October 9, 2021

7 Best Rock Climbing Shoes

October 9, 2021

7 Best Rock Climbing Shoes

Rock climbing hasn't been the easiest outdoor sport out there. It is challenging and requires a lot of training. Moreover, you also need to have the right equipment for this endeavor, such as the best rock climbing shoes. 

These rock climbing shoes aren't similar to your standard climbing shoes. They have distinct designs and features that allow their users to climb boulders, overhung walls, and other vertical ascents. Hence, it is just right if you can get a pair that suits your skill level and preferences and the type of climb you are going to do. 

If you don't know where to start, I got you covered. Here, I've listed all of the top-rated shoes for rock climbing that you can today. Check the following picks now. 

7 Best Rock Climbing Shoes

 Type Fit
Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes NeutralWomen’s
La Sportiva Tarantulace Climbing Shoes NeutralWomen’s
La Sportiva Finale Climbing Shoes NeutralMen’s
Scarpa Origin Climbing Shoes’ NeutralMen’s
TENAYA Tarifa Climbing Shoes AggressiveMen’s 
evolv Geshido Climbing Shoes ModerateMen’s 
CLIMBX Rave NLV Performance Rock Climbing Shoe NeutralWomen’s 

1. Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes

PRODUCT LINK

The Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes is neutral footwear designed for women. It provides long-lasting comfort while you are ascending different climbing routes. It also features proficiently engineered uppers that optimize ventilation to your feet. Its microfiber linings guarantee that the shoe doesn't stretch too much. 

Since it has a women-specific architecture, female climbers will move with the shoe as comfortably as possible. Furthermore, the brand-new soft flex midsole design of the Momentum Climbing Shoes improves its sensitivity. It helps increase your edging performance without sacrificing your convenience. Notably, the 4.3-mm rubber outsoles of this climbing footwear have superb durability and stable tension. It also has a unique geometry to ensure that your feet remain in place. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type - Neutral
  • Upper - Knit
  • Upper lining - Microfiber 
  • Last - Slip-lasted
  • Outsole - Rubber
  • Closure type - Strap
  • Fit - Women's

2. La Sportiva Tarantulace Climbing Shoes

PRODUCT LINK

If you are into day-long multi-pitch climbs, then the La Sportiva Tarantulace Climbing Shoes is the perfect choice for you. The La Sportiva Tarantulace is designed for female climbers; it offers ample protection and support while climbing. It features unlined leather throughout the uppers for maximum suppleness. It also has a neutral construction, which means that it can be used for performance climbs without hurting your toes. 

Interestingly, the shoe has an aggressive rubber heel rand. This component lets you navigate through tiny edges as steadily as possible. Moreover, the Tarantulace is also equipped with the proprietary FriXion RS rubber outsole. The latter is thick and provides sticky grip surfaces. Meanwhile, its synthetic lacing ensures that the shoe fits your feet as snugly as possible. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type - Neutral
  • Upper - Synthetic/leather
  • Upper lining - Unlined
  • Last - Slip-lasted
  • Outsole - Rubber
  • Closure type - Lace-up
  • Fit - Women's

3. La Sportiva Finale Climbing Shoes

PRODUCT LINK

You'd love the performance of the La Sportiva Finale Climbing Shoes, especially if you are still new to the world of rock climbing. This particular pair of footwear is designed to aid new climbers in improving their skills in conquering crags and slabs. You can wear them whether you are in boulders or indoor gyms. With its sticky outsoles, you will be able to grip surfaces securely. You shouldn't worry about slipping or toppling over. 

The La Sportiva Finale Climbing Shoes have been rigged with tensioned heel rands so that they can amplify your edging capabilities. The footwear also has La Sportiva's Powerhinges, which effectively reduced its stretch. Specifically, the shoe only stretches on its back half when it is loaded. Because of this mechanism, you guarantee that your toes remain on the surface. Since it has unlined leather uppers, the Finale Climbing Shoes generate exceptional comfort to its users. Climbing efficiently won't become a problem. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type - Neutral
  • Upper - Microfiber/leather
  • Upper lining - Unlined
  • Last - Slip-lasted
  • Outsole - Vibram XS Edge rubber
  • Closure type - Lace-up
  • Fit - Men's

4. Scarpa Origin Climbing Shoes

PRODUCT LINK

The Scarpa Origin Climbing Shoes are no mere climbing shoes. The footwear presents itself as an ideal option for amateurs in the world of climbing. But at the same time, it is an excellent choice for veterans who want comfort and stability while they are climbing. The Scarpa Origin features a brand-new fitting mechanism that includes the PAF heel system. The latter optimizes the comfort of your feet on the heel area, as well as the broadest parts of your feet. 

Since it has a flat-lasted architecture, you can guarantee that this climbing shoe can provide you all-day comfort, regardless if you are climbing or walking. With its proprietary 5-mm Vision rubber outsoles, sticking your feet to the cracks and gaps on surfaces should be a walk in the park. These outsoles are durable; they are abrasion-resistant and won't wear quickly. Meanwhile, the footwear's mesh tongues secure a comfortable cushioning to your feet. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type - Neutral
  • Upper - Suede leather
  • Upper lining - Unlined
  • Last - Slip-lasted
  • Outsole - Vision rubber
  • Closure type - Strap
  • Fit - Men's

5. TENAYA Tarifa Climbing Shoes

PRODUCT LINK

The TENAYA Tarifa Climbing Shoes have striking features that you climbers would easily notice. This pair of rock climbing shoes have firm midsoles and slender lasts. These distinct features allow the footwear to be sensitive enough to handle steep terrains and extremely overhang boulders. It is also capable of holding up the technical challenges brought by vertical edging--even if you have no choice but to settle on small holds.   

Furthermore, the Tarifa Climbing Shoes boast synthetic microfiber uppers that have been embedded with cotton linings. You can ensure that wearing these shoes all day long will not strip your feet of the comfort that they deserve. Additionally, the speed-lace closure system enables quick entry and exit to the shoes. The lacing system also improves the fit of the shoes with maximum precision. You'll also adore the Vibram XS Grip rubber outsoles of the shoes, which exhibit peerless durability and surface friction. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type - Aggressive
  • Upper - Microfiber
  • Upper lining - Cotton
  • Last - Slip-lasted
  • Outsole - Vibram XS Grip rubber
  • Closure type - Slip-on
  • Fit - Men's

6. evolv Geshido Climbing Shoes

PRODUCT LINK

The evolv Geshido Climbing Shoes are crafted to provide climbers the stability they need whenever dealing with vertical walls and moderate overhangs. The said footwear arrives with a durable and comfortable architecture, ensuring that users will find comfort and protection while wearing it. The shoe's uppers are made from single-layer vegan-certified synthetic material. This layer doesn't stretch much as compared to its leather counterparts, allowing you to feel the shoe's tightness and power on climbs. 

With its two-strap hook-and-loop system, inserting and removing your feet from the shoe would be a breeze. This type of closure also guarantees that the shoe will have a snug and adjustable fit. Meanwhile, Geshido's 1.2-mm plastic midsoles deliver power and control to your feet. In this way, you will be able to course through technical climbs and routes. Noticeably, this footwear has thin heel rands, which are useful whenever you are dealing with sharp verticals. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type - Moderate
  • Upper - Synthratek VX
  • Upper lining - Unlined
  • Last - Slip-lasted
  • Outsole - TRAX SAS rubber
  • Closure type - Strap
  • Fit - Men's

7. CLIMBX Rave NLV Performance Rock Climbing Shoe

PRODUCT LINK

Last but not least is the CLIMBX Rave NLV Performance Rock Climbing Shoe. This one is entry-level footwear designed for practice and all-rounder use. It is an ideal wear for gym climbs, as well as beginner-friendly routes. Featuring a double-stitch construction, one-piece binding, and well-padded heel and collar, there's a certainty that this footwear will elevate your performance. It also has a polypropylene midsole that secures your footing while you are on the ascent. 

Fitting this shoe is not troublesome, thanks to its adjustable strap-on closure system. Moreover, it offers decent breathability and a sweat-wicking feature so that your feet stay fresh all day long. The rubber outsoles of the shoes stick on surfaces pretty tightly; they are durable and abrasion-resistant. And since this pair of rock-climbing shoes are lightweight, wearing them doesn't feel cumbersome. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type - Neutral
  • Upper - Synthetic 
  • Upper lining - Unlined
  • Last - Slip-lasted
  • Outsole - Rubber
  • Closure type - Strap
  • Fit - Women's

A Guide In Choosing The Best Rock Climbing Shoes

I have to reiterate the fact that rock climbing shoes are different from your hiking, running, or other outdoor footwear. From the design to function, it's pretty clear that these climbing shoes are performance-oriented. They are made with a single goal in mind: for people to ascend boulders, walls, and crags with efficiency and safety. 

Because of this, it is not surprising that there are different sets of specifications when it comes to choosing a pair of rock climbing shoes. You have to learn these features so that you'll be able to pick the right climbing footwear for you. 

Type

There are three types of climbing shoes: neutral, moderate, and aggressive. Each of them has its respective uses, advantages, and disadvantages. 

  • Neutral - Neutral shoes are popular for beginners and veterans alike because of the comfort that they provide. Generally, they excel in multi-pitch climbs. At the same time, their flat construction allows you to slot them into cracks easily. Neutral climbing shoes often feature stiff to medium midsoles. But because of this, neutral shoes are not as sensitive as aggressive and moderate shoes. They aren't suitable for climbing technical overhanging structures. 
  • Moderate - Moderate shoes are characterized by their slight downturn profile. Such an architecture enables them to help climbers deal with technical climbs. Aside from that, they can also be used in multi-pitch climbs, slab routes, and moderately overhung walls. 
  • Aggressive - You can easily distinguish an aggressive climbing shoe from other types of climbing shoes by simply looking at its construction. This one has an emphasized downturn construction. It also provides significant heel tension to exert more stability and power whenever you are dealing with extreme overhanging climbs. It is typical for aggressive shoes to have asymmetrical architecture since they are designed to optimize the power and precision of your toes. They are helpful for single-pitch sport routes and climbs. However, keep in mind that these aggressive shoes aren't as comfortable as neutral and moderate shoes. Their outsoles wear out quickly because they are sticky and thin.

Type Of Closure

  • Lace - Climbing shoes that use laces are incredibly adjustable and versatile. You can quickly loosen or tighten them, depending on your current needs. 
  • Strap - Strap closures provide the utmost convenience to their users. They are the recommended closure system if you are climbing gym routes and bouldering. They also provide a certain degree of adjustability. 
  • Slip-on - Shoes that have slip-on closure often have low-profile construction. They also provide foot-to-surface sensitivity, which makes them an ideal choice for training and practice. They don't have stiff midsoles and outsoles, either. You can also insert these shoes easily on narrow cracks. 

Shoe Upper Construction

Most of the rock climbing shoes today have uppers made from either leather or synthetic. Between the two, synthetic uppers offer better performance. Moreover, they are the preferences of vegans and vegetarians. Meanwhile, leather shoes are durable and easy to maintain. 

There are two types of leather uppers: lined and unlined. If the leather is lined, it means that its stretch is reduced. If it is unlined, then there's no limit to the stretch that the shoe can make. Depending on the application, you might need a shoe that doesn't stretch that much to maximize your stability. 

The "Last" Of The Shoe

The shoe last is a foot-shaped model where the shoe is being patterned after. The purpose of this type of molding is to create an exact replica of your feet so that you can get shoes with the perfect fit and comfort. Most climbing shoes are slip-lasted, while some are board-lasted

Slip-lasted shoes feature minimal stiffness and maximum sensitivity. They don't have insoles, so their firmness comes from the midsole. Meanwhile, board-lasted shoes are stiff. They don't excel when it comes to sensitivity but provide more comfort than slip-lasted climbing shoes. 

Outsole

The outsole is the one that has direct contact with the ground or surface. Hence, you must inspect the kind of outsole that a particular climbing shoe has. 

Most of the best rock climbing shoes today use rubber outsoles. They only differ in thickness and softness. Firm outsoles, for instance, provide climbers with exceptional support to your foot. That's why they are commonly used in edging. Meanwhile, sticky rubber outsoles are ideal if traction is needed--such as if you want to smear on slabs. Keep in mind that sticky outsoles aren't as durable as less sticky ones. 

Outsoles also differ in thickness. Soles that are 4mm to 5.5mm thick are considered thick. They are great for support provision and have exceptional durability. However, you shouldn't expect "feel" and sensitivity from them. Thin soles, on the other hand, are often sized 3mm to 4mm thick. 

In Summary

Not all climbing shoes may suit different rock climbing approaches. Hence, you must first identify your intended application before deciding which type of footwear you should get. After all, the best rock climbing shoes should provide you comfort, support, and protection while conquering different climbs. 

That's it for now. If you have related inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below.

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