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Best Beginner Climbing Shoes

Expert Reviews & Buying Guide

quadcopter reviewsBest Beginner Climbing Shoes

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In a hurry? Here are the best products at a glance.

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Article Author
Heather
Patton
Article Author
Jennifer
Trimbee
Article Author
Samantha
Dewitt
Your Authors and Guides
Article Author
Heather Patton
Article Author
Jennifer Trimbee
Article Author
Samantha Dewitt

How to Choose the Best Beginner Climbing Shoes

Climbing can be a fun and rewarding pastime, but to get the most out of the experience you need the proper gear. We’ve put this list together so you can find the climbing shoes that are best suited to you and your level of expertise. Everyone has to start somewhere, and these beginner climbing shoes will help you get the best possible start! Before we can start shopping, here are some things you should know.

Best Beginner Climbing Shoes

Material: What are the shoes made of? The leather is the most popular because it’s flexible and will move with you, followed by suede for the same reasons. Choose whichever you prefer for your own climbing adventures.

Best Beginner Climbing Shoes

Gender: This refers to whether the shoes are sized for men or for women. Technically, the sizing method is the only difference between the two, though shoes for women are sometimes lighter than men’s shoes. Pick the one that suits you.

How to Choose the Best Beginner Climbing Shoes

Color: This is the color of the shoe. Most of these shoes come in multiple colors, so if it isn’t a color that suits your fancy there are most likely other options. This is down to personal preference.

Best Beginner Climbing Shoes

Sole Material: Rubber is the most popular sole material for climbing shoes. This is because they grip rocks and boulders better than other types of soles. That’s why all of the shoes on our list have rubber soles.

Best Beginner Climbing Shoes

Sizing: The sizing system is either going to be US sizes or UK sizes. You’ll need to either consult a size chart or do a conversion to get your size if they are sized in a way you aren’t used to.

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Closure: Most climbing shoes are closed with laces or straps. Laces are a little more flexible, where straps can get you a tight fit. You should try one of each to see which style you ultimately prefer.

Top 10 Products

Now that you know all there is to know about good beginner climbing shoes, we can get to our list. We’re bringing you only the best and saving you the legwork (or footwork, in this case). Our top pick is our favorite overall, and our budget pick is our best quality for the money. Check them out if you’re low on time before moving on to the rest of our list.

La Sportiva TarantuLace Climbing Shoe

La Sportiva TarantuLace Climbing Shoe
La Sportiva is one of the best climbing shoe brands out there right now. The TarantuLace shoes are a popular addition to their line that certain live up to all that their brand name implies. The lacing is fast, with a quick-pull harness that allows for a lot of regulation when it comes to fit. You don’t want them too loose; they should be tight without pressure points when you put them on to climb. These shoes are made with European sizing options, so you will need to consult a sizing chart if you’re from the US. You can use these shoes in the gym or out in the wilderness doing your climbing; they are well-suited for both. The rubber FriXion soles are ‘sticky’, so they’re great at letting you feel the rock without cramping or pain in your feet. Everything about this shoe has been engineered for comfort or performance, and many components cater to both!
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Mad Rock Nomad Climbing Shoe

Mad Rock Nomad Climbing Shoe
If you’re looking for a more traditional climbing shoe, this one by Mad Rock is one you should consider. It’s laced all the way to the toes for extra support that you’ll be familiar with in more traditional climbing shoes. These shoes give you great support for walking around the edges of rocks, as well as on boulders that are different levels. They’re probably the best climbing shoes for bouldering because of the sticky way that they grip onto just about any surface. Plus, they are built to fit a variety of different types of feet. The leather is flexible enough that these are also the best climbing shoes for wide feet. You won’t have to worry about narrow climbing shoes when you get these. The performance of these shoes is absolutely phenomenal, and it’s a great choice for most beginners. The laces make it easier to tighten the shoe down to fit your particular foot better.
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SCARPA Origin Climbing Shoe

SCARPA Origin Climbing Shoe
SCARPA makes these European-sized shoes that come in a ton of different colors. They close with a strap so they are a little more flexible than laced shoes. The upper part of this shoe is made of comfortable suede (this version in blue and grey), and this sole of this best climbing shoe? Rubber. This helps the shoe grip the surface of the rock so much easier than with any other material. These particular shoes have a passive rand. A rand is the band of rubber that runs around the outside edge of the shoe and helps with the edging technique for climbing. When it comes right down to it, the construction and performance of this shoe are the places where it really shines. You’ll be comfortable all day, and learning is easy with shoes that help you out. Adjust to your heart’s content with the straps. They’re easier than laces on some more traditional shoes.
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Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe

Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe
Evolv makes the best women’s beginner climbing shoes on our list. These shoes are made specifically for women in the asymmetrical style, which makes it easier to grip things and makes the shoe more flexible overall. The upper is a synthetic, leather-like material that is lined with comfortable nylon. This soft interior will help your feet feel more comfortable with long climbing days. Where these shoes really shine is with the TRAX XT high friction rubber that makes up the sole. It’s friendly to the environment and creates a consistent performance when used regularly. These are actually some of the best climbing shoes for smearing, which is grabbing onto the rock with just your feet where there are no footholds. Take it slow when you’re learning, but these shoes are made to perform! You’re going to love the thicker rand in high-wear zones, and thinner spread in areas that aren’t used as much. That’s an intuitive design!
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Black Diamond Momentum Shoe

Black Diamond Momentum Shoe
When you’re going to be regularly going out to climb as well as staying in the gym, these are the versatile shoes that you need. The upper is a synthetic knit material that allows your foot to breathe better than most leather shoes. The midsole is flexible enough to wear all day and be able to feel the rock. These shoes use two velcro straps to close, so they are highly adjustable at every level. At the gym, these are probably the best climbing shoes for indoor bouldering. The knit upper is sturdy and comfortable, but a little more suited to being inside. But the great thing about this shoe is that it’s perfect for any level of climbing experience in any setting, so even though it’s best suited for indoor use, you can take it outside and still get great performance. Your feet will be comfortable throughout the day while you’re having fun climbing.
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Five Ten Rogue VCS Shoe

Five Ten Rogue VCS Shoe
Five Ten makes these climbing shoes that are made to perform at the highest level, with a ton of beneficial friction to keep you up on the rocks. The upper is made of a synthetic split-grain leather that looks and feels great. It’s flexible so you feel that the shoe is an extension of your foot, and it works with you instead of against you. The soles are rubber, and this particular design has a thicker rand in places where you need it most while cutting down in areas where you don’t. This allows the shoe to be lightweight and comfortable rather than bulky or difficult. They close with a velcro and elastic strap so that you can adjust to your preferred tightness without having to do and re-do laces all day long. Plus, these shoes are available in a wide range of colors, including this purple and grey that’s stylish and perform well. You’ll love them!
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Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoe

Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoe
Mad Rock is back on our list with their Drifter model. This is one of the most inexpensive shoes on our list. How? It bypasses the technical features that some of their other shoes pack on, leaving you with a pretty basic climbing shoe that’s good for beginners that only go climbing sometimes. There are two velcro straps as a closure, so you can adjust to your preferred level. They are asymmetric shoes, which is a great option for people who want to ‘feel’ the rocks as they climb. This means the toes follow the actual curve of your toes rather than being flat across. It’s a leather shoe with the traditional rubber sole and a 1.88mm thick rand around it. There are multiple different colors available for the casual climbing beginner. We love that there’s an option that comes without the bells and whistles so you don’t have to go all in on your first pair.
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Climb X Rave Climbing Shoe

Climb X Rave Climbing Shoe
The footbed on these Climb X Rave shoes is made of antimicrobial hemp. This works to reduce odor, which is especially useful if you’re in your climbing shoes all day long. These shoes are sized to US standards, but they are made to be very tight. You might have to check out the sizing chart and take your foot’s specific measurements to be able to get a well-fitting shoe. Otherwise, your toes will curl in and you won’t be able to grip surfaces as easily. The collar and heel are both padded, adding to the overall comfort of the shoe. Provided that you get the correct size, these shoes are going to be comfortable enough for you to wear for long periods of time. In terms of sizing, they are probably the best climbing shoes, wide feet options included. All things considered, this shoe is definitely going to deliver on performance and comfort, plus a unique odor control feature.
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Evolv Spark Climbing Shoe

Evolv also makes climbing shoes for men, and they’re just as great as the women’s versions. The uppers on these shoes are made of leather, and for a large portion of the shoe, that leather is unlined. Towards the middle and in the footbed, you have nylon and air mesh lining for breathability and the reduction of odors. These are great shoes for smearing because the rand on the rubber sole is thickest at the toe, so you can really dig into the granite. The sole itself, before the rand, is already incredibly thick. It’s made of Evolv’s high performing high-friction rubber, so you’re going to get an unparalleled grip both in the gym and outside. These particular shoes come in a refreshing green color, though there are other options available. They are sized according to the US measurements, so make sure to double-check the size! The laces make for a tight, comfortable fit that allows you to feel the rock.
Evolv also makes climbing shoes for men, and they’re just as great as the women’s versions. The uppers on these shoes are made of leather, and for a large portion of the shoe, that leather is unlined. Towards the middle and in the footbed, you have nylon and air mesh lining for breathability and the reduction of odors. These are great shoes for smearing because the rand on the rubber sole is thickest at the toe, so you can really dig into the granite. The sole itself, before the rand, is already incredibly thick. It’s made of Evolv’s high performing high-friction rubber, so you’re going to get an unparalleled grip both in the gym and outside. These particular shoes come in a refreshing green color, though there are other options available. They are sized according to the US measurements, so make sure to double-check the size! The laces make for a tight, comfortable fit that allows you to feel the rock.
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Butora Endeavor Climbing Shoe

Last up on our list are these climbing shoes from Butora. They are men’s US sizes and are meant to fit tight along the natural line of the foot. That means that they are comfortable as well as functional. You can really feel the texture of the rock beneath your feet with these shoes. They are injection molded, so they are a little more likely to fit the shape of your foot. Plus, they are constructed with moisture-wicking technology so that your feet don’t sweat. The rubber sole is extremely sticky, making this a great shoe for edging and for light and easy smearing climbing. The one thing that sets these shoes apart from the others on our list is the system that allows custom fitting for your shoes. Get exactly what you want without going through multiple different shoe brands. When you’re looking for performance and quality, look no further than these Endeavor climbing shoes.
Last up on our list are these climbing shoes from Butora. They are men’s US sizes and are meant to fit tight along the natural line of the foot. That means that they are comfortable as well as functional. You can really feel the texture of the rock beneath your feet with these shoes. They are injection molded, so they are a little more likely to fit the shape of your foot. Plus, they are constructed with moisture-wicking technology so that your feet don’t sweat. The rubber sole is extremely sticky, making this a great shoe for edging and for light and easy smearing climbing. The one thing that sets these shoes apart from the others on our list is the system that allows custom fitting for your shoes. Get exactly what you want without going through multiple different shoe brands. When you’re looking for performance and quality, look no further than these Endeavor climbing shoes.
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Review and Buying Guide GeekWrapped

TOP PICK

La Sportiva TarantuLace Climbing Shoe

Check Price NowBest Beginner Climbing Shoes