Best climbing shoes in 2020

Best climbing shoes in 2020: Top Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Climbing is a rigorous activity that comes with uncountable benefits. First, it gives people strength and cardio building in a single workout. It also helps people increase their mental toughness, and to overcome fear, and stress. Additionally, climbing helps in warding off chronic diseases and burning calories in people’s bodies. Moreover, it gives people to have a sense of victory at the end of every session. Therefore, you should ensure that nothing avert you from enjoying this incredible activity that is worth each holiday. For an ideal climbing journey, you need to get yourself a suitable pair of climbing shoes.

It doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced climber or you are starting out, shoes are essential to make your climbing easier.  They help in ensuring that you are safe and comfortable while climbing. Like pieces of climbing gear, there are a lot of shoes in the market; and as you all know that every person has different feet, and there are many categories of climbs; hence it can be very challenging to choose the best pair. But don’t worry, we have done the legwork for you and narrow down a list of the best climbing shoes in the market that will not only boost your performance as you maneuver up the mountain, but also make mountaineering safe and comfortable. The remaining work is for you to READ on and pick the one that perfectly suits your style and needs.

Best BUDGET $

  • Double sew construction
  • Lengthened collar and heel
  • One-piece binding
  • Polypropylene midsole

Editor Choice

  • Made of 100% leather
  • Rubber sole
  • Vibram XS edge
  • Vibram XS grip
  • Floating power strap
  • Detachable strap

Summary Table of the Best Climbing Shoes

Best Climbing Shoes

Features

Price

La Sportiva Men's Tarantu Lace Performance Rock
  • Leather
  • Fast lacing system
  • Aggressive rubber heel band
  • Durable
  • Lined tongue
  • Breathable
Climb X Rave Strap 2019
  • Double sew construction
  • Lengthened collar and heel
  • One-piece binding
  • Polypropylene midsole
Mad Rock Drifter
  • Rubber sole
  • Made of 100% leather
  • 3D molded heel
  • Versatile
  • Flat profile
Evolv Elektra (2014)
  • Synthetic
  • Asymmetrical profile
  • Nylon lining
  • Synthetic Upper
  • VTR rand
  • Rubber sole 
Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe
  • Made of 100% leather
  • Rubber sole
  • Vibram XS edge
  • Vibram XS grip
  • Mid-length outsole construction
  • Floating power strap
Black Diamond Men's Momentum Lace
  • Made of Synthetic
  • Flat lasts
  • Engineered knit Technology
  • Durable
  • Soft flex midsole
  • Lace entry

What to Consider When Looking For Best Climbing Shoes – Buyer’s Guide

Many types of climbs require specific shoes. Apart from that, people also have different feet sizes that demand the same too. Therefore, there is a necessity to understand the features of a specific shoe in detail before making any choice.  Failure to do that, you may end up regretting later.  You know why? Options always have consequences. Below we have discussed those features in detail that you need to look at before deciding on which one suits your style and needs.

  • Type of climbing shoes 

When choosing a shoe, it’s very crucial to consider the kind of climbing you intend to do as well as the terrain.  You know why? There are a variety of choices for each situation

Sport

If you want to participate in sport climbing, then you should choose a shoe with stiff midsole, tight heel cup, lace closure, and preferably quality edging platform. The sports shoes make it easier and possible for you to scale the vertical climbs.

Trad

Undoubtedly, all-round or flat non-aggressive shoes will be the best performers. Since people will be doing a lot of jamming in cracks, the ideal shoe will offer compact ankle protection. Trad type has relaxed laces, fit, and stiff midsole. It ought to have petite to no heel rubber/toe or downturn. But if you intend to do vertical climbs, then you need a more downturn.

Bouldering

Shoes with hybrid closure, rubber-enclosed rounded heel cups, a compact amount of toe rubber, and an aggressive downturn are the best for this purpose. These kinds of shoes may not offer comfort but instead will ensure you have stick to a heel hook, toe hook, and tiny in cuts while climbing steep terrain. They are as well sensitive to feel the rocks.

  • Downturn: Moderate, Aggressive, or flat 

This is one of the ideal features that should be considered before deciding which pair of shoes is the best. Downturn determines the extent of the curve in the sole of a pump and will be placed as flat, aggressive, or moderate. If you are climbing on vertical or less vertical terrain, then flat shoes are the best. This is because your feet will be able to rest in their usual position. Unlike the flat pair, the aggressive shoe sole is so curved, causing a little bit of discomfort in our feet.

  • Closure: Velcro, Slipper, or Laces

Closures are ideal features for some, but not necessarily everyone. Most people choose what they are comfortable with. There are three types of closures that include lace, slipper, and Velcro. But sometimes new model shoes combine various closures to boost security and comfort.

Velcro 

These are very easy to take off and on, and so, they are suitable for those individuals who like to get in and out of their shoes frequently. Bouldering, indoor climbing, and sport climbing are places you are likely to encounter these closures. Sometimes these closures may come apart while climbing and can cause a lot of challenges. That’s why you should always be careful with it.

Laces 

If you like doing repetitive jamming, then this kind of closers is the best. With these closures, you can put your shoe on, and retain them on for a couple of hours. They also let the ideal fit to your foot.

Slipper 

If you like to enjoy convenience and comfort, then slipper closures are the best.  They are excellent on friction slabs and in crack since they easily stretch.  In case they pull so much, then they won’t be fixed anymore. An individual should always have that in mind to avoid making the wrong decision.

  • Upper: Synthetic vs. Leather 

Shoes can either be made of two types of upper material: synthetic or leather material. The synthetic upper does not stretch. They maintain their original shape even if you climb with it daily. Leather uppers are totally different as they expanse over time. As they pull, they adjust to your feet, and hence, create more comfort.  Therefore, it’s a matter of personal preference to decide which one is the best choice given the pros and cons of each fabric.

  • Fit and Sizing 

Fit and size is a paramount feature that needs to be considered before concluding which one suits your need. There are numerous ways a climbing shoe might fit you, but its best to arrive at the fitness, having asked yourself several questions. First, ask yourself how tight should a climbing shoe be? The perfect answer is that they should fit snugly. Secondly, ask yourself whether you are an experienced or beginner climber? If you are experienced, you might not consider comfort, but the performance, and that’s why you will go for tighter ones. For beginners, you should consider comfortability. This is because discomfort for beginners might be unbearable and can cause them to hate the sport.

  • Stiff vs. Soft

If you are a beginner climber, then stiff shoes are best because they offer more foot support. However, for the individual with stronger feet, the soft shoe is the best because it is more flexible and sensitive. Always choose the one you feel comfortable in so that you can climb up the mountain without any blisters.  

  • Men’s VS. Women’s

This may not be so necessary, but it’s worth some time. Mostly women’s shoes are narrower, and men are a little bit wider. But nowadays we have unisex shoes. So, the best thing to do is figuring out what’s best for your feet irrespective of the targeted gender. In doing so, there is no doubt you will pick the best.  

  • Indoors vs. outdoor climbing 

There are many differences when it comes to climbing indoors and outdoors. Each one needs specific shoes. For indoor climbers who may be training for future outdoors climbing, then the comfortable shoe is the best.  Outdoor is where you prioritize durable and high performing shoe.

  • Weight 

Weight is perhaps the least important factor when selecting a pair of climbing shoes.  If you need to lighten climbing experience, then you need to pick a lighter pair of footwear rather than the heavier one with a big rubber sole.

  • Support

This will depend on the climbing you intend to undertake. The thinner and stickier rubber soles are best for gripping the rock firmly.  With this kind of shoe, there are high chances your feet will feel sensitive, sore, and raw. On the other hand, thicker slows with arched support are best in ensuring the comfortability of your feet. However, they are a little bit clunky when it comes to steering steeper inclines or minor edges.


Detailed Review of the Best Climbing Shoes


1. La Sportiva Men's Tarantu Lace Performance Rock

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La Sportiva Men's Tarantu is one of the best climbing shoes that cannot disappoint whatsoever. It has gained a lot of popularity and its reputation for being reliable and versatile.  They are finished off with leather construction and fast lacing design, allowing precise regulation of inner volumes, and hence giving them excellent fit, comfort, and support. The shoes are designed for all-round performance, and with asymmetrical RN45 build, the climbers discover acquisitions on edge without pain, and with prodigious sensitivity. With its features such as sticky FriXion RS rubber soles and aggressive rubber heel rand, there is no doubt that beginner climbers will hook, edge, and smear like pros. 

The shoe can last for a long time, given that it is made of high-quality materials, and for that reason, many people find it hard to reject the shoe. These shoes can control moisture in your feet and enhance breathability because of its lined tongue. What is even more enjoyable with these shoes is that the classical unlined leather upper is comfortable and soft, making the climb fantastic. Besides that, its synthetic leather overlay enhances the correct level of support while climbing.

They are designed to fit differently, and that’s why you should always check the correct size. But if you find it hard to get the right size, then you should reference the Sportiva size chart in product image for more precise sizing. The fit is always expected to be tight, but without pressure points, and not painful. Therefore, climbers’ lovers will continuously enjoy mountaineering while wearing the shoe brand.

Key Features

  • Made from 100% leather for durability
  • The FriXion RS XS upper sole give outstanding grip
  • Lined tongue to enhance breathability by wicking off moisture
  • Fast lacing system for excellent regulation of inner volumes
  • Synthetic leather overlay for the correct level of support
  • Designed with premium materials to avert wear and tear

Specifications

  • Brand: La Sportiva
  • Weight: 8 ounces

2. Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe 2019

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Climb X Rave Strap is among the best shoes for climbing in the market. If you are looking for footwear to attend gym sessions, then it’s the one you should pick. This is because it’s a prodigious all-round comfortable shoe. The shoe has excellent features that can make climbing a fantastic activity. For instance, its double stitch construction makes climbing flexible and convenient. Also, padded heel and collar increase the fitness hence making it suitable for beginner climbers to use it well.

Additionally, it’s one-piece binding, and polypropylene midsole boosts the performance of climbers. With these shoes, size-up enhance comfort fit, and size-down improve aggressive performance. They come with a variety of colors, and it’s your work to select the best choice.

Moreover, they boast ant-microbial hemp footbed, which helps ensure you are free from odor. These shoes are economical because of its lower price tag. Climb X prefers climbing to fit tight, and at minimum, your toes need to reach the end of the shoe. But in case you need high performance, then you should buy a size down, and with-it toes will be a little bit curled. You know that excellent performance requires perseverance and sacrifice, and that’s why you should not complain of your curled toes.  What you need to do is to be happy with exceptional performance at the end.

Key Features

  • Padded heel and collar for more comfort
  • Double sew construction for durability and comfortability
  • One-piece binding for high performance   
  • Polypropylene midsole for outstanding performance
  • Pre-downsized for competitive climbing

Specifications

  • Brand: Climbing X
  • Model: Rave

3. Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoe

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Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoe is ideal for climbers looking forward to higher performance. They are made of 100% leather material to resist wear and tear. It's versatile, and therefore, it can be used in both indoor and outdoor climbing. In short, it’s a multipurpose shoe. If you are a climber who is looking for comfort, then this one is the best for you. This is because of its flat profile and slightly asymmetric shape. With these shoes, you are guaranteed of best friction, due to the rubber sole. Besides that, the 3D molded heel enhances the ideal fit.  Removing off and wearing on these shoes is an easy task because of its split neoprene tongue.

They have medium stiffness making it more comfortable to the climbers. There is no doubt that climber enjoys custom fit with this kind of shoe, given that it has full-grain leather that stretches out over time. The footwear is impressive and fits both beginners and experienced climbers. The outlook of these shoes is lovely and comes with a variety of colors. Therefore, climbers should always pick these shoes for outstanding performance in all type of climb.

Key Features

  • Made of 100% leather to resist wear and tear
  • Its versatile climbing shoes making it fit for all type of climbs
  • Sticky Rubber sole for the best friction
  • Flat and slight asymmetrical profile for comfort
  • Split neoprene tongue for relaxed on and off. 
  • 3D molded heel for an ideal fit
  • Stretching full-grain leather uppers for an exceptional custom fit 

Specifications

  • Brand: Mad Rock
  • Material: 100% leather

4. Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe (2014) - Women's

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Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe is known to be the top-selling in the United States of America, and that proves the performance. It offers a wonderful combination of performance, value, and comfort. They are ideal for beginners’ who are ready to advance to more complex climbing. This shoe can perform in both the rock and the gym. In short, it’s a versatile shoe. With these shoes, you won’t worry about sliding while mounting in the rocks because of its TRAX XT rubber sole.  This TRAX XT rubber is deemed to be the highest performing rubber in the market. It is considered to have an incredible balance of increased frictional and edging power on almost all plastic holds and types of rocks. Besides that, Evolv Elektra performs well across a broader range of temperatures.   Therefore, your safety is a priority in this kind and shoe.

The asymmetric profile gives climbers stability while climbing.  The perforated synthetic upper and nylon lining in these shoes enhances more comfortable and plusher. So, women should always pick these shoes for their environmental sustainability and conscientiousness.

Key Features

  • Nylon lining for comfort of climbers
  • Perforated synthetic upper for comfort and plush
  • High friction rubber for prevention against sliding
  • Asymmetrical profile for stability purpose

Specifications

  • Brand: Evolv
  • Color: Violet

5. Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe

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Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe is regarded to be among the best. With these shoes, you are assured of getting up steep terrain comfortably because of its powerful features such as Vibram XS edge and Vibram XS grp 2. Apart from that, gripping hard rock and toeing into minor tips will be easier because these shoes offer a tight fit and have a stiff sole. The most crucial feature of these shoes is its secure and snug heel, which usually ensures aggressive heel-hooking while facing difficulties of climb.

They are made of high-quality material, making it durable. So, climbers with these shoes should not have any worry at all. These shoes can be used by both beginners and experienced climbers. Why say so? Because of its floating power strap, and bi-tension active randing that offer toe power and fit. Therefore, climber’s stability will be well taken care of, and hence they will not be injured easily.

Key Features

  • Made of 100% leather for durability purpose
  • Bi-tension randing offers decisive toe power
  • Floating power strap offer power and increases fit
  • Vibram XS grip 2 for simplicity of heel hooking
  • Vibram XS edge in the forefoot for durability purpose and incredible grip

Specifications

  • Brand: SCARPA
  • Model: INSTINCT VS Climbing Shoe-U
  • Weight: 2 pounds

6. Black Diamond Men's Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes

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Men’s Momentum Lace is one of the quality shoes for climbing from the Black diamond. This pair of shoes covers all the requirements that are needed to make them safe, reliable, and comfortable. With synthetic fiber and engineered Knit technology incorporated in this shoe, you are assured of ideal breathability and comfort. The footwear is built for all-day comfort because of its neutral and flat last. It is best for vertical climbing. They have 4.3mm rubber that is helpful when it comes to providing a steady grip, and ideal performance.

The soft flex midsole in momentum shoe gives extra comfort and sensitivity.  Also, it has lace entry for appropriate adjustability. It’s a long-lasting shoe because they are made of high-quality material. These shoes are suitable for both beginners and experienced climbers. In short, momentum shoes have all that to reach their peak. Therefore, individuals who need excellent performance should pick these shoes as their favorite.

Key Features

  • Neutral, and flat last for comfort throughout the day
  • Engineered Knit Technology for ideal comfort, and breathability
  • Rubber built for durability, and consistent grip
  • Lace entry for appropriate adjustability
  • Soft flex midsole for extra comfort, and sensitivity
  • Made of synthetic fiber for increased breathability

Specifications

  • Brand: Black Diamond
The Benefit of Top Climbing Shoes - Outdoor Zen

The Benefit of Top Climbing Shoes

The Benefit of Top Climbing Shoes

If you are a climber, then you need the right type of shoes for comfort and support while ascending terrain and trees. We have already looked at factors to consider when picking a suitable pair. Understanding the benefits is equally important before purchasing the shoes. Most of the climbing shoes come with stopping shorts and are very beneficial to climbers. They provide coverage to their ankles during bouldering, traditional climbing, sport climbing, and other top climbing areas. Below are some of these benefits in detail.

Protection 

Top climbing shoes are very beneficial in ensuring that your ankles and complete feet are well protected. It does so when there is an occurrence of any problematic hurdles, or you apply pressure while climbing. If you engage in crack climbing without top shoes, then you are likely to find complications which can be brutal. Bearing this in mind allows one to make a wise decision to invest in a pair or more.  

The warmth 

During climbing, there is a high chance that your performance will be hindered if your extremities are beginning to become cooler. Paths with high elevation usually go together with colder temperatures, and that’s why performance is hindered.  The fact that blood is responsible for providing warmth to the extremities, there is also the possibility of losing the heat when the blood passed through the main arteries. This is because after passing the significant arteries, they act to be the victim of cold exposure. That’s where the benefit of the top climbing shoe comes in. They help in adding more insulation to your blood so that you can regain warmth quickly without encountering any significant challenges

Stability 

Many a time, your feet will get tired when escalating over long and high multi-terrain paths, and therefore, an appropriate pair of shoe is paramount.  They help in providing the extra stability that covers your ankles. Besides, they assist your feet not to get tired quickly when mounting over the rock.

Proprioceptive feedback 

With top climbing shoes, you are assured of proprioceptive feedback, and that’s why it will be easy to be aware of your feet position and foot angle. So, you will be able to notice when your feet and ankles are tired.

Comfort 

Climbers need comfort, and that’s why they go for top shoes.  Those made of premium quality leather upper and synthetic liner provide support. Apart from that, they give protection to your ankles and foot while mounting over terrain or slabbed areas.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Climbing Shoes

QWhat type of climbing shoes should someone buy? 

Ans: Before struggling to know which shoes you should buy, first identify your climbing needs.  Ask yourself whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber? Is your intention climbing at the local gym, or are you interested in cliffs, crevices, and bouldering?   The type of climbing you intend to participate in will tell the kind of shoe you require. In short, the more complex the climb, the more aggressive the fit needed to be, and the longer the path, the more comfortable the shoe required. Therefore, it’s always wise to consider many things before deciding on which one to buy.

QIs it right to wear climbing shoes with socks?

Ans: No, it’s highly unacceptable because of the negative impact they have on the shoe. Firstly, they degrade the total performance of the shoes. Secondly, you will have the risk of shoes slipping out of the feet while climbing. Additionally, socks are known to build moisture, and that will not only leave your feet wet but also smelly. Therefore, it's wise to avoid wearing socks with climbing shoes altogether.

Q: How does someone keep climbing shoes clean?

Ans: Most of the shoes come with the recommended cleaning instruction. But sometimes the cleaning method depends on the type of material the shoe is made from.  Generally, it's preferable to hand wash your footwear with lukewarm water and use a heated fan to dry them rather than using a washing machine and somersault dryers. So, climbers should follow the given instructions for the shoes to last longer. Otherwise, you might end up buying a pair more often.

Q: What are favorite climbing shoes do the pros wear?

Ans: Mostly pros wear climbing shoes that perfectly fit depending on the size and shape of their feet. In short, they choose the one that works best for them. The reason they do so is because of their complex climbing expedition. Beginners should follow the same to improve their climbing ability by picking aggressive climbing shoes. It's therefore clear that the type of climb we intend to undertake will determine the climbing shoes we need.

Final Thoughts on the ​Best Climbing Shoes

Undoubtedly, mountaineering is the best activity that can keep you busy during your free time. As well, they can relieve stress and boost your thinking capacity. With the help of climbing shoes, there is no doubt that hiking will be more enjoyable. There are many brands in the market, and it is upon you to choose the best pair of shoes that have been designed well for climbing.

We have done a lot of research and shortlisted the best climbing shoes for you. We aimed to save the time you could have wasted looking for the best, but instead, listed the top-rated products from reputable brands to make picking easier. We came up with our list based on customer's rates and reviews—the one with more feedback and high ratings we considered to be the best performing. The features that make the shoes suitable for climbing were also taken into considerations to present only the ones that can transform your hiking experience positively. You only need to pick a pair that suits your needs and style.


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