Performance Climbing Shoes for Morton’s Toe

What is Morton’s Toe?

Morton’s Toe is a term coined by Dr. Dudley Joy Morton for when the first metatarsal (Big Toe) is shorter than your second toe. In the picture below, the Greek style illustration shows an example of Morton’s toe. This hereditary condition puts more stress on the second metatarsal which can lead to other foot problems like bunions or hammer toes.

It is especially difficult to size performance climbing shoes for Morton’s Toe because the first and second toe are competing for the minimal space in a tight toe box.

Foot Types

Play it Safe with a Flat Last

The safest option for choosing climbing shoes if you have Morton’s Toe are flat lasted, symmetrical shoes. A flat last will not arch your toes and put more stress on the second toe knuckle. And a symmetrical shoe will keep your toes straight, so they are not pressing against each other as much.

Other than some beginner shoes, there are limited options for performance shoes that are still symmetrical.

 

La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoes

La Sportiva Mythos

  • Unlined Leather Upper
  • 1.1mm Full Length LaspoFlex Midsole
  • 4mm Vibram XS Edge Outsole Rubber
  • Secure Lace Up Fit That Tightens Around the Heel
  • Sizes: 33-48 EU

The Mythos has been on the market for 25+ years, and still sought after today. It many climbers’ main go-to for a symmetrical flat lasted shoe.

The neutral fit makes it a comfortable all-day shoe. Since it has a soft unlined leather upper, it works well to accommodate wider feet because it stretches so much. To manage the stretch, the laces continue down to the toes so the fit can be customized.


Evolv Climbing Shoes for Morton’s Toe

Evolv used to make a more aggressive shoe called the DeMorto which was designed with a symmetrical toe box. This may have been the only aggressive climbing shoe that specially catered to Morton’s Toe, but it has been discontinued.

Evolv DeMorto Climbing Shoes

Although it is also discontinued, the Evolv Royale is a more entry level climbing shoe that will provide the comfort of a symmetrical toe box. It is still available on Amazon and select sellers, but stock is limited.


The Downturned Dilemma

It is difficult to size performance climbing shoes if you have Morton’s Toe or a similar condition because most downturned shoes on the market are asymmetrical with a narrow tip.

Asymmetrical climbing shoes focus power to the big toe. Although this is great for maximum power output, this becomes a problem for climbers with Morton’s Toe because the big toe and second toe compete for the minimal space at the tip of the shoe.

Rounded Toe Box

The good news is that even though a shoe is asymmetric, a more rounded toe tip will be more friendly for a foot with Morton’s Toe. This is because a climbing shoe with a wider tip leaves more space for the first metatarsal to sit next to the big toe.

The downside to this is, the wider the tip of a climbing shoe, the less precision it will have on smaller footholds.

Aggressive Climbing Shoes For Morton’s Toe

Ocun Climbing Logo

The climbing company Ocun out of the Czech Republic has a variety of moderate and aggressive climbing shoes that all have a rounded toe box to accommodate Morton’s Toe conditions. Their toe boxes that support Greek Toe types are built around a wider last.

Their website specifies which of their shoes are best for narrow or wide feet, and even different toe styles.

Ocun Shoe Description
Ocun has a very detailed description showing which shoes work best with different foot styles.

Pearl LU Climbing Shoes

Ocun Pearl LU

  • Vegan
  • Unisex
  • Low Volume
  • 1mm Suflex Midsole
  • Moderate Asymmetry
  • Lace Up Closure System
  • 4mm CAT Outsole Rubber
  • Synthetic Microfiber Upper
  • Sizes: 4-13 UK

The Ocun shoe designer especially recommends the Pearl for Morton’s Toe.

It has a wide toe box so there is enough space for all toes. While the moderate asymmetry keeps your toes from cramming into each other. Normal to narrow width feet will fit well in the Pearl since it is a low volume shoe with a raised heel.

The Pearl is not the most aggressive shoe in their line up, it excels as a sport climbing shoe because it is sensitive and supportive.

Ocun Ozone

Ocun Ozone QC

  • High Asymmetry
  • Natural Leather Insole
  • Patented 3-Force System
  • Synthetic Microfiber Upper
  • 4mm Vibram XS Grip Outsole Rubber
  • Sizes: 4-13 UK

Ocun’s Ozone is their performance bouldering and sport climbing shoe. It is very aggressive but still offers support with a molded midsole and their patented 3-Force system.

The 3-Force system is Ocun’s construction of the shape of the rand rubber. It is the strip of rubber that wraps over the toe box which provides better weight distribution and torsional stiffness. This helps diffuse stress from any one part of the toe box making it more comfortable to use tint footholds.

Something unusual of a highly asymmetric climbing shoe is that the Ozone works best for normal to narrow foot types. Ocun offers the Ozone Plus is offered for wider feet.


 


Mad Rock M5 Climbing Shoes

Mad Rock M5

  • Vegan
  • Synthetic Upper
  • Arch Flex System
  • Moderate Asymmetry
  • 1.8mm Polycarbonate Midsole
  • Science Friction R2 Rand Rubber
  • 3.8mm Science Friction 3.0 Outsole Rubber
  • Sizes: 3-13 US Men’s

Mad Rock’s M5 has a flat sole with a flexible arch which makes it have a comfortable and adaptable downturn.

It features a wide toe box so there is more room for all your toes. The deeper heel better accommodates feet with higher arches.

The shoe is stiff so it is great for edging, but not for smearing.


Mad Rock Shark Climbing Shoes

Mad Rock Shark

  • Vegan
  • Synthetic Upper
  • Concave Outsole
  • Moderate Asymmetry
  • AES Stiff/Soft Midsole
  • Molded “Shark Fin” Heel
  • Slip-on Velcro Closure System
  • 2.2mm Science Friction R2 Rand Rubber
  • 3.8mm Science Friction 3.0 Outsole Rubber
  • Sizes: 3-13 US Men’s

The Mad Rock Shark is well protected tight fitting bouldering shoe with a bunch of special features.

A concaved outsole creates a arched backing for your toes to pull better. An AES midsole that is hard on the outside for edging, and soft in the middle for smearing. Also, the heel has a “Shark Fin” bump that can lock into edges while heel hooking.


Other Climbing Shoes for Morton’s Toe

It is more of a gamble for finding an aggressive shoe that is comfortable for Morton’s Toe. The good news is that you don’t have to limit your options for just a symmetrical fit, the key to finding climbing shoes for Morton’s Toe is a more rounded toe box.

A shoe with a more precise point, like most of the shoes in the Scarpa or La Sportiva line, are going to difficult to size comfortably. Many online testimonials claim that the La Sportiva Testarossa fits better for Morton’s Toe than most La Sportiva shoes.

Five Ten Blackwing Toe Box
Even though the Five Ten Blackwing is asymmetrical it has a more rounded toe box.

If you have narrow toes and more minor Morton’s Toe, many have had good luck with most of Five Ten aggressive shoes like the Dragon, Team, and the Blackwing. Along with a slightly rounded toe tip, the rubber on these shoes is soft which lessens the pain from toe knuckle hotspots.


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