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I bought these shoes after struggling for months with a pair of La Sportiva Solutions. The shape of the toe-box of the Skwamas suits the shape of my feet so much better and means that I can happily wear them for a full session in the gym without the agony that the Solutions were causing me. Having looked in a bit more detail at the shape of the two shoes, I believe the issue I had with the solutions was not so much the width of the shoe, but the pointed nature of the toe box that cut a line straight from my big toe to my little toe. I have a slight Morton's toe and this was resulting in that second toe being forced into quite an aggressive curl which was causing serious pain over the knuckle which made it painful to weight the outside edge and really painful to toe-hook. Whilst the Skwama is about the same width, the toe box has a slightly less severe point and a bit more of a rounded shape. This means that my toes are more evenly compressed into the toe box and therefore do not suffer from the same extreme hot-spots that I had in the Solutions. In addition to this, the rubber over the top of the toe box is significantly softer and therefore doesn't give the same crushing and unforgiving feeling. This has meant that I've been able to down-size another half size while still ending up with more comfortable shoes! So, onto the shoes themselves. When I slip these on, I can feel my feet being pulled into that aggressive down-turned position. The P3 system feels like it's doing it's job far more in these than the solutions. This means that whilst the rubber around front of the shoes feels a little softer, they are still pulling your feet into a position that enables you to latch onto small footholds in steep overhanging situations. The only negative point I have about this is that it can give a feeling of really compressing your feet across the arch which can be a little uncomfortable at times, but nothing that is going to detract from your climbing (again, this will almost certainly depend on your foot shape). That P3 system also pulls your heel in nicely and I have no worries about my heel popping out with powerful heel hooks. I do have occasions when I feel like there is a bit of an air pocket to the side of my heel and have to allow the shoe to settle a little before I really pull on it, but this is not enough to detract from the feeling of security of the heel. It's worth noting that when I first wore these, I was a little concerned that the tension band at the back was digging into my achille's, but that sensation eases very quickly after the first couple of sessions and I don't even notice it now. These shoes are basically an elasticated slipper with a velcro band for added security. This is actually the reason why I've only given them 4 stars. The slipper element of the shoe feels wonderfully snug and secure, the purpose of the velcro seems to be just to secure the heel further. This means that the fit of the material that the strap itself attaches to is not all that great and no matter what I do, I tend to have a bit of an air-gap under the material on the outside of my foot behind the strap. It doesn't cause a problem as the elasticated slipper is still firmly wrapped around my foot, and the strap itself is still pulling my foot down into the heel, it just feels like a bit more care around the design of this section could improve things further. Again, this may just come down to foot shape - I have wide toes, high arches, but otherwise quite slender feet so I'm probably a bit of an anomaly! Overall, the upper of the shoe is very comfortable and just looking at the stitching inside, you can see the care that has gone into the design and construction, particularly around the toes. The XS Grip 2 rubber sticks to everything and leaves me feeling super-confident whether I'm on thin edges, smooth volumes or trying to push my toes onto small holds on big overhangs. The rubber over the top of the toes is beautifully soft and sticky. I'm not a fan of big slabs of thick rubber over the toes, so this feels great to me - I can feel with the tops of my toes when hunting out that elusive hidden toe hook and know that I will stick once I've found it. These shoes have been a pleasure to use over the couple of months that I've been climbing in them. They are softening up nicely, but still hold that strong aggressive shape thanks to the P3 rand system and beautifully sculpted design. They are wonderfully sensitive, but still have enough stiffness to them to hold onto small edges with confidence. Time will tell whether the edging ability continues, this is XS Grip rubber after all, but then again these are aimed more at steep, bouldery terrain anyway, so if edging is what you're after you should probably be looking elsewhere! If you have wider feet, or longer toes like me, these are well worth a look.
Very Happy with the Skwama, Only used indoors and after about three sessions they are starting to feel comfortable enough in the toe box to avoid having to take them off every few routes. I also own the Katakis and these provide the solution I was hoping for, a bit more sensitive and flexible for smearing etc and easier to take on and off. The xsgrip2 rubber seems to hold a bit better than the XSedge too, presumably they will wear more quickly as a result though which could be the trade off. I wear a 7 1/2 street size and went with these in a 6 UK and so far they seem to be spot on as my toes are reasonably cammed, there are no hot spots and the S-Heel fits my Heel securely. I am finding the Katakis might be slightly narrow for me so get a bit of a squeezing pain, the Skwamas must be a little wider as I don't have that issue with these. Overall very happy with the shoes, plus they arrived very quickly from R&R.
I received good service from Rock and Run. I haven’t climbed in the shoes yet so I’ve reserved the final star. They need breaking in as well - I tried the ‘shower method’ and found out that the dye on the strap runs when wet. Not a deal breaker but not what you’d expect
These shoes are next level! After buying them half a size too big last year, I got scared of them being too soft and went to the Otaki as I thought I needed a stiffer shoe. After now using the Skwamas in the right size, I wish I’d sone so sooner. Grippy, sensitive, and still plenty aggressive. Out of solutions, Otakis and Skwamas, these are now my firm favourites! FYI for sizing - I wear these and Otakis half a size down from my solutions.
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