike helmet, for example! You also need the most important repair tools because you never know when and where you’ll need them. Don’t forget a small pump, tire levers, a multi-tool, spare inner tube and repair kit either.

You also need to consider food and drink in advance. If you don’t expect to come across guesthouses or supermarkets en route, you need to make sure you have enough food and drink. If in doubt, fill up your water at every opportunity along the way.

The better the tour is planned in advance and the more you know about your route, the less time you will spend during the tour looking at the map. When considering your route, you should also consider the local nature conservation rules and show respect for the environment and people! Depending on the area, there may be designated mountain bikeroutes to ensure that mountain bikers and hikers don’t get in each other’s way.

The evening before a tour, you should always take a quick check over your bike! Inflate the tires (How much air pressure?), check the gears and brakes and oil the chain. It is also worth taking a look at the condition of the tyres – if they are completely worn out or already have small cuts, now is the last chance to change them.

Have fun planning your tour, packing, preparing and of course cycling!

TREAD LIGHTLY – OUTDOOR FOOTWEAR BY WEIGHT

9. March 2021
Buyer's guide, Equipment

Last Sunday I went to the forest to look for mushrooms. Unfortunately, it had rained the night before, so I was expecting it to be pretty muddy. Normally I wear worn out running shoes or my approach shoes when I’m heading into the forest, but because it was looking muddy, I decided to wear my heavy, leather trekking boots.

This turned out to be a good decision, because I arrived home with dry socks despite the wet forest. However, these heavy shoes were complete overkill for the terrain, and I was glad when I could change back to lighter and more comfortable shoes. But were they necessary? Or are there lighter alternatives?

Finding the right shoe

If you are wondering which pair of lightweight shoes is right for you and your tours, there are a few things you should think about first. For example, it is important that the shoes not only fit the tour and its terrain, but also the season in which you plan to walk. Furthermore, a good fit is crucial for the wellbeing of your feet. Other things you should look out for when looking for hiking or outdoor shoes are revealed in our blog post “The right shoes for your outdoor adventure”.

Now though, we’re going to take a look at the varied world of walking, trekking and mountaineering boots and see where there’s weight savings to be made.

Lightweight shoes for moderate terrain

Like my Sunday mushroom trip to the Black Forest, I don’t always need a heavy pair of mountaineering boots. Particularly when I’m heading to low mountain ranges, lightweight walking boots are usually sufficient. Lightweight walking boots are, as the name suggests, lighter than their ‘normal’ counterparts. This is usually because they have a half-height shaft or come as half-shoes. It is also not uncommon for lightweight walking boots to forego rock guards and the like, to make considerable weight savings.

So, if you’re heading for relatively easy terrain and are trying to travel light, you should definitely take a closer look at this group. Lightweight hiking shoes with a half-height shaft, so classic representatives of Category A, usually weigh from 450 grams.

For ultra-light tours, trail running shoes are often used. Models such as the Roclite 325 GTX by Inov 8 weight less than 350 grams and offer a half-height shaft and an extremely grippy sole. Barefoot shoes offer another alternative, but opinions on these vary widely.

Some people love this free and natural way of moving, but others report issues occurring from using muscles that aren’t normally worked. If you do decide to try out this type of shoe for hillwalking, it’s recommended to start with short test routes to allow your body to get used to them. You should also avoid carrying any luggage on these practice trips. Barefoot shoes are of course very light and hardly weight anything.

Lightweight shoes for exposed and unpaved terrain

For more demanding terrain and multi-day tours when you’re carrying a lot of luggage, Category B or B/C trekking boots are most suitable. However, these are usually relatively heavy, designed for maximum surefootedness and an optimal stabilisation of the ankle joint. This type of shoe is also recommended for people who have ligament problems and have a tendency to twist their ankle.

Many trekking boots also fall into the category of “partly crampon-compatible” and can be worn with crampons with strap binding and snow spikes. As mentioned, trekking boots are not exactly lightweight, but even in this category there are models which enjoy a significantly reduced weight. A good example here is the S-Lab X Alp Carbon 2 GTX by Salomon. These shoes weigh just under a kilogram and are among the lightest in their class. Nevertheless, they are still considerably heavier than their lightweight hiking or trail running companions, but they can do much more.

Lightweight shoes for high mountains

For scree, snow and ice, you definitely need proper trekking boots. These have a crampon-compatible sole and offer stability even on rough terrain. In general, trekking shoes with tilting lever crampons can be worn. Depending on the model, auto-locking (front with basket) or automatic (front with bracket) can be attached. A raised rubber edge, which mainly serves as a rock guard, usually features as well.

It’s no surprise that we’ve left the ultra-light range behind by now. But there are still lighter and heavier models among Category C trekking boots. Let’s take a look at the Badile Combi II GTX by Hanwag for example. These trekking shoes have everything that is needed for tours in high alpine terrain. And they come at a relatively low weight of just 1,080 grams. They also offer a stiffened sole suitable for semi-automatic crampons as well as a proper rock guard. Alternatively, you could also take a look at the Trango Guide Evo GTX by La Sportiva, which weigh a little less than 1,200 g (per pair).

Advantages and disadvantages of lightweight shoes

  • Benefit 1 – Weight-saving

Of course, if you’re travelling with lightweight shoes, you’re carrying less weight and this impacts every step you take. This is particularly noticeable on steeper terrain, as the foot has less load and walking is less tiring. Even if you’re carrying your walking boots in your backpack, they are less heavy.

  • Advantage 2 – Comfort

Lightweight shoes are generally more flexible and softer than their heavy counterparts. This usually makes them more comfortable. On warm days, they often allow better ventilation and are generally not as warm as higher walking boots due to their lower shaft.

  • Disadvantage 1 – Risk of injury

Features that offer additional comfort can also hold a higher injury potential. Soft and flexible shoes with a low shaft provide much less support for the foot than higher-cut shoes.

  • Disadvantage 2 – Weatherproofness and general suitability

There is no question that there are weatherproof models with membranes offered in the field of trail running and lightweight hiking shoes. These are fine for mud and rain, but are not ideal for snow, as the snow can more easily get into the shoe without a high shaft. If you are planning tours that require the use of crampons, you will need shoes with a suitable sole.

Ultra-light shoes – the conclusion

It is hard to find ultra-light outdoor, hiking and trekking shoes. While researching this topic, I kept coming back to something a friend of mine says, “You can run in ski boots if you want to!” In other words, you can do a lot of things with equipment, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it makes sense. Of course, you could go for a run in the mountainous terrain in flip-flops (the Sherpas in Nepal do this very impressively), but I would advise against taking such extreme measures for the sake of weight reduction.

In my opinion, the most important criterion for shoes is not the weight, but that they fit perfectly and don’t rub or pinch even after long tours. After all, the greatest weight saving in your shoes means nothing, if you have to carry the same weight of blister plasters in your backpack. Fun fact: one pack of blister plasters weighs around 15 grams.

IRON PATHS THROUGH STEEP ROCK – VIA FERRATA, HOW DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK?

15. February 2021
Tips and Tricks

Fixed rope routes have experienced a real boom in the last few years. In many places, new iron routes are being developed and numerous vacation brochures advertise this “new” type of mountain sport. But what actually makes the via ferrata a via ferrata? Where are the limits to hiking or climbing? And what on earth do I actually have to consider when I want to go on a via ferrata for the first time? This list of questions could certainly be extended without any problems, so we decided to unpack our concentrated expert knowledge about via ferrata today.

HIKING – VIA FERRATA – CLIMBING

Via ferrata walking is an independent alpine discipline, which can easily be classified between hiking and climbing. In general, however, via ferrata climbing cannot be seen as an intensified hiking or simple climbing, but is a more or less separate sport. Via ferratas are routes through more or less alpine terrain equipped with wire rope and iron steps. This way, even people with a comparatively low level of knowledge can get a start in sometimes very steep and exposed terrain. The basic element is a wire rope, which is attached to the rock face with numerous intermediate safety devices and is used by the via ferrata user as a belay point. The correct handling of the via ferrata set is important, but more about this later.

Basically there are three different variants of via ferrata walking:

  • Insured paths

Strictly speaking, insured routes are not actually typical via ferrata, but routes that have been equipped with a (wire) rope in particularly exposed or even dangerous places. However, this rope is not part of the safety chain as in the actual via ferrata, but rather serves as a replacement for a railing or handrail. Insured via ferrata routes are therefore generally also used without via ferrata equipment.

  • Classic Via Ferrata

This is the most common type of via ferrata. Classical via ferrata come in numerous degrees of difficulty and are therefore suitable for beginners and advanced climbers. They always have a continuous wire rope with intermediate safety devices and are often equipped with additional iron steps and ladders. Rope bridges and other gadgets are also not uncommon here.

  • Sport Via Ferrata

Sport via ferrata are mostly difficult routes in exposed terrain. It is not uncommon for tours of this kind to run through overhangs. Although sport via ferrata also have a continuous wire rope as a safety device, they often do not require additional steps and are therefore not suitable for inexperienced persons.

Via ferrata are thus clearly distinct from hiking, since self-securing is absolutely necessary. Via ferrata also have little to do with sport or alpine climbing, since here you are not using a rope and companion safety devices, but only securing yourself to the wire rope. In order to be able to roughly assess in advance whether one is up to the difficulty of a climb, there is a standardized scale of difficulty ranging from A (easy) to F (more than extremely difficult).

EQUIPMENT

Via ferrata should not be underestimated. Accidents on a via ferrata can often have serious consequences and can even be fatal without the right equipment. For this reason, grandpa’s old hemp rope (as in all other mountain sports disciplines) can stay at home. The minimum equipment for a via ferrata therefore consists of a suitable climbing harness, a via ferrata set and a rockfall helmet. In addition, via ferrata gloves and mountaineering or access boots are used.

The climbing harness

Several types of harnesses can be used for via ferrata climbing. Here is a brief overview of when which type should ideally be used.

  • Hip seat belt: The hip seat belt is mainly used for sport via ferrata. It can also be used for classic via ferrata, as long as no heavy backpack is carried.
  • Combination chest and hip belt: Whenever a hip belt does not fit reliably due to the body structure or the body’s center of gravity is shifted upwards, the use of a chest belt becomes necessary in addition to the hip seat belt. Typical case studies: Due to their physique, children have a higher center of gravity than adults. In addition, the hips and waist of petite children in particular are not yet so developed that a seat belt alone is sufficient. Even in the case of obese people, it can happen that the hip belt does not fit well and the body’s center of gravity has shifted. Especially in combination with a heavy backpack, however, it is necessary to wear a chest belt for people with “normal measurements”.
  • Climbing harnesses: Especially for via ferrata, however, complete harnesses, i.e. harnesses that have both leg and shoulder straps, are often used. Belts of this type are also very practical for children.

The Via Ferrata Set

Modern via ferrata sets always come in a Y-shape. This means that in addition to a tie-in loop and a strap fall absorber, they have two arms, each with a via ferrata carabiner. The resulting shape is similar to a Y, hence the name. But what are the individual components good for?

  • The tie-in loop: It is the link between the via ferrata set and the climbing harness. It is important that the via ferrata set is correctly tied into the hip belt or combination harness. No other equipment such as carabiners etc. is necessary for this. The via ferrata set is only tied into the respective rope loop with an anchor stitch [3]. If a combination of hip belt and chest strap is used, these are connected as usual with a figure-of-eight strap, the via ferrata set is then tied in via the lower knot of the figure-of-eight strap.
  • The load arms with via ferrata carabiners: Together with the carabiners, the load arms are the link to the wire rope. The carabiners are hooked into the wire rope and carried along with one hand. Via ferrata carabiners are not simple snap carabiners, but always have a mechanism that prevents unintentional opening.
  • The strap fall absorber: Today only via ferrata sets with strap fall absorbers are used. This is a complex system of tapes with predetermined breaking seams that absorb the energy in the event of a fall and thus reduce the impact force. The strap fall absorber can therefore be seen as a kind of life insurance for via ferrata. If, for example, one would only fall into a tape sling from a corresponding height, the fall would be many times harder and would probably end fatally.

Especially light but also heavy persons must make sure that the via ferrata set is compatible with their weight. The new via ferrata set standard EN 958 has recently come into force. This standard stipulates that via ferrata sets must be designed for a weight range of 40 kg – 120 kg. This specification always refers to the system weight, i.e. man+clothing+equipment. Anyone who is at the top or bottom of this weight specification should take special care when selecting their via ferrata set and pay attention to the certification according to EN 958:2017. Children who weigh less than 40 kg should be secured on the via ferrata.

The Climbing Helmet

All helmets approved for climbing can also be used for via ferrata. Whether one decides to use a hard-shell, inmould or hybrid helmet is not important. What is important is that you wear a suitable rockfall helmet. Bicycle or ski helmets without the appropriate approval have no place here. If you want to learn more about climbing helmets, you are welcome to read Wiebke’s blog post.

In addition to this basic equipment you will usually also need climbing gloves and mountain or approach shoes. Weatherproof clothing as well as a daypack with food etc. should also be part of the equipment.

CLIMBING GLOVES

The main purpose of via ferrata gloves is to protect hands and fingers from injury. The wire ropes of via ferrata routes are seldom absolutely smooth, especially on older or busy climbs it can happen from time to time that individual wires protrude from the ropes. Via ferrata gloves also provide a better grip so that slipping on the wire rope can be avoided, especially in steep or exposed passages. Here’s another tip for beginners on a small budget: via ferrata gloves can also be temporarily replaced by construction gloves. These are always sufficient to protect your hands. However, you often sweat more in construction gloves and the performance is usually lower than with real via ferrata gloves.

Shoes

Similar to hikes or mountain tours, the choice of the right footwear for a via ferrata depends on the terrain. Of course, it is inherent in almost all via ferrata that they are led through more or less steep rock faces by means of wire rope and iron steps, so the requirements are relatively similar for the time being. However, when choosing the right footwear you should consider the whole tour, i.e. ascent, continuation and descent. Basically, hiking boots of the categories B or B/C have proven themselves, but also good access boots with a sole with a climbing area can be comfortable.

CLIMBING – HOW DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK?

Now that we have clarified the question of equipment, let’s have a look at how a via ferrata actually works. However, the explanations we have given are only intended to provide a rough overview and do not claim to be complete. Unfortunately, reading this article is not enough to be able to climb the via ferrata well and safely without any previous knowledge. Sorry…

But let’s start at the beginning. Let’s just assume that the destination has been determined, the weather situation has been checked and found to be good. The journey without traffic jams and surrendering passengers could also be completed satisfactorily and the ascent to the climb has already been made. Now we are here, our first via ferrata. A big and mighty rock face towers above us, a lonely wire rope invites us to climb up an airy height and to get to know unknown worlds. Once again we look back, but the path only leads to the front… Stop! I think I just got a little bit lost in the theatrical horse…

But to the point: Depending on the length of the climb, it is advisable to take care of everything before getting on, which would be much more complicated later in the climb. So have a snack, take off or put on your clothes and disappear again behind the bush. When all this is done, the equipment is put on and the via ferrata set is integrated. Helmet on, gloves on and off we go. When climbing via ferrata, both carabiners of the via ferrata set are always hooked into the wire rope. These are then carried along until the next intermediate safety measure so that they cannot get caught or jam between the wire rope and the rock.

Usually it is sufficient to simply push them forward with one hand. An intermediate safety device on the via ferrata is always in the form of a metal pin. This is firmly anchored in the rock and fixes the wire rope. Thus the carabiners cannot be pushed further here. Once you have reached such an intermediate safety device, you first hang one carabiner, then the other one in the continuing part of the wire rope. This way you are always sufficiently secured. Under no circumstances may both carabiners of the via ferrata set be released from the wire rope at the same time. This principle is continued until you leave the via ferrata set. Climbing is done on the rock as well as with the help of the wire rope, iron steps, ladders etc. An important safety note: Only one climber should move between two belay points of a via ferrata at a time, as otherwise the person following would be dragged along in case of a fall. More questions? Sure thing!

IF I WANT TO TAKE A SHORT REST ON THE VIA FERRATA, MAY I SIT DOWN IN MY VIA FERRATA SET?

No. The via ferrata set is only used to secure and brake falls. If the via ferrata set is loaded regularly, the predetermined breaking points of the strap fall absorber could be damaged beforehand; this can lead to a reduced braking effect. For resting on the via ferrata set, it is therefore advisable to carry a commercially available strap sling with screw carabiner. This is also attached to the rope loop of the climbing harness and can be hooked into the steel rope with the carabiner for breaks. There are also via ferrata sets that have an additional rest loop. If this is available, it can of course also be used for hanging. Important: This additional loop is only for hanging on the via ferrata. Under no circumstances must it be left on the wire rope during climbing/climbing, as it would disable the effect of the via ferrata set. In the event of a fall, this could result in extremely serious injuries.

IF I FALL ON THE VIA FERRATA, WHAT HAPPENS THEN?

An old rule says: On the via ferrata you must not fall! This wisdom certainly dates back to the time when the technique of via ferrata sets was much less reliable than it is today. In the past, only simple tape loops were often used, so that falls were extremely hard. Today this has changed for the better, but falls on the via ferrata should be avoided as much as possible. If a fall does occur, the via ferrata climber falls almost unchecked until the next intermediate safety measure. Once at the intermediate safety point, the attached carabiners are stopped and the energy of the fall is transferred to the via ferrata set. This absorbs the load, the fall absorber breaks and the fall is braked. The catching impact is usually very hard nevertheless and can be accompanied by serious injuries. Therefore, you should never fall into the via ferrata set “for fun” or “just to try it out”. After such a fall, the strap fall absorber of the via ferrata set must be replaced before the next via ferrata is started!

HOW DO I GET THROUGH A CLIMB SAFELY WITH MY CHILDREN?

Especially with light children or bloody beginners, it is recommended to install additional safety devices in addition to the via ferrata set. The procedure is similar to rock climbing. A “pre-climber” secures his “post-climber” (in our example child or beginner) on a rope. This can be done either with a conventional climbing rope and the necessary equipment. In addition, there is for example the Via Ferrata Belay Kit II from Edelrid. This is a safety set with which an additional rope safety device can be quickly and easily installed on the via ferrata.

At last..

Climbing via ferrata is an exciting and varied alternative to hiking or climbing. However, one should not ignore the dangers that this sport brings with it. When choosing a climb, it is therefore important to approach your own limits carefully. The use of via ferrata sets also requires practice and should be tested extensively in easy climbs. If you want to learn more about via ferrata walking, you should consult textbooks such as “Klettersteiggehen” by Bergverlag Rother or “Sicher Klettersteiggehen” by Alpinverlag. Completing a via ferrata course also provides additional know-how and safety.

THE TERREX FREE HIKER – HIKING SHOE OR SNEAKER?

4. January 2021
Equipment

I belong to the Sneaker generation. “Sneakers”, as my mom still says, are in my opinion not only for sport and have been for a long time. And when my colleague Jörn asked me if I would like to test the brand new adidas Terrex Free Hiker, I was naturally hooked.

But I was also skeptical: When I think of adidas, I think of stylish sneakers rather than solid hiking boots. Even if this cliché hasn’t been valid for a long time, because under the Terrex label adidas has been offering equipment for outdoor enthusiasts for years.

HANDS-ON: WHAT CAN THE TERREX FREE HIKER DO

Yes, tastes are different and of course you have to admit that the Free Hiker does not look like a hiking boot at first. Rather like a running or trail running shoe. However, I was immediately impressed by the look. I was and still am on the road with the black and white version, whereby I find the “colorful” version almost even more ingenious.

Adidas advertises that the shoe is particularly robust and highly water-repellent (even without a membrane, I’ll come back to that in a moment). The well-known Continental sole is supposed to ensure safe progress. The midsole with the Boost technology, which Adidas also uses in its running shoes. This is particularly flexible and is supposed to have a small “rebound” effect – in other words, it releases stored energy again.

When I first put it on, I found the high shaft especially surprising. Surprisingly good. The shoe fits snugly on the foot, but could be a bit tighter on the metatarsus for my taste. But the stability is still perfectly acceptable!

The upper material is called ‘Primeknit’ (currently very trendy) and looks as if it is knitted. This makes the shoe very flexible, comfortable and fits almost like a sock. My colleagues asked me directly if the shoe fits and takes off well but I never had a problem with it, maybe because I wear it a bit bigger than my normal street shoes.

The Free Hiker was first used in everyday life and in the office, perfect for breaking in – and yes, because the mountains are just a few kilometers away. To be honest, I didn’t think he could handle tricky mountain passages even at the beginning. But I was to be proven wrong…

HOW DOES THE FREE HIKER PERFORM WHEN HIKING?

A team trip to the Montafon was announced and the Free Hiker couldn’t be missing. But at the end of May there was still a lot of snow and I thought that this might be too much for my new companion.

Nevertheless, I went straight up the mountain with it – after all, it’s not a children’s birthday party here. On well developed hiking trails it is great in any case. The walking comfort is great, the Conti sole grips well.

Shortly before the summit I saw the first snowfields and I quickly realized that this would be the first endurance test. I prepared myself internally for wet, cold feet – without a membrane, water would have to penetrate at some point – and took the first step into the remnants of the long, snowy winter.

Splash – during the first steps I wait anxiously for the cool wet that should immediately wet my socks. But it came… Nothing. Well, maybe it will take a few more minutes… I couldn’t quite believe it.

But even after less than an hour with lots of snowfields, meltwater streams and puddles, my feet were comfortably warm and dry. So here adidas did not promise too much! Due to the high shaft, no water could penetrate from above, which turned out to be a problem for some of my followers. But that is not necessarily a unique selling point of the Free Hiker.

Also on our tour on the second day the upper material stayed tight, even though we didn’t come into contact with as much moisture. By the way, the Continental sole also convinced me. It is always praised by our trail runners here among the mountain enthusiasts for its reliable grip. I can only agree with that!

The midsole shines above all with its dynamic performance, good rolling characteristics and comfort. I can’t judge whether energy is really being returned, but it’s quite pleasant to walk on it.

MUCH LIGHT, LITTLE SHADE…

The disadvantage of the strong, water-repellent properties of the upper material in combination with the good closing, half-height shaft is that moisture naturally cannot escape so easily. So it gets relatively warm in the shoe. Therefore I would definitely recommend wearing a rather light trekking sock with it.

THE CONCLUSION OF THE TERREX FREE HIKER

But all in all I am really positively impressed! In my opinion, the shoe is capable of much more than you might think at first glance. One should definitely not be deceived by the looks. This here is a real hiking shoe!

Due to its construction, I see it primarily in light terrain and it should be interesting for speedhikers due to its sole structure. And, of course, for all those who value a cool look.

With a UVP of 199.95 it places itself currently rather at the upper end of the price scale.

THE RIGHT SHOES FOR YOUR OUTDOOR ADVENTURE!

19. December 2020
Buyer's guide, Equipment

When choosing the right footwear for outdoor activities you should take your time. There are some questions that should be answered in advance to avoid problems with unsuitable shoes or aching feet. Not only physical ailments such as the well-known blisters are among them, but also a shoe that does not fit the purpose will not be a pleasure or will not offer sufficient stability and safety.

Table of Contents


WHICH CATEGORIES OF HIKING & MOUNTAINEERING SHOES ARE THERE?

The traditional German company Meindl has established an interesting and useful categorization for hiking and mountaineering shoes, which hikers can use as a guide when it comes to finding the right footwear for trekking, hiking and mountaineering. It is intended to serve as a first orientation in the shoe jungle:

  • Category A: Light hiking boots (mostly low shoes) for forest and meadow paths with flexible soles and little cushioning for everyday life as well as for shorter hikes with light luggage (daypack) on largely flat and paved paths.
  • Category A/B: High hiking boots for extended day trips or tours with overnight stay and medium-heavy luggage (backpacks up to approx. 35 liters) as well as for largely paved paths with (significant) ascents and occasionally loose ground. The sole is twistable, but relatively stiff and thick.
  • Category B: Classic trekking boots with torsion-resistant sole, thick midsole for lots of cushioning and with high lacing. Mostly made of leather and resoled depending on the model. Suitable for tours lasting several days with a large backpack (trekking backpack 40-70 liters) and mountainous and sometimes rough terrain, but still with clear routing. Can be used with Grödeln. Not recommended for long mountain tours, under very cold conditions or for high altitudes (over 3000 meters). However, in combination with thick woollen socks, it is ideal as a light winter (hiking) shoe.
  • Category B/C: Heavy trekking boots for tours on rough, steep terrain, possibly without direct access and for shorter winter tours in icy weather. Stiff sole with low profile, very high lacing and stable upper. Suitable for fixed rope routes and at higher altitudes (around 3000 to 4000 meters). Suitable for Grödel and crampons with double strap-on binding. From this category upwards it is usually possible to resole the shoe.
  • Category C: Mountain boots for touring on very rough and steep terrain, ice and firn as well as off-road paths. They can also be used for winter tours lasting several days or at higher altitudes (up to about 5000 meters). Very high shaft, usually additionally insulated. An edge at the heel allows the use of step-in crampons (heel clip at the back, simple strap-on at the front). High weight, very low profile and extremely robust materials.
  • Category D: Expedition boots with removable, insulated inner boot, extremely robust and durable manufacture for high altitude and extreme mountaineering or expeditions. Fully crampon proof. Also ideal for glaciers, long winter tours, ice and mixed climbing.

In addition to the differences in the primary purpose, the upper material (leather or synthetic), weather resistance (waterproof shoe with membrane or particularly breathable, membrane-free shoe) and the material of the inner lining (mesh or leather) must be considered. However, these are questions of demand and comfort that everyone must answer for themselves. For example, not everyone can cope with natural products. Although leather is generally more robust and durable, it also requires more care than synthetic fabrics, which dry quickly and are lighter.

OUTDOOR LOW SHOES

Furthermore, there are some subcategories, especially among the low shoes, which depend on special purposes and are associated with the A-category.

  • Multisport shoes are light hiking boots in a design suitable for everyday use or particularly robust running shoes, which combine an extra light upper fabric with the sole of a hiking shoe. They are optically appealing, sporty-light and perfectly suited for everyday use as well as for easy hikes or walks. They are also suitable for speedhiking at moderate altitudes as long as you have little luggage with you.
  • The so-called approach or access shoes are interesting for climbers. These are usually half-height shoes with a robust and relatively stiff outer sole, which have an edge at the front of the inner foot for easy climbing (as with climbing shoes). The appearance and construction are comparable to hiking shoes, but in addition to the sole, the lacing that extends far forward is also similar to climbing shoes. These shoes are ideal for the way from the car over slopes and scree to the rock as well as for securing or for simple via ferrata. Approach shoes are mountain oriented and belong to the A/B shoes. The design is sporty and suitable for everyday use. Models with softer soles can also be used for hiking. The cushioning makes the shoes suitable for use with touring backpacks and hardware.

SPECIAL OUTDOOR-SPORTSHOES

  • Climbing shoes and bouldering shoes are more or less pre-curved and asymmetrical, have a perfect fit (the more of these features, the more uncomfortable and the more ambitious), have a prominent climbing edge at the front of the inner foot and lacing or Velcro fastenings that reach far forward (usually a matter of comfort). Upper and lining are often one and usually made of leather. They also have a completely smooth rubber sole. This guarantees the best grip on the smallest steps. You can find out everything else in our detailed purchase advice for climbing shoes.
  • Trail running shoes are very light and have a highly flexible and cushioned sole. The synthetic upper material is highly breathable and depending on the model, there is a waterproof membrane between the outer fabric and mesh lining or not. There are special quick lacing systems as well as differences in sole profile depending on the preferred training surface. Running shoes are also versatile, carefree companions in everyday life.
  • Bicycle shoes are available as MTB shoes or racing bike shoes. Here, special attention must be paid to the suitability of the pedal plates and the locking system. You can find out everything else in our separate purchase advice for MTB and road bike shoes.

SUMMER SHOES

Pure summer shoes are different types of sandals and water shoes. They serve as a proper companion on vacation in the summertime, when kayaking or canoeing, as well as for use in the water and on land. Toe sandals are particularly suitable for everyday use – here design and comfort are important. Trekking sandals have an outsole like light hiking boots and are moderately cushioned. They can be used for day hiking tours with little luggage or as a second shoe for summer trekking. There are waterproof models as well as variants in soft leather and quick-drying synthetics. The strap arrangement should definitely meet the comfort requirements. Water shoes are made with a quick-drying mesh or sandal-like upper and a non-slip, profiled sole for rocky, wet surfaces. They are particularly suitable for boat trips.

WINTER SHOES

With the winter shoes one differentiates between pure winter boots and winter hiking boots. The latter are A/B or B shoes in boot form. They are always waterproof, lined on the inside, and have a particularly non-slip sole, thus distinguishing them from their three-season colleagues from the hiking sector. A smooth upper material is easier to clean from slush. The insulation is either made of soft fleece, a particularly light and warm synthetic fiber, or natural, odor-resistant virgin wool. Sometimes there is a removable inner shoe that can be used as a hut shoe. Winter hiking boots are sufficiently cushioned for touring backpacks up to about 50 liters.

Pure winter shoes have a non-slip sole and insulation, but are not made for hiking, as they are not cushioned. There are low shoes, fashionable boots and especially light down shoes. Here the optical aspect and details such as the lacing, the insulation performance (down is warmest, followed by synthetic fiber, then wool and fleece) and the upper fabric (leather or synthetic) play a particularly important role.

EVERYDAY SHOES & LEISURE SHOES

Slippers are also made for warm feet, but can be worn all year round. There are very soft and light models for the sofa and variants with stable soles for taking out the garbage. Mostly wool felt, down, synthetic fibre and leather are used. Clearly shoes where comfort and design play the biggest role!
Even rubber boots are everyday shoes and can be used all year round. Here it depends on the bootleg height and if necessary the closure.

Sneakers and leisure shoes are suitable for slacklining, after training, for the way to university and to the office and are therefore bought clearly according to design and comfort features.

TIPS FOR SIZE SELECTION

In general, men’s models are usually cut wider, women’s lasts are often slim. If in doubt, buy outdoor shoes a little larger, especially hiking boots and boots will often end up one size higher. Many models are now sustainably produced and are completely or partially recycled and made of biomaterials.

Important for the fitting: in the afternoon and with authentic socks! So nothing stands in the way of the right choice of shoes!

ABOUT THE SUBTLETIES OF THE CLIP STICK AND WHY IT REALLY MAKES SENSE

26. November 2020
Tips and Tricks

Is a clip stick a useful addition to your climbing equipment for ambitious rock climbers? Or is it more for indoor climbers, who find that the sometimes sparse protection on the rock makes them nervous?

Firstly, what is a clip stick anyway? Shrewd sport climbers will recognise it immediately, it’s a stick with which you can clip. Ideal for express slings with inserted wire rope in bolts. You can also choose to place only the rope in the hanging quickdraw. Sounds logical, but theoretically you can also do it without using your arms. A view on the sense and nonsense of a clip stick:

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GETTING TO GRIPS WITH ICE TOOLS – BUYING TIPS

24. November 2020
Equipment

Ice axes have been around since the beginning of modern mountaineering. Over the decades, however, much has changed. Even though ice axes in their current form are considered technically mature ice tools, there are still a range of technical innovations. This can be very confusing when you’re looking to buy one, and the question quickly arises, “Which is the correct ice tool for me?” Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution in this field, so the perfect tool depends on your personal needs.

 

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DOWN IMPREGNATION – DOES IT WORK?

19. November 2020
Equipment, Tips and Tricks

Down – a superhero of insulation materials! Synthetic fibres can’t compete. But like every superhero, down also has a nemesis. And in down’s case, this is moisture. Moisture is down’s kryptonite. It is precisely for this reason that impregnated down has been on a seemingly unstoppable advance in the outdoor sector for several years.

But how does it actually work? Can it even work? Let’s take a closer look! (more…)

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