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CLIMBING SHOE BUYING GUIDE


With so many types of climbing shoe available, it can be hard to determine what exactly you need. This guide will explain the different types of shoes and what they are best used for, as well as how to find your perfect fit.

 

When looking for climbing shoes, the first thing to consider is the type of climbing you plan to be doing. Low-level, indoor climbing will have very different requirements to outdoor traditional (trad) or sport climbing. Similarly, competitive climbing shoes need to be different again to enable top performance. Your climbing ability will also affect the type of shoe you need.

 

Important factors affecting climbing shoe include:

·         Flexibility – how flexible or rigid the sole of the shoe is

·         Toe shape/profile – how downturned the toe is

·         Mid sole – this affects how stiff the sole of the shoe is

·         Sole – material and thickness

 

Climbing shoes feature either lace-up or Velcro fastenings, or slip on. Lace-up is the most versatile style, and is a great option for tightening and loosening between climbs as your feet get hot and swell up. Velcro-fastened shoes offer superior convenience as they are easy to put on and remove, so perfectly suit bouldering and gym climbing when you may wish to take them off between climbs. Finally, slip-on climbing shoes offer the greatest sensitivity and lowest profile of all the shoe types, which is good for training your feet faster and getting them into smaller cracks.

 

Neutral Shoes

 

Neutral climbing shoes tend to be the most comfortable thanks to their flatter profiles, and are ideal for beginners or experienced climbers who want all-day shoes for multi-pitch climbs. They usually have medium to stiff mid soles, which makes them less flexible but good for smearing.

 

Neutral:

 

Scarpa Velocity V - Men's and Women's 

 

Boreal Joker Lace – Men’s and Women’s

Evolv – Women’s Elektra and Men’s Defy

Black Diamond Momentum – Men’s and Women’s

Moderate Shoes

 

Moderate climbing shoes tend to have a slightly downturned shape, designed for toe and heel hooking on overhanging rock. They also usually have thinner and stickier soles, usually made of rubber, which makes them great for smearing and therefore suited to technical climbing, such as on slab routes, crack routes and overhung sport routes.

 

Moderate:

 

Scarpa Vapor V – Men’s and Women’s