Best Rock Climbing Shoes


Deciding which are the best rock climbing shoes to buy is a pretty important task before you begin rock climbing. The shoes will enhance your performance during the sport while making your experience comfortable and convenient. With good shoes, you can enjoy climbing heights and explore a magnificent world without concern.

Buying the best rock climbing shoes that give you excellent support is a must, and the shoes should be comfortable while providing you with sufficient and efficient ventilation. Footwear should also be soft enough to make you feel as if it is an extension of your foot.

Figuring out which of the best rock climbing shoes to buy can be difficult because there are so many brands in the market claiming to be the “best.” But with this article, we’ll cut through all the confusion.

Our team of experts have done extensive research and shortlisted the five best rock climbing shoes for you. These shoes are hot in the market right now. Pick the one which feels right for you.

Best Overall
Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe
La Sportiva Men's TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe
Best Budget
Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe 2019
Tenaya Oasi Rock Climbing Shoe
Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe - Men's Ash 9.5
Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe
La Sportiva Men's TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe
Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe 2019
Tenaya Oasi Rock Climbing Shoe
Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe - Men's Ash 9.5
Price not available
Price not available
Price not available
Price not available
$89.95
Best Overall
Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe
Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe
Price not available
La Sportiva Men's TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe
La Sportiva Men's TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe
Price not available
Best Budget
Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe 2019
Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe 2019
Price not available
Tenaya Oasi Rock Climbing Shoe
Tenaya Oasi Rock Climbing Shoe
Price not available
Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe - Men's Ash 9.5
Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe - Men's Ash 9.5
$89.95

Scarpa Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoes: Best Overall Rock Climbing Shoes

Scarpa Men’s Instinct is a sturdy shoe that can provide you with the best comfort possible. The brand is reliable and has been famous for making excellent rock climbing shoes for a long time now.

Scarpa excels in making shoes that allow you to move comfortably on rough terrain. The shoes’ soles are tough but formable, enabling you to grip onto hard rocks. The boots also help you achieve a tight grip as you move upwards, making it easy to toe into sneak edges.

The best feature of the shoe is its heels. They’re secure and help you conquer any challenge rock climbing challenge you encounter. If you combine it with a good helmet, the combination can make your adventure a safe and memorable one. The price of the shoe is on the higher side, but definitely worth it.

Features

  • Heel hooking process is easy because of Vibram xs grip
  • Perfect fit with the help of power strap
  • Gives you maximum toe power
  • Mid-length construction helps provide comfort
  • Comes with a rubber sole

Pros

  • ✅ Heel has an excellent performance
  • ✅ Toe design is precise and perfect for rock climbing
  • ✅ People interested in steep bouldering would love it

Cons

  • ⭕ It is a bit pricy
Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe
  • Highly charged bi-tension active randing provides maximum toe power
  • Vibram xs edge in forefoot provides incredible grip and durability
  • Vibram xs grip 2 makes heel hooking simple
  • Mid length outsole construction
  • Floating power strap enhances fit and provides power.Select 1/2 size up.

La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Performance Shoes: Best Crack Climbing Shoes

These shoes come with a rubber heel that gives the boots a rugged appearance. La Sportiva produces shoes that are versatile and perfect to buy for a variety of sports. The upper build of the shoe is made with fine leather and a particular fabric making it a soft and comfortable one to wear for your rock climbing journey.

The lightweight nature of the shoe makes it a convenient one as well. Whether you are going for a climb at your gym or preparing for a high-end outdoor expedition, these performance shoes won’t disappoint you.

These climbing shoes get you to perform at an expert level due to their comfort and lightweight structure. You’ll be flying up rock sides, even on the roughest of terrain.

Features

  • Pull lacing system is helpful to fit shoes quickly
  • Made with rubber material for fixation and good grip
  • Manufactured with suitable quality materials
  • Durable and resistant to wear and tear

Pros

  • ✅ The shoes are ideal for crack climbing
  • ✅ Comfortable and easy to put on / take off
  • ✅ Rubber soles make it durable for rock climbing

Cons

  • ⭕ Shoe sizes are not always accurate to what you’d expect
La Sportiva Men's TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe
  • FAST LACING SYSTEM - Quick-pull lacing harness allows for precise regulation of inner volumes; Wrapping the foot snugly for excellent support, fit, and comfort
  • ALL-AROUND PERFORMANCE - Designed to help intermediate climbers smear, hook, and edge like pros; The aggressive rubber heel rand, sticky FriXion RS rubber soles, and low-asymmetry RN45 build let climbers find purchase on edges with great sensitivity and without pain or cramping
  • CLIMB IN COMFORT - From the gym to the crags, the classic unlined leather upper is soft and comfortable; Lined tongue controls moisture and enhances breathability; Synthetic leather overlay adds just the right level of support
  • BUILT TO LAST - This indoor/outdoor climbing shoe is constructed from high quality materials; 1.8mm LaspoFlex at the midsole and 5mm FriXion RS at the sole make the TarantuLace as stable as it is durable
  • TIPS FOR BUYING - Rock climbing shoes are designed to fit differently than other footwear; Be sure to reference the La Sportiva size chart in the product images for more accurate sizing; The fit should be tight, but not painful, and without pressure points

Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoes: Best Budget Rock Climbing Shoes

If you are looking for a comfortable shoe that is good enough to compliment you on your climbing sessions, then you should think about going with Climb X Rave.

It’s a durable and practical shoe used for competitive climbing, but can be worn whether you’re a beginner or a professional. It comes packed with features including double stitch, soft padded collar, and one-piece binding as well. It will provide you with a perfect fitting, but keep it in mind that climbing shoes are supposed to be very tight, or else they won’t be as effective.

Climb X shoes are about as economical a buy as you can get. It’s very affordable, and includes an anti-microbial hemp footbed with a midsole made up of polypropylene.

Features

  • Designed according to the natural shape of the foot
  • Sole of the shoe is flexible yet tight enough to provide grip
  • Suitable for beginners and professional climbers who are interested in competitive climbing
  • Features a low symmetry which makes it easy and comfortable to wear

Pros

  • ✅ Affordable and excellent quality product
  • ✅ Addition of the organic footbed is lovely, and people have appreciated this
  • ✅ Manufactured using soft and lightweight materials

Cons

  • ⭕ Not as durable as other options
Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe 2019
  • Please refer to the Sizing Chart for Recommended Size.
  • Padded Collar and Heel for Comfort.
  • Visit https://climbx.us/ for More Details.

Tenaya Oasi Unisex Rock Climbing Shoes: Best High-Quality Adjustment Climbing Shoes

The Tenaya Oasi is an aggressive shoe that is designed solely for the comfort of mountain climbers. It is constructed with strength and balance in mind, while the midsole is very soft on the foot.

The toe-hooks are fairly technical, while the material with which it was made is soft yet protective of the climber’s foot. The price of the shoe is mid-upper range.

When rock climbing, these shoes mitigate the amount of pressure distributed out to the foot, leaving your muscles with more energy for a longer journey.

Features

  • Made of original rubber that gives maximum grip to the foot
  • You can use it for sport climbing, bouldering or even indoor climbing
  • It is incredibly smooth and polished
  • Movement adjustment feature distributes power to the more significant toe
  • Remains well balanced while preventing foot bulging

Pros

  • ✅ You can have control, balance, and power over your foot using the adjustment feature
  • ✅ Lacing system is fast and precise
  • ✅ Webbing is easily adjustable to fit on any foot size

Cons

  • ⭕ Heel fit could be a little more snug
Tenaya Oasi Rock Climbing Shoe
  • ASCENT & PROGRESSION - Founded in 1997 by Yosemite vet Jose Luis Garcia Gallego, Tenaya is famous for designs that blend performance and comfort without sacrifice; Tenayas are worn by pro climbers worldwide, like Chris Sharma, Alex Megos, and Ramon Julian, and have helped advance the sport on championship and record-breaking ascents
  • TENAYA OASI - One of the most aggressive shoes in the unisex Tenaya line, the Oasi is for every kind of foothold; The design and construction techniques have resulted in a shoe of amazing precision in all kinds of difficult situations
  • AGGRESSIVE & CUSTOM - The Oasi is ultimately versatile, shining on vertical or overhanging routes and all kinds of bouldering; It’s incredibly comfortable for such a high performance curved shoe; Aggressively curved shape and the angle of the toe-box and allow the heel to sit lower, providing greater feel and control; Patented Draxtor closure system allows optimal adjustment over different parts of the shoe and custom comfort for any type of foot shape
  • TECHNICAL SPECS - Uppers: Microfibre; Closure System: Velcro, patented Draxtor PAT system; Tongue: Lycra, two-layer and bidirectional; Lining: TXT treated cotton; Insole: 2D multi-layer Stretchtex; Midsole: Double midsole GI 1.8 & TST 150; Sole: Vibram XS Grip 3.5 mm; Weigh: 340 gr; 100% Vegan; Designed and Handmade in Spain
  • TIPS FOR SIZING - Climbing shoes fit differently with every brand and each unique model; Personal preference of tightness (based on climbing style, terrain, and comfort) is the biggest factor in determining the optimal shoe size; To start, Tenaya recommends downsizing 0-0.5 sizes from your US street shoe size for an all day fit and 0.5-1 sizes for a performance fit; Tenayas are constructed with synthetic materials designed to limit stretch, making sizing more predictable and consistent

Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes: Best Heavyweight Rock Climbing Shoes

The Black Diamond Men’s Climbing Shoes have been manufactured with a subtle style. They are highly sustainable and functional, leading many people to prefer to wear them. And although these Black Diamond shoes come at an affordable price, it doesn’t mean they sacrifice on comfort or quality.

These climbing shoes are just as safe and comfortable as some of the more expensive ones on the market. In addition, the fabric is breathable and soft. They can provide all-day comfort to your foot no matter how rough the terrain is.

Features

  • Made using adjustable Velcro straps
  • Soft midsole for comfort
  • Long-lasting materials
  • Good ventilation for your feet

Pros

  • ✅ The shoes are incredibly breathable
  • ✅ Fabric and rubber are high quality
  • ✅ Balances comfort with performance well

Cons

  • ⭕ Might be too narrow for people with wide feet
Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe - Men's Ash 9.5
  • Neutral, flat last for vertical climbing and all-day comfort
  • Engineered Knit Technology upper provides exceptional breathability and comfort
  • 4.3mm rubber is built for durability and molded for optimal consistency and performance
  • Soft flex midsole for added sensitivity and comfort
  • Lace entry for fit adjustability

Deciding Which Rock Climbing Shoes to Buy – Complete Buying Guide

When you are planning your rock climbing trip, one of the first things you’ll think about are the best rock climbing shoes. You need the best and most comfortable rock climbing shoes to suit your specific needs in order to improve your performance and make your climb as enjoyable as possible.

Every rock climber is looking for the best rock climbing shoes that can keep him or her safe and enhance their ability. Improving at and enjoying the sport is the main aim of most climbers, which is why so many put a strong emphasis on getting the right pair of shoes.

Each shoe mentioned above include the following features we will discuss. These are the most important features you should keep in mind when choosing rock climbing shoes.

Rock Climbing Shoes

Quality

Shoes made up of quality materials will be durable enough to stay with you for a long time. Even if you use them regularly, well-made climbing shoes are strong enough to battle on without wearing and tearing.

The best rock climbing shoe should be an excellent fit for your feet and be comfortable enough to move around without any irritation. They should have a good grip so that you can rock climb safely. Climbing shoes should allow the right amount of ventilation as well, since shoes that are less ventilated will be less comfortable to wear.

Our Winner: Scarpa Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe

Brand

We can’t deny the fact that a brand with a reputation can tell you a lot about the performance of their shoes. If you are buying your rock climbing shoes from a reputable brand, there is a high chance that you’ll get some of the best ones for your activity.

We made sure to pick shoes from the best brands that guarantee quality and an awesome experience when you’re deciding which rock climbing shoes to buy. They live up to the promises they have made to rock climbers and provide amazing products. But there can only be one winner…

Our Winner: La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe

Reviews

Checking out reviews on the internet is one of the best ways to choose which rock climbing shoes to buy. We made sure to get the shoes on the list that have the maximum number of positive reviews.

What the customers who have bought and used the shoes have to say about them is very important to consider.

Our Winner: Tenaya Oasi Unisex Rock Climbing Shoe

Price

You might be a first-time buyer of rock climbing shoes. If so, when figuring out which rock climbing shoes to buy you probably don’t want to invest too much money off the bat. You’d like to purchase good quality shoes at an affordable price. Here is a shoe that’s at a great price without compromising quality.

Our Winner: Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe

Shape

Rock climbing shoes have three types of shapes. They come in a flat shape, moderate shape, and an aggressive shape. Each has a wide range of various features. It all depends on what kind of shoes you are looking for along with your preferences. You can choose the shape of which rock climbing shoes to buy according to your needs:

Flat shape: Flat shaped shoes are the best option for beginners because they promise a lot of comfort. They have a stiff structure and rubber soles which provide more support to your feet.

Moderate shape: If you are not a beginner rock climber and have participated in the sport quite a few times, moderate shaped shoes may be the best bet for you. They have sticky rubber soles that support an advanced level of rock climbing. However, these shoes may not be as comfortable as the flat shape variety.

Aggressive shape: Aggressively shaped shoes are more focused on performance over comfort. They have an asymmetric form that may be a bit uncomfortable to those not experienced, but it can be the perfect shape for pros and those who love edging.

Our Winner: Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe

Weight

The weight of rock climbing shoes vary so little, it’s not too much of an important factor to be honest. If you prefer to wear lighter rock climbing shoes, go for it. But also keep in mind that shoes which are a bit heavier often offer more comfort.

However, if you’re looking for the most lightweight shoe, this is it.

Our Winner: Scarpa Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe

Flexibility

Similar to shape, flexibility also depends on the kind of climbing you are considering. More flexible shoes can be ideal for indoor climbing while making it easier and more comfortable. Adaptable shoes are also perfect for climbing on rocks that have more complicated edges.

Our Winner: La Sportiva TarantuLace Performance

Rock Climbing Shoes Support

Support

The support you want in a climbing shoe depends on your desired activity as well. When deciding which rock climbing shoes to buy, if the climbing session will be intense, you need aggressive support. So in this case, the shoes should have thin rubber and stickier soles. It will give you much more security when navigating rough terrain on a rock side to keep your feet steady.

Our Winner: Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe

Closure

Most of the climbing shoes on the market come packed with velcro, lace, or a slipper type of closing, which can each complement the shape of your feet well. Velcro climbing shoes are comfortable to wear and don’t require much time to take on and off either.

Shoes that come with a lace or strap may take a bit more time to slip on and off. You can enhance the experience of your climb when wearing comfortable shoes.

Our Winner: Tenaya Oasi Unisex Rock Climbing Shoe

Protection

When you are out in the market, you should opt for some shoes which are not only highly comfortable but also protect your feet from damage. If your climbing shoes are not well padded with durable material when you decide which rock climbing shoes to buy, this may take a heavy toll on your feet.

Focus more on the protection a shoe can provide you rather than a “cool” design.

Our Winner: Tenaya Oasi Unisex Rock Climbing Shoe

Comfort

If you purchase climbing shoes which have comfort built in mind, this will make your rock climbing experience so much more enjoyable. Soft fabrics allow your skin to breathe, so you won’t be dealing with muggy feet during a climb.

When your feet remain comfortable and dry, you will feel happy and relaxed during your ascent.

Our Winner: Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe

Surface and Terrain

All shoes are made to handle different types of terrain. But there are few which provide the best flexibility and durability – suitable for all terrain types. Professional rock climbers look for these essential features so they can climb faster and smoother.

Even if you are a beginner, you have a ton of options. Soles made of thick rubber will be more suitable for challenging terrain. Whatever you choose for yourself depends on your preferences as well as the type of rock climbing you’re planning to embark on.

Our Winner: Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes


Types of Rock Climbing Shoes

There are many types of climbing shoes available on the market. To help you better understand your options, we will discuss these below. It will help you make a more informed decision when you ultimately decide to buy a pair.

Aggressive Climbing Shoes

Aggressive climbing shoes usually have “boring” designs, so many people may not like the look of them. But the kind of quality and grip they provide for an intense rock climbing session is is absolutely top-notch.

They’re designed using an asymmetrical shape that gives a strong grip to the feet of any individual. They also have a unique curve towards the side of the toe that protects your toe and nail as well.

Some climbers complain that aggressive shoes aren’t as comfortable as other kinds, which leads to cramps for inexperienced climbers. These are generally meant more for competitive, professional, or experienced recreational climbers who have the strength necessary to use them properly.

Moderate Climbing Shoes

Moderate climbing shoes are a blend between the neutral and aggressive shoe types. They are usually not flat when compared to the neutral model. And they have a slight turn around on the front, which makes professional climbing easy.

This kind of shoe also offers quality protection and comfort for your feet while remaining flexible. The soles are thin and give your foot an excellent grip required to about a rockface. The moderate variety generally does a good job of shielding your feet from pain as well.

However, some climbers believe that moderate climbing shoes may not be suitable for longer journeys, as they can wear and tear quickly.

Neutral Climbing Shoes

Neutral climbing shoes have designed with maximum comfort in mind. The goal with this type is to keep climbers comfortable the entire day while wearing them. Compared to the moderate and aggressive climbing shoes, this version is more rigid, giving your toes less room to maneuver.

Many experienced climbers don’t like the fixed toe position of neutral shoes, but these types are perfect for beginners. Many of the other types are made specifically with pros in mind. However, this doesn’t mean that professionals cannot use neutral shoes, as many of them do and have good things to say.

Neutral climbing shoes are suitable for both professionals and beginners. Most of the brands have their sizes listed with available charts. If you are confused about dimensions, feel free to contact the vendor with any questions you may have.

Rock Climbing Shoes Types

Finding the Correct Fit for Which Climbing Shoes to Buy

If you want to have a good climbing experience, the shoes you are buying must ultimately provide you with an enjoyable feel. One of the best things you can do to ensure this is to look for shoes that have a suitable size for your feet.

Some shoes are made specifically for a particular foot size, many of which are small while there are a few designed for bigger feet. Many climbers say they usually look for a smaller shoe for rock climbing as it tends to provide a more secure fit.

The shoes you are buying should not only be a snug fit but also allow you to handle any kind of terrain you’re traversing. Tighter shoes are a requirement for long and intense climbing sessions. At the same time, you can look for loose and comfortable shoes if your climbing session will be more recreational and relaxed.


FAQs

What are rock climbing shoes?

Rock climbing shoes are designed specifically for climbing both natural and artificial rocks. They are made in such a way that most provide your feet with a perfect fit. Feet safety is paramount when climbing. Rock climbing shoes do a great job of protecting your feet during sessions.

The padding and rubber used by rock climbing shoes are generally pretty high quality. No matter how difficult your rock climb may be, there’s a shoe out there that’ll be able to handle it with you.

Which rock climbing shoes should I buy?

It’s a personal preference of what type of shoes you buy, but keep in mind your needs for the type of climb you’re undertaking before making a purchase. If you are a beginner you may have one set of requirements, while a professional may have a totally different set.

Do I have to wear climbing shoes with socks?

According to experts’ advice, you should not wear socks with climbing shoes as it may become pretty uncomfortable. It will hinder your overall performance, and you’ll have to deal with sweaty feet during your entire climb.

Moist feet can be dangerous during rock climbing. Climbing shoes overall have excellent grip and protection, so there’s no need to worry about socks protecting your feet.

However, many climbers do in fact wear socks with rock climbing shoes. So it’s up to you to take that risk.

How can I keep rock climbing shoes clean?

Cleaning methods for climbing shoes may differ depending on the kind of fabric used in the shoe. You need to be careful while following the instructions given by the manufacturers.

Shoe brands usually advise against using a washing machine to clean climbing shoes, as this can lead to damage. It is generally preferred you clean your shoes by hand with lukewarm water. You should dry them with heating fans and make sure moisture doesn’t remain inside them once finished.


Conclusion on the Best Rock Climbing Shoes

Deciding which rock climbing shoes to buy can make or break your climbing experience. We’ve listed plenty of features and information for you to keep in mind. We hope this helps you with your purchase.

But despite all the information given, remember that there is no single “best” shoe. The best shoe for you depends on your preferences along with the type of climbing you intend to get involved with.

Choose wisely, but don’t overthink it. All the shoes listed above are great choices. Happy climbing!

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