Best Climbing Shoes 2019 Recommended

Looking for the best climbing shoes in 2019? See our top-rated, pros & cons, features, plus all you need to know about the best options available now!

Climbing Shoes FAQs

Are you thinking about getting into rock climbing but you are not sure what type of shoe to get? This comprehensive list of questions and answers will help you find the perfect shoes for climbing and answer any questions you might have. We answer everything from ”What are climbing shoes?” to ”How do I get a great fit?” Before you begin shopping, keep reading.

  • What are climbing shoes?

Climbing shoes are a specially designed type of footwear used for rock climbing. They typically have a close fit, a smooth and sticky rubber sole, very little padding if any, and a rubber rand. They are not good for hiking or walking, so you will need another type of shoe to wear until you are at the base of the climb.

  • What type of climbing shoe should I get?

There are three types of climbing shoes to choose from; neutral, moderate, and aggressive. Neutral climbing shoes have a more relaxed fit which offers you comfort all day long. They provide enough room for your toes to lie flat. Neutral climbing shoes are an excellent choice for beginners because they are more comfortable than the other types available, but experienced climbers wear them for longer multi-pitch climbs where comfort is appreciated.

Moderate climbing shoes have a downturned shape that makes them stand out from other types of climbing shoes. This shape is referred to as the camber. They are great for technical climbs. They are considered an all-purpose shoe when it comes to rock climbing because of their ability to handle long multi-pitch climbs, crack climbs, slab routes, and overhung sport routes.

Aggressive climbing shoes have an even more downturned toe in addition to heel tension. This combination will put your feet in a powerful position that works perfectly on challenging overhanging climbs. They often have an asymmetrical shape curving towards the big toe. This focuses the power over your toe for precise placement in smaller holds. Most climbers save these shoes for single pitch sport climbs like you would find at the local gym rather than out on the terrain simply because of their shape and snug fit.

  • What type of closure is best on climbing shoes?

Laces will give you the most versatility. If your feet get hot and swell, you can loosen the laces. You can also loosen them for a more relaxed fit on walking routes between climbs. Strap closures use a hook and loop design to hold them together. They are super easy to get on and off which makes them a favorite in the gym or when climbing boulders. Slip-on climbing shoes will have elastic closures. They are sometimes referred to as slippers. They work well when training. They don’t have the traditionally stiff sole which allows your foot to get stronger more quickly. Without the intrusion of laces or straps and a lower profile, these climbing shoes are ideal when slotting into thin cracks.

  • What are climbing shoes made out of?

The upper on climbing shoes are made from either leather or a synthetic material. Leather versions come either lined or unlined, are easy to care for, and are deodorizing. Many of the high-performance climbing shoes are synthetic, and these are preferred by vegans and vegetarians.

  • How do I get a great fit?

The unlined leather climbing shoes have the ability to stretch up a full size. When trying them on, make sure your toes touch the ends of the shoes. You should be able to feel the knuckle of your toes pushing on the leather. You will also need to keep in mind that the color of the leather might bleed onto your feet while wearing them. Lined leather climbing shoes won’t stretch as much. They may increase by only a half of a size. Many manufacturers will line just the toe area. They do this to reduce stretch while keeping the cost low. Synthetic climbing shoes do not stretch. In fact, they actually get softer with use. You can count on the size to stay pretty true to the original fit.

  • What is a climbing shoe ”last?”

The ”last” refers to the type of model a climbing shoe is built around. These models are foot-shaped, and they give the shoe its volume and height, toe and heel dimensions, and the width. Most climbing shoes are said to be slip-lasted. This means they will be less stiff and more sensitive than board-lasted shoes. Slip-lasted versions usually do not have an insole. Their stiffness is created by the midsole found just above the outsole. Board-last climbing shoes are stiffer, but they sacrifice some of the sensitivity. On the plus side, they are more comfortable for all day use.

  • What shape climbing shoe do I need?

The shoe’s last will determine the shape. Straight shoes are made on a straight last that provides comfort in a relaxed fit. They are perfect for all-day climbing as well as crack climbing. These shoes are neutral. Asymmetric climbing shoes have their longest point positioned over your big toe. This gives you a single point of contact and increases your power on your inside edge of your foot. These are your moderate to aggressive shoes. Downturned, or cambered, shapes bend your toe downward. This shape is used in moderate and aggressive styles. They work well when hooking the toe and heel on overhanging rocks.

  • What should I look for in a climbing shoe’s sole?

The outsole is the part of the climbing shoe that touches the rock. It is made of rubber. The thickness will directly affect your performance when climbing. There are different kinds of rubber used in the outsole. Some rubber is stickier and softer than other options available. In general, a firm rubber will offer the best support and edging for your foot. Stickier rubber gives you a better grip when smearing on slabs. They will, however, be less durable.

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