Rock climbing is literally the climbing of rocks and walls. It is physically demanding, challenging, and takes skill to master. The climbing of a cliff face, smooth bouldering, the scaling of walls, smearing, and edging, the fancy maneuvering between crevice and cranny all require graceful movement. Rock climbing is a form of art really, and just like painters need good brushes to create their masterpieces, rock climbers need good shoes. We are focusing on providing reviews of the best rock climbing shoes in this article.
We have reviewed some of the best rock climbing shoes to make rock climbing great again.
If you are totally new to rock climbing, then you may want to read the “how to” article on choosing a good shoe for rock climbing at the bottom of this article. At first, we are going to share our top picks of rock climbing shoe for men and women. Let’s start with the rock climbing shoe for men.
Best Rock Climbing Shoes 2018
La Sportiva Genius Shoe – Men’s
Best Rock Climbing Shoe for men: Do you believe in love at first sight? Well, I fell in love when I saw these pair first. La Sportive Genius is one of the most hyped rock climbing shoes when it first came out. La Sportive genius rock climbing shoe comes with No-edge technology which offers brilliant performance on the rock. It uses P3 patented technology which maintains the downturned shape of the shoe which provides excellent bending power. The lace-up comfort and snug fit make it great for all most all types of foot.
The Vibram XS Grip2 sole is one of the hardest and stickiest rubber on the market. Thus, it offers superb edging ability with smearing performance. Besides all these features, the slip-lasted construction makes sure you get excellent sensitivity for feeling those edges.
- No-edge technology used for unparalleled edging performance on the rock
- P3 patented technology used. It maintains the downturned shape of the shoe which offers excellent bending power
- Lace-up comfort
- Stylish design with sporty look
- Vibra XS Grip2 sole is one of the best hardest and stickiest rubber available in the market
- Slip lasted technology used for allowing high sensitivity for feeling edges
- Snug fit might be annoying for some users
Scarpa Men’s Feroce Climbing Shoe
Scarpa Feroce is one of the best bouldering shoes available in the market. This shoe is built on low toe profile last to edge, fit nicely into cracks, and pull on pockets. It has a V-Tension active ranging system, toe support, three hook and loop power straps for an excellent fit, as well as a nice full-length outsole. It is also fantastic for toe hooks and scumming.
- Perfect for toe hooks and scumming
- Great fit and comfortable outsole for continued arch support
- They fit great based on actual size, no need to go down a size
- Toe box is stiff, but you can still feel the wall
- Straps are sturdy, but the top strap could be shorter
- You need to take them off when you’re done climbing, as they’re not meant to be walked in, so bring an extra pair of shoes
- There’s a bit of dead space in the heel, but it doesn’t seem to cut into performance at all
Mad Rock Mens Remora Climbing Shoe
This shoe comes with a sock-like fit, ensuring that your foot stays secure at all times. It has a 3 rubber sole for awesome gripping. It also suctions securely to your foot and to the wall you’re climbing. You will be amazed to know that this climbing shoe is named after a fish.
Mad Rock Remora climbing shoe has good suction to both foot and rock. This allows the climber to move very easily and quickly. Though the look of the Remora is quite traditional, it is enriched with powerful features like power upper and SynFlex materials. This mad rock remora climbing shoe offers a great consistent and precise fit.
- Though it’s a man’s shoe, it’s perfect for women as well. Just be sure to get the correct size
- It fits like a glove
- Allows easy toe hooking, edging, and dealing with cracks and crevices
- Can be used for in gym training as well
- Fits really tight right at first, however, it starts to soften a bit as you wear them and becomes comfortable and form fitting to your foot
- Because they will stretch after a little while of using them, you might need to get a size or two smaller than usual. This will allow them the stretching that they need without becoming too loose
Five Ten Men’s Newton Climbing Shoe
The Newton is considered one of their stiffest climbing shoes. It’s built for comfort on long climbs and features their patented S-lacing and padded tongue. It also has a stiff sole and sticky outsole with their Stealth Onyxx grip. It’s a great shoe for beginners and pros alike.
- The padded tongue adds a lot of comfort to this shoe
- The fit is wonderful which allows edging on small holds
- Excellent shoe for climbing all day
- Can be worn by beginner, as well as expert, climbers
- Not truly comparable to a street shoe in regards to size. You will probably need to go down a half size or full size
Five Ten Men’s Anasazi (2012) Climbing Shoe
The Five Ten Men’s Anasazi Climbing Shoe is specifically designed for precision climbing in mind. It features a highly gripping heel and Stealth Onyxx highly durable sole for high-friction. It’s fitting is glove-like and allows you to feel every crevice and crack as if you were touching it with your bare skin. This makes it easier to feel your footing and make sure that you are maneuvering accurately to prevent slips.
- Perfect fitting. It’s very comparable to a street shoe in regards to size. While some climbing shoes need you to go a half size down for tight fitting, this one already fits like a glove when purchasing the same size as you would a tennis shoe
- Fantastic gripping heel allows you to stick your footing as you move along the wall
- The laces make it a little time consuming to actually put the shoe on, as you need to lace up perfectly to ensure the best fit as well as no interference by the lace
Scarpa Men’s Helix Climbing Shoe
This shoe is built for comfort on all day climbs. It comes with a padded tongue, randing flat profile, as well as symmetrical footprint. The heel cup helps add to the comfort of these shoes. The fit of the shoe is very adjustable as the lacing runs all the way down the shoe allowing you to adjust for the best fit. It is completed with the Vibram XS edging rubber.
- An excellent fitting shoe for people with large or extra wide feet. The adjustability allows you to make it fit properly to your foot structure
- The randing offers excellent performance
- Can be used for all-day climbs
- Because of the extensive lacing, it could take a while to get the perfect fit for your foot, though it will happen as it allows awesome adjustability
Red Chili Nacho Climbing Shoe
Best Cheap Rock Climbing shoes for men: You want to start rock climbing, but you don’t want to break the bank for getting a nice pair of rock climbing shoe. If fit this bill, then Red Chili Nacho is a great climbing shoe for you.
This climbing shoe is more of a slipper. It goes on nicely and clings to your foot allowing you to truly feel the wall beneath your feet. They cater to those wanting a more comfortable shoe for climbing and bouldering. Red Chili Nacho Climbing Shoe allows smearing and helps people climb more challenging climbs. In a nutshell, it’s a great indoor rock climbing shoes.
- Shoe slips on and off nicely
- Has an excellent fit and allows your feet to feel everything beneath them
- Allows smearing and edging
- Very comfortable
- Doesn’t lose shape or break down easily
- A little hard to adjust to the slipping on and off of the shoe
- Since it allows you to feel everything with your foot, as if you were wearing a sock, you can sometimes snag on something sharp and your foot feels it. The shoe doesn’t take the brunt of the indent
Best Rock Climbing Shoes for Women 2017
La Sportiva Solution Athletic Sneaker Climbing Shoe – Women’s
Best bouldering shoes for women: This particular shoe comes with a unique marbling Vibram XS Grip 2 sole. It is one of the stickiest and hardest rubbers on the market. It keeps its downturned shape for the life of the shoe, allowing you to gracefully maneuver on every climb. You can get a personalized fit with this shoe as the heel hooking Molded 3D cup has highly adjustable lacing. Because of the unique grip and downturned shape of the toe, it allows you to safely and gracefully use the shoe to grip pockets and otherwise, impossible footholds.
- Gives a better foothold and grip to enable you to go places that your other shoes prevented you from going
- The unique holding mechanism keeps the shoe in place even when using it to grip in tight crevices
- The hooked toe on the shoe allows you to do toe hooks easily
- Heel hooks are done more gracefully, as the gripping rubber sole is incredibly sticky and the shape of the heel is perfect for heel hooks
- Because of the shape of the shoe, trying to walk flat in these is incredibly difficult. They are built for climbing, definitely not for walking, and aim a little at the awkward and painful side when trying to stand flat.
- Foot placement becomes incredibly more important than it did with other shoes, mainly because of the toe hook. So get used to the feel of these and take your time when first trying them out.
Tenaya Tatanka Climbing Shoe
The Tenaya Tatanka Climbing Shoe comes with Vibram XS Grip rubber, SXR dynamic technology, and a full cotton liner for comfort. It is a high performing climbing shoe that takes into account the shape of your foot and turns it into an advantage. This shoe has a quick response rate as you maneuver along the wall with can assist with difficult climbs.
- Tenaya Tatanka can help improve your performance level. Their aggressive feel and comfort allow you to attempt difficult climbs and increase your skill
- The foot doesn’t hurt when wearing this shoe because of the cotton comfort inside. Even though it’s a very form fitting shoe, it feels comfortable to wear it as you climb
- It’s lightweight so that you don’t feel drags on your legs and feet, as you climb
- It’s great for overhangs, and it can still smear
- Won’t completely replace your highest performing shoe, but it is still a great shoe
La Sportiva Katana Lace Vibram XS Edge Climbing Shoe
Complete with Vibram XS Grip and lacing, this shoe is ideal for someone looking for a high-quality, comfortable shoe. The asymmetrical, yet slightly downturned Katana, creates an amazingly comfortable shoe with aggressive features for tougher climbs. The upper material is made with a high-quality leather for a continuous enjoyment of this shoe.
It uses Vibram XS Grip. The material is one of the best most hardest and stickiest rubber on the market. This amazing rock climbing shoe is available for both men and women.
- Customizable lace-up shoe allows the shoe to fit perfectly to your foot
- Aggressive qualities that are perfect to tougher climbs
- An unyielding heel
- As with all lace-up shoes, it takes a while to find the perfect fit for your foot
La Sportiva Tarantulace Shoe
Best Beginner Rock Climbing Shoes for women: La Sportive is one of the best rock climbing shoes for beginners and indoor rock climbers. The quick pull lacing harness delivers a snug and precise fit to the users. This rock climbing shoe looks pretty standard and comes very handy for the newbie rock climbers.
You will be amazed by the excellent all-around hook and loop closure of this shoe. The durable FriXion RS rubber compound offers a great grip and has an excellent durability. The rubber of the shoe provides a great gripping, so you get to climb easily. You won’t find another cheap rock climbing shoes like this in the market.
Best beginner rock climbing shoes for starters
- The best entry-level shoe for newbies
- The shoe has a snug fit
- Stylish looking
- Good grip
- Durable FriXion RS rubber compound for good grip
- Not for seasoned climbers, best for starters
How to choose the best rock climbing shoes
Choosing a rock climbing shoe is slightly tricky if you don’t know the factors. We have laid down the easy to read factors to land you the best rock climbing shoes for your next endeavor. Let’s check them now:
Fit Of The Shoe
The first thing that you need to look at when choosing a rock climbing shoe is the fit of the shoe. In order to ensure excellent performance, you need a shoe that fits your foot perfectly and doesn’t create dead space or have uncomfortable features. You want the shoe to fit snug, but you don’t want it to hurt. If it’s hurting you, it’s too tight, and you will want to go up a size. Also, most climbing shoes are not comparable to street shoes. So research the shoe that you are looking at to see if you might need to go down a size.
Types of Climbing
The second thing that you need to do is think about what type of climbs that you are doing. Shoes that have aggressive features have very downturned toes and are best used for challenging overhangs, single pitch sports climbs, and gym routes. They typically aren’t worn for all day climbs. Moderate shoes only have a slight downturn on the toes, and they are excellent for technical climbing. On the other side, neutral shoes feature more of a relaxed fit and are perfect for all day climbs. Comfort is key with the neutral shoes.
Lace Up Strap on or Slip-On?
The third thing to consider is, do you prefer lace up, strap or slip on? The slip-on (also referred to as slippers) is very low profile shoes. They are perfect for training or slipping your feet into very thin cracks. Lace-up shoes allow more adjustability so that they fit perfectly to your foot. If your feet get hot and swell, you can adjust the laces. The strap is known for its superior on-off capabilities. Perfect for gym climbing or bouldering they can easily be taken off in between climbs.
Material and Durability
Also, really consider the outsole material and what you want your shoes to be able to help you do. Firmer rubbers help with edging and provide better support for your foot, while stickier rubbers provide excellent grip. The softer the rubber, the less durable though, so definitely take that into consideration.
If you are a seasoned rock climber than you would know how thrilling it is to climb those rocks. Surely you will also understand the functionality of these rock climbing shoes. My suggestion is to grab the La Sportiva Genius Climbing Shoe and hit the rock ASAP. If you are women, my suggestion is to grab the La Sportiva Solution. Both of these rock climbing shoes got the ability to make the next climb great. I hope you liked our review of the best rock climbing shoes, and don’t forget to share with your friends.