Having two energetic young boys, I was so chuffed when they both became excited about climbing. We visit our local climbing walls, The Mini Climbing Works and Awesome Walls most weeks and the boys soon became confident in getting to the top of the 'big' walls.
They had been happily climbing in trainers for a while but I felt that for them to increase their footwork skills, a pair of proper climbing shoes would make a huge difference. An obvious purchase was a pair of Simond Rock Junior shoes each. At only £17.99 and with an impressive technical quality, they soon became independent and confident climbers.
The shoes have an anatomic design with a wide and elasticated opening allowing for little hands to get them on, and with elasticated panels, stretchy room for growth. The sizing is pretty accurate and they start at a tiny infant UK9.5 which is smaller than some other brands go. They are a soft leather and I've never heard any complaints of discomfort.. in fact quite the opposite, as when it's time to go home it's a mental struggle to get their outside shoes back on!
As a climber and coach myself, technique is important to me and I have found them particularly helpful to aid the children in placing their toes correctly on the climbing holds. The rubber is sticky enough for them to get a good grip on slabby slopers and small holds on steep problems equally. They have a soft sole which enables smearing easily and maximum sensitivity. My boys have used these shoes for top-roped climbing on textured, feature walls indoors, artificial boulders outdoors as well as grit stone in the Peak District.
So in summary..
Comfort: These shoes are soft and comfortable for growing feet. Always go with the child's UK shoe size. Pretty much like slippers, they are perfect for running, jumping, somersaults and all kinds of monkey antics.
Rubber Stickiness: So much better than trainers, they can learn to precisely place the foot and trust them to stick on the smeariest slopey holds. There is a good amount of rubber on the heel & toe for the more skilled boulderers.
Quality: They are technically designed, hard wearing and have lasted perfectly until the boys needed the next size up and we donated them to the climbing wall as loan shoes for new climbers.
These are great shoes for growing feet and growing footwork skills!