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Best Climbing Shoes – Reviews and Comparison of 2019

A good pair of climbing shoes can enhance your performance and help you stay comfortable and safe. Today’s climbing shoes have gone a long way since the simple sticky-rubber climbing shoes that were first introduced on the market in the ’80s. And today, there’s a wide variety of designs with different uppers, closure systems, etc. There are more styles and quality products to choose from than ever before. However, with so many choices available, choosing the best climbing shoes has become more complicated. So, to save you time and effort, we’ve compiled these climbing shoe reviews where we’ve brought together all the best products of 2019.

Below the reviews, we’ve also compiled a comprehensive buying guide. There you can find all the information on what to look for in the best value climbing shoes.

Climbing Shoe Comparison Table

climbing shoe reviews
  • Scarpa Instinct VS
  • 4.6
  • Downturn: Moderate
  • Upper: synthetic
  • Rubber: 3.5mm Vibram XS Edge
  • Style: velcro
top climbing shoes
  • La Sportiva Katana Lace
  • 4.5
  • Downturn: Aggressive
  • Upper: leather/Lorica
  • Rubber: 4mm Vibram XS Edge
  • Style: laces
best climbing shoes
  • La Sportiva TarantuLace
  • 4.4
  • Downturn: Moderate
  • Upper: leather
  • Rubber: 5mm FriXion RS
  • Style: laces
best intermediate climbing shoes
  • La Sportiva Miura VS
  • 4
  • Downturn: Aggressive
  • Upper: leather
  • Rubber: 4mm Vibram XS Grip
  • Style: velcro
best bouldering shoes
  • La Sportiva Mythos
  • 4.6
  • Downturn: Flat
  • Upper: leather
  • Rubber: 4mm Vibram XS Edge
  • Style: laces
best multi pitch climbing shoes
  • La Sportiva TC Pro
  • 4.3
  • Downturn: Flat
  • Upper: leather
  • Rubber: Vibram XS Edge
  • Style: laces

Top 10 Climbing Shoes Reviewed

La Sportiva TarantuLace

best climbing shoesThe best all-around climbing shoe is the La Sportiva TarantuLace. It’s also a great option for those that are looking for the best budget climbing shoes. These shoes are designed for intermediate climbers that can use it for all rock climbing purposes, such as bouldering, gym climbing or crack climbing. But they also make good beginner climbing shoes.

The upper structure of the climbing shoe is made of unlined leather upper, synthetic leather overlay and a lined tongue. So while the shoe is soft and comfortable, it also offers the right amount of support. And the use of both leather and synthetic leather makes the fit more accurate and secure. Moreover, the use of the unlined leather also makes the shoe more breathable, helping to keep your feet dry even on the longest day of climbing.

The bottom structure of the shoe features a thick 5mm FriXion RS rubber sole and a 1.8mm LaspoFlex midsole. This structure offers exceptional friction and makes the shoe stable and durable.

The asymmetric design of the shoe is designed to provide better performance on advanced climbs, allowing you to do more maneuvers and techniques.

Another great feature about this climbing shoe is the aggressive heel rand. It allows for better edge sensing and helps you to avoid cramping and discomfort.

As for the closure system, this model features a quick-pull lacing system. It allows to easily get the most comfortable fit and is also very easy to adjust.

PROS
  • Inexpensive.
  • Unlined leather that provides a comfortable fit.
  • Breathable materials.
  • Durable rubber soles.
  • Easy to put on and off.
CONS
  • Not a high-performance shoe.
  • The shoe sizes are not very accurate.

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Scarpa Instinct VS

climbing shoe reviewsAnother one of the most highly reviewed climbing shoes on our list is the Scarpa Instinct VS, which is one of the best moderate climbing shoes. This shoe offers excellent performance whether you’re climbing steep terrain or toeing into small edges. It’s a versatile choice for those who do sport climbing, crack climbing and hard bouldering.

The shoe features a slipper design with a single floating Velcro strap. It sits snugly on your foot and if needed, you can also adjust it half a size up. This can help to accommodate foot swelling after a long day of climbing.

Equipped with Vibram XS Edge rubber sole that is 3.5mm thick offers an excellent grip on a variety of climbing surfaces. The sole offers a slightly softer construction, which has enhanced sensitivity and flexibility. On top of that, the sole only goes midlength, which gives a nice pivot point. Additionally, the heal features a Vibram XS Grip 2, which is designed to make heel hooking easier.

The toe area features a bi-tension rand that helps to pull your toes to the front of the shoe and place them in the maximum power position. This helps to edge well and perform other maneuvers without pain.

These shoes are also designed with a curved, asymmetrical last for high-performance sport climbing and bouldering.

PROS
  • Excellent grip.
  • High-performance heel.
  • Bi-tension randing for maximum toe power.
  • Easy to put on and off slipper design.
  • Offers a great fit for a medium wide foot.
CONS
  • The toe box is a bit too bulky to fit into thinner cracks.
  • The shoe is on the stiffer side, so it might not be the best for those who want a more sensitive shoe.

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La Sportiva Katana Lace

top climbing shoesKatana Lace is a versatile climbing shoe that does an amazing job at almost any type of climbing. It’s one of the best sport climbing shoes and one of the best bouldering shoes. This La Sportiva model also offers high performance for trad and crack climbing.

The shoe is great at hooking into pockets and holding edges. And all doing so while in absolute comfort. It features a slight downturn with a medium asymmetrical toe box, which directs more power to the tip of your big toe. This increases sensitivity and allows you to get a grip even on the tiniest of holds, providing high performance when bouldering or climbing overhanging terrain.

The high-quality construction of the upper part brings together the structural advantages that come with a lined shoe and the breathability and the precision fit that come with the unlined leather. The sole is made of Vibram XS Edge rubber that is 4mm thick. It’s incredibly durable and sticky enough to smear and edge even on the micro holds. As for the 1.1mm midsole, it features the brand’s signature P3 system provides solid support and guarantees that the shoe will maintain its shape even after years of use.

This climbing shoe also excels at comfort. It might take a bit of time to break them in, however, once you do, you’ll be amazed at how comfortable they are, even on the longest days of climbing.

PROS
  • Versatile.
  • High-performance.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Very grippy.
  • Durable.
CONS
  • Expensive.

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La Sportiva Miura VS

good intermediate climbing shoesLa Sportiva Miura is the best aggressive climbing shoe, which is a popular choice for those who are looking for a more technical option. It’s designed for peak performance, but not so much for comfort.

The stiff, aggressive design makes this model one of the best edging climbing shoes. It allows perching on the tiniest edges while climbing steep boulders, vertical trad routes or technical sport climbs with the overhanging rock. And the curved shape is reinforced with a P3 rand system, which guarantees a continued downturn shape over time.

While most aggressive climbing shoes are soft, this one is quite stiff, providing a durable solid platform that is perfect for vertical edging and pocket climbing. However, while stiffness is good for edging, it makes the shoe lose some flexibility and sensitivity, so the shoe is not that good at hooking and smearing.

The sticky Vibram XS grip rubber that is 4mm thick gives you amazing holding power for highly technical climbing situations. The leather upper makes the shoe mold to your feet and the synthetic lining helps to control the stretch.

One of the few things that La Sportiva Miura VS lacks is good toe hooking since it doesn’t have the thick rubber patch on top of the toe box, which can be found on bouldering-specific models, such as the Scarpa Instinct VS. This shoe is also not designed for crack climbing or all-day routes.

If you want a flatter version, that is a bit stiffer and which also comes with laces instead of Velcro, look for the La Sportiva Miura model without the VS.

PROS
  • Excellent edging.
  • Excellent for pocket climbing.
  • Stiff midsole support.
  • Great rubber friction.
  • Durable.
CONS
  • Uncomfortable, especially on wide feet.
  • Not the most sensitive.

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La Sportiva Mythos

best bouldering shoesLa Sportiva Mythos is one of the most comfortable climbing shoes on the market that is perfect for all day climbing. The balance of comfort and performance that this shoe provides makes it one of the best beginner climbing shoes.

The shoe features soft unlined leather upper that feels soft and comfortable from the first day you put the shoe on. With time, it also stretches and adapts to the unique shape of your foot.

The flat construction of the Mythos features a 4mm Vibram XS Edge rubber sole with 1.8 rands. This provides great grip capabilities, as well as durability. As for the midsole, it’s 1.1mm thick and is made of Laspoflex material, which is soft enough for smearing and stiff enough for bouldering and edging.

This climbing shoe also excels at cracks due to the flat design and the narrow toe box.

In all, due to the softness and less aggressive last, the Mythos climbing shoe is great for longer routes and can be used for sport climbing, trad climbing, bouldering, and indoor climbing.

If you want to buy a climbing shoe that is also designed with the environment in mind, check out the Eco Mythos. 95% of the shoe is made of recycled materials, which reduces the impact on the environment.

PROS
  • Most comfortable.
  • Good for crack climbing.
  • Flexible upper.
  • Ideal for beginners.
  • Durable.
CONS
  • Not the best at edging.
  • Not for advanced climbers.

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La Sportiva TC Pro

good multi pitch climbing shoesLa Sportiva TC Pro is the best trad climbing shoe, which was designed in collaboration with Tommy Caldwell who has been doing high-end trad climbs and who scaled the Dawn Wall. In addition to excellent trad climbing, this shoe also excels at edging and crack climbing.

The TC Pro is extra stiff, which together with the patented P3 platform and the Vibram XS Edge rubber sole delivers powerful edging abilities. The stiff sole also provides great support, so you can stand in cracks all day long and not worry about your legs getting tired. However, even though it’s stiff, the shoe also ranks about average on sensitivity.

For high performance, the shoe also features a flat pointy toe. It’s perfect for comfortable crack climbing, allowing to crank and jam in all the different directions. Though the high volume of the toe box might not be able to fit into the thinnest cracks.

Another great feature of the TC Pro is the mid-rise ankle which offers extra ankle protection. For even more protection and comfort, there is strategically placed foam padding.

If you do big wall climbing, trad climbing or free climbing, then you’ll love this shoe. However, you won’t get the same high performance on anything steeper than vertical since in such situations, they’ll feel just too clunky and flat. This shoe is also not for gym climbers, sport climbers, and boulders.

PROS
  • Excellent edging and crack climbing.
  • Good all-around climbing shoe.
  • Mid-height ankle protection.
  • Foam padding.
  • Stiff midsole.
CONS
  • Expensive.
  • Not designed for gym climbing, sport climbing, and bouldering.

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Five Ten Anasazi VCS

good beginner climbing shoesThe Five Ten Anasazi is the best for technical and vertical climbs. There are actually two options of this shoe: one that is more for technical climbs and the other that is perfect for edging. The main difference between the structure of the two is the outsole. The first one uses the Golden Tan’s Stealth Onyxx outsole and the second one uses Petroglyph Blue’s Stealth C4 outsole.

One of the things that this shoe excels at is friction with its incredibly sticky Stealth Onyxx rubber. This type of rubber is known for its durability and edging performance. It’s also stiff and supportive for constant performance on long technical routes.

The shoe also strikes a balance between stiffness and sensitivity. It’s rigid enough to stand comfortable even in the gnarliest of cracks and sensitive enough to feel virtually every feature in the rock.

The toe box is wide and slightly rounded, so it can only do well on bigger pockets but is pretty mediocre at using small pockets as footholds. Moreover, the toe is not covered with rubber, which means that there’s no protection when doing toe hooking on overhanging terrain.

Strong and durable polyester upper and the flat platform shape provide a relaxed fit. For more comfort, the upper is also soft and breathable. The heel is pressed a little forward and together with the rand works to push the toes downward.

PROS
  • Great for technical climbs/edging.
  • Perfect balance of sensitivity and stiffness.
  • Very sticky rubber.
  • Comfortable.
  • Good beginner climbing shoe.
  • Great for sport, trad, and multi-pitch climbing.
CONS
  • Not the best for overhanging routes.
  • Not the best for crack climbing since the shoes are a bit too soft and the velcro closure can get in the way.

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Scarpa Vapor V

mens and womens climbing shoesThese are great multi-pitch climbing shoes and they are also excellent at bouldering and sport climbing. The shoe is very supportive and it performs best in thin cracks.

The moderately downturned design with medium asymmetry, together with different structural elements, such as a soft midsole and a stepped heel cup, provide excellent performance on technical routes and overhanging terrain. Additionally, the stiff Vibram XS Edge rubber sole provides friction and stability on edges. Moreover, the sole is split into two parts, which increases the flexibility of the shoe.

The structure of this shoe also includes a Bi-tension rand for more toe power and toe hooking, dual velcro straps for an easily adjustable fit and microsuede upper for all-day comfort.

This shoe is great at crack climbing but doesn’t offer the same level of performance for edging and fitting into tiny pockets. They are wide and comfortable, which is good in other areas, but it makes it difficult to weasel into pockets.

The Vapor V also scores high in the comfort metric and they are perfect for all-day climbing. They fit snugly and offer lower tension on the Achilles.

PROS
  • Excels at thin cracks.
  • Supportive for long pitches.
  • Amazing grip.
  • Flexible sole.
  • Lower tension on the Achilles.
CONS
  • Not very sensitive.

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La Sportiva Solution

indoor rock climbing shoesLa Sportiva Solution is a great option for those looking for a good climbing shoe with an aggressive downturn for hard bouldering projects, gym climbing, technical face routes, and tricky overhangs. While the shoe has an aggressive curve, it’s still pretty comfortable and can also be used for longer pitches.

The Solution was one of the first shoes that included La Sportiva’s patented P3 platform that was designed to maintain the shoe’s powerful downturn shape for longer. On top of that, this system gives a solid platform for edging. The pointy toe and the great edging platform also make it easier to fit into smaller, thinner pockets.

The 4mm Vibram XS Grip rubber sole is of about medium stiffness. It’s stiff enough to have enough support and flexible enough to be able to feel the technical elements of the rock. Another feature that makes this shoe stand out is the Lock Harness System, which provides extra security on heel hooks.

This climbing shoe is made of 80% leather and 20% synthetic leather. And it’s lined only in the toe box and the arch area. The rest is unlined, so it will stretch a bit after some time.

PROS
  • Aggressive downturn.
  • Great sensitivity.
  • Amazing precision.
  • Comfortable wear.
  • Great toe and heel hooking.
  • Easy to put on and off.
CONS
  • Not very versatile.
  • Has only one Velcro strap, which some users had break prematurely.
  • Not the most comfortable climbing shoe for all-day climbing.

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Butora Acro

best climbing shoes for wide feetThe Butora Acro is an aggressively downturned shoe that offers surprising versatility. It offers high performance for steep bouldering, sport climbing, and gym climbing. And it’s the best climbing shoes for wide feet. Though, you can also buy these same shoes in a narrow design.

The shoe features an aggressively downturned design with a stiff midsole and a high tension heel. This provides impressive precision and accuracy on every move, allowing it to edge even on the tiniest holds. While stiff, the sole still remains flexible and sensitive enough to feel tiny elements of the rock.

This climbing slipper is almost entirely covered in rubber. That includes a large sticky toe patch for secure and comfortable toe hooking. The sole is made of NEO Fuse rubber, which is known for its impressive stickiness and durability. This rubber also covers most of the toe and heel boxes. As for the upper construction, it’s made with a combination of synthetic and natural leather, which offers a balance of a good fit and better performance.

PROS
  • Durable design.
  • Excellent edging.
  • Great hooking and smearing abilities.
  • Stiff but sensitive.
  • Are great for wide feet (available in narrow size as well).
CONS
  • Struggles on purely vertical terrain.

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How to Choose Climbing Shoes? – The Ultimate Buying Guide

The wrong type of climbing shoe or the wrong size can hold back your performance. And the right type of shoe will help you to push your way up the cliffs and mountainsides, while also keeping you safe and secure. That’s why it’s important to understand what are the features that you should look out for choosing the best climbing shoes. So, after learning how to pick a climbing shoe, you can more confidently decide which shoe is more right for you.

Types of Climbing Shoes

On the market, you can find different types of climbing shoes to fit different styles of climbing. You could be doing sport, trad, gym climbing or bouldering. And if you want the best performance, it’s important to match the two: type of shoes and type of climbing. For example, if you’re doing crack climbing, shoes that are designed for overhanging boulders will not be as functional.

Trad

Trad climbing usually involves climbing slabby or just-vertical terrain. That means that it also involves a lot of jamming your feet in cracks. So, for best performance, look for flat climbing shoes, which are also sometimes called all-around shoes or non-aggressive shoes. Other things to look out for is a stiff midsole, minimal heel protection, minimal or no downturn and a comfortable fit.

However, if your trad route is very technical or steep, you might find it easier to climb in shoes with a moderate or aggressive downturn.

Sport

For sport climbing, you might prefer a shoe with a moderate downturn, solid edging, a tight heel, and a stiff midsole.

Bouldering

For bouldering, both indoor and outdoor, you want shoes that offer a snug fit and stability, but which are probably not comfortable to wear for more than a few minutes. Look for climbing shoes with an aggressive downturn, a generous toe patch and a rounded heel cup.

Downturn

One of the most notable features of a climbing shoe is the downturn. It describes the shape of a shoe, each of which comes with its own attributes. Depending on the type of climbing you do and the performance you require, you can choose the preferred downturn accordingly.

Downturn defines the amount of curve that the shoe has. It can be from very curved (aggressive) to flat.

Flat/Neutral

good bouldering shoesA flat climbing shoe allows your foot to lie flat inside the shoe, so your feet are able to rest in their natural position. It’s ideal for beginners as it gives the most comfort. They are also good for experienced climbers who prefer comfortable shoes for all day climbing.

These shoes are also versatile and are a great option for those looking for an all-around climbing shoe.

The thick rubber soles are usually somewhere in the medium to stiff range. So you get solid support, but it also means that they don’t have as much sensitivity. And these type of climbing shoes is not recommended for difficult overhanging routes.

Moderate

great climbing shoesModerate climbing shoes have a slight downturn, which is called a camber. They allow you to edge better and perform well in steep cracks.

These shoes are good for technical climbing and they can handle slab routes, crack climbs and slightly overhung routes.

The slightly downturned shape of the shoe puts your feet into a stronger position, making it easier to climb challenging routes than in neutral shoes. On top of the slight downturn, they also have stickier rubber and thinner soles, which allows for better sensitivity and better grip.

On the downside, they are not as comfortable as neutral shoes and the thinner soles tend to wear out faster.

Aggressive

climbing shoe comparisonAggressive climbing shoes are all about performance and less about comfort. They feature a sharp downturn with the shoe curving towards the big toe in an asymmetric shape. This gives more power to the toe, helping with precise foot placement on small holds.

These shoes also come with rubber that is stickier and soles that are thinner, so you get good sensitivity in them for a good grip when climbing.

The aggressive type of climbing shoes are typically worn for single-pitch sport climbs and not for all-day climbing because the aggressive downturn design is not very comfortable. Also, because of the thin sole, they wear out faster.

Best Climbing Shoe Features

Flexibility – Soft vs Stiff

soft vs stiff

The level of flexibility is another way that climbing shoes differ from each other. Choosing between soft and stiff shoe is about your preference and the type of climbing you do.

  • Rigid sole. A stiff shoe offers more support for the foot, so it helps in keeping you more stable and minimizes foot and calf fatigue. They also offer more edging power since they provide a stable platform for your foot to stand on tiny edges. A rigid sole is better for those who do vertical face and slab climbing, as well as those who do longer climbs and those who are just getting into the sport.
  • Medium-stiff sole. If you want all-around performance, you might prefer the medium stiffness. It’s stiff enough to provide good support for edging and flexible enough for doing technical climbing.
  • Soft sole. Soft shoes are more sensitive and flexible, so they are more ideal for technical climbing. However, they don’t offer much foot support, so your feet have to do a lot of work to support themselves. And this results in more fatigue. That’s why they are more often used for short boulder routes.

Upper Material – Leather (Lined and Unlined) vs Synthetic

The kind of material that is used on the upper, which rests along the top and sides of the shoe, also determines how it performs. The two main types of material are leather and synthetic, while leather can also be lined and unlined. The main difference between leather and synthetic is the stretch, but each type has advantages and disadvantages and choosing which one is the best is mainly about preference.

  1. Unlined leather. Under pressure, leather shoes tend to stretch and over time they start to conform to your foot. This results in a much more comfortable fit that is highly responsive to the unique shape of your foot. Unlined leather shoes after some time can stretch up to a full size, so make sure to buy a size that is a bit smaller than you usually would. Other advantages of unlined leather include more breathability, so they will be more comfortable in hot weather, and less stink. However, there are also downsides. The break-in period can be painful and the shoes can bleed color to your foot.
  2. Lined leather. The lined leather’s stretch is reduced to about a half size or less, so they offer a balance between unlined leather and synthetic material. They don’t stretch as much as unlined leather, but they offer more next-to-skin comfort. Many manufacturers line only the toes since that’s where the stretch tends to occur the most. However, this decreases sensitivity and prevents you from detecting usable features on rocks. Moreover, lined leather is less breathable and more stinky than unlined leather.
  3. Synthetic. Synthetic shoes maintain their shape and don’t change their size over time. This makes it easier to size them and there’s no painful break-in period. Many synthetic climbing shoes do not incur water damage and they are also vegan-friendly.

Outsole

If you’ve already done some climbing shoe research, you probably noticed that the manufacturers use many different types of rubber. Choosing the type of rubber is very important since it’s the part that has to actually stick to the rock. However, the huge variety of them seems very confusing to most. Each type of rubber offers slightly different performance, though they do have one thing in common – they are all sticky.

La Sportiva and Scarpa climbing shoes, for the most part, use Vibram rubber. And it can be of the following three types:

  1. XS Grip. It’s high-performance rubber that offers a great grip on smooth rock and works well in both hot and cold climbing conditions.
  2. SX Grip2. It’s a bit firmer compared to the first one, which is good for moderate edging, good friction and more consistent performance.
  3. XS Edge. This is the firmest Vibram rubber, so it provides the most edging support and durability.

Shoes from Five Ten manufacturer mostly use Stealth rubber. The most common types of Stealth rubber are the following:

  1. Stealth C4. This popular sticky rubber provides great friction and amazing edging.
  2. Hf. It’s very sticky and also quite soft, so it can conform to tiny edges and help the climber pull in with their feet on boulder problems.
  3. Onyxx.

Rubber Thickness

Climbing shoes not only come with different types of rubber but also with a different thickness of that rubber. And how thick the rubber is, definitely affects how you climb.

  • Shoes with a thinner rubber that is about 3-4mm thick offer more sensitivity and a better feel for the rock underfoot. However, the thinner the sole, the quicker it will wear out.
  • A thicker sole, on the other hand, provides extra support for the feet, but sacrifices on the sensitivity. Thicker rubber is usually a good choice for those who are just starting out climbing and those who haven’t yet built up strength in their feet.

Closures

closuresAnother thing not to overlook when choosing the most comfortable climbing shoes is the closure type. Each has its pros and cons for various forms of climbing, so choose one that is the best match for you.

  1. Lace type of closure is generally more comfortable compared to other types. You can get a more precise fit but loosening or tightening it as much as you need. They also don’t come undone as sometimes the Velcro straps do. Laces are ideal for trad climbers that don’t need to frequently remove them between climbs.
  2. Velcro is popular among climbers mainly because of how easy it is to take them on and off. There can be one, two or three velcro straps, which also allow getting a good fit. However, keep in mind that Velcro can come undone and they also add bulk, which can cause pressure points when trad climbing. Velcro closures are great for indoor, sport climbing and bouldering.
  3. Slippers are the easiest to get on and off since there are no laces or straps to fasten. Since there’s no closure, you also don’t have to worry about it coming undone. The low profile of the shoe also allows for better sensitivity since there are no barriers that hinder suppleness and flexibility. However, slippers tend to stretch over time and without a way to tighten them, they can become unusable.

Surface and Terrain

Many of the climbing shoes are designed for general climbing. However, some of the shoes are designed for more niche purposes. For example, a thicker rubber sole would do better on a bumpier terrain and a thinner sticky sole will give you a better grip on flatter surfaces. So, before choosing a certain pair of climbing shoes, decide terrain you would be climbing on the most, and then choose the shoes accordingly.

Weight

One of the less important factors to consider is the weight of the shoe. However, if you’ll be doing all-day climbing, you might prefer a lighter pair over a chunkier one.

Women’s and Men’s Versions

If you’re a man, don’t rule out women-specific models. Here, gender is only a generality and many men find that the women’s shoes give them a perfect fit and vice versa.

One of the main differences between men’s and women’s climbing shoes is that men’s are made for wider feet and women’s are for narrow feet. So if you have a narrow foot, you might better off with a women’s style. And if you’re a woman with a wide foot, you might prefer the other.

Women’s climbing shoes also tend to have a lower cut around the ankle and a smaller heel cup. It’s a design that is perfect for low-volume feet, both men’s and women’s.

How Should Climbing Shoes Fit?

soft vs stiff

A good fit is another important factor that will determine how well a shoe can perform. Here are a few tips on how to size climbing shoes.

The best way to make sure that you get the right fit is to visit a store and try a few different models. However, before you head out to the store right away, keep in mind that it’s best to shop in the afternoon. During the day, your feet can swell up to a full size and if you shop in the afternoon, your feet would be at about your climbing size.

Also, consider if you wear climbing shoes with or without socks. If with, is it a thick or thin sock? When trying the shoe on, take this into account. If you’re trying them on a thick sock, but you actually climb without a sock, later you might find the fit too loose.

Some shops offer a selection of holds or edges to help you test the shoes. Use them by standing on them with different parts of your feet and check how stable you feel. Or if there’s no small climbing wall in the store, just put your feet in different positions to get a better idea of how the shoes feel.

When choosing the shoe size also keep in mind that various brands use different sizing systems. A size of one brand can fit completely different compared to the same size of another brand. So make sure to check the climbing shoe size guide of the particular brand you’re looking at.

Climbing Shoes FAQ

What are rock climbing shoes?

Climbing shoes are a unique type of footwear that is designed for rock climbing use. They are made for a close fit with almost no padding and they feature a smooth, sticky rubber sole. These type of shoes are not fit for walking, hiking or other types of activity. That’s why they’re usually put on right before embarking on a climb.

How tight should climbing shoes be?

Your climbing shoes should fit relatively tight but they should not be tight to a point that they make your feet hurt and they cut off your blood flow. The toes should touch the end of the shoe. If you’re getting aggressive shoes, the toes might be very slightly curled.

It also depends on the material of the shoe. Synthetic materials don’t stretch much, but leather does. If you’re buying leather climbing shoes, you can choose a model that is a bit tighter.

Do you wear socks with climbing shoes?

Most people prefer to wear their climbing shoes without socks. Going barefoot allows you to feel more of the surface. Without a sock, you can feel every nook and cranny of the climbing holds.

However, if you’re renting climbing shoes, it’s probably better to keep your socks on. You don’t want to increase your chances of contracting nail fungus or athlete’s foot.

How to stretch climbing shoes?

Most climbing shoes come stiff out of the box and breaking them in can be quite painful. If you want to ease that pain, there are a few ways to stretch them, given that they are leather climbing shoes.

If you need a decent amount of stretching, put your shoes on and walk into a hot shower. After the shoes get thoroughly soaked, get out of the shower and walk around a bit. Next, take them off, stuff them with newspaper and leave them to dry.

How do you keep climbing shoes clean?

To extend the longevity of the climbing shoes, it’s important to keep them clean. To avoid any dirt and grit getting on the shoes, make sure that you wear them only for climbing and wear them on clean feet. Also, store them in a shoe bag and protect them from direct sunlight.

How to clean climbing shoes?

The most important part to take care of is the rubber. A dirty rubber will not only give a poor grip but will also wear out faster.

After a climb, wipe the sole and the insole with a damp cloth. You can also gently use a wire brush to remove any dirt and revive the grip. However, don’t use too much water when cleaning as it can stretch out the leather material.

To get rid of unpleasant odors in the shoe, sprinkle it with baking soda. Baking soda is not very appealing to bacteria, so it will keep the climbing shoes from smelling.

When to resole climbing shoes?

Climbing shoes tend to wear out far more frequently than we would like. However, a worn out shoe doesn’t mean that you need to throw it out. Usually, it’s the rubber that wears out, while most of the shoe is still good. So many climbers just resole their shoes by replacing the original sole with a fresh layer of rubber.

Once the sole is worn out, most climbers start climbing on the rand. However, the rand is not designed to take as much abuse as the sole. And if you keep on climbing on the rand, you can damage the structural elements of the shoe. That’s why if you see the sole receding to the point where you start climbing on the rand, it might be a good time to resole your shoes.

How long do climbing shoes last?

How long your climbing shoes will last depends on your footwork, the environment and how much you climb. If you climb regularly, you’ll probably go through at least one pair a year.

Bottom Line

In this article, we’ve provided the 10 best climbing shoes, which are the top rated products in 2019. We’ve narrowed down the multiple choices available on the market today by analyzing their features, quality, and user reviews. We hope that our climbing shoe reviews have been helpful in finding the best rock climbing shoe that is the most ideal for your situation and needs.

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