The right shoes are a must for rock climbing, whether indoors or outdoors. Keep in mind that during a climb, your feet are in contact with the wall or cliff half of the time. You also rely on your feet to bear your weight. So, to get the best safety and performance, you should be wearing the right pair of climbing shoes.
However, just like other pieces of climbing equipment, rock climbing shoes come in various models. It can be overwhelming to choose just one pair. But don’t worry as we have made shopping easier for you by picking the 12 best rock climbing shoes available today.
The Momentum Climbing Shoes may just be the best entry-level climbing shoes today. This flat lasted shoe is made of high-quality rubber. The sole is made of 4.3mm of NeoFuse rubber that is known for being durable and grippy. It provides excellent traction and protection to the Momentum Climbing Shoes.
Black Diamond designed the Momentum to be comfortable for first-time climbers. Its flat last is intended to let the feet sit naturally. Its midsole is flexible and allows mobility both on and off the rock. Its soft upper is plush and airy, too. Moreover, this entry-level rock climbing shoe is breathable.
It also features a couple of adjustable Velcro straps that make the shoe easy to put on and off. Since this is a rock climbing shoe for beginners, you can expect the Momentum to be budget-friendly.
If you consider yourself an intermediate rock climber, then you might want to consider getting the Scarpa Arpia.
The Scarpa Arpia delivers a good blend of comfort and climbing performance that’s best suited for an intermediate climber. Its last, for example, is mildly asymmetric and provides precision and control often found in entry-level shoes. However, it does not lead to extreme compression that you’d likely get in more specialized, high-performance climbing footwear. It also has a 1.4mm thick midsole that provides adequate support when standing on small edges and enough flexibility for smearing.
The Scarpa Arpia has a soft and conforming micro-suede on its upper with a soft lining. This leads to a comfortable interior that any climber would appreciate. The shoe is also easy to adjust with its Z-style hook and loop strap closure. It also features Vibram XS Grip2 rubber that is known to offer excellent grip and traction.
The heel construction of the Scarpa Arpia is designed to adapt well to various foot shapes. Wrapped with the Vibram XS rubber, it delivers maximum sensitivity and friction to most users.
Like the Black Diamond Momentum climbing shoes, the La Sportiva Tarantulace is designed for and marketed toward entry-level climbers. As such, you can expect this to provide superior comfort, letting you climb longer. With a sole made of super sticky FriXion rubber, it can keep you glued to the rock. It has a synthetic leather lacing overlay that gives excellent support to novice and intermediate climbers.
Made of unlined leather, the La Sportiva Tarantulace will feel as if it molds to your feet the first time you put it on. Moreover, it provides superior breathability so your feet will remain dry all day long even if you have been climbing for hours.
The La Sportiva Tarantulace is also reputed to be one of the best-selling rock climbing shoes today because of its versatility. Don’t be surprised to see a handful of guys wearing it while strolling in the mall. It’s a jack-of-all-trades shoe that can be worn while you scale mountains or run errands.
The Testarossa has been around for many years now, proof of how popular it is among climbers. Recently redesigned, the Testarossa features leather and synthetic uppers, a synthetic liner in the toe and heel, and an outsole made of 3.5mm Vibram XS rubber.
The new Testarossa has a moderate heel cup covered completely with rubber, which makes it a good shoe to have when dealing with hard heel hooks. The combination of leather and synthetics on the uppers increases its sensitivity, meaning you would be able to feel every bit of crystal that you stand on when you wear these shoes.
La Sportiva also added an anatomical insert to the Testarossa in a bid to improve the toe box power of the shoe. The familiar 3D cupped midsole of the Testarossa also gives you more toe control without compromising comfort. Meanwhile, the asymmetric lacing system will enable you to fit your shoes precisely.
If you are looking for climbing shoes that you can wear while working out in the gym, then the Black Diamond Zone should be on your shortlist.
The Zone combines the comfort of the Momentum and the durability of another Black Diamond climbing shoe, the Shadows. The result is a pair of climbing shoes that are reliable when stepping on hard rocks and yet versatile enough to be worn during your workouts.
It comes in two variations: the regular volume and the low volume. It has a knit upper that can provide stretch, support, and breathability. Its downturned last, meanwhile, makes it capable of being pulled hard on steep rocks. The 4.3m Fuse molded rubber enhances the grip and performance of the shoe.
The footbed is made of leather and comfortable against the skin. It has a couple of Velcro straps for a secure fit.
Like the Testarossa, the Miura has been in the market for many years now but remains on the list of the best rock climbing shoes. And that is not surprising at all given how well-designed it is.
The Miura VS is regarded as the best all-around climbing shoe. It is perfect for gym climbing, slab climbing, bouldering, and technical face climbing. Its sole is made of Vibram XS Edge rubber, which is sticky and durable.
There is a rubber patch on the heel that protects that part of the foot; it is also placed strategically to help the wearer stick to the rock during heel hooking.
Stiff and downturned, the Miura VS is excellent at edging. Its midsole allows it to retain its stiffness throughout its lifespan while preventing it from bending.
If you are wondering what the VS in the name means, it refers to “Velcro straps,” which the Miura has three of, to be exact. The Velcro straps provide a nice fit and make the shoe easy to put on and off.
The Butora Endeavor is another good option if you are a beginner climber. It is a medium flex and stiff rock climbing shoe that features a polyurethane reinforcement in the upper heel for enhanced security and stability. Dual Velcro straps provide for a snug fit while the organically grown hemp lining can help in controlling odor.
The outsole is made of NEO Fuse sticky rubber that enhances the grip and traction of the shoe. The footbed is made of leather. It is comfortable and doesn’t cause sweating. There is also memory foam lining the inner layer of the tongue for improved comfort. The midsole, meanwhile, is molded for precise edging and torsion.
Created for crack climbing, the La Sportiva TC Pro is not the most affordable rock climbing shoe on the market. But if you are looking for the best crack climbing shoe, then the TC Pro should be on top of your list.
This shoe was designed by renowned climber Tommy Caldwell. It is a versatile climbing machine that performs best on vertical faces, cracks, and edges. As it has a flat toe box and a strategically placed foam padding, the TC Pro will allow you to jam cracks without much discomfort. The mid-ankle coverage of the TC Pro also enhances comfort as it can protect you from abrasions.
The outsole of the TC Pro is made from Vibram XS Edge rubber, which is stiff and durable. While it is not known for stability, the rubber gets rave reviews for its power and stability.
This climbing shoe from Five Ten gets high marks for its all-around performance. Made of polyester with a rubber outsole, the Anasazi climbing shoe is supportive. Stiff and flat, it excels in scaling vertical routes and boulders. The flat profile of the shoe should help you stand on small edges comfortably even for extended periods.
The Anasazi is made of Mi6 rubber, known to stick well on any surface. It comes with lace closures, which makes adjusting quick and easy. The uppers are lined with polyester and won’t stretch. Moreover, it has a high heel tension, meaning you can wear the shoes all day long.
Comfort is not compromised at all as the shoe has a knit tongue that’s well padded. Airflow in that part of the shoe is assured, allowing your feet to stay relatively cool no matter how hot the environment is.
Many reviewers online have called the Butora Acro the best footwear for bouldering. Its outsole is made of Neo Fuse rubber. The upper, meanwhile, is made from a combination of leather and soft synthetic for superior performance and a comfortable fit.
The Butora Acro features a rubber toe patch that enhances traction and sensitivity when toe hooking. The heel rand, meanwhile, assures you can get all the power you need. You can find a snug fit with the single hook and loop strap closure of the shoe. It also makes putting it on and off quick and easy.
The midsole is made of 3D ABS, a thin and flexible plastic that prevents the shoe from losing its downturned shape. The Acro performs well at all kinds of sport climbing, which makes it one of the best rock climbing shoes today.
Made of soft rubber, the Evolve Sharman gets rave reviews for its comfortable and secure fit. This high-performance shoe excels at steep climbing.
One of the key features of the Sharman is the “Love Bump,” which is a molded section of the midsole that keeps the concave shape underneath the toes. It also minimizes the dead space in front of the footwear and helps keep your toes where they ought to be.
The soft and pliable upper conforms well to the foot. It is also designed to dry quickly and minimize odors. The soft and flexible midsole, meanwhile, provides comfort and support. The toe box also keeps your toes pointed in but not to the point of making you feel uncomfortable.
Rounding out our list is this unisex rock climbing shoe from Tenaya. The Masai is a mid-range climbing shoe that provides exceptional comfort and excellent performance. This is a solid choice if you are shopping for a rock climbing shoe that you can rely on when standing on micro edges or delicate smears.
The Tenaya Masai comes with a microfiber upper lined with treated cotton for a snug fit and minimal stretch. The outsole is made of Vibram XS rubber that is noted for its excellent grip and traction.
The toe box is optimally shaped to concentrate the power of your foot into a particular area. The midsole, on the other hand, combines stiffness and sensitivity for excellent performance on various angles. The Masai excels in bouldering and traditional rock climbing.