SUBSCRIBE THE NEWSLETTER AND GET FREE SHIPPING ON YOUR FIRST ORDER AND STAY INFORMED
WHO WE ARE
"Strange Heroes". Watch it now
The sound of a brand
Free shipping to Europe for all orders above € 180 (or equivalent).
La Sportiva ambassador Neil Gresham explain us more about how much is important for a young climber to wear a shoe dedicated to its grwing feet, as the brand new La Sportiva Maverink "There is no doubt that making correct shoe choices is essential not just to enhance enjoyment and performance but to ensure long-term health and participation"
Kids just want to climb and why would we want to stop them? There’s no doubt that over the years, my most rewarding experiences as a coach have been when a young climber has made a breakthrough, whether it’s that first dawning realization that climbing is the best thing in their world, or that groundbreaking moment when they win their first competition. It’s no surprise that climbing is such a big hit with youngsters – it teaches them how to be independent and responsible for their own actions, appreciate the artistry of movement, look deep within themselves and venture beyond their comfort zones. We all want to encourage our young climbers to have great experiences but as coaches or parents there’s clearly a wide range of safety protocol to consider. The injury risks associated with high intensity training methods such as campus boarding are well documented; however, a less discussed topic is growth and development of the young foot. There is no doubt that making correct shoe choices is essential not just to enhance enjoyment and performance but to ensure long-term health and participation.
Most youngsters will start their climbing career much the same way as any adult, by wearing a pair of so-called beginners shoes. These are usually broad, relatively flat, with a solid midsole for stability and lacking in tension in the rand so-as to minimize compression of the foot. Shoes such as the Finale or Tarantula from La Sportiva are good examples. An alternative would be a child’s shoe such as the Gripit or Stickit, which is broad, soft and kind on the growing foot but offers minimal stability and performance. These shoes will be ideal for those first few steps on the rock, but children learn fast and many will progress at such a rate that an upgrade will soon be required.
To hold back and keep a child in beginners’ shoes will arrest the development of their footwork, potentially encouraging bad habits and possibly even causing injury if a foot slips. It’s at this point when we face a dilemma. Many youngsters will have been influenced by their peers and images in the media and may gravitate towards high-performance shoes, and in many ways with good reason, seeing as they are climbing well enough to benefit from the advantages. But whilst an aggressively down-turned pair of shoes may, potentially offer great performance and sensitivity, there are critical issues when it comes to sizing. Put simply, size them too large and they won’t perform but size them too small and there may be serious risks to the development of the young person’s feet. Ironically, if sized too large then a flatter stiffer pair of shoes, similar to the ones they started off in, will offer superior performance.
Pioneering Physiotherapist, Nina Leonfellner-Tappin has worked with hundreds of junior climbers and has a clear understanding of the risks:
“Junior climbers’ growing joints, tendon attachments and bones are fragile areas especially during growth spurts and puberty. Cramming growing feet into tight shoes, especially at a severe angle which pushes the feet to the end of a joint range position, can cause harmful compressive and shear strain to a junior's growing feet. This can lead to acute painful conditions, as well as, long term conditions such as osteoarthritis. We see these issues with Ballet dancers who wear point shoes.”
British junior team coach Ian Dunn also has years of experience in this field and regards the balance between performance and safety as a delicate one:
“I often see young people wearing Solutions or Geniuses with thick socks and plenty of room, not realising that this will massively inhibit performance. Good shoes cost less than trips to the Physio with a pulled tendon or other injury that could be caused by a foot popping off a hold. With performance shoes, the important thing is not to size them too big and instead, to make sure they are taken off regularly and that the youngster wears a comfy trainer or flip-flop to rest their feet from the tight fit in between climbs.”
Historically it has been a constant challenge to enforce this message. Kids just don’t seem to want to slip their shoes off, the same way as adults, even if the shoes have quick-and-easy Velcro closure. If we consider also that performance shoes are the most expensive and that kids feet are constantly growing, it’s no surprise that the current trend is to err on the size of caution and size performance shoes too generously.
We’ve always known it was unsatisfactory to encourage kids to wear down-turned shoes that are designed for adults, but until now there has been no alternative. Enter the Maverink, a shoe, which resolves this entire debate! As with all the best design breakthroughs, the solution now seems so obvious and simple, yet it took the vision of La Sportiva’s design team to unlock it. A down-turned shoe that’s designed for an adult has way too much tension in the rand and many of the materials are far too stiff, causing unwanted pressure on the juvenile foot. The answer is to reduce the rand tension and make a shoe with a softer, more gentle overall feel, yet which still has the look, shape and characteristics of a down-turned performance shoe, not to mention the much-revered No-Edge Technology. Clearly many women, particularly those who are light-framed, will also benefit from these great advantages. It’s a relief that finally we have a shoe, which parents and coaches can recommend with confidence. The boxes of performance, comfort and safety have all been ticked, but most importantly, the Maverinks look great and you can draw your own designs on them! What more could a young climber possibly need!
About the Author:
The best outdoor photographers in Europe meet in Garda Trentino for the third edition of Arco Rock Star
La Sportiva: 90 years of history in Trento
Browsing from one of these Countries?
Accept and Continue
Cookies are small text files that contain information about your visit to our website and are stored on your computer or any other device able to browse the internet, for example a smartphone or tablet.
We use these cookies to make browsing our site easier, to show you content that is relevant to your needs and interests and to help us speed up your future visits and activities on our website. The cookies assist and simplify the interaction between the user and the site and allow the site to remember your preferences and individual activity, thus saving time and contributing to easier and more efficient browsing. Cookies memorise information about your visit online (for example; language, number of visits and dimensions of text) and aid the implementation of various services (user registration, contents of your shopping cart, subscription to newsletters or updates on products, etc.).
Cookies are also employed to create anonymous group statistics that let us analyse how visitors use our site, allowing us to improve the structure, content and services of this site.
Any services present that do not offer complete anonymity will be found in the third-party cookies list and you may deny them consent, safeguarding your privacy.
This site makes use of three different types of cookies:
These cookies ensure that the site works in a correct and fluid manner: they allow you to navigate between pages, share content, they memorise your sign-in credentials making access to the site faster and they keep your preferences and credentials active during browsing and purchasing. Without these cookies we would be unable to provide the services which motivate the user to access this site.
2. Statistical cookies
These cookies help us understand how our users browse the site and navigate the online store so that we may assess and improve its performance and create content that best matches our visitors' preferences. For example, these cookies show us which are the most and least visited pages, how many people access the site, how long is spent on the site by most users and how they find us online. With this information we can find out which are the best features and which could be improved, while ensuring that site content is uploaded quickly and displayed appropriately. The information these cookies collect is anonymous and not associated with any of the user's personal data. These functions on our site are managed by third-party service providers who render the data anonymous and untraceable to any single individual.
These cookies are distributed by third parties and not directly controlled or under the control of Zerogrey. Zerogrey does not therefore accept liability regarding the use of any information collected by the owners of these third-party cookies.
The cookies provided by such third parties can offer advanced features as well as more information and personalisation. These include the ability to share content across social network platforms and to maintain a personalised online site experience on the basis of any preferences expressed on pages previously visited. These services are for the most part offered by external operators. If you browse using an account or if you use third-party services on other websites, these may be able to track a user who has visited our site. The use of the data collected by these external operators through cookies must adhere to the respective privacy policies that you will find on the link copied below. Third-party profiling cookies are identified by the names of their respective operators in the list indicated below which also contains the tools for managing or disabling them.
You can change the settings for downloaded cookies on your computer or mobile device through the appropriate feature on your browser. You may also block the installation of third-party cookies and remove previously installed cookies, including those that define your cookie preferences that you may have may have set here. To check or adjust the settings on your browser you need to consult the instruction manual or your browser's help window.
The instructions regarding cookies for the most widely-used browsers are available here
Chrome : https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95647?hl=en&p=cpn_cookies
Internet Explorer: http://windows.microsoft.com/it-it/windows-vista/block-or-allow-cookies
Alternatively, to disable some or all cookies you can use the following tools.
Disabling our cookies may affect your browsing experience, diminish efficiency in accessing certain parts of the site and erase preferences for future visits to the site.
Remember to set the browser on your devices in a coherent manner so that each one may be adjusted to reflect your cookie preferences.
Further detailed information on cookie features and how to enable or disable them on most browsers is available online at www.aboutcookies.org or http://www.allaboutcookies.org/privacy-policy.htm. For in-depth information and assistance with cookies used for advertising purposes visit http://www.youronlinechoices.com/it/