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Reviewed by our gears Geeks:

The Best Rock Climbing Shoes in 2020

Z

Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:
Test 38 different Rock Climbing Shoes and write reviews of the best.

The result is 20 of the best Rock Climbing Shoes on the market today.

Anastasia Hamurari

Travel and Gear Writer
An ambitious writer with a thirst for content creation through storytelling.

torben lonne

Torben Lonne

Editor at DIVEIN.com
Torben is a dive nut, with a passion for traveling and gear.

How do you succeed in climbing long routes without getting exhausted or losing the initial drive that got you into climbing in the first place? You invest in equipment that will not hinder your success but foster it. This includes choosing the right climbing harness, climbing rope, and climbing shoes.

Climbing shoes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. There are models that are best used for gym bouldering and others that are best for top-roping.

There are shoes that suit beginners best, and there are shoes that are only compatible with experienced climbers.

To find the pair that checks all your boxes isn’t difficult but is definitely time-consuming.

On these grounds, we compiled a climbing shoe guide for you to skim through before making a thought-out purchasing decision. We have evaluated different models available on the market to identify how comfortable they are, how they edge, and how they function in pockets and cracks.

By the end of this guide, you will have an idea of what climbing shoes to pick so that they would fit your feet perfectly and serve the right purpose. Scan the list down below and you might be lucky enough to find your perfect pair of climbing shoes right at this moment.

The Best Rock Climbing Shoes In 2020

See our quick top 10, or go further down and read our in-depth reviews.

Top 10 Best Rock Climbing Shoes

Still unsure as to what rock climbing shoes to choose? We have answered the most popular questions about the ropes in the last section of the guide.

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1. La Sportiva Kataki

When technical peculiarities and prolonged comfort merge, an impeccable shoe like Kataki is born. Sport climbs in Europe or multi-pitch routes around Southeast Asia – none of them make any difference for this La Sportiva model. These shoes are able to tackle (almost) every obstacle in your way without cracking or snapping. This is enabled by the built-in aggressive downturn and a low profile toe box, both of which allow for the smooth yet tough performance. You will find the rubber sole of this shoe quite stiff and durable as it features the Vibram XS Edge element. With the innovative S-Heel authorizing you to heel hook each item, there is no way you won’t be able to complete your climb with minimum to no exhaustion. Long climbing days ahead of you are no longer an issue.
La Sportiva Kataki
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the La Sportiva Kataki:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: suede leather, microfiber
  • Closure: differentiated lacing
  • Profile: aggressive
  • Claimed weight: 9.4 oz
  • Recommended use: outdoor climbing
What we like:
  • The lacing structure provides an additional level of security
  • The toe box with low volume profile allows the climber to put his feet into thin cracks
  • The S-Heel makes it easy to hook the heel
What we don’t like:
  • Not the most comfortable option for all-day climbs

2. Scarpa Instinct VS

A versatile model designed for bouldering as much as for sport climbing gained its momentum in the climbing industry not long ago. And it’s not startling – the shoes are easily distinguished on the market by their stretchy yet stiff feel that permits them to fit snug on the feet. This is further facilitated by the asymmetrical last and curved shape that contributes to the high level of performance. You are given an accurate control during your climbing adventures thanks to the hook-and-loop detail, so feel free to design the routes that have been on your mind for months. This Instinct VS is here to help you with this not-so-easy task.
Scarpa Instinct VS
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Scarpa Instinct VS:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: microsuede
  • Closure: hook-and-loop strap
  • Profile: moderate
  • Claimed weight: 7.1 oz
  • Recommended use: blundering, sport climbing
What we like:
  • Demanding climbs can be easily tackled with these shoes that are designed to have power and precision
  • The hook-and-loop strap provides a superb support
What we don’t like:
  • Might seem too stiff for some climbers

3. Five Ten Anasazi Pro

The secret weapon to conquer the rocks is right here. The Anasazi Pro climbing shoes offer an amazing performance that is hardly beatable. The Stealth outsoles and toe patches provide excellent friction on volumes, thus letting you move with no restrictions. As your feet start getting tired and fusty over time, it is crucial for your climbing shoes to have some form of ventilation that would keep them fresh. This is exactly what Five Ten incorporated into this model. They placed synthetic uppers that are unlined and a mesh tongue that gives that much-needed breathability during long climbs. You can finally have peace of mind and deal with the climb without getting those overwhelming thoughts concerning your feet’s tendency to sweat.
Five Ten Anasazi Pro
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Five Ten Anasazi Pro:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: synthetic
  • Closure: Velcro strap
  • Profile: moderate
  • Claimed weight: 1 lb. 0.1 oz
  • Recommended use: rock climbing
What we like:
  • The high friction rubber gives the way for ultra-precise performance
  • The Velcro closure ensures the snug and secure fit
What we don’t like:
  • The stiff profile might be a turn-off for some climbers
  • Not suitable for wide feet

4. Tenaya Masai Rock Climbing Shoe

The unisex Masai model developed by Tenaya is a solid choice that stands in the mid-range of climbing shoes. Rock climbing can be transformed into a not-so-challenging venture when these shoes are on. Fragile smears and micro-edges do not sound that dangerous anymore. The minimum stretch and a tight fit of these shoes are fostered by the microfiber upper lining that is treated with cotton. The superb grip and resistance came to life as a result of the Vibram XS outsole. You are able to locate the power of your foot into a certain area with the toe box shaped like a boot. They look like your regular day-to-day shoes and are thus ideal for climbers who are intimidated by the funky and edgy climbing shoes that are in abundance.
Tenaya Masai Rock Climbing Shoe
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Tenaya Masai Rock Climbing Shoe:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with Worldwide Shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: microfibre
  • Closure: lace-up
  • Profile: neutral
  • Volume: medium
  • Recommended use: rock climbing
What we like:
  • The Masai model is considered to be the most supportive option in the Tenaya line
  • The full-lace closure allows users with different feet widths to pick the right pair
What we don’t like:
  • You have to downsize a half or an entire size depending on the fit you want to get

5. Butora Endeavor

Is your budget limited? Then take a close look at this Endeavor model developed by Butora. It offers great quality for a fraction of the price of those high-end climbing shoes. The Korean brand has quickly received the recognition it deserved – the materials and the design the company created with this shoe is outstanding. Featuring the 3D injection midsoles, these shoes provide the precision and edge for the all-inclusive use. The zigzag Velcro straps give the climber that tight fit, while the leather footbed ensures the fit is soft and comfortable. As for the tongue of the shoes – it is constructed from the memory foam fabric that further enhances the feet support during difficult climbs. The crux of the cookie lies in the fact that this model is eco-friendly! So yeah, these shoes are perfect from every standpoint.
Butora Endeavor
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Butora Endeavor:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: suede/leather
  • Closure: strap
  • Profile: neutral
  • Can be resoled: yes
  • Recommended use: rock climbing, gym
What we like:
  • The shoes feature a triple fork webbing that offers climbers a custom fit
  • The lining is made from 100% organically grown hemp
  • Affordable cost without compromising the quality
What we don’t like:
  • Does not imply high-performance climbing

6. La Sportiva Genius

The name of these shoes by La Sportiva speaks volumes. Genius combines the best of what climbing shoes can offer and takes it even one step further by incorporating a No-Edge technology that delivers the ultimate performance. It is able to edge with support and while providing a top-grade amount of sensitivity. This model works great with granite and rock surfaces, enabling climbers to take advantage of the best imaginable climbing scenarios. You will certainly find the match as the lace-up closure ensures the precise fit of the shoe on every foot size and width.
La Sportiva Genius
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the La Sportiva Genius:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: suede leather, microfiber
  • Closure: lace-up
  • Profile: aggressive
  • Can be resoled: yes
  • Recommended use: rock climbing
What we like:
  • The Patented P3 technology is responsible for providing your toes with the most amount of power
  • The aggressive profile allows you to conquer the highest rocks
What we don’t like:
  • The sizing is a bit off

7. Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes

Are you new to climbing? Are you not willing to spend several hundred on a pair of climbing shoes? Then the Momentum model created by Black Diamond might just be what you can justify buying. The company has positioned itself as a sports gear junkie and is the first choice for many climbers. This model is particularly exceptional for gym bouldering and cragging that is often practiced by the entry-level climbers. The knit fabric makes the shoes super comfortable to break in, while the flat last keeps your toes in a neutral position that allows you to train all day long. And we believe you will spend long hours perfecting your climbing skills and bringing them to the next level.
Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: synthetic knit
  • Closure: strap
  • Profile: neutral
  • Lining: hemp
  • Recommended use: gym bouldering, climbing
What we like:
  • The 2 hook-and-loop straps allow you to spend less time putting them on and taking them off and more time climbing
  • The most affordable option in this guide that won’t make beginners spend a fortune on a single piece of climbing gear
What we don’t like:
  • Does not have high-tech features that the more expensive models have

8. So iLL Free Range Climbing Shoes

You will definitely stand out in the gym with these bright green Free Range climbing shoes. They have a distinctive look that is accompanied by the easy-to-use Velcro straps and a padded tongue. The rubber toe box along with the increased heel tension offers the ultimate grip that will motivate you to reach bigger heights. Designed for advanced climbers, these shoes feature fishhook midsoles that are thin and stiff at the same time. This, in turn, provides you with the precision needed when cragging or climbing in the gym settings. The black rubberized material was initially incorporated for Navy SEALs, so have no doubt that these small details will bring you closer to your climbing targets in no time.
So iLL Free Range Climbing Shoes
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the So iLL Free Range Climbing Shoes:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: synthetic leather
  • Closure: Velcro strap
  • Profile: aggressive
  • Outsole: dark matter rubber
  • Recommended use: gym bouldering, rock climbing
What we like:
  • The single strap closure allows you to quickly and easily adjust the fit when needed
  • They are unisex
What we don’t like:
  • The sizing is confusing as it differs for men and women

9. Butora Acro

Built for steep bouldering and sport climbing, the Acro shoes by Butora are aggressive in the best way possible. Their downturned shape provides the premium edging, while the triple hook fork and loop strap foster the optimum comfortability when your eyes are on the prize. The overhanging climbs are also made possible due to the hybrid of upper synthetic fabric and the leather details. In addition, the heel has a high level of tension and stiffness that is essential for delivering the power to the front of the foot. Regardless of your confidence in climbing or your previously acquired skills, rest assured that this pair of climbing shoes will contribute to your professional advancement.
Butora Acro
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Butora Acro:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: German split leather, nylon mesh tongue with a silicone sponge
  • Closure: hook-and-loop
  • Profile: aggressive
  • Rubber: butyl Butora F5
  • Recommended use: gym/rock climbing
What we like:
  • The custom injected midsole helps to maintain downturn
  • The closure system is highly adjustable
  • The model is available in both wide and narrow options
What we don’t like:
  • Due to the stiffness of the shoes’ shape, they might not suit beginners who are not yet accustomed to climbing shoes

10. Five Ten Hiangle

A rare combination of aggressive profile with soft construction is what these Hiangle climbing shoes are all about. They are made from premium leather, feature thermoplastic midsoles and a single elastic hook-and-closure strap. You are thus presented with the item that stretches well while also holding its shape for that precise edging support. The enormous rubberized sticky toe and a downturned shape of the shoe make it ideal for steep climbing. The built-in Velcro closure, in addition, facilitates the quick and easy put on and take off in between the climbs, which is particularly handy when progressing from one route to another. Lastly, the rubberized outsoles allow you to climb efficiently indoors and outdoors. Choose your preferred location and venture out!
Five Ten Hiangle
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Five Ten Hiangle:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: leather
  • Closure: Velcro strap
  • Profile: aggressive
  • Outsole: Stealth C4 rubber
  • Recommended use: bouldering, gym
What we like:
  • The shoes are made from sturdy materials that ensure their comfortability and longevity
  • The toe hooker is quite impressive
What we don’t like:
  • The shoes run small, so make sure to find your ideal size before making the purchase

11. Scarpa Arpia

Do you have some good climbing skills in your possession but do not still consider yourself a pro yet? Then the Arpia model from Scarpa might be right up your alley. They are designed from a soft micro-suede that feels cozy on our feet and are further embellished with Z-style strap closure for security. Its last is slightly asymmetric, which is often found in beginners’ shoes, whereas the 1.4mm thick midsole is dense enough to provide you with the support when stumbling upon small edges. This blend ensures that the shoes are comfortable for all-day wear during cragg sessions all while not giving off that compression feeling that is generally found in high-performance alternatives. The heel structure adapts perfectly to the climbers’ diverse foot shapes making the shoes a great option for converting from flat to the performance-oriented footwear.
Scarpa Arpia
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Scarpa Arpia:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: synthetic micro-suede
  • Closure: strap
  • Profile: moderate
  • Outsole: 3.5mm Vibram XS-Grip 2 rubber
  • Recommended use: rock climbing
What we like:
  • Delivers a great performance for the medium-leveled climbers
  • Comfortable for all-day wear
What we don’t like:
  • Does not have that stiffness of the high-performance climbing shoes needed for more technically advanced routes

12. Evolv Shaman

We bet you never thought aggressive and comfortable could be synonyms. Well, they totally are when put in the same sentence to describe the Evolv’s Shaman. Perhaps the toughest yet the most enjoyable shoes are intended to serve well during steep and long climbs through small pockets and sharp edges. A wide box for your toes along with the side-pressure relief rand is there to ensure your long-lasting comfort. The toe rubber region allows you to power through your climbs with the least amount of physical effort. Although the Trax rubber is not the best option, it does help to stick your feet to various surfaces and thus conquer the heights in the best way possible. On top of that, they are vegan!
Evolv Shaman
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Evolv Shaman:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: synthetic
  • Closure: strap
  • Profile: aggressive
  • Outsole: TRAX high-friction rubber
  • Recommended use: rock climbing
What we like:
  • These climbing shoes are vegan, meaning that you are making a conscious choice to support the conservation by acquiring this model
  • The men and women versions of the model have different fits, which is a rare case in climbing shoes
What we don’t like:
  • The ‘love bump’ and ‘knuckle box’ features are not every climber’s cup of tea

13. La Sportiva Miura VS

You will most likely be wowed by taking a closer look at these Miura VS climbing shoes by La Sportiva. This is mostly due to the model remaining relevant and functional throughout the years. It’s true – their built is envious. The 3 hook-and-loop straps, the 4mm Vibram XS Edge, and the 1.1mm Laspoflex midsoles are merely some of the technologies used for designing this item. Their aggressive shape is exceptional for standing on small edges and climbing into small pockets, while the slip-lasted structure provides a good level of flexibility and friction. Get ready to excel at your climbing adventures with these shoes on!
La Sportiva Miura VS
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the La Sportiva Miura VS:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: leather
  • Closure: strap
  • Profile: aggressive
  • Lining: Dynthex synthetic stretch fabric
  • Recommended use: bouldering, rock & trad climbing
What we like:
  • There is nothing these climbing shoes are not able to help you achieve
What we don’t like:
  • The fit of these shoes might not satisfy every climber out there

14. Black Diamond Zone

Have you already shortlisted these Black Diamond Zone climbing shoes? If not, read on and find out why you should. This pair is not only reliable when hard rocks are under your feet but is also versatile to be worn during your gym workouts. By choosing either a low or a regular volume, you equip yourself with a knit-based gear that will aid in advancing your climbing skills to whatever level you are trying to reach. The Fuse rubber works well together with two hefty hook-and-loop straps to have your feet secured and ready to overcome any challenge you put for yourself. Do not have doubt in its comfortability either – the leather footbed slides smoothly against your skin and gives you the possibility to train all day long with short breaks.
Black Diamond Zone
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Black Diamond Zone:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: microfiber
  • Footbed: leather
  • Closure: hook-and-loop strap
  • Profile: aggressive
  • Recommended use: rock climbing
What we like:
  • The Engineered knit upper material ensures the ultimate breathability without the unnecessary stretch
  • The price is affordable
What we don’t like:
  • Tend to run small, meaning that it’s better to try them on in-store before purchasing online

15. Evolv Oracle

The brand has not received its deserving praise as of yet, but that’s not to say that it’s any less remarkable than the same La Sportiva or Butora. Generally speaking, these shoes are an upgrade from the Evolv’s Shaman model. They have a better heel due to the incorporated FSS Heel Tensioner that maximizes every angle’s power and speed laces that provide additional support. As a result of these improvements, the Oracle is quickly becoming the climber’s favorite climbing shoes. Add the Trax high-friction rubber to the mix and you have got yourself a pair of shoes with the high-grade level of comfort. And even though we cannot say that the toe hooking is outstanding, it is worth giving these climbing shoes a shot.
Evolv Oracle
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Evolv Oracle:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: synthetic leather
  • Closure: lace-up
  • Profile: aggressive
  • Sustainability: yes
  • Recommended use: climbing
What we like:
  • Contains materials that meet the bluesign criteria of sustainability
  • An all-inclusive shoe that works well with different surfaces
What we don’t like:
  • Not great for toe hooking

16. La Sportiva Mythos Eco

A timeless classic that is composed almost entirely (95%) of recyclable materials? Yes, please. This pair of climbing shoes is made for venturing out and exploring the nearby rocks in no rush. You might be wondering if it is suitable for beginners and we are glad to tell you that it is. Comfort is key when you are just starting out and are willing to take it easy on your feet that are not used to climbing yet. This is the reason why these shoes are the way to go – their leather upper and a flat last supply you with just that. The patented lace-up system can further help you to climb those enticing heights as it is fully adjustable. Tie the laces as tight as you would like and head out for your adventures.
La Sportiva Mythos Eco
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the La Sportiva Mythos Eco:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: leather
  • Closure: lace-up
  • Profile: neutral
  • Sustainability: yes, 95%
  • Recommended use: trad and rock climbing
What we like:
  • The outsoles are made from the leftover from the production rubber – how great is that?
  • Functionality was not compromised during the design of these climbing shoes
What we don’t like:
  • They are not as performance-oriented as the ones with a more aggressive profile

17. La Sportiva Tarantulace

Just like the Mythos Eco model, Tarantulace is created for entry-level climbers who are just getting familiarized with climbing. This is reflected in the shoes’ comfort and longevity. The sole is built from the FriXion rubber that can be stuck to almost any surface like glue. This is particularly useful when the surface starts getting tricky and you can feel the anxiety coming in. The snug fit makes you and the shoes become one – a great scenario for beginners who do not wish to be wearing heavy and troublesome shoes. And let’s not forget about the breathability factor that is quite high. No one likes to train with sweaty feet, right?
La Sportiva Tarantulace
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the La Sportiva Tarantulace:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: synthetic leather
  • Profile: neutral
  • Lining: unlined
  • Midsole: 1.8mm LaspoFlex
  • Recommended use: gym, rock climbing
What we like:
  • The synthetic leather lacing provides great foot support for novices
  • They are extremely affordable
What we don’t like:
  • Not suitable for long outdoor climbs of high difficulty

18. La Sportiva TC Pro

The TC Pro model is indeed a professional model that is not cheap. Accordingly, if you are in search of a crack climbing pair of shoes that will be functional but also cost you more than usual, continue reading. The flat toe box along with the foam padding diversifies the uses you can get out of them. This means that sharp edges, deep cracks, and vertical faces are no longer an obstacle to your climbing adventures. Rather, this model will aid you in climbing with minimum to no discomfort. Sounds too good to be true? Look at this then – the rarely met mid-ankle coverage protects your shoes from abrasion while the Vibram XS Edge rubberized outsole prolongs the life of your shoes. There is no way you won’t see progress in just a few months.
La Sportiva TC Pro
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the La Sportiva TC Pro:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: leather
  • Profile: neutral
  • Closure: lace-up
  • Outsole: Vibram XS Edge Rubber
  • Recommended use: trad climbing
What we like:
  • The crack climbing shoe that has some of the best features on the market
  • The quality of the materials is substantially high
What we don’t like:
  • Some of the most expensive climbing shoes on the market

19. Unparallel Up Mocc

These unlined slippers made from leather are a classic from Unparallel – the brand that is not as widely known as La Sportiva or Scarpa but is just as impressive. The environment you can use them in greatly varies from bouldering in the wild to trad climbing in your nearby hilly national park. What differentiates them from the other climbing shoes is the absence of lining. This can be an advantage for those who are not fans of stiff shoes, and a disadvantage for those who are planning on climbing sharp rocks and abrasive edges. The Up Mocc contains a rubber toe patch – a detail that adds up to the shoes’ overall durability and protection when climbing uneven surfaces. There are no limitations as to in what settings these shoes can be used, this we can confirm.
Unparallel Up Mocc
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Unparallel Up Mocc:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: unlined leather
  • Profile: moderate
  • Closure: soft rubber
  • Toe patch: VD rubber
  • Recommended use: light climbing
What we like:
  • A comfortable pair of climbing shoes that is also durable
What we don’t like:
  • The absence of a liner is a downside for many

20. Evolv Venga

Do you often notice your kid climbing the trees and fences whenever it’s permitted and not? Then it might be the right time to bring his enthusiasm to the next level where he could put his energy to better work. The Venga model designed by Evolv can offer him exactly that – a boost start to developing his climbing skills with suitable gear. The asymmetrical toe is able to keep his feet in the right position, while the outsole made from the Trax rubber gives his shoe the needed grip. The upper part of the shoes is flexible enough to allow the feet to move freely and let the air flow in and out. Since kids grow up quite quickly, Evolv made sure to include the adjustable heel strap. It enlarges the shoe by an entire size – how high-tech is that?
Evolv Venga
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Evolv Venga:
Our recommendations:
Specs & Features:
  • Upper material: synthratek (synthetic)
  • Profile: neutral
  • Closure: hook-and-loop
  • Claimed weight: 4.8 oz
  • Recommended use: climbing
What we like:
  • Designed particularly for kids just starting out in the climbing field
  • Synthatek is soft to the touch and thus makes the shoes comfortable to wear
What we don’t like:
  • Not suitable for professional climbers

Questions & Answers:

1. What’s the difference between the Neutral, Moderate and Aggressive types of climbing shoes?

When labeling climbing shoes, the number one characteristic climbers look out for is whether the particular pair of shoes has a neutral, moderate, or aggressive profile. What does that mean? Frankly, these names define the shoes’ suitability for a certain type of climbing in accordance with their downturn. We’ll go through them all and give you an idea of what profile you should opt for depending on your level of experience and climbing needs.

Neutral climbing shoes are differentiated with their flat soles that are equally great for beginners just getting acquainted with climbing and professionals embarking on long climbing journeys. The neutral profile means that the toe box is spacious enough for you to climb slowly but surely. It exposes you to the learning curve where you obtain knowledge as to how to function when your feet are going to be in a compressed and curled position. With thick soles, you have better grounding and support, which is essential for learners and those multi-pitch climbers whose feet tend to slide into cracks more often than not.

The sweet spot between the neutral and aggressive is, as the name suggests, the moderate profile climbing shoes. They are designed for climbers frequently venturing out for cragging, slab climbing, and overhung mounting who need shoes with slightly more technical functionalities. Generally, these shoes offer this possibility without putting too much tension on the feet like the aggressive profile shoes, thus allowing the climber to progress from easy to more complicated routes. This is not to say that there are no disadvantages to these shoes – rather, they do not have the neutral profile shoes’ level of comfort and are not as technically developed as the aggressive profile shoes.

The climbing shoes with the thinnest soles, in their turn, are called aggressive profile shoes. This footwear is made for toe & heel hooking and redpointing executed by experienced climbers. We do not want to discriminate beginners as they may find aggressive shoes to be helpful too, but it is important to be aware of the fact that it does take time to learn how to maneuver in them. Once you do, however, be certain that no bouldering or overhung routes are going to present an issue for you. This is due to the downturn sole that keeps your toes in the curled and tensed position crucial for executing more extreme climbs. Your feet are naturally more sensitive to the surface you are climbing, which helps to feel the rock and step accordingly.

2. How to pick the right fit for climbing shoes?

In case you are a complete newbie to the climbing gear, it would best for you to try on several pairs of climbing shoes prior to purchasing one (or two) online. We want to remind you, however, that there are a few things to keep in mind when trying them on so that you would be able to choose the right model and size. Firstly, there is the swell factor – your feet tend to expand in size throughout the day because of water retention. For this reason, we recommend you to shop for climbing shoes during the first part of the day. Secondly, there is the socks factor. Don’t forget to take them off when trying on a pair of climbing shoes as climbers don’t wear socks when climbing for a better grip and sensitivity. Thirdly, there is the correct toe fitting factor. As a rule, your toes ought to be in a slightly bent position against the front of the shoe. With that being said, your knuckles shouldn’t be stuffed in the front, thus making your feet feel uncomfortable and, even worse, hurt. Consider the fit you choose when shopping for everyday shoes – if snug is your definition of comfort, opt for the snug fit and vice versa with the wide fit.

3. What climbing shoe closure is the best?

We understand how much small details matter, especially when it comes to sports gear that can get expensive pretty quickly. Climbing shoe closures fit into this category perfectly. Some prefer the slip-on type of climbing shoes, whereas others would rather tie their shoes themselves. Here are the three most frequently met kinds of closures and their best uses.

– Laces
Jamming rock climbing and lace-up shoes go hand in hand for a reason – they allow you to customize the fit according to your preferences and keep them on for long periods of time. Velcro closures, for instance, would not work great with repetitive jamming as they tend to come undone quite quickly. Laces, on the contrary, will secure your feet and ensure your safety throughout the entire climb.

– Velcro
Bouldering and indoor/outdoor sport climbing pair the best with Velcro closures more than with anything else. They are the most convenient to quickly take on and off without wasting a lot of time on such a minuscule task. The only scenario when Velcro closure might let you down is during steep climbing and cracks jamming. This is simply due to the closure not being designed for toe hooking or any other intense feet movement.

– Slipper
If you are unsure as to which closure meets your needs the best, opt for the slipper type of climbing shoes. They are considered to be the most comfortable out of all and go well with almost any kind of climbing. The only thing we have to mention is that their stretchiness is both a blessing and a curse. While it’s good to have a stretchy pair of shoes, this also means that they will lose their shape over time. Oh well, it can’t be all sunshine and rainbows.

4. Do I opt for a stiff or for a soft model?

Another characteristic of climbing shoes is their softness or stiffness – the elements that provide the climber with differing from each other properties. Normally, boulderers pick the soft climbing shoes, while top-roping or cragging climbers pick the stiff alternatives. The grounds for these are the following: soft shoes allow the climbers’ feet to be more sensitive to the climbing surface and thus do all the work by themselves; stiff shoes are not as flexible and thus give the climber better support and grip to the surface. Although it might sound like soft climbing shoes are more suitable for beginners, it’s actually the other way around. Stiff shoes offer the support that beginners are very much in need of, while also not putting a whole lot of pressure on the feet that is not used to climbing yet. Moreover, you will find it easier and more secure to stand on tricky edges with stiff shoes on due to their thick soles. Soft shoes, however, will come in handy when hooking your toes or heels while climbing which is hardly possible with stiff shoes. Besides, you can go down one size to get a snug fit from your soft pair of climbing shoes.

5. How are indoor climbing shoes different from the outside climbing shoes?

Indoor and outdoor climbing shoes differ a lot – from the style of the shoes to the number of technical specifications and price range. Since the indoors implies the vertical to overhung wall position and the rocks are located close to each other, your shoes are more prone to wearing out quickly. This means that it would make more sense to choose the cheaper model that would still do the trick but for a fraction of the price. These shoes typically have a flat sole and a neutral profile, which is basically all you need for comfortable indoor climbing. For the outside climbing, however, you will need to splurge a little more for a pair of climbing shoes with more features and professional design. Scroll through the technical specs we included in our guide to see what is the best use for every pair of shoes.

6. How important is the material the climbing shoes are made from?

In most cases, climbing shoes come with either leather or synthetic upper part. And although every material has its pros and cons, leather is considerably easier to maintain as opposed to synthetic. They are easy to clean with a simple wipe and smell fresher for a longer period of time. This being said, the leather climbing shoes that are unlined tend to stretch out a whole lot and their dye color can easily transfer to your feet when sweating. Synthetic shoes, on the other hand, will do neither of the aforementioned. On top of that, they are the number one choice of vegans and merely those living a conscious eco-friendly lifestyle. You do the picking.

If you already have a Rock Climbing Shoes or you just bought one, leave a comment in the comment section below and share your experience with it.

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