Its almost Regional TCC time again and competitive tree climbers are beginning to consider gear options. Choice in footwear is probably one of the most complex, particularly for the foot lock event.
"Which is the best foot locking boot?" is probably one of our most asked questions and like all things tree climbing there is no simple answer.
Footwear preference is as mixed as the brands, styles and boot options available. However climbers do agree on the criteria for a good foot locking boot. Apart from the obvious like fit, comfort, durability etc a good foot locking boot will have a flat sole or at the very least a very shallow heel, low profile (no snag) lace eyelets, 3/4 to full shank and the rand will extend up the sides, mid-sole for added rope grip on the lock.
The Gronell Tango tree climbing boot almost makes the grade but the in-sole is slightly too deep for efficient foot locking.
By far the best all-round competition and foot lock boot is the Scarpa Pro Ascent.
The Pro Ascent has a flat sole, no snag eyelets, three quarter shank and extended side rand. See James Kilpatrick comments closer to the bottom of this Treeworld
Technically speaking the Pro Ascent is not a tree climbing boot - it was originally designed by Scarpa as a mountain approach and big wall climbing boot. A tree climber, somewhere, discovered the unique properties of this boot and the rest is history.
The Pro Ascent has been superseded by a new design - the Cristallo
- but the new design is nothing like the original.
Due to demands from tree climbers Scarpa produce a limited number of the Pro Ascent boot for the world tree climbing market. If climbers miss out on one seasons stock you would have to wait for the next production run the following year - hence the limited supply and size options.