Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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barefoot climbing

Indoor climbing walls for barefoot people
  (+59, -3)(+59, -3)(+59, -3)
(+59, -3)
  [vote for,

Indoor climbing walls and -gyms are big right now. You need special shoes for them that let you stand on a fairly small piece of "rock". Those shoes really hurt after a while. (Not because they're ill-fitting, simply because they have to be tight. Disclaimer: I don't like wearing shoes in general.)

Many of the people who use them will never climb a real mountain and don't particularly miss that. Hey, at least I don't.

I wished that at least some of those gyms dropped the realism, got rid of the ropes and the special shoes, and built big fuzzy walls for normal people in soft shoes or barefoot.

Kind of like cat climbing toys for people. One can imagine all kinds of add-ons - some ropes that give, some that don't, precipes that stick out to give hold to an unencased foot. Interesting materials, soft plastic, rubber, fake fur; ropes hanging from the ceiling that can get you across an "abyss", big soft areas to fall onto, inflatable things that bounce back; holes to squeeze through, tubes to slide down through - a bit like the SF Exploratorium "tactile dome" without the claustrophobia.

It would be easier; it would be tricky to clean; it wouldn't sell as much gear, but I'd enjoy it more.

jutta, Aug 19 2002

The Rockface http://www.rockface.co.uk
[sappho, Aug 19 2002]

Spiderman Jumping Castle http://www.halfbake...jumping_20castle_2e
Gultherme's idea, heavier on the velcro, but otherwise quite close. [jutta, Aug 19 2002]

pool wall http://www.edgewall...k&waterconcepts.htm
[rbl, Aug 20 2002]


       Sounds a little like spiderman jumping castle, velcro gloves could be cool here too.
Gulherme, Aug 19 2002

       I don't like ordinary climbing walls, I find them painful and boring. This however sounds like a blast. I would definitely join this kind of 'alternative gym'.   

       Methinks you could make a lot of money by baking this idea (if you could find the capital to start with).
madradish, Aug 19 2002

       I'm voting no, because I think climbing walls are fine as they are. If your shoes hurt, they don't fit properly! Of course they have to be pretty tight so that you don't slip about in them (ankle ligaments a go go), but as long as you keep your toenails short you should be ok. Rock gyms (where I am anyway) are either wet weather/weekday substitutes for people who would rather be outside, or they are learning places for people who might one day want to be outside but are getting strong for the moment.

I'm voting yes, because I like the idea as long as it's not a play version fo climbing walls. As a new concept, like a grown-ups ball pool centre and bouncy castle village, it would be perfect for teamworking away days for execs in suits to fall over and get laughed at by plebs in jeans. Superb!

So, I'm staying neutral because some of the not-so-serious aspects of this idea are in evidence at my (relatively) local place...[link] Like the twister board on the bouldering wall, for example, strength and some skill required!
sappho, Aug 19 2002

       Maybe these walls could be installed in kitchens so some men could ensure that their barefoot and pregnant women have something to do in their own space ...
Aristotle, Aug 19 2002

       Sounds great fun. Croissant.   

       <aside> Aristotle, do you want internment, or cremation ? I can hear the daggers being drawn from here ... </aside>
8th of 7, Aug 19 2002

       <ducks to avoid projectiles aimed at [Aristotle] for posting the above comment>   

       In my experience with climbing gyms, fancy shoes are only necessary for the difficult routes. Most of them have a beginner/warmup area with significantly larger and friendlier protrusions. Ordinary walking shoes work well enough as long as the wall is plumb or slopes away from the climber. You can even do it barefoot (assuming the gym's insurance policy doesn't forbid it) if your heart so desires. I do, and it works fine as long as my feet don't sweat too much. (Chalk helps.) Just stay off the difficult routes. If the staff see more people using the 5.9 routes than the 5.13 routes, they will build more 5.9 routes.   

       It sounds to me like what you really want is an adult-sized playground jungle gym. Hold on -- I think we already half-baked one like that. Just wrap the bars in dense foam rubber, and you'll be on your way.
BigBrother, Aug 19 2002

       Aristotle is very kind to provide us girls with some exercise - he has our welfare at heart. gawd bless yer.
po, Aug 19 2002

       <aside> Aristotle, I know that tone of voice. Sweet irony ... you're in BIG trouble guy. Run, and keep running.... </aside>
8th of 7, Aug 19 2002

       au contraire.......... we know Aristotle - but you 8th are in my sights, hah.
po, Aug 19 2002

       will they be in bright colours?
technobadger, Aug 20 2002

       In all fairness, this sounds like a good old-fashioned gym. At our school, we had walls covered in horizontal wooden bars and a rope lattice that let down from the ceiling, apparently vestiges from the days when everyone had to learn to climb ship's rigging. No special equipment required, and they certainly didn't have any safety ropes. (Of course, the climbing apparati probably weren't as high as I remember them being.)
DrCurry, Aug 20 2002

       you gotta read the second and third paragraphs, Doc.

jutta, having ripped my left ankle to shreds in May by slipping when wearing knackered tennis shoes, and it only healing now, I am very conscious of ligaments! You don't need the ankle to be covered to protect the ligaments, you just need a good connection between it and whatever you're standing on. Your link shows a shoe which is not the best for a beginner - see 'over the line' -> 'dragon' for a seriously technical shoe! But generally, you don't wear climbing shoes for the entire time you're at the rock gym or at the cliffs - when I'm belaying I usually take my shoes off. Bouldering (especially if working on upper body) I sometimes do barefoot as well.
sappho, Aug 20 2002

       Oh, Croissant! Sounds like all kinds of fun for the "moderately-fit but not planning to actually mountaineer" among us.   

       (btw, [sappho] what in the world is "belaying"?)
trifling matter, Aug 20 2002

       The climbing gym I frequent (4 times a week) won't allow either street shoes or barefeet as they both mess up the holds with dirt and oil. Climbing without the proper shoes is like trying to hike in high heels.   

       That being said, a nice cushy fun wall would be great, the owners and builders of our gym already sell a special wall just for use over pools (see link).
rbl, Aug 20 2002

       [trifling matter]: Belaying is the act of operating the safety rope's braking system for the benefit of a climber. The belayer remains in communication with the climber and removes unwanted slack from the rope as the climber ascends. In the event of a fall, the belayer is responsible for applying the brake to catch the climber before he or she falls too far.
BigBrother, Aug 20 2002

       Yay! Barefoot climbing is back. I missed this one.
Worldgineer, Oct 08 2004

       There's a place near me called 'Space Zone'. It's for kids really, but grown ups can (and do) go in to 'look after' the kids. It's three stories of climbing nets, slides, ropes, ball pits, just about everything. Not too challenging for adults but still large enough to have fun in. The point is that it's made from a modular system which could be adapted to a bigger and more complex place for us 'adults'. I'll try to find out who manufactures it.
wagster, Oct 08 2004

       Odd. I don't ever remember having read this idea before. My son would certainly adore this concept.
bristolz, Oct 08 2004

       If this were to catch on, within a few generations our big toes may revert back to prehensile.   


       //I don't like wearing shoes in general//   

       Wow, you're the first person I've found to share this preference with me. Who needs to wear shoes, really?
Pericles, Nov 15 2004

       Heh. There are people for whom going barefoot is a lifestyle (to the point of going barefoot in their everyday outdoor social life, where that's a bit of a taboo in the West). It's like micronudism! That's not really what I meant; I just tire easily of the constriction.
jutta, Jan 13 2005

       Micronudism. Heh.
bristolz, Jan 13 2005

       I hate shoes too. Automatic bun.
DesertFox, Jun 01 2006

       oh man. bun all the way. except: soft materials tend to be inherently kinda slippery. would have to find a nice trade-off between tactile pleasure and grippiness.
epicproblem, Jun 03 2006

       What? Hard materials are slippery - it's physics. Soft materials deform to grip a surface.   

       Iron, glass, etc - slippery UNLESS you are wearing something with rubber soles (rubber is soft!)   

       rubber, plastic, etc - sofft, easy grip
DesertFox, Jun 03 2006

       yes, but fur? fur be slippery.
epicproblem, Jun 04 2006

       Wow, I'm a micronudist and didn't know it. It seems quite acceptable (if slightly unusual) here to be barefoot anywhere but pubs at night and the fancier establishments. (And of course where there are dangers, such as factories). As for barefoot climbing, I've only been outdoor climbing, including barefoot on easier bits. My (much more experienced) climbing buddies said that good tight climbing shoes was best, but barefoot was better than loose or inappropriate shoes.
spidermother, Jan 27 2009

       ...must be feeling pessimistic today...   

       I really do like the idea, but the concept of putting my bare extremities in other people's sloughed off skin doesn't do it for me...   

       [-] "athlete's wall"
FlyingToaster, Jan 27 2009

       ummh, how about the odor?
xkuntay, Jan 28 2009

       Maybe it could smell like dill. That is a nice clean smell. Or there could be different odors in different areas, to facilitate traversing the big fuzzy gym with all the lights off.
bungston, Jan 28 2009


       I like it, an adult fun area.   

       kids get to have all the fun I now have to take my little cousin with me to play on the play ground it's just not fair.
dev45, Jun 30 2009

       [dev45]: an adult fun area. Right. Just remember not to create private nooks. Or keep out the children while the adults are "playing". All that softness and fur... Must be memories of the Barbarella movie making me think about such things.   

       Bun, by the way. Adults are always discriminated against when it comes to playing.
Forthur, Jun 30 2009

       [Forthur] you have to keep the kids out any way, parent have a reputation to keep up. Better for the kids, better for the parents every one wins
dev45, Jul 02 2009


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