I have been crafting clothing for the climbing world for several years now and, spending time in both the professional and amateur climbing sphere, I have happily noticed that the gender gap between men and women has finally almost disappeared in this sport.
During the first training sessions at the gym, I realised that I could finally compete and confront the opposite sex without strength playing a discriminating role against me and women in general.
You may find this reasoning misleading, but knowing that the flexibility, technique and logic of my mind could get me to the same point reached by men with the use of force, and even go beyond that, was an important stimulus for the birth and growth of my passion for climbing.
Proof of this are the results of relevant professional athletes: Julia Chanourdie, Laura Rogora and Angela Eiter, who have climbed routes up to 9b and the goals that many other girls are setting themselves, trying out grades that were thought to be accessible only to men.
At last, physicality and strength are not the prevailing elements in sport, although I believe that they do play a part.
Ladies climbing: the strengths of women
I believe the following factors contribute to leveling up the difference genders in this practice:
- the multitude of styles and movements that allow you to get to the target. There is not a single way to get to a hold, if I am small but flexible I will be able to use this last skill to my advantage.
- The mind – concentration, motivation and thought management. When you’re climbing, as I know well, fear of heights, of falling, of getting hurt may occur. Working on managing this fear can make a girl much stronger than anyone who gets psychologically stuck on the wall.
- Flexibility: during pull-ups with male friends I always feel under-performing, but when I stretch on the mat, I am finally at an advantage 😊 (obviously this is a generalisation). But it’s undeniable that the flexibility component, which is much more present in the female body, is a major advantage when climbing.
- Sensitivity in the broadest sense of the term.
To better understand the last factor ‘sensitivity’, here is an excerpt from an interview found online with the athlete Lynn Hill:
“to improve my skills I start from other assumptions, and I ask myself: why can’t I have a more intelligent approach to climbing? How do I channel my energy in a more efficient way? The idea (and the answer) is that we have to adapt to the rock, not the other way around […] trying to push my perceptions and my sensitivity to the rock and my body to the maximum. […] Smooth climbing; always fluid and in tune with the wall. A total and harmonious movement to find the right rhythm, and to leave no room for any thought other than the game of climbing. In short, the search, from my point of view, for the perfect state of ‘grace’ in climbing.”
Women's climbing clothing
Thinking about femininity in climbing, I designed the Monvic long pants models: Violet, Bonnie, Katy and Balzen.
The latter, in its simplicity and thanks to the high waistband, is also very popular with men, as it allows the harness to be worn without any snags due to the button, drawstring and loops.
I will share this fun fact with you: both in the showroom and through online sales, we have noticed that, despite the widespread machismo, a lot of guys envy the many options women have when it comes to choosing clothing, and this year florals were mostly purchased by men.
Climbing clothing for the Summer
For the summer, I designed and made shorts that allow us to feel cool while at the same time respecting the freedom of movement we need when climbing. And we made them to suit all tastes in terms of fabrics, colours and patterns.
Finally, to close the circle there are all the tops and tank tops, in classic or organic cotton or in technical material.
Which is the most loved tank top?
The Jill model, made with practical and comfortable synthetic material. Sewn in a double layer of fabric at the front, it provides perfect support and strength for the breast, with practical braided straps at the back.