10 Best Climbing Shoes Reviewed

If you’re someone who is continuously up for the adventure that life brings, and hiking and climbing is a large inclusive part then you’re probably looking for the right shoes. Just because you have a pair of old sneakers doesn’t really mean they’re equipped for climbing they may have some of the needed features, but when climbing you want to make sure you are completely equipped for what’s to come. You want shoes that will give you the endurance, flexibility, and comfort that is needed for those long treks and climbs.

Best-Climbing-Shoes-woman rock climber

Mother nature is nurturing and organic, but that doesn’t mean it’s soft and playable. You’re bound to run into hard rocky surfaces where a firm grip is necessary. Climbing is a very precarious activity, It is so easy to slip and fall when your shoes aren’t equipped for the terrain. This could present a lot of risks and accidents for wearers of normal shoes. You need to be assured that you have the right climbing shoes for the circumstances, so you can reduce the chances of accidents.

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Last Updated: August 4, 2017
by Mirisa Jewell :

Criteria and Frequently Asked Questions update. This content included topics including Surface/Terrain, Adjustable Hook/Fast Lacing/Hook and Loop Closure, as well as Breathability/Closure System. In addition question ‘How do you keep climbing shoes clean?

La Sportiva Tarantulace
  • La Sportiva Tarantulace
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Multi-functional
  • Price: See Here
Evolv Shaman
  • Evolv Shaman
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • High Friction Toe Patch
  • Price: See Here
Evolv Defy
  • Evolv Defy
  • 4.2 out of 5
    Our rating
  • High Friction Rubber
  • Price: See Here

Look no further because here we have a list of the best climbing shoes that we believe will help you on your climbing excursions. At the moment you might think that you have the right shoes for climbing but after reading this entire list you’ll begin to realize that you just might be missing the most essential parts of climbing shoes.

 

10 Best Climbing Shoes

 

1. La Sportiva Tarantulace

1. La Sportiva Tarantulace
La Sportiva Men’s Tarantulace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe is perfectly equipped for all of your climbing adventures. The shoes are equipped with a fast lacing system that makes tying laces a thing of the past. The shoe also includes an Asymmetrical layout which is different than the some of the others on the list, this helps make the shoes more comfortable. Along with this, the shoes have a grippy heel for latching onto surfaces and a rubber sole. The shoes are meant to be extremely adaptable and a comfortable, snug wear for your feet.
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Multifunctional Features
The company promises that the shoes can be used in all circumstances when climbing including, overhanging sport routes, bouldering, gym climbing, or technical rock faces, no matter the type of climbing the shoes continually come into clutch.

Unlined Advanced Features
The Tarantulace keeps the duality, comfort, and adaptability of any unlined climbing shoe while including other technical features. This added feature makes the shoes completely more breathable for the wearer.

Cost and Value
While the shoes do lean towards the expensive side, in terms of the list and average climbing shoes they seem to be worth the price that they're selling for. Because they also include a large amount of multifunctional features and an added Unlined Advanced features.
Pros
  • Unlined
  • Asymmetrical
  • Comfortable
  • Duality
Cons
  • Can run small to size
  • Slightly tight

2. Evolv Shaman

The Shaman Climbing Shoe is an ultimate performance climbing shoe that comes in two different colors. The aforementioned colors are Blue/Orange and Orange/Blue. The shoe also includes the asymmetrical feature and a firm rubber grip. The shoe is designed for serious climbers who are looking for a practical shoe that includes the friction that they need.
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Knuckle Box and Midsole Bump
The shoe includes these special features that allow for more space in the shoes which allows for the wearer to have more strength for climbing and helps with better grabbing.

Asymmetrical Shape
This important feature helps with edging when climbing and also creating a better grip. With the added rubber on the outside of the sole, the grip for the shoes is even better for gripping.

Cost and Value
The shoes are pretty expensive for the features that they offer and come at a higher price than most on the list. Although they do bring new features like the "knuckle box" which isn't included in too many climbing shoes.
Pros
  • Asymmetrical
  • Knuckle box
  • Midsole Bump
Cons
  • Runs small to size

3. Mad Rock Flash 2.0

The Mad Rock Men's Flash 2.0 Climbing Shoe comes in select two colors, those being yellow and orange/black. The shoes are an imported leather/synthetic material. They use more untraditional techniques in terms of climbing shoes. Including Shock gel, a 3D molded heel and a special material called Synflex. Traditionally styled mixed with the untraditional makes for an interesting climbing shoe.
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Synflex
this is a stretchy material that helps increase the performance of the shoe. This also helps the comfort of the shoe making the heel more plush than normal climbing shoes.

Shock Gel
shock gel is surprisingly not found in many climbing shoes which make it a rare added factor. The shock gel helps reduce the impact of the force on the heel when climbing or placing feet on hard surfaces.

Cost and Value
The shoes range from pretty cheap for quality climbing shoes to somewhat expensive. But for the rare added factors they supply, like the shock gel heels and the Synflex material, the shoes are completely worth it.
Pros
  • Shock Gel Feature
  • Synflex Material
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Only meant for climbing

4. La Sportiva Tarantula

4. La Sportiva Tarantula
La Sportive Unisex Tarantula Shoe is an excellent choice for beginner climbers. They come in select two colors; Kiwi and Flame. They are adjustable and made to work with a varying range of feet. The shoes are built to last and are made with endurance in mind. What makes them so likable is their easy and very simple design.
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Adjustable Hook
The shoes adjustable hook easily adapts to a multitude of feet sizes making the shoes more expendable. This also allows for any easy slip on and slide off. This makes it easy for wearers when gearing up for climbing.

Unlined Leather Upper
this makes the shoe more breathable and reduces wet feet due to sweat. It also allows for the shoes to perform well in the circumstances when needed. But it also has more volume on the inside which helps for the beginner climber.

Cost and Value
Compared to the prices on the list the shoes are the average expensive price for the climbing shoes. But because they allow beginners a better feel of climbing this is an added bonus. The easily adaptable and adjustable way the shoes are made add an extra effect.
Pros
  • Adjustable Hook
  • For Beginners
  • Long Lasting
  • Breathable
Cons
  • Sizing a little inaccurate

5. Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym

5. Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym

Anasazi Moccasin Shoes are an excellent choice in a climbing shoe. The particular shoe comes in a single color which is red. They are made completely out of leather except for the rubber sole used for a stronger grip. The shoes are resoleable which make it easier to keep them for longer amounts of time. The shoes, as an added factor, are extremely comfortable and include a slingshot heel.
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Rubber Soles
The shoes have incredible rubber sole that has an extremely strong grip on all surfaces. The rubber is made out of Stealth C4 rubber, the company itself, Five Ten, is known for its stealth rubber soles which it's been making for more than thirty years.

Side-exit heel seam
This added feature in the shoes makes the shoes much more adjustable. It makes it easier when putting on gear. This feature just makes things much faster and simpler.

Cost and Value
Compared to the prices on the list the prices for the shoes are bit on the expensive side, but with the world known rubber the company is known for you can be assured that when wearing the shoes your grip and friction will be extreme. Along with this, the side seam makes the shoes easy to slip off and on in any circumstance.
Pros
  • Rubber Soles
  • Side exit heel seam
  • Resoleable
Cons
  • Only one color

6. La Sportiva Solution

6. La Sportiva Solution
La Sportiva Solution Climbing Shoe has an interesting design but this doesn't discount its importance. The shoe comes in the options of white/yellow and a simple white. The shoes incorporate a practical style with fast lacing systems. They also include a special patented system of locking shoes. They're made of synthetic material and have a 3D heel cup included.

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Patented Lock
The patented lock harness system for secure heel hooking ensures much more efficiency for wearing the shoes when climbing. The patent is an indication that no other brand has what the solution climbing shoe has when it comes to the makeup of the design.

Marbled P3 rands
This means that each pair has unique marbling and is meant for high performance and is built for the specific situation when it comes to climbing.

Cost and Value
Compared to the shoes on the list, the shoes aren't too expensive but come with added effects that make up for their price the patented lock being the main factor.
Pros
  • Patented Lock
  • 3D Heel Cup
  • Fast Lacing
  • Practical
Cons
  • Runs small to size

7. Evolv Defy

7. Evolv Defy
Evolve Men Defy come in two different colors at a very affordable price. The material the shoes are made out of are completely synthetic, the sole included. The shoes are completely asymmetrical and are made with a comfortable plush on the inside of the shoes and they include a VTR on the front of the shoes. Also, the lining of the shoe is made out of nylon.



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Asymmetrical feature
What makes the shoes special is the added asymmetrical feature they have. The feature has been mentioned in this list before. The added feature helps the climber grip better and makes it easier for the wearer to climb

Proofed Fabric
This added feature makes the fabric of the shoes ready for everyday circumstances. It makes the shoes much more durable and longer lasting. It also allows them to shed moisture better than the average shoe.

Cost and Value
The shoes out of many on the list are on the inexpensive side and come equipped with major benefits. For example the fabric the shoes are made out of and the asymmetrical build the shoes have which makes the grip better.
Pros
  • Asymmetrical
  • Less Expensive
  • Proofed Fabric
Cons
  • Runs small to size

8. La Sportiva Oxygym

8. La Sportiva Oxygym
La Sportiva Oxygym Shoe is known for its entirely breathable makeup. the fabric that the shoe is made out of makes it hard for moisture wicking. Along with this, the shoe has external fabric that keeps the shoe clean and extremely hygienic. The shoe also includes a patented lock and closure hook that allows for a firmer grip. The shoes are extremely comfortable and make for great climbing shoes.
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3 Layer Washtub
This allows for a more breathable cleaner feel. The external fabric allows for the shoes to keep clean and give the feet more space to breathe. It also allows for moisture wicking.

Closure System
The closure system is highly adaptable which makes it easier for feet sizes of all kinds to enjoy the shoes and make them fits for each. Which makes for a personalized fit.

Cost and Value
Compared to the shoes on the list, the oxygym shoes range from being on the low side to somewhat expensive. The shoes are worth the price because of the special technology used to keep them exceptionally clean. Along with this, they're special because of the added feature of the closure system that’s included. And the patented hook option.
Pros
  • Patented Lock
  • Closure System
  • 3 Layer Washtub
  • Firm Grip
Cons
  • Somewhat Expensive

9. Mad Rock Mad Monkey

9. Mad Rock Mad Monkey
These shoes are perfect for your little one who wants to take part in climbing. The shoes are made of leather and come in a cute childish design. The sole of the shoes is made of leather which ensures children will have an added grip for when they're rock climbing. The shoes also have a perfect flexible grip on the feet which will work with the feet of various children.
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Hook and Loop Closure
This helps with accessibility for younger children when wearing the shoes. These make the shoes a good choice for younger children because they make it easier for the little ones to slip on the shoes with ease

Sole
The toe and sole allow for the shoes to easily grip the terrain and the surrounding. This makes it much easier for children to climb when it's normally difficult but this strong sole makes it easier.

Cost and Value
The price of the shoe is much cheaper than the rest on this list but that has to do with it being a children's shoe. The shoe comes with an extra tough grip for children and easy slip on also which makes it a great choice for the kids your life.
Pros
  • Rubber Sole
  • Hook and Loop Closure
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • One Color

10. Evolv Royale

10. Evolv Royale
The Evolv Men's Royale Climbing Shoe is in a class of its own. The shoes are a moderate price for a quality leather climbing shoe. The shoes include a double layer of rubber. They also have a nice midsole and very easy eyelid for tying shoes when necessary for climbing. Along with this, the structural webbing that holds the shoe together is very strong.
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Built In Webbing
The webbing of the shoe is what makes it the strong and durable climbing shoe that it is. The web prohibits it from stretching too much and makes them more practical for usage.

Rubber Sole
The rubber sole like many of the other shoes, make sure that the wearer has a strong grip on the rocks that they're climbing. This also prevents from any accidents from happening.

Cost and Value
The shoes are a good choice for someone who's looking for a quality climbing shoe, but also has a spending limit and is looking for something moderate than this is the right choice.
Pros
  • Built in webbing
  • Rubber sole
  • Double layer
  • Moderate price
Cons
  • Runs small too size

How to Choose the Best Shoes for Climbing

If you’re looking for just the right climbing shoes then this list should have met those demands. By now you should have realized that your average sneakers just aren’t equipped to bring to the table what a normal climbing shoe can bring. When climbing, a shoe with great soles is needed to get a firm grip on the rocks and many normal shoes just don’t have the soles for this. Many other climbing shoes have the added asymmetrical fit or the box toes for a better easier and simpler climb that won’t have your foot snagging against rocks and will make your climb all the more efficient.

Best-Climbing-Shoes-man and woman climbers

Normal sneakers with the average shape don’t have this added factor either. Either way, whether you’re just beginning to take part in climbing or you’re a well-versed expert, this list has a bit of both sprinkled in. Even parents who are looking for an exciting way for their children to participate in this activity can find something here. Hopefully, with all the options given you found something to help strengthen your drive in climbing.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Climbing Shoes

 

The Importance of Having the right Climbing Shoes

Best-Climbing-Shoes-climber in gym

When it comes to climbing it’s important that you’re equipped with proper gear. Having the right climbing shoes is imperative. If your not equipped with the right climbing shoes then you might not be able to climb the full extent of your ability. When it comes to climbing shoes, they range in the type of shoes and the added features they have. When finding a climbing shoe you have to be specific in what you’re looking for. For example, aggressive climbing shoes will work completely different for certain types of climber. They work well for ones who use a more rocky terrain than ones who use a flatter terrain because of the shoes build. So when looking for you climbing shoe you have to make sure you put the most important factor of finding a shoe first. This factor being what features you’re looking for in your climbing shoe that will have to do with how you want to climb and where.

Rubber/Durable Sole

Best-Climbing-Shoes-proper gear

Having a durable rubber sole is essential for climbing shoes no matter the style of the shoe. This is one factor that definitely cannot be neglected. What differentiates the sole of climbing shoes compared to all other forms of shoes is the simple fact that climbing are shoes that rely greatly on the soles compared to other kinds of shoes. Climbing requires a good grip on rocks or any material that your climbing because without any traction or friction between the soles of your climbing shoes and rocks, you won’t be able to accomplish having a good firm grip on whatever your climbing. This is why the type of sole a shoe has is extremely important because it could make or break your climbing performance. Which is why it’s important to look for a good sole in shoe.

Shock Gel/Comfort/Cushioning

Best-Climbing-Shoes-man climber rock

Another important factor that many climbing shoes should include is how comfortable the inside of the climbing shoes are. This can influence the experience of your climb because it’s not easy to enjoy climbing when the shoes that you’re wearing are uncomfortable and don’t feel as if they’re cushioning your feet. When placing your feet on very hard surfaces you want to make sure that your feet are cushioned. So you won’t experience any shock in your heels or any harm to your feet. Things like this can be easily avoided, especially with the innovative technology of the shock gel treatment.

Breathability/Closure System

Best-Climbing-Shoes-lacing and breathability

It’s important for climbing shoes to incorporate a feature of breathability. Without breathability shoes will be hot and uncomfortable for the users feet. This will produce lots of sweat and there’s nothing more uncomfortable than having sweaty feet when trying to climb. Breathability in a shoe ensures that the feet will have space and be able to get fresh air. With breathability the amount of concentrated heat will reduce and so will all the odor that comes along with it. Which is why the breathability of a shoe is a major factor because it determines how fresh your feet and shoes will feel and smell.

Adjustable Hook/Fast Lacing/Hook and Loop Closure

Best-Climbing-Shoes-closure system

Having an adjustable lace in a shoe is important to the accessibility of the shoes for climbers. Being a climber is all about proficiency and getting things done as fast and as easily as possible. With features like these this is done without problems. With features like “fast lacing” or “Adjustable Hook” the climbing shoes that are worn are able to be laced with limited to no effort unlike your normal laces. This is what makes them so special because the wearer can slide on their shoes and instantly have tight climbing shoes that are equipped for their climb without the hassle of laces that other shoes commonly use.

Surface & Terrain

Best-Climbing-Shoes-proper gear

The terrain that climbers decide to climb on can greatly determine the type of shoe a climber will wear. Different terrains require different types of features from shoes and along with this come along with various performance. The type of terrain depends on the person. Some prefer an easier flatter type of terrain which can be used with the simplest type of climbing shoes. Other prefer more trickier types of terrains which would refer to a different type of climbing shoe called the aggressive climbing shoe. The differences between the average climbing shoe and aggressive has to do with how the shoes are equipped for the rough landscape.

Types of Climbing Shoes For The Various Terrains

Best-Climbing-Shoes

Aggressive Climbing Shoes

  • These shoes are even more downturned then the rest
  • They have even thinner soles and can be even stickier on the soles
  • The soles will wear faster since they’re stickier
  • The downturned angle will don’t fit into cracks the same way that neutral can
  • It’s less comfortable than moderate Shoes and neutral shoes

Moderate Climbing Shoes

  • Many have a stickier sole than neutral
  • The sole of the shoe are much thinner
  • Less comfortable ten neutral but more than aggressive
  • Downturned shaped makes climbs more powerful
  • The stickier the soles are and the thinner they are make them wear much quicker.

Neutral Climbing Shoes

  • Have medium to stiff midsole
  • Flat profile perfect for sliding into cracks
  • Have thicker soles that are less sensitive
  • The comfortable fit isn’t meant for tougher terrains

 

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are/or what makes good climbing shoes?

A.When it comes to climbing shoes the best brands that are proven as the best when it comes to climbing are LA Sportiva and Fiveten. These brands are known thoroughly by climbing aficianados. They’re known to be the best when it comes to mainstream climbing shoes. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are a lot of brands out there that are hidden gems when it comes to climbing shoes. So although LA Sportiva and Fiveten are known for being great brands for climbing shoes don’t forget to keep an open mind for other brands that might be just as good.

Q. Will rock climbing shoes stretch?

A. First off, limbing shoes should have a snug fit when bought. So the shoes should fit your feet nicely with little space. The front of your feet where your toes are although shouldn’t be bunched up so that it’s uptight against the front of your shoes. But if your climbing shoes are on the smaller side there are multiple ways you can “break in” to them or stretch them out a bit. Options in stretching your shoes include the freezer method, where you can place bags of ice into your climbing shoes to expand them. Another option is blow drying them in which you stuff objects like socks into your shoes so they’re stretched out then use a hot blow dryer to loosen the shoes. These are but a few of the methods which there are multiples of. So if your shoes do happen to be a bit tight, don’t panic.

Q. What exactly are aggressive climbing shoes?

A. Aggressive climbing shoes are climbing shoes that have are created with an extremel downturned profile. This added feature allows for the user to have more power in their climb. Because of the angle the tips of the shoes are turned at this works out nicely. The way the shoes are made with the a love bump beneath the foot and a knuckle box over the foot make for much more power than the average climbing shoe. Now if you spend your time climbing simpler terrains that doesn’t include difficult terrain that sticks out and requires a downturned grip then the “aggressive climbing shoes” aren’t the right pick for you.

Q. Where can I buy climbing shoes online?

A. The best places to buy climbing shoes online would probably be general websites such as Amazon or even Zappos. Online shoe stores that are primarily known for their shoe distribution. But if you want to get even more specific when it comes to online retailers that specific in only selling an assorted arrangement of climbing shoes. Gear X is an online store that specializes in the sale of outdoor gear and supplies. Another good choice is Backcountry which also specializes in the sale of climbing shoes. So if you’re looking for good places to in your search for climbing shoes these would be great online stores to check out.

Q. Do you wear rock climbing shoes with socks?

A. Going barefoot with your climbing shoes gives you an added factor of friction and grip that you could lose if you decided to wear socks when climbing. Of course no one would stop you if you decided to climb with socks and if your using public climbing shoes in a general place then this may be he way to go. You should just know that without socks you have a much better grip on the insides of your shoes which makes for better control when climbing. But also along with wearing socks you hold the risk of having stinky shoes because the technology the shoes use wasn’t made for feet with socks.

Q. How do you keep climbing shoes clean?

A. You can keep climbing shoes clean by wiping the insoles and the lining of the shoes with a damp cloth then later on leaving the shoes to dry outside in the sun. You can clean small blemishes with a little bit of alcohol and just a little bit of water. When spot cleaning make sure you don’t use too much water because you can break down the leather of the shoes easier this way. Whenever you notice any unpleasant smells in your shoes you can also use foot powered.

Q. What climbing shoes do the pros wear?

A. Straight from the mouth of expert “Life or Death” Climber Alex Honnold are the words, “I wear the La Sportiva brand. They are one of the best shoe makers for climbing.” There you have it LA Sportiva’s again top the list even when it comes to the most experience climbers who spend their lives climbing enormous rock formations.

Q. What type of climbing shoe should I buy?

A. Now this is something you have to decide on your own. When looking for the right climbing shoes for yourself you have to understand where and what you want to climb and when climbing this specific things what features will you need. If you can find these factors then finding the right shoe for you should;t be a difficult choice at all. Just make sure the shoe you’re looking for has all the factors that will be needed i n your field of climbing and finding the perfect pair of climbing shoes for you shouldn’t be that difficult of a task.

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