Top 20 Rock Climbing Shoes For 2018 Reviewed

How many rocks have you climbed in your life?

If the answer is anything above zero, then kudos to you…

You’ve climbed more rocks than most other people ever will. Because most will remain stuck at zero for an entire lifetime.

Once you’ve gotten into the groove of scaling rocks, then there’s no going back anymore, is there?

Whether you’re a newbie about to scale his first gym wall, or a veteran who’s crossed 90% of rocks off his bucket list and you just wore out your existing pair… you’re going to need the best pair of rock climbing shoes you can get!

For all you rock loving adventurers out there, I have come up with a list of the best 20 climbing shoes for beginners and experts alike.

So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Table of Contents

>>> Various Footwear >>>

Best 20 Men’s Rock Climbing Shoes 2018 – Reviews

1. La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Rock Climbing Shoe

One look at this shoe and the first thing to come to mind is “where’s the mountain”! The TarantuLace is an excellent rock climbing shoe built for the adventurous and aggressive climber in you clawing to get out. It’s a real indoor/outdoor marvel built with the professionals in mind yet even beginners can take advantage of the many design features. It’s made with a rubber heel and sole, utilizing sticky FriXion RS technology as well as an asymmetric shape with micro edges. So what’s all that mean in layman’s terms? Simple. It says that it fits like a glove and that when you reach for the footing on the hills, crags, or even an indoor climbing apparatus, you’re going to be able to control your feet without fear or worry or slippage. It comes with a fantastic fast lacy system harness. The TarantuLace design is ideal for a comfortable and supportive fit made only with the most high-quality materials available. It’s made with a synthetic leather overlay, and the tongue of the shoe is made to control moisture and is quite breathable. As with any hiking shoes or boots, you should choose a size and fit that is tight, but not to point where you feel pain.

2. Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe

This innovative and affordable climbing shoe is built and designed for indoor (or gym) climbing enthusiasts as well as trad (traditional) climbing adventurers. It’s made out of leather and a rubber material that Mad Rock is known for, a genius material they call Science Friction 3.0 and Science Friction R2. So what’s that mean for you? Just know this, it’s sticky. The kind of sticky that’s not too stick, just right for trad or gym climbing. It has a flat profile and weighs 7.9 ounces. It has a hook-and-loop lacing system which is perfect. Mad Rock is also known for its innovations (like Science Friction) but what they really do well is they don’t overdo it with too many features as to make the shoe useless. It’s a simple, yet well-built and sturdy climbing shoe that will give you the fit and feel you need when you’re climbing around on your favorite surfaces. And since they don’t overplay the features, this makes the Mad Rock Drifter Climbing shoe one of the most affordable on the market, coming in at half what the average competitor’s shoe costs. It’s an excellent climbing shoe for the beginner, intermediate or professional climber, whether you climb indoors or outdoors.

3. CLIMB X Redpoint Climbing Shoe with FREE Climbing DVD ($30 Value)

Whether you are new to climbing or an old hand (or foot) at scaling rock and crag, the CLIMB X Redpoint is ideal for any and all climbers. It’s a beautiful climbing shoe regardless of whether you attend to outdoor challenges or indoor climbing walls, this shoe is designed to feel like you’re not wearing a shoe at all, yet provides the protection you need as well as features like the kind of tread and rubber grips to provide the control you desire. It is made of high-grade leather, a mesh tongue as breathable as you need, and a rubber hook heel that’s divine for those sticky situations. It’s made with an organic hemp foot pad which is excellent for odor control. It has a well placed padded ankle cuff for added comfort and stability. It has a Velcro harness that makes it easy to get in and out of. Redpoint, the manufacturer, has been making top-flight climbing shoes for a long time and has won numerous awards for its innovative and best-selling designs, like this one. Keep in mind when ordering, make sure to select a size for a tight fit, but not too tight. The rule of thumb is, tight unless you feel pain.

4. evolv Men’s Shaman Climbing Shoe

The Shaman is a real marvel as a climbing shoe. One look and the heart starts pumping. It has the look of an ideal climbing shoe and the innovative technology to match it. It has a high friction toe patch and was developed by climbing expert Chris Sharma, particularly with hardcore sport climbers who like to tackle steep terrain bouldering. It has a rubber sole and synthetic body. The rubber is 4.2 mm TRAX high friction rubber, a two-piece knuckle box system designed for ideal feel, control, and support. The design also allows for amazing edging as the asymmetrical shape provides the ultimate contour your feet desire for this type of rugged climbing. Keep in mind; the Shaman was created with serious, experienced climbers in mind, not that beginners can’t put them to good use. The forefoot is leather and the heel made of cotton for superior comfort. Because of the design in the edging, it allows the big toe more control and support, allow for the type of grabbing and feel which provides strength to extend through the arch and heel, providing the experts the power and precision they need for making the kind of climbs on surfaces that keep the heart pumping.

5. Mad Rock Men’s Flash 2.0 Climbing Shoe

You’re going to notice a trend here as Mad Rock shoes are well represented. And for a good reason. The Mad Rock Men’s Flash 2.0 Climbing Shoe is another example of advanced and fantastic innovation yet done to make a simplistic yet effective climbing shoe without breaking the bank. Made from synthetic and leather materials, this climbing shoe is all you’d expect from Mad Rock. It allows for a tight yet comfortable fit, yet still providing the feel you need for any type of climbing surface you decide to tackle. Whether it’s trad (traditional) climbing outdoors on hills or mountains, or indoor climbing apparatuses, this shoe will allow you to get around with the confidence to master any surface. It has a 3D molded heel designed with the type of “sticky” rubber you need for excellent control. The Flash 2.0 also utilizes a Shock Gel for impact control, particularly in the heel area. They even put to use Synflex technology, a synthetic material to allow it stretchability not seen in other similar climbing shoes. Another innovation is the midsole, which is made with a polycarbonate material for consistent and dependable flexibility. The Flash 2.0 truly fits your foot like a glove.

6. La Sportiva Unisex Tarantula Beginner Rock Climbing Shoe

Ready to break into rock climbing? La Sportiva has the shoe for you. The Unisex Tarantula Beginner Rock Climbing Shoe is the perfect shoe for men or women who are ready to scale the heights, whether you want to hike your favorite hill or crag, or that hip new indoor rock climbing wall everyone’s raving about. It’s affordable yet has the design features for comfort, and versatility beginners need when just starting out. It has Sticky FriXion soles for expert grip on either rock or plastic (indoor rock walls). Its hook-and-loop fastening system is designed for ease of putting on and taking off. La Sportiva believes that this idea of making a shoe easy to get into and out of is ideal because they want you to spend more time climbing than putting on gear. They’ve developed the shoe with a breathable upper made of leather and will keep you dry through the day’s climbing. Needs some cool sounding specifications? How’s the 1.8 mm LaspoFlex feature in the midsole and the 5 mm FriXion RS in the sole? What’s that mean? It means the Tarantula is stable and durable and when you’re climbing, you won’t need to worry about the shoe stopping you.

7. Evolv Men’s Defy

The Evolv Men’s Defy is a classic design that’s seen significant upgrades for 2017. And not just the look, but the feel and additional features have made it a must-have for adventurous climbers. New is the mesh material which has been completely revamped. It’s got a new anti-microbial mesh material to fend off bacteria as well as odor. This unique mesh material also benefits the fit as well as it has been markedly improved thanks to a high-quality upper material made with Synthratek VX. It allows for a more snug and tight fit to support greater control. The asymmetrical profile keeps the classic look the Defy is known for, particularly the rand area (toe). The rand is made with VTR material, which means the front toe area is thick, for added comfort and stability when on those challenging rock formations or trick indoor climbing gyms. The midsole area is another revamped area as it sports a 1 mm MX-P sensitive half-length. And the sole is made of high friction rubber, a stalwart advancement Evolv is known for, a 4.2 mm TRAX rubber material. The nylon lining completes the Evolv Men’s Defy shoe, as it is made to be plush and comfortable.

8. Five Ten Men’s Anasazi Moccasym Climbing Shoe

When you’re climbing, you need to feel. Your fingers and hands are equally as important as your toes and feet. So when choosing a climbing shoe, you want not just to protect your feet, but also wear a shoe that can accentuate your feet perfectly for the task at hand (or foot). That’s where a shoe like the Five Ten Men’s Anasazi Moccasym Climbing Shoe can be like a pair of gloves for your feet. This shoe fits like a glove. It is made of soft, supple, yet sturdy leather, a rubber sole with the perfect amount of “stickiness.” The rubber is 4.2 mm of Stealth C4 rubber. It also has a feature with three pull tabs, which allow you to slip into the shoe and use these tabs to adjust the shoe to fit as snug as it should be. A side exit seam at the heel is another wonderful feature. The shoe is made for comfort, performance, and high-friction. Which is perfect for whatever climbing surface you may need the shoe for. So if you’re climbing the rocks or crags of the great outdoors or the artificial variety at those tricky yet challenging indoor cousins, the Anasazi Moccasym literally has you covered.

9. CLIMB X Rockmaster Climbing Shoe

The CLIMB X Rockmaster has the perfect balance between performance and comfort, which means that once you slip into this expert climbing shoe, you don’t need to worry about your feet when you ascend (or descend) the climbing surface of your choice. Designed for all-surface climbing it has is a lace-up shoe, for those that want to have more control when it comes to the snug fit you need when climbing. It’s made from high-quality, center cut leather with 3D molded rubber, explicitly designed for any climbing surface. Its tread is ideal for tricky descent and also has a hooking rubber heel. Another splendid feature is the footbed, which is made with fine organic hemp material which is chosen because it allows the bed to remain fresh smelling all day. The ankle cuff is made with extra padding support. It comes with a pair of pull tabs, one on the heel, the other on the side. Why is this important? It allows you to adjust the fit just right. It’s affordably priced, and expert climbers will love as it has just the right amount of advanced features without overdoing it. Want more? It comes with a free climbing DVD just to sweeten the deal.

10. Climb X Icon Climbing Shoe with FREE Sickle M-16 Climbing Brush

You won’t find a more affordable yet ideal climbing shoe than the Climb X Icon. One look at this stylish yet perfectly designed all-around climbing shoe is all it takes to understand why. It’s made with a synthetic leather made especially for the low-stretch climbing shoes need to have. The rubber material used for the essence of the shoe (climbing, of course) is X-Factor Sticky Climbing Rubber, with the perfect amount of adhesiveness to give you the control and traction you need. The tongue is made out of Neoprene (for comfort and breathability), and the footbed is made of an organic hemp material to help control odor as long as you’re wearing the shoe. When we say all-around, what we mean is whether you are into multi-pitch climbing (ascent of routes with more than one stop at a belay station), bouldering, sport climbing, or climbing in a gym, this shoe is perfect for any of the surfaces you may encounter. With your purchase, you will also receive an M-16 climbing brush, free of charge. And a note on fit. Keep in mind that you should choose a size that will fit tight and snug, with toe touching but even with a slight curl. You want it tight, but not painful.

11. Evolv Men’s Royale Climbing Shoe

Rock climbing (the real or artificial variety) can be an exciting and challenging sport. Especially for a beginner. Looking out at that awesome (yet daunting) rock, crag, or rock wall can take your breath away with anticipation and wonder. And that’s the essence of why we participate in these types of activities, the feeling of it. So you don’t want your equipment to take away from that, so for a beginner, the Evolv Men’s Royale is a perfect choice. It’s affordable yet explicitly built with the entry-level climber in mind. Evolv wants you to slip on the Royale and leave your equipment worries at the base of whatever type of summit you’ll be facing. Made out of leather and a double layer of high-performance rubber at the toe, it has basic lacing for comfort and fit. Its durability allows for you to break them in and keep them as long as possible. The leather upper part of the shoe is a structural webbing designed to not only fit comfortably but maintain that fit. All day comfort is assured as the toe box is symmetrically designed. The Royale’s design is basic, yet the advanced features will allow you to focus on the thrill of the climb.

12. La Sportiva Solution Climbing Shoe – Men’s

This high performance and durable climbing shoe was designed and built with the serious rock climber in mind. It has all the advanced and patented features you’ve come to expect from any climbing shoe set forth by La Sportiva. The Solution is just as its name implies; it’s built for power and comfort. It has a P3 permanent power platform, which gives it its distinctive “downturn” look. This patented feature is not just for show, as the ability to retain this shape keeps the shoe functioning for as long as you own it, which not a lot of shoes can accurately claim. It also has a fast-lacing feature, and the rand (or toe area) has a marbled P3 feature and even offers unique marbling for each pair (so no pair is alike), and this feature applies to name, as this is the “solution” to many climbers’ bouldering issues. Its heel has a 3D cup, for molded hooking. Another patented feature is a harness system that locks, which assures security when heel hooking. The Solution can be used by any level of climbing experience, but it is ideal for those who know what they’re doing. It has the look and feel of the perfect climbing shoe.

13. Scarpa Men’s Vapor V Climbing Shoe

The Scarpa Vapor V is built and designed for all-day comfort, durability, and flexibility, with a nod to superior toe control and power and Achilles support. And for rock climbers with an achy Achilles, this is a feature of vital importance. It’s made of synthetic materials and Vibram XS rubber edges to provide unmatched durability and fantastic grip. It has a split sole allowing for maximum flexibility. The Vapor V has a lacing system for great adjustability with the dual power strap closure system. The designers created the perfect tension in the lower part of the shoe to provide the Achilles tendon area with the comfort and support you need. The rand (toebox) area has an active bi-tension system to give you the maximum toe power you’d expect from a Scarpa climbing shoe. The upper area is made with a 1.8 mm microsuede/suede combination while the midsole is made with Flexan 1.0. The Vapor V is ideal for serious mountaineering enthusiasts as well as those just starting out. Scarpa is an Italian company with roots in northern Italy, where the hills and mountains are well-known to professional rock climbing enthusiasts, so rest assured the innovation used to make the Vapor V is well founded.

14. La Sportiva Men’s Oxygym Climbing Shoe

The La Sportiva Oxygym Climbing Shoe is that rare shoe that has built-in features to provide you with the perfect shoe for the rock climbing surface of your choice. But it also makes sure it’s comfortable, and the materials made (such as the fabric) are breathable, and keep clean, particular the way it controls moisture. This is possible as the folks at La Sportiva have created a multi-layer (three, to be exact) WashTex outer fabric which allows for a hygienic and clean shoe. The internal fabric is entirely breathable which lets the moisture wick (roll away, basically). There’s also an excellent feature allowing for personalized fitting with the patented loop and hook closure system. There are three hook and loops, which lets you fit the shoe perfectly to your foot. The shoe was designed for extended, all-day usage promising to remain comfortable for the duration of your climb. The rubber used is designed for maximum “stickiness” whether you are an outdoor climber of rocks, mountains or crags, or love to climb on the challenging rock walls at indoor gyms. Always keep in mind when ordering a climbing shoe, a tight fit is a must, but not close to the point of pain.

15. La Sportiva Men’s Katana Lace Climbing Shoe

Another excellent shoe in the “rare” category as the La Sportiva Men’s Katana Lace focuses its attention on edging. While serious climbers tend to specialize in equipment, this shoe is actually quite perfect for climbers of any skill level. The Katana Lace is basically a lace-up version of the widely popular Katana. The upper portion of the shoe is made with Lorica and suede leather with Pacific front and rear lining. The real standout feature of the Katana Lace is the sole. Made with Vibram XS Edge rubber, the 4 mm edging is simply fantastic for the type of grip you dream about when out on the rock surface of your choice and wishing for better grip. The P3 Power Platform is the results of La Sportiva’s designers “dreaming” up the perfect edging shoe. It promises to maintain its downturn shape (important for durability and shoe longevity). It also has a tubular construction for comfort. But the edging technology is why you’re purchasing this shoe, and the Vibram XS Edge is a compound that allows for power and grip that will not fail you, regardless of the terrain you have chosen to tackle. It’s ideal for gym climbing, bouldering, or any kind of sport or technical climbing. Enjoy.

16. La Sportiva Men’s Mythos Climbing Shoe

The La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoe is the perfect mix of style, comfort, and fit. The designers at Italian-based climbing shoe company La Sportiva paid particular attention to one area many climbers have issues with: the toes. The technology behind the Mythos design focuses on the toebox area, as the fit keeps the toe area flat, to keep you as cramp-free as possible. But it doesn’t take away from the gripping ability so crucial to the toebox. That’s because of the 4 mm Vibram XS rubber used on the toebox, sole, and heel. This allows for maximum stickiness to handle the cracks and crevices you’re bound to be facing in the mountains, hills, crags or rock walls at your favorite gym. The top part of the body of the shoe is made of sturdy yet supple unlined leather, and the midsole consists of 1.1 mm full-length synthetic LaspoFlex material for added fit, comfort, stability, and excellent edging power. The classic lace system gives you all the adjustability you need. The Mythos fits your foot like a glove and is built for comfort immediately upon purchase and to maintain the fit and comfort as long as you own them. And remember when selecting the size, go for a tight fit, tight, but no pain.

17. Scarpa Men’s Helix Climbing Shoe

Scarpa’s Men’s Helix Climbing Shoe is an 8-ounce marvel of shoe technology. An affordable price tag only brings attention to just how big a bargain this shoe is for rock climbers of any skill level. The company’s website utilizes the word “svelte” several times, and while undoubtedly appropriate, let’s just say what they’re trying to say is that it is certainly stylish with a gorgeous suede material, but the leather material wasn’t used merely to make the shoe look fantastic. Instead, the suede is exceptionally durable yet supple so as not to be unyielding. And in a climbing shoe, flexibility while maintaining strength is imperative in a climbing shoe to be depended upon while manipulating unforgiving and challenging terrain. Asymmetrical lacing makes it possible for as comfortable a fit as needed but Scarpa takes that a step further by designing an easy-on heel pull system. The thin midsole is made with a Flexan material, the outsole of TAC 100. The rubber material used is the right combination for flexibility and stickiness so you can get a toehold in any surface you’ll face, whether it is outdoors on your favorite mountain, hill, or crag or your favorite rock wall at the gym.

18. Mad Rock Nomad Climbing Shoe

Mad Rock is a company that designs and manufacturers rock climbing shoes with value in mind. They create a climbing shoe to perform exceptionally well while not putting too big of a drain on your wallet. The Nomad is one such shoe as it is functional and affordable. Designed with beginners in mind (though experts find the shoe adequate as well) it also is a favorite for those that do most of their climbing indoors at rock walls in gyms or recreation centers. It is designed with those that like bouldering or to climb on multi-pitches (surfaces), cracks or trad (traditional) routes. Its lacing system is also traditional (to the toes), which is ideal for beginners, who need to get comfortable adjusting the proper fit and feel of a climbing shoe (Velcro systems can skew this critical aspect). If you’re looking for a durable shoe that is built for a wide range of foot type (if you’re buying a shoe for a large group or organization) the Nomad is an ideal choice. When deciding on the right size, know whether the brand tends to run smaller or larger than your street shoe size. Reviews indicate the Nomad actually compares to whatever your street shoe size is.

19. La Sportiva Men’s Nago Climbing Shoe

The La Sportiva Nago is an edgy climbing shoe designed to deliver maximum comfort and performance ability yet at an affordable price. It’s made from leather and synthetic leather. The arch area is made out of lined synthetic leather for ideal comfort, fit and moisture control. The upper area is made of leather is perforated to allow adequate ventilation. The exciting part of the Nago is the rubber outer sole and toebox. Made with their innovative rubber material Vibram XS Edge, the outsole of the Nago is 5 mm and has the type of stickiness you’ll be thankful for when out on your chosen rock climbing surface. And speaking of which, the La Sportiva Nago is exemplary for moderate overhanging sports routes, any indoor rock walls or gym climbing, crack climbing, or face climbing. The Vibram XS Edge rubber material has been thoroughly tested to make sure you have the control and feel you desire on the surface of your choice. As for the fit, make sure to know your ideal size as rock climbing shoes need to be tight, but not too close. Ideally, your toe will touch the shoe front with a slight curl, but not to the point of feeling pain.

20. La Sportiva Men’s Miura Lace Climbing Shoe

La Sportiva’s last entrance on this list is for expert rock climbers (though beginners love them too) who tend towards aggressive when on the climb. The Miura Lace is made of leather and textile materials, a synthetic sole, built for long-lasting durability and comfort. It has an aggressive down-turned toe and slip-lasted construction. The synthetic sole is made from a 4 mm Vibram XSV rubber material with the perfect amount of stickiness. The midsole is made of 1.1 mm Laspoflex. Now, seriously, what do those last couple of sentences mean? Simply put, it’s all stuff that makes for precision edging, maximum foot sensitivity to go with incredible comfort. The fit is exceptional; it has tremendous edging power. The ideal surfaces for this shoe are any type of multi-pitch surface; it’s excellent for smearing (where you place your sole directly to the rock surface). Those who enjoy bouldering (tackling very large boulders) rave about the Miura Lace. When choosing the appropriate size, keep in mind to know your exact size because you want a fit that is tight. The toe should touch the front with a slight curl. But always make sure the tight fit is also comfortable, with no pain.

Best 20 Women’s Rock Climbing Shoes 2018 – Reviews

1. La Sportiva Women’s TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe

We start the women’s list off with La Sportiva’s TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe. It’s an ideal shoe for either indoors or outdoors climbing. The durability is impressive with high-quality materials such as the midsole’s 1.8 mm LaspoFlex and the 5 mm FriXion RS sole. The perfect stickiness of these materials allows for stability you need when facing whatever climbing surface you choose to attack. The lacing system is innovated with a quick-pull harness enabling for precision when it comes to the fit, support, comfort, and snugness. Designed by La Sportiva’s experts for any type of surface from hills, mountains, crags, boulders or any kind of artificial surfaces at gym rock walls. What makes it so is the advanced edging which is ideal for any skill level, but mainly for those intermediate climbers who love to edge, hook, and smear with the best. The heel rand is made with FriXion RS rubber. The RN45 build is asymmetrical which allows for climbers to approach and manipulate even the trickiest of micro edges. This allows for tremendous sensitivity while keeping you from cramping and pain. The lining all around the shoe supports great comfort, and the tongue is lined to control moisture and breathability.

2. La Sportiva Women’s Oxygym Shoe

While no shoe company is perfect, don’t blame La Sportiva for not trying. The Italian-based company has worked to think of everything when designing their climbing shoes, as evidenced by the Oxygym Women’s Shoe. It’s a beautiful shoe, built and designed for indoors or outdoors climbing adventurers but what makes this shoe so unique is the synthetic materials used, especially the outer fabric. It has a three-layer WashTex fabric designed to make the shoe as hygienic and clean as possible. The fabric on the inside is made to be as breathable as the fabric can be, allowing for excellent moisture wicking. It’s also an incredibly comfortable shoe, designed with a hook and loop closure system which has been patented. This system is designed for any foot type and shape allowing for a personalized fit to mimic a glove on your foot. It’s built for durability and extended use for any kind of surface from mountain to indoor rock wall gyms. Did we mention it’s completely washable? Well, it is. When it comes to sizing always remember you want a tight fit, toe touching front, with a slight curl. While the fit should be as snug as possible, don’t let the fit cause pain.

3. Evolv Elektra Women’s Climbing Shoe (2014)

Two things stand out when checking out the Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe: first, it’s the top selling women’s climbing shoe in the United States (when last checked in 2014); and second, Evolv is a company which strives to be as environmentally conscious as possible. The rubber they use for the Elektra is called eco-TRAX, a high friction rubber made with recycled content. OK, that’s all fine and good, but how does it perform? Well, see the first point. But yes, the Elektra is a fantastic climbing shoe for beginners or professionals. The design and technology allow for a perfect balance of performance, comfort, and value. The front toe area (rand) is made with VTR, which is a thick, durable material because of the high wear zone. The inner materials are made with synthetic materials so plush some have said the Elektra has a “bedroom slipper” feel when it comes to how comfortable it is. But don’t let that fool you. It’s sole is made with 4.2 mm eco-TRAX high friction rubber which is the best-performing rubber available. So your balance and edging power will allow you to manipulate expertly any indoor or outdoor surface you desire. The closure system is hook and loop, popular with beginners or advanced climbers.

4. La Sportiva Women’s Mythos Climbing Shoe

The designers at La Sportiva perfect their craft in the hills and mountains of northern Italy, the home base of the climbing shoe icons. The Women’s Mythos shoe is a testament to this as the designers created a shoe perfect for the types of climbing to be found in this part of Italy. And in the U.S., the country is peppered with these kinds of hills, mountains, and crags, where face climbing and crack climbing is popular. And the Mythos, while an excellent all-surface shoe, is particularly adept for those who like to face climb (think irregular features like finger pockets and edges) and crack climb (OK, yes, cracks, but balancing is the real challenge). So a shoe designed with a neutral, round shape is ideal as is the leather and synthetic materials. Especially the Vibram rubber used through the entire sole surface (from toebox to heel). The stickiness is perfect for the control and balance need for face and crack climbing. The lacing system is patented because of the unique locked down fit it provides. The upper is unlined so as to allow for a snug fit for any foot type and shape. And remember tight fit, but not too close. Slight toe curl, no pain.

5. La Sportiva Women’s Miura VS Climbing Shoe

We’ve certainly said a few times that beginners can utilize any climbing shoe to professionals, and this is true of the La Sportiva Miura VS. But the Miura is an advanced climbing shoe for those who are not faint of heart. No. The innovative and advanced technology the went into the design of this shoe can be seen (and felt) in the impressive sensitivity created for those who take their climbing to levels where a “leap of faith” comes into play. Such as those that enjoy the sometimes terrifying micro edges or smears. Smearing is where you place the sole of the shoe straight on the rock (or slab). The idea is to let friction (or faith?) do the work when you mean to purchase vertical ground. So while you grab your hold like you would squish a bug, you’re actually trusting your skill, faith, and yes, your climbing shoe. Thus the 4 mm Vibram XS Edge rubber outer sole (very sticky), the slingshot rand (toebox) and power hinge system provides excellent edging power for climbers who have the guts and skill for smears and micro edges. The upper part of the shoe is made of one-piece leather with a synthetic Dentex lining for superior comfort.

6. La Sportiva Women’s Katana Climbing Shoe

Italian-based La Sportiva’s Katina Women’s climbing shoe is feather light, ultra-thin, yet exceedingly comfortable and packed with performance features that will make rock climbers of any skill level brimming with excitement. It has an innovative and adjustable hook and loop closure system to give you a precision fit. The Pacific and Dentex lining allow for toe knuckle comfort in the front and exceptional moisture management at the rear of the shoe. The edging power is extraordinary. The Slingshot rand (over the toe area) is combined under the arch with a Powerhinge for expert support and control, and the toebox is constructed with Lorica to give you the edging power you desire for any surface. The advanced toe area design allows you to perfect edging skills all the while maintaining stretch control. The tongue combines with the lining to make it very breathable. The LaspoFlex midsole is ultra-thin and lightweight and made with a fiber-laminate for superior and rigid torsion control. The Katina is a shoe designed for any skill level, as mentioned, but recommended for those that reach for gym rock wall climbing, moderate overhand sport routes, and any type of (somewhat terrifying) face or crack climbing. The fit is a wonder of climbing technology.

7. Scarpa Women’s Reflex Climbing Shoe

Scarpa is another Italian company which is steeped in tradition in a region world renown for excellent climbing areas. The Women’s Reflex is a suede wonder shoe which offers superior foot protection along with classic performance features. The idea behind the innovations with the Reflex is to allow for impressive edging ability yet to fit like a glove for the sensitivity required for surfaces as challenging as steeps. It’s a shoe with anatomical convenience with necessary yet straightforward features such as its dual power straps. It’s made with a sticky rubber that is designed to be passive yet provide you with the confidence for any challenge you may take on. It’s a real indoor/outdoor rock climbing shoe. So whether you are drawn to the mountains, hills, crags, or boulders or the growing popularity of the indoor rock wall gyms and recreation centers, the Reflex can accommodate you no matter where or what type of surface that thrills you. The fit is snug, as any rock climbing shoe should be. Always remember to know your exact size and follow the rule that a tight fit is necessary. The toe should touch the front with a slight curl, but not to the point that you feel any pain.

8. Scarpa Women’s Force X WMN Climbing Shoe

Scarpa’s Women’s Force X WMN Climbing Shoe is made with synthetic materials and a rubber sole. While that may sound basic, let’s dig a little deeper. The rubber sole is actually a Vibram XS Edge rubber material which provides the type of excellent stickiness for robust durability and grip which allows for an edging advantage for any surface whether you’re into indoors or outdoors climbing adventures or you’re a beginner or seasoned veteran. The randing system (toe area) is made with V-tension technology which allows you to focus the energy created on your feet for maximum stabilized power. It has a dual power strap closure system and a luxurious mesh tongue padding for added comfort and breathability. The partial footbed lining is made of suede leather for a comfortable and precise fit. Experts designed the shoe with generations of experience in the northern Italian hills and mountains. Scarpa actually means “shoe” in Italian, so trust in the brand. When it comes to the fit, a tight fit is mandatory, but keep in mind that the toe should touch the front with a slight curl. But while the fit should be snug, it should not be painful in any way.

9. Five Ten Women’s Anasazi LV Climbing Shoe

One thing you can rest assured you are getting when you purchase this rock climbing shoe, the research and development are apparent when wearing this shoe. The company employees the world’s best athletes when it comes to R&D, and their materials testing (particularly rubber) is exemplary. The Anasazi LV is ultra lightweight (6.7 ounces) as the upper part of the shoe is made with Cowdura, a durable, sturdy and supple synthetic suede material. The rubber sole doesn’t come with a fancy name, but years have gone into the research of their rubber material. The rubber is made for high-friction climbing with the stickiness you need for any type of indoor (gym or recreation center rock walls) or outdoor (any hill, mountain, rock, crag or boulder) surface. The Anasazi LV utilizes a Velcro band strap for its closure system, and it has two pull loops to make sure you get the snug fit you need for the confidence in knowing your shoe will do as it’s commanded without fail. A word about the fit, it should fit snug as a great glove does your hand. It should feel tight, with toe touching the front with a slight curl, but you should never feel any pain.

10. Five Ten Women’s Rogue VCS Climbing Shoe

This fabulous women’s rock climbing shoe is ideal for any indoor or outdoor climbing surface, though aficionados who know such things say the slip-lasted sole is flexible and sturdy enough for those that enjoy the adventures of bouldering and sport climbing (slip-last is less rigid). The upper portion of the shoe is made from premium split-grain leather designed to conform to your foot immediately and even better as time goes on. The closure system is a Velcro strap made to for exact fitting and elasticity. It also has a two strap hook-and-loop system to help your foot fit the shoe snugly. The 3.5 mm rubber used on the sole is made from a premium Stealth C4 compound that is ultra-sticky to allow for an extraordinary grip and astounding edging necessary for any mountain, rock, boulder, crag, sport climb, or indoor rock wall at your favorite gym or recreation center. The technology the went into the design of the rubber was tried and tested in a premier research and development facility with the assistance of the world’s best international outdoors sports enthusiasts. Know your size, the fit should be tight, with a slight toe curl, but no pain.

11. Evolv Nikita Women’s Climbing Shoe

An affordable and performance-minded entrant to this list is the Evolv Nikita Climbing Shoe. It’s made with high-quality, premium unlined U.S. leather. The closure system is old school; a full-lacing system made easier with eyelets primarily built for speed and easy lacing. It has an arch support; a full-length 3D midsole made of polyethylene which provides incredible support and allows you to resole, depending on how much you use the shoe. The tongue is a surprising feature as it is comfortable, cushy and completely breathable. The value is apparent as the pricetag suggests especially considering the look, feel and durability of the shoe. The Nikita is an all-around versatile rock climbing tour-de-force. If indoor climbing is your forte, you can rest assured knowing the shoe will do as you command on any of the challenging plastic rock walls you decide to try out. And of course, if you are more of a trad (traditional) climbing enthusiast, the shoe will perform for you whether you climb mountains, huge boulders, sport routes, rocks, crags, or any type of challenge. The fit is essential, as with any climbing shoe, so make sure you have a tight fit, toe touching front, with a slight curl, and don’t feel any pain.

12. La Sportiva Women’s Finale Climbing Shoe

Comfort, power, and stability on any climbing surface are the highlights of the La Sportiva Finale Climbing Shoe for women. We’ll start at the top as the upper portion of the shoe is made with a high-quality unlined sturdy yet supple leather to support the soft, comfortable fit. A traditional full-length lacing system allows the wearer to adjust the closure for the most snug fit. The real strength of the Finale is in the outsole. This is where La Sportiva’s innovations take over as the 5 mm Vibram XS Edge is a rubber compound specially designed for rock climbing. So whether you’re climbing outdoors on mountains, hills, boulders or crags or indoors at your favorite gym or recreation center rock climbing wall, the sticky rubber sole provides a durable grip to give you the control you need for any purchase your feet look to make. The heel is tensioned and has Powerhinge technology which offers remarkable high-end edging. The shoe is designed for the back half to stretch only when you put weight on it, which leaves your toes superior control on the surface of the rock. For experts that put their rock climbing shoes through a lot of wear and tear, the Finale can be resoled.

13. La Sportiva Women’s Solution Athletic Sneaker Climbing Shoe

One look at the La Sportiva Solution Athletic Sneaker Climbing Shoe for women and you’ll think to yourself “THIS is what a rock climbing shoe should look like.” And the feel won’t disappoint either. Besides the gorgeous look of the shoe, it is jammed packed with features which will make beginners will feel proud to wear and even experienced rock climbers anxious to put them on and start climbing. The downturned shape so desired amongst rock climbers is represented with the Solution, and the designers even went so far as to get a patent for their PS permanent power platform so the shape will never change. Another patent on the Solution is the support system generated by a lock-harness system with wraps around the foot to provide the most secure fit, particularly while heel hooking. Another unique feature is the marbled PS rands. The marbling feature of the rubber assures that no two pairs are alike. The Vibram XS Grip2 sole is another marvel as the creators claim it is the stickiest and hardest rubber for climbing shoes available on the market. And with La Sportiva’s sterling reputation, who’s going to doubt them? Finally, the lacing system is “fast-lacing” which sincerely allows for the closest, personalized fit.

14. Scarpa Women’s Vapor V Climbing Shoe

Scarpa’s Vapor V climbing shoe for women is another all-around entrant to this list. For all the advanced features that went into the construction of the Vapor V, it’s surprisingly affordable. One of Scarpa’s innovations is to create a split-sole feature which takes an already pliable shoe and makes it for flexible. Also, realizing a lot of climbers have Achilles tendon issues, they built in lower tension to add support to the often achy area. To provide as much toe power as possible, they also created an active bi-tension randing system. For the closure feature, Scarpa created a double powerstrap for maximum fit adjustability. For the sole, the Vapor V takes advantage of a couple of Scarpa’s more ingenious ideas. For the gripping ability, they incorporated Vibram XS Edge rubber compound for the durable sticky grip you need for any indoors or outdoors surface. The toebox is made with a microsuede material which allows for long-term durability, comfort, and fit. And speaking of fit, the northern Italy-based company recommends a tight fit, but not too close. The general rule of thumb (or toe?) is for the toe to touch the front of the shoe, with a slight curl. But not to the point of feeling pain.

15. La Sportiva Men’s and Women’s Unisex Skwama Lace Up Rock Climbing Shoe

The rare shoe on the list that is for either men or women. The La Sportiva Unisex Skwama Lace-Up Rock Climbing Shoe is also a shoe that while beginners will enjoy, is made primarily with those expert climbers comfortable on elite routes and other challenging situations like bouldering. It’s designed and built to fit snugly, be as flexible as you need it to be and provide a sensitive feel for the toughest of rock climbing surfaces and challenges. This shoe is screaming for you to put it to the test. It has an advanced ultra-sticky and protective rubber Vibram compound which supports the toe patches. The surface of the shoe is so grippy; it’s great against toe hooks, scumming, and abrasion. The edging system is a P3 patent system with a split-sole, and the patented S-Heel technology allows for heel hooking maneuverability. The heel cup fit is ideal which will enable you to tackle sheer rock faces, overhangs, slabs or any type of artificial rock wall. The idea behind the innovations was to allow you to use the sole to distribute more ideal when weight is applied which strengthens your holds and reduces edge deformation. Make sure to get a tight enough fit, but not too close.

16. SCARPA Women’s Origin Wmn Climbing Shoe

The Scarpa Women’s Origin WMN Climbing Shoe has a classic look and feel and the performance you come to expect from a company as renowned in the rock climbing universe as Scarpa. It’s a shoe that uses a type of rubber compound they call proprietary Vision. It’s a first-generation rubber compound known for its resiliency and the perfect amount of stickiness. It’s ideal for new and experienced climbers. Scarpa is well known for its tradition and innovation. Which is apparent with the Origin’s upper part, made with a high-quality supple and lush leather. What this creates is something you don’t see very often in a climbing shoe, and that is padded luxury, which they built in to encourage new climbers to invest in a shoe to start them climbing with the appropriate shoe. It has a flat-lasted construction built to deliver performance and all-day comfort. The closure system is dual strap hook-and-loop for a snug fit and maximum adjustability, and its passive randing makes for superior reliability and performance. The last is specific to women. When it comes to the fit, always go for a tight fight with a slight toe curl. The toe should always touch the front, but not to the point of feeling pain.

17. evolv Women’s Shaman LV Climbing Shoe

The Evolv Women’s Shaman LV Climbing Shoe was designed by world-class rock climber Chris Sharma with input from some of the best female rock climbers like Lisa Rands, Daila Ojeda, amongst others. It’s made with innovative technologies and unique materials for a radical look, fit and feel. While a top quality shoe for any skill level, the Shaman LV was designed for those who tackle such challenges like steep and overhanging climbing surfaces. It’s the perfect low volume shoe with a lining of microfiber at the forefoot for durability and comfort. The knuckle box allows for the big toe knuckle to have adequate room and the midsole is provided with a love bump, which makes for the forefoot to remain in a power position. The closure system is unique in that it has what’s called a “dialed-in” fit, which means it has three opposing straps for maximum fit control. The rubber sole is perfect for those above steep and overhanging surfaces by also for exquisite edging and foot control. When it comes to fit, make sure you have as tight a fit as you can. Always keep in mind that your toe should touch the front with a slight curl, but not to the point of feeling pain.

18. Five Ten Women’s Blackwing Climbing Shoe

The Five Ten Women’s Blackwing Climbing Shoe is designed for high-friction rock climbing and high performance. It has a slightly downturned outsole meant to keep that shape for the length of time you own the shoe. It’s made of high-quality synthetic materials and high-grade rubber compound. The closure system is a Velcro dual adjustable system for excellent comfort and fit. The tongue is padded for an incredibly soft fit and feel and a lining made of a fleecy microfiber created to help wick away sweat and prevent the shoe from developing hot spots. The research and development facility at Five Ten’s Redlands, California’s home base is world-class, especially its rubber-testing facility. The Blackwing utilizes this facility’s best work as it has the Stealth rubber compound sole which incorporates durability and the type of stickiness you’ve come to expect from a Five Ten rock climbing shoe. Five Ten’s shoes are made with the athletes of some of the exciting and dangerous sports in mind, like rock climbing kayaking and wingsuit flying. When it comes to choosing the correct size, remember rock climbing shoes should have a tight fit with a slight toe curl. But the shoe should never be so close as to cause pain.

19. Five Ten Women’s Siren Climbing Shoe

When a rock climbing shoe brags about things like high heel tension and stiffness, what exactly does that mean in layman’s terms? Well, the Five Ten Women’s Siren Climbing Shoe is an excellent example of what designers spend considerable time to accomplish and bring desired features to the rock climbing shoe’s they design. Higher heel tension equates to the ability for the shoe to support the high heel area, and with the appropriate tension it allows for stability and balance for those tight spots rock climbers love to manipulate. And as for stiffness, this is the feel the shoe’s sole has, where the rubber has a stiffness necessary for more control and manueverability. And this stiffness isn’t entirely what a regular shoe may be like (something like a flat for women or dress shoe for men). Instead, it’s a rubberized surface compound that is stiff yet pliable enough to conform to your foot and still allow for appropriate sensitivity. In fact, the Five Ten Siren incorporates a rubber material called Stealth Onyxx (2 mm) that is flexible and sticky, yet sturdy and durable so as not to fail you when needed the most. The upper part of the shoe is a perforated synthetic suede material called Cowdura.

20. Scarpa Women’s Helix WMN Climbing Shoe

The Scarpa Women’s Helix WMN Climbing Shoe is an affordable and all-around classic climbing shoe which has a sterling reputation for quality and performance. It exhibits classic passive randing with flat-lasted manufacturing that will deliver exceptional performance and all-day comfort. It remains on the most popular rock climbing shoes because of the designers of the shoe hasn’t tried to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they have tweaked it over the years, a little here, a little there, but leaving the features that have made it so famous mostly intact. The amazing feel, grip, and durability are because of the rubber compound used. The Vibram XS Edge rubber material allows for ultra-sticky grip and excellent edging. All-day wear is supported with toe-to-toe lacing system and the light heel cup cushioning. It has a flat profile with a symmetrical footprint, which are original design features left intact. The high-quality padded tongue adds to the comfort. So with classic styling and technology and added advanced features the latest incarnation of the Helix keeps it a must have rock climbing shoe. When it comes to the fit always make sure it is tight with a slight toe curl, but don’t accept a shoe where the fit is painful in any way.


What Kinds Of Climbing Can You Do With Rock Climbing Shoes?

Traditionally rock climbing shoes should fit like a glove fits your hand.

You want it tight, but not too close. Precision is important. But can any shoe allow you to climb a mountain, a hill, a crag, a boulder (yes, folks climb huge boulders), or how about those popular indoor rock climbing walls that litter gyms and recreation centers throughout the country?

Truthfully? Sure, any athletic shoe could be worn to climb.

More truth? If you want to accomplish your goal of climbing a rock wall or a hill, crag or mountain successfully, then no, you need a specialized shoe designed for the various surfaces you’re sure to find climbing indoors or outdoors.

First, let’s take a look at the types of rock climbing folks are getting in to nowadays.

Wall Climbing

Believe it or not rock climbing walls found at gyms, recreation centers or even specific places that operate only climbing walls, have become prevalent and can be found pretty much anywhere.

These climbing walls are constructed plastic walls with intense challenges of walls with grips for your hands and feet. Of course, you’re likely to find folks straight off the street in gym shoes at these places as well as experienced climbers up for a challenge when they can’t make it to their favorite outdoors climbing areas.

These places have thick multiplex boards, sometimes several, of varying degrees of difficulty. Some are geared towards kids and some for professional rock climbers. Some areas even have belay ropes and setups where you can practice more advanced climbing techniques such as bouldering and lead climbing.

Trad Climbing

Outdoors surfaces are still the most popular, so let’s start with trad climbing (or traditional climbing). Trad climbing can be done individually, but many folks like to climb in groups where each passage is taken one at a time, with climbers and gear removed once the passage is cleared. Trad climbing is typically done without the use of anchors.

The most adventurous and oldest type of rock climbing is mountaineering (or alpine climbing). It’s also the most dangerous and can be done in all kinds of terrain in all kinds of elements (snow, ice, rock, etc.). Experience is mandatory for safe passage and hazards include lightning, rockfalls, avalanches, etc. Extreme situations can be encountered, so survival skills and proper safety, medical and cooking equipment is essential.

Sport Climbing

Sport climbing involves climbing a rock with permanent anchors and the focus of the climber is the athleticism (think gymnastics ability) where strength, endurance, and skill is essential. The sense of adventure is apparently there, but an emphasis is put more on safety and free climbing ability.

Then there is top-roping or top-rope climbing. This is a form of a designed climb where a rope is used for safety, and the line can run from the belayer at the beginning of the route run through an anchor system through one or several carabiners then back down to the rock climber. This style is similar to what goes on at more intense indoor rock climbing walls. This type of climbing is an excellent way for a beginner to become introduced to the extreme sport.

Bouldering

Bouldering is an exciting and popular form of rock climbing in a large boulder is used for what is short climbs. A bouldering mat (or crash pad) is utilized to try and limit any injuries from a fall. The popularity of bouldering is evident because, besides large natural boulders that are used, there are also gyms and recreation centers throughout the country who have artificial boulders for rock climbers to try their skill.

Free Climbing

A form of free climbing called free solo climbing is another popular rock climbing adventure where no harnesses, ropes or protective gear is used as the rock climber will ascend using only their climbing ability, physical strength and of course guts (or psychological strength) to keep from, gulp, falling to their death. This extreme sport is not the same as free climbing. In all seriousness, this is not a rock climbing choice a majority of experienced rock climbers choose to make because the danger of falling is real and just not worth the risk. Still, there is a segment of the rock climbing community who partake in this highly dangerous activity.

What To Look For When Buying Rock Climbing Shoes?

Now that you know a thing or two about the types of rock climbing extreme sports enthusiasts partake in let’s take a look at the rock climbing shoe, the importance of the shoe in rock climbing, sizing, and the different types available.

Once you’ve decided on the type of surface you want to try, you need to know about the equipment required. For this article, we’re focusing on the rock climbing shoe.

And that’s where an expert rock climbing shoe like those on our Top 20 Men’s and Women’s Rock Climbing Shoe list come into play. Rock climbing is a dangerous sport (as you can tell) with more than a bit of danger to it.

And even seasoned professionals with the best equipment (and shoes) available can fail to manipulate their chosen surface. But the idea of this piece is to enlighten and (hopefully) inform you as to the importance of the adequately fitted rock climbing shoe for your adventure into rock climbing.

There are specific shoes for each type of rock climbing, but any of the shoes on this list should suffice no matter the surface. Still, it’s best to find the rock climbing shoe that fits you just right, because comfort is exceedingly necessary for the success of this sport.

Because as important as your hands are to finding the right grip for your next obstacle of your climb, your feet are equally important because to see the proper purchase on the rock you’re climbing, you need to “feel” with your feet. And the more sensitivity allowed through your shoe, the more information your feet can send to your brain so your decision making can kick in to manipulate the next challenge or obstacle.

The general rule of thumb (or foot!) is to have a very snug fit. You want a tight fit, with the big toe tip touching the front of the shoe. From there, you also want the toes to have a slight curl. But not to the point of feeling pain.

Some rock climbing shoes are sized like street shoes, so your street shoe size will suffice. But like street shoes, this rule doesn’t always apply. Most climbing shoes are designed and built to stretch (almost a full size) once broken in, so you may need to order a shoe that is a half size to two sizes larger than the regular shoes you wear.

If ordering online, allow for some trial and error, so you may need to return (or you have the means, order a couple of different sizes and return the ones that don’t fit). Of course, you could always go to a physical store and try on the brand and size you want, then go home and order the ones that fit right.

Of course, once you get the hang of ordering rock climbing shoes, and you’re a seasoned climber, ordering will become easier.

As you can tell by this list of the top 20 men’s and women’s rock climbing shoes, there is no lack of variety and styles.

Three things to keep in mind when deciding upon a rock climbing shoe: fit, features, and type.

The climbing shoe fit is to make sure you are getting the top performance from your choice of shoe as the shoe should fit snugly without pain and allow you for more time on the rock surface of your choice.

Types Of Rock Climbing Shoes

The climbing shoe type is a choice between neutral, moderate or aggressive styles. Think of it as beginner (neutral), moderate (moderate) and expert (aggressive).

Neutral

The neutral type tends to gear towards all-around and all-day comfort and a relaxed fit. Of course, this kind is ideal for beginners because the design and layout of the shoe allow for your toes to be flat within the shoes, whereas more advanced climbers acquire shoes that require the toes to curl slightly.

There’s also a difference in stiffness in the neutral shoe type as they tend to run from medium-to-stiff midsoles as the rubber soles are made of thicker rubber for support, necessary for beginners. They also have a flatter profile, much like a regular athletic shoe, but it allows for easier crack slotting.

Moderate

The moderate rock climbing shoe type has a slightly downturned shape and is ideal for rock climbers who like more technical challenges. It’s a perfect all-purpose climbing shoe excellent for slight overhang sport routes, slab routes, longer multi-pitch climbing challenges and crack climbs. The moderate type tends to be the more comfortable of all the types because of stickier, thinner soles, allowing for more flexibility and better feel and grip. A more powerful shoe than the neutral type.

Aggressive

The aggressive shoe type has a more severe downturn with tons of heel tension which gives you the most strength and power for positioning which is optimal for overhanging climbs. The asymmetrical shape gives you more power at the big toe area which is ideal for precision holds and placements. This is a perfect shoe for gym routes, and single-pitch sport climbs, not so much for all-day climbs on the multi-pitches. The stickier rubber and thinner soles provide better feel and grip, but there is some sacrifice when it comes to comfort as to compared to moderate and neutral types.

Other Facets Of Climbing Shoes

And of course, the features of the climbing shoe can vary widely as more and more shoe companies (some that make only rock climbing shoes) are using advanced technologies to create some impressive choices. So look for features like lacing, linings, straps, and rubber choice.

Lacing is essential, especially when it comes to securing a comfortable and snug fit.

Straps are closure systems know as hook-and-loop. Nothing beats the quickness when it comes to getting in and out of the shoe. Velcro is used as is one to three strategically placed straps to help you get the most comfortable fit.

Slip-ons are called slippers, and the closure system is simply a tighter elastic material that closes off when you slide into the shoe. It allows for a lower profile and greater sensitivity and mainly used as a training shoe, though it is good for thin cracks and slotting.

The lace-up is versatile as you can make more accurate adjustments for when your feet swell due to use or heat. It also allows for more precise adjustments for certain types of climbing.

The upper portion of the shoe can be either leather or synthetic materials.

Lined leather you don’t have as much stretch, which can give you a more accurate feel, while unlined leather can stretch as much as a full size which can help when it comes to getting the perfect fit.

Synthetic materials may not stretch as much and can slightly soften as time goes on so the fit you have will be much the same the day you purchase the shoe as the day you’re done with them. A significant benefit of synthetic materials is breathability and wicking sweat away from your foot.

When you read about a shoe’s “last” think of it as the shape when it comes to the heel and toe dimensions, instep height, volume, and width. Broad-lasted is stiffer, slip-lasted less rigid and allows for better sensitivity. Straight has more comfort, and relaxed fit, downturned is for more advanced climbers and more difficult routes, and asymmetrically allows for greater power and control on a single point of rock contact.

Finally, the sole is the rubber part, where traction comes into play. The outsole rubber can come with softer rubber and stickier options, depending on the types of surfaces you want to manipulate. Firm rubber gives you more support for better edging; sticky rubber is better for smearing and the best gripping. Also, remember the stickier rubber is less durable. Too much thickness can also affect foot sensitivity. Thin soles (3-4 mm) are made for more slab routes and smearing. Thick soles (4-5.5 mm) give you more support and last longer as they are more durable. Think also thicker rubber is suitable for beginners, thinner for advanced climbers.