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I'm an improver / intermediate level climber who has done most of their climbing indoors in climbing gyms and has dabbled with trad. Having previously been using a pair of Scarpa Vapour V's for their soft sole, generally symmetric profile, slightly downturned shape (all really great for indoor climbing) and high level of comfort, I wanted something that was going to not only help me progress on to harder indoor routes, but would also perform well on small / micro edges outdoors as I got into trad more. I was also looking for something a little bit stiffer to give me extra support when standing on small footholds/edges without losing too much sensitivity. I've worn the Otaki's every time I've climbed over the last 7 weeks (again mostly indoors) but also with 2 days of trad on slab and vertical routes and I've not been disappointed. The Otaki's are sensitive enough for me to feel the small holds/edges beneath my foot and stiff enough to provide the extra support that I wasn't getting from the Vapours. The extra stiffness in the sole means that my feet don't scream in agony when putting all the pressure and weight down through my toes on small holds like they did in the Vapours. The snuggly fitted heel and decent amount of heel rubber give huge amounts of grip when heel hooking and has really helped me make more use of this technique than I used to in my other shoes. It took about 3 weeks wearing the Otaki's 2 - 3 times a week for them to feel broken in, which involved taking them off every 20 - 30 mins or so to let my feet relax, but having got to that point, they have so much grip and provide so much support that 3 weeks of breaking them in was definitely worth it. They are slightly down turned but not so much that your foot protests if it is not used to this shape, and whilst they are asymmetrical, again it is not too much that your foot can't adjust if it is not used to the shape. My street shoe size is 42 - 43 (depending on where I buy shoes from) - after trying on the Otaki's in size 42 and 43, I went with the 42's as they provide a snug, close fit that is a comfortable level of tightness with no extra room (but still allow me to loosen them if my feet swell when they get hot). Would definitely recommend these shoes to anyone looking to make the step up from improver to intermediate level as they are confidence giving shoes because of the level of support and stickyness they provide. Whilst not inappropriate for beginners, they are on the more expensive side, so beginners may wish to go with a cheaper all round option untll they work out what climbing style (trad, sport, bouldering), rock types (grit, granite, limestone, sandstone etc) and hold types (small rounds, micro edges, slopers, smeary slabs etc) they will be climbing on more often than not.
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