Cinderella…

Climber proudly displaying the men's prototypes.

Climber proudly displaying the men’s prototypes.

Last week, 11 volunteers in Cambridge and Worcester, Massachusetts tried on and climbed in the two pairs of suede prototypes SFT currently has. We would have loved to have more people give us feedback, but testing was limited to finding climbers who fit the two sizes we currently have.

The feedback we received has been invaluable, both in terms of encouraging and inspiring us and in highlighting three major areas that need revision (as well as several smaller points that can be improved). What was most impressive was the general consistency in comments between many climbers. Multiple climbers, though separated by testing sessions and geography, said:

1. they would like to feel more support in the arch,

2. the shoe’s asymmetry range was larger than necessary, and

3. one’s toes can still flex more than desired in the aggressive position.

Additionally, over half of the climbers stated that the shoes were very comfortable.

Outdoor testing at Pawtuckaway State Park. Women's pair and men's pair visible.

Outdoor testing at Pawtuckaway State Park. Women’s pair and men’s pair visible.

The most common reaction, however, was to immediately explore the flexibility of the shoes. As Mak pointed out, we’d “never seen climbers wiggle their toes so much!”

Some trip highlights:

One climber exclaimed, “oh yeah, this is totally useful!” while finding the exact perfect adjustment for his shoes before beginning an overhanging problem.

While at WPI, several climbers sat down and held an impromptu brainstorming session about what they’d like to see in the next set of prototypes. SFT is extraordinarily lucky that a lot of climbers are the improve-it-on-the-fly duct-tape-carrying types, so they’ve always got ideas to contribute.

My sister demonstrated that one can dance en pointe in the shoes as well!

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