If you are an avid rock climber, then there’s only one way to do it well; Rock Climbing Shoes. We’re not just talking about any type of shoe, but the best rock-climbing shoes. Most times, people make the big mistake of picking out any type of climbing shoe from the store. This always proves to be disadvantageous in the long run.
Having a great climbing expedition means getting the best value shoes. Well, no pressure, because we would give you a list and guide on the best rock climbing shoes. You also don’t have to worry because they are relatively affordable, durable and way better than any off-the-counter ‘best non-rock climbing shoes’.
So, what are the best rock climbing shoes?
|Black Diamond Momentum||Flat||Synthetic|
|La Sportiva Testarosa||Moderate-to-Aggressive||Leather|
|Scarpa Maestro Mid||Flat||Leather|
|Five Ten Dragon||Aggressive||Synthetic|
|Scarpa Furia Air||Aggressive||Synthetic|
|La Sportiva Miura VS||Aggressive||Leather|
- Best Rock Climbing Shoes Reviews
- Buyer’s Guide
Best Rock Climbing Shoes Reviews
If you are an intermediate level climber, you might want to consider the Scarpa Arpia. It is considered as one of the best intermediate rock climbing shoes. As you advance in rock climbing from beginner to intermediate, and expert levels, you tend to encounter more hard and steep terrains. This only means that you would need the best rock climbing shoes for edging.
The Scarpa Arpia is designed with an aggressive downturn that hooks the footholds better while pulling your weight closer to the wall. It is the best climbing shoe to easily transition from a flat beginner rock climbing shoe to an intermediately downturned shoe. It does not affect your climbing performance negatively.
The bottom panel is made with suede while the upper is made with microfiber. This is the reason why Apria is one of the most comfortable intermediate climbing shoes. It is regarded as one of the best beginners to intermediate rock climbing shoes and we guess you now know why.
- A great choice for entry-level and intermediate rock climbers
- Best shoes to wear indoor rock climbing.
- It offers high comfortability and performance.
- The heels are not 100% sticky.
- The shoe’ s insides can be a little slippery when it is wet.
#2 Black Diamond Momentum
Want to know what makes this one of the top rock climbing shoes for beginners? Three things: durability, comfort, and affordability. These are the three factors that make for the best entry-level climbing shoes. The Black Diamond Momentum checks all these boxes. At $100, it is one of the best inexpensive rock climbing shoes.
The shoe is designed with a microfiber toe liner and a breathable knit upper. This makes it very comfortable and durable. The shoe sole has a flat surface that can see you through shabby and almost vertical terrains. The Velcro straps make it possible to adjust the for and take it off easily.
- The Black Diamond Momentum comes with high aesthetic value.
- The breathable-engineered knit is a positive aspect of the shoe.
- Best indoor rock climbing shoes for beginners
- Great rock climbing shoe for all-day climbing!
- The shoe is vegan-friendly.
- Best budget
- The shoe material stretches over time.
- Constant use can cause blisters
#3 La Sportiva Testarosa
For the La Sportiva Testarosa, trying it out is the only way to get a taste of how better rock climbing can be. It makes our list as the best rock climbing shoes for outdoor performance. The shoe is designed with a moderate-to-aggressive downturn that makes it give a high performance during climbing. The Testarosa was recently upgraded to a new design with lace-up edges and heels that hook and smears giving it a better fit and performance.
- The power and precision from climbing with this shoe is record-breaking.
- The long lacing design allows you to adjust fit.
- It sticks better than most rock climbing shoes.
- The new design comes with a narrower and improved heel.
- It is made with natural leather that does not stretch.
- The laces on the forefoot interfere with scumming.
- It is not one of the best rock climbing shoes for the gym. This is because the relaxed longitudinal torque leads to tired feet when used on long and vertical pitches.
#4 Scarpa Maestro Mid
The Scarpa Maestro Mid is one of the best rock climbing shoes for trad. If you are a sucker for classic rock climbing, this is your best bet. It offers comfort, versatility, and performance. The sole is flat and aggressive enough to hook micro footholds and jamming into cracks.
- It is the best rock climbing shoe for trad.
- The Scarpa Maestro Mid offers all-around performance.
- It is a good choice for face climbing.
- It offers both relative comfort and performance.
- Best for climbing through thin and wide cracks alike.
- It doesn’t perform well in thin cracks at 1-1.5 inches wide.
- Relatively more expensive than some other rock climbing shoes.
- It is not 100% comfortable for wearing all day.
#5 Five Ten Dragon
If you are one for steep climbing, the Five Ten Dragon is a very good company. This shoe has one of the most aggressive downturns which makes it the ideal rock climbing shoes for edging. It fits right into and hooks even the smallest footholds and edges in vertical terrain.
- The shoe’s design is one of its selling points.
- It is lightweight and the toe box is precise and stiff. Also, the heel is close-fitting making it give a high performance during climbing.
- It is one of the best aggressive rock climbing shoes.
- The shoe material is durable.
- The buckle of the top strap bites into the ankle bone but could be remedied with padding.
#6 Scarpa Furia Air
If you are in search of the best shoes for sport climbing, this would be it. The Scarpa Furia Air was made for competition climbing. It is very comfortable with its soft, sock-like nature. Also, it comes up with a very aggressive downturn. This makes it a combination of comfort and performance, especially on steep terrain. Worth mentioning is the fact that the shoe is very light and is the lightest rock climbing shoe in the world.
- It is very light which means the weight doesn’t get in your way while climbing.
- It offers comfort and performance.
- The Scarpa Furia Air is one of the best shoes for bouldering.
- The shoe is very light so it does not shield you from pain due to sloppy footwork.
#7 La Sportiva Miura VS
High performance, comfortability, and flexibility: three things that make up the best shoes for hiking and rock climbing. La Sportiva Miura VS is designed with an aggressive downturn that allows you to master edges, footholds and fit just right into cracks. The manufacturer designed it with leather upper and synthetic linings which makes it very durable. It can be re-soled when you need one. Arguably, this design is one of the best rock climbing shoe brands.
- It is referred to as the best rock climbing shoes la sportiva has made.
- It is definitely one of the best rock climbing shoes for multi-pitch.
- The La Sportiva Miura VS is very well designed.
- The shoe is durable and lasts well.
- The shoe’s laces are not durable.
When trying to buy the best alpine rock climbing shoes, there are a few things that you benefit from knowing. If you shop for a rock climbing shoe that is bad for you, you may end up regretting it because you may experience pain, low performance or blisters. We would be giving you the important things you need to know about getting the ideal rock climbing company shoes.
What to Look for in Good Rock Climbing Shoes
Types of Rock Climbing Shoes
Before heading out to get rock climbing shoes, it is best that you know the types available to you. It also comes as a question of “what type of rock climbing am I doing?”, “what rock climbing stage am I?”. The answer to these questions determines the type of rock climbing shoes you would consider. It may come in the form of “what are the best rock climbing shoes for beginners or intermediate or advanced climbers?”, or ” what are the best climbing shoes for sport climbing, trad or bouldering?”.
Let’s break down what you should be looking for in these situations.
If you are into sports climbing, you should be looking for rock climbing footwears with a stiff midsole, good edging platform, and good lace closure. The shoe should also have a moderate downturn to help you easily scale vertical slabs.
For trad, flat and non-aggressive rock climbing shoes would give you the best performance. You should be looking out for a rock climbing shoe with a relaxed fit, stiff midsole and lane closure with ankle protection. This would help because you would be jamming into cracks while climbing. Look for shoes with little to no downturn except you would be tackling steeper or more difficult terrains.
For bouldering, you should be looking for performance as opposed to comfort. The best rock climbing shoes for indoor bouldering or outdoor should get you through steeper terrains. It should be designed with an aggressive downturn, hybrid closures, solid toe rubber, and rubber heel cups to get you through tiny incuts, heel hooks, and toe hooks. The material used in the shoe should allow you enough sensitivity while climbing.
Downturn: Flat, Moderate, or Aggressive
You have to seriously consider the downturn of a rock climbing shoe before getting it. It is very important because it determines your performance while moving a course. Downturn is determined by the arc or curve on the sole of your rock climbing shoe. There are three categories of downturn in rock climbing shoes: flat, moderate and aggressive.
If you are coursing through vertical or less vertical terrains, flat shoes are the best choice. However, when pitching through edges or steeper slabs or terrains, more aggressive shoes should be considered.
Closure: Velcro, Laces, or Slipper
When it comes to closures, it depends on your taste. Closures control comfortability and fit. Let’s look at the three types of closures in rock climbing shoes.
Velcro is very comfortable because you can slip them on and off easily. It is best for people who don’t like their shoes on for long. You would find this closure mostly in the top rock climbing shoes for indoor bouldering, sports climbing and for the gym. The disadvantage to it is that they could slip off while climbing which would be a very uncomfortable situation to be in.
Lace is best for rock climbers who 0erfirm repeated jamming. It is great for climbers who love their shoes on for a longer time. It is also a better choice for people who prefer fit to comfort.
If your goal is totally comfort, skipper closures would be your best bet. They offer good friction in slabs and fit well into cracks. The downside to them is that they stretch over time and cannot be resoled. Some of the best-rated rock climbing footwear are made with a combination of these closures. You should consider them first to see if it works better.
Fit and Sizing
The fit of a rock climbing shoe cuts across the length, breadth, and width of your feet. A good fit should not be too tight or too loose. It should hold your feet snugly in a comfortable way. There are some climbers that are willing to sacrifice comfort to get higher performance. If you are new to this, you may want to check out the best rock climbing shoes for beginners Reddit. If you have a different foot shape, it would help to look up the best shoes for wide feet or best rock climbing shoes for Morton’s toe or flat feet.
Soft vs. Stiff
Most rock climbers prefer stiffer shoes to soft ones because they offer better support. Softer shoes are more sensitive and flexible. This choice depends solely on your individual preferences. You should know that the soft wear our faster than the stiff ones.
Men’s vs. Women’s
There are female climbers who look for the best women’s beginner rock climbing shoes. This is however not very important as some men wear women’s shoes and so do women. Most rock climbing footwears today are unisex. It is, however, important to know that men’s shoes are wider while women’s are narrower.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Climbing
Although indoor rock climbing is very different from the outdoor, your choice should depend on your priorities. Most indoor climbers look for the best affordable shoes with comfort while outdoor climbers look for high performance and durability.
Should I go for Laces or Velcro closures?
When going for a rock climbing shoe, you have to first consider what you want. Lace shoes are typically more comfortable because they can be adjusted to fit and as loose as you want at any period. The slight downside to them is that they are less convenient to put in and take off. Also, laces that go down to the toe offer precise fit but can cause pain or get in your way while doing some toe work.
Velcro closures on the other hand offer convenience when taking off and putting them on. This comes in handy while bouldering or sport climbing. They are both comfortable and offer performance. They are, however, not so suitable for aggressive climbing or bouldering on steep terrains.
Any of these closures would be a good choice but it depends on what you want.
What shape of rock climbing shoe should I go for?
It is paramount that you know that the shape of a rock climbing shoe influences its performance and comfortability. When going for rock climbing shoes, you would be met with three shapes: neutral, moderate and aggressive profile. Let’s look at them.
The neutral profile comes as an asymmetrical shaped flat shoe. Most of the sole would touch a flat surface if you place it without your foot in it. It may come with a very slight arc. If you are a beginner, neutral shoes would be the best rock climbing shoes for the gym or outdoor climbing. It can take you through multi-pitch terrains, cracks, and lower angled slabs.
Moderate profiles rock climbing shoes have more pronounced arcs. They are more precise while climbing by pushing your weight towards your big toes. It gives more balance, especially on smaller footholds. This would be the best rock climbing shoes for intermediate climbers or trad climbers. It helps you course through more technical terrains and thin cracks. The shoes are stiffer and give an all-round performance. They are the best neutral rock climbing shoes.
Finally, the aggressive profile shoes come with a visibly downturned, distinctly asymmetric and hooked shape. They are designed to push your weight forwards and hook footholds in a way that your weight is centered around the big toe. They offer more balance and performance. Aggressive profiled shoes are the best rock climbing shoes for indoor bouldering in the gym or outdoors. For advanced climbers, this is a good choice. They are designed to give high performance in steeper terrains.
So, depending on your performance level or type of rock climbing, any of these profiles would fit just right.
What do I need to know about different rock climbing shoe materials?
Climbing shoes are made to fit and mold into your feet. Some materials would stretch overtime more than others. For example, leather uppers stretch more than other materials. They become loose overtime although they are more breathable than other materials. Synthetic or line leather shoes, on the other hand, stretch less. They always maintain the same shape as when you bought them. Rubber most especially does not stretch. It may wear a little but will never come loose. So, buying a small size rubber rock climbing shoe with the idea that it would stretch overtime, would be a big mistake.
It is best to know about these materials before going for a rock climbing shoe. If you are not so clear about it, look for the best place to buy rock climbing shoes and you’ll get the best.
Would rubber thickness and softness affect my performance?
All or most rock climbing shoes offer good grip however, some rubber soles tend to be softer than others. Softer rubber soles are the best shoes for smearing on bare rock slabs and also for light climbing. Harder rubber soles are the best climbing shoes for edging and on smaller foothold or cracks. You should also know that softer rubber soles would wear faster than the harder ones. This means that the harder rubber soles are more durable.
To answer the question directly, yes, the thickness and softness of rubber in rock climbing shoes affect performance. With a thicker rubber sole, sensitivity while climbing is reduced and they are stiffer. Thicker rubber shoes are the best way to break in rock climbing shoes especially for beginners.
Also, climbers trying to develop their footwork precision or technique would benefit better from a thicker rubber shoe than a thin one. For an advanced rock climber, you would be looking for something more supple and thin. You can check out the best soft rock climbing shoes.
We have gone out of our way to highlight the best shoes for rock climbing. The Black Diamond Momentum is our pick for the best budget while Scarpa Arpia is our pick for the overall best rock climbing shoe. If you follow our recommendations and guide, there is no way rock climbing wouldn’t be more fun. Make the right choice today and climb like a champ.