Are you one of those people who recently got into climbing? Now, you are looking for appropriate gear to kick-start your status as a climber. So, you should know that shoes hold the most crucial position. Your footwork decides your level of competence. Hence, I have reviewed 6 of the best beginner climbing shoes for your convenience.
- Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoe
- Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe – Men’s
- Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoe – Men’s
- La Sportiva Men’s Low Top Shoes
- Evolv Kronos
- Scarpa Men’s Force V Climbing Shoe
Quick Gear Recommendation
Below is a list of our favourite climbing gear that you check quickly if in hurry. Scroll down to read the rest of the article.
- Best Ice Climbing Gloves: Savior Heated Gloves For Men Women
- Best Ice Climbing Crampons: Kahtoola Microspikes Footwear Traction
- Best Climbing Sticks: Guide Gear Quick Climbing Sticks
- Best Climbing Helmet: Black Diamond Vapor Helmet
- Best Beginner Climbing Shoes: La Sportiva Men’s Low Top Shoes
- Best Climbing Shorts: Men’s Outdoor Casual Lightweight Hiking Shorts
- Best Caving Headlamp: Olight Bundle H2r Led Headlamp
- Best Climbing Tape: White Athletic Sports Tape
- Best Bouldering Crash Pad: Asana Climbing Hero Bouldering Crash Pad
- Best Climbing Camelot: Black Diamond Camalot
- Most Comfortable Climbing Shoes: Evolv Shaman Climbing Shoe
- Best Climbing Rope: Valor Fitness Sisal Climbing Rope
Buyer’s Guide To Choose The Best Beginner Climbing Shoes
Beginner climbing shoes have some specifications that you must know. Since you are just starting out, your priority should be climbing with comfort. So, here I have written all the factors that will help you find the best beginner climbing shoes.
The material used for the construction of climbing shoes affects their durability and comfort. Mostly, two types of material make up the upper part of the shoe: leather and synthetic. Each one of the material has its own limitations or specialty, and the beginners can go for anyone of them.
Leather material has the quality to stretch and be flexible. Many leather shoes use lining to limit the stretching. This shoe material offers extreme comfort. However, it also expands the size and leaves room within the shoe. That means you should select a size small, which may cause a painful break-in period.
In contrast, synthetic material does not stretch. It fits the feet as per the size. However, it is not as comfortable as leather shoes. Also, it is not breathable, due to which feet do not get the air.
The third type could be a mix of leather and synthetic material. It allows the shoes to stretch slightly but also balances the stiffness. Moreover, it is comfortable and breathable too.
Shoes come with a variety of closure systems. Three kinds of closure styles include Velcro, lace-up, and slipper. Firstly, the Velcro design is quite easy to take on or off the feet. But, it does have some downsides, too – it causes issues with the fitting. The closure is somewhat asymmetrical; it only tightens or loosens up to an extent. Also, the material of the upper part might fold over and come in between the straps. You cannot customize the size with this closure style.
Secondly, when it comes to customization or adjustment of size, the lace-up closure style works better. Laces can help in tightening or loosening the shoes as per the need. Also, they will play a role in your performance. However, their drawback is the time it takes to bind the laces. You cannot take shoes off or on quickly. Additionally, the laces can break or misplace too.
Lastly, slippers or slip-on design is the easiest one when it comes to putting on or off the shoes. They are also quite comfortable and snug fit. However, it uses stretchability to fit on the feet, which causes problems in size. As a result, a tighter shoe might not be comfortable. Also, they can become baggy once the elastic loosens up.
Being a beginner, any one of the closure styles can work for you. Choosing the right closure style depends on your preferences and choices. So, select a design as per your need and convenience.
In climbing shoes, rubber comes with different thicknesses. Rubber influences many factors, such as grip, sensitivity, and durability. The softer the rubber, the more would be the sensitivity. But, it can also make jamming your foot in cracks painful. In contrast, a thicker sole would offer comfort and would be more durable.
Most beginner climbing shoes come with thicker rubber. That is because beginners are still learning about climbing, and comfort is a priority for an unhindered experience. However, as your skills advance, you will need a stickier and more gripping shoe. But, for now, any rubber with thickness 4mm and above, will be enough for a beginner.
Comfort Vs. Performance
Climbing has different levels, with each level the purpose of climbing shoes change. Beginner level shoes prioritize comfort over performance. The terrains and paths you are going to cover as a beginner, would not require top-notch performance. So, you do not need to get high-performance shoes, which will be tighter and painful. Hence, get those shoes that are comfortable, soft, and durable.
Soft Vs. Rigid
The stiffness of the midsole and sole affect the stability and sensitivity of the shoes. If the shoe is soft, it will help in feeling up the ground and flexing foot in it. However, it also takes away firmness and support. In contrast, the rigid or stiff shoe provides more comfort and control to the climbers. But, at times, they are unable to twist and turn, like in cracks. Also, stiffness can cause fatigue and pain.
So, the best beginner climbing shoes would be a balance of softness and stiffness. As a beginner, you need to be more comfortable in your shoes than worry about the performance.
Sizing is a crucial factor when it comes to shoe fitting. For climbers, tighter shoes, or the one that hugs your feet entirely works best. But, if you are an entry-level climber, you should opt for tight yet comfortable climbing shoes. The reason for this is that tighter shoes can become painful. You would not want an uncomfortable experience. So, select a shoe size that does fit your feet but leaves enough room breathability.
As a beginner, you still have to develop skills and learn footwork for climbing. So, the chances are that your shoes will go through lots of abuse. Therefore, your preference should be durable shoes with solid material. So that you can practice climbing as much as you want, without fearing any damage to the shoes.
The bottom part of the shoe consists of a rubber. So, the thickness of the rubber and the style of the sole impact the climbing. You need to consider it, among other factors, while selecting your shoes.
Downturn refers to the curvature in the outsole. It ranges from flat or neutral form to an aggressive one. So, the flat sole is more comfortable and steadier. While the aggressive downturn helps in maneuvering over overhung terrains. As a beginner, you do not need aggressive downturned shoes. A neutral to slightly downturn shoe will do the job for you.
The model used for shoes is either slip-lasted or board-lasted. Slip-lasted offers higher sensitivity and softness. While the board-lasted shoes are more stiff but supportive. You have to consider it as per your preference.
Review Of The Best Beginner Climbing Shoes
Here, I have listed 6 of the best beginner climbing shoes for you.
Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoe is the most inexpensive climbing shoe you can find. It is an ideal shoe for beginners, just starting out, and do not want to spend much money. So, the upper part has used leather material for stretchability. While the rubber used in the sole is 3.0 mm. Its rubber makes it the most sensitive beginners’ shoe.
Moreover, the medium stiffness of the midsole offers support as well as sensitivity. Also, it has a flat sole with a slightly asymmetrical shape. Its primary purpose is to ensure comfort and softness. Additionally, the 3D molded heel with sticky rubber is an excellent fit with a better grip. The Velcro closure style and split neoprene tongues cause easy on and off the shoe.
These shoes are not exactly the most precise or upgraded version. However, they do provide great value at the cheapest rates. You will eventually move to a better model, but they will help you in practicing your footwork.
- Affordable price
- Medium stiffness
- Sensitivity and stretchability
- Velcro closure system
- Comfortable and soft
- Not as durable as other shoes
- They do not offer precise edging
Defy Climbing Shoe is an upgrade in the models of Evolv. It has come with a new look after 2017, with new materials. So, the upper part has used Synthratek VX in the construction. It does not let the shoe stretch much and offers a good fit. Moreover, the flat sole keeps it stable and firm on the surface.
Additionally, new anti-microbial mesh treated the shoes, which helped in removing odor. Also, it does not let the bacteria build-up for any problems. The Velcro closure style ensures convenient use. However, these shoes do have inconsistent comfort or flexibility. The flat sole makes it soft for the ground, but synthetic material restricts it.
- Fits well due to synthetic material
- Velcro closure style
- Flat sole
- Treated with anti-microbial to remove the smell
- Not as comfortable or flexible as other shoes
- Restricted mobility due to synthetic material
- Not best for steeper terrains
Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoe is specifically for beginner climbers. Its design is flat, smooth, and comfortable, ideal for the beginners. With Engineered Knit Technology, the upper part is a perfect fit for the feet. It conforms to the size of the foot and adjusts well. So, it does not tightens up yet prevents any slipping of the foot.
Moreover, the knit synthetic material is breathable and allows airflow. It enhances the comfort and wicks away the sweat. Also, the flat sole makes it stable and offers control for mobility. The soft flex midsole gives enough flexibility with ease. Moreover, it reduces weight and takes off the stress from the foot.
The 4.3mm rubber outsole increases durability and gives optimal performance. Also, the rubber is stiff enough to handle edging and offers sensitivity to feel out the surface. It helps in maneuvering on the ground and adaptability. Additionally, the Velcro closure style also plays a role in a perfect fit and support. The dual straps on the upper are in opposite directions to ensure midfoot support.
- Engineered knit technology constructs the upper part
- Adjusts well according to size
- Stretches as per the requirement
- The flat sole gives stability
- 33 mm rubber is comfortable yet sensitive
- Soft flex midsole helps in flexibility
- Velcro closure system
- Breathable fabric
- Sometimes, the Velcro straps can dig in the pressure points
La Sportiva Low Top Shoes have used suede leather material in the construction. It allows a snug fit and conforms to the size of the foot. Moreover, the Velcro closure system allows easy on or off and is adjustable. It adjusts well to varying sizes and shapes. That helps in stretching as per the need.
This shoe ensures comfort, convenience, and stability. The 4mm sticky FriXion soles have a better grip on the ground and maneuvers with ease. The design is low asymmetrical, which reduces weight and increases sensitivity. The 1.8mm LaspoFlex midsole makes the shoe durable, stable, and increase edging capability. It cushions the feet without compromising sensitivity or comfort.
Added padding of the leather in the toe box ensures protection of the foot. Moreover, the rubber used in the heel supports and locks the foot at any angle. Also, the material used is breathable and ensures the flow of air.
- Breathable and soft
- Comfortable and sensitive
- Protects the foot by added padding in toe box and heel
- Low, asymmetrical profile
- Grips and sticks to the ground
- Durable and reliable material
- Adjusts well on all types of foot
- Offers precise edging and control
- Flat sole
- Heel area might cause some issues in fitting
Evolv Kronos is one of the best beginner climbing shoes. It offers a perfect combination of durability, sensitivity, and comfort. Since Synthratek synthetic VX makes the upper part, this shoe has less stretchability. It adjusts well on foot and prevents any slippage.
Moreover, 4.2mm TRAX SAS high friction rubber outsole is exceptionally durable. This mid-stiffness rubber offers an ideal balance of stability and sensitivity. Also, the thick rubber toe patch protects the foot and makes the shoe durable. Further, the molded VT randing system varies the rubber accumulation to reduce pressure points and enhance longevity for more extended terrains.
The midsole has mid-stiffness that offers stability and control. Moreover, the slight downturn and asymmetrical profile help in technical edging and agile movements. The split tongue and Velcro closure system helps in easy on and off and adjustable size fitting. They are workable for smearing and edging.
- Snug fit and adjustability
- Mid-stiffness rubber
- Slight downturn
- Split tongue and Velcro closure system
- Randing system helps in reducing pain and enhancing longevity
- 2mm TRAX SAS high friction rubber outsole
- Padded toe patch
- Stretching is minimal due to synthetic material
Scarpa Force V Climbing Shoe has used 100% suede leather as the material. That is a high-quality, durable, and reliable material. Also, the slight downturn and asymmetrical shape enhance comfort and longevity. The Vibram XS Edge rubber made outsole is stickier and offers a better grip.
Moreover, the randing system is low-charged V-tension and active, which reduces weight and replenishes energy. That is what adds in its comfort and all-day efficiency. Also, snug heel hook and padded mesh tongue protect the feet from fatigue and pain.
Further, technical flat-lasted construction transfers power to the toes and ensures high performance. Also, the dual strap Velcro closure system allows adjustability and snug fit.
- High-quality, durable, and reliable material
- Slight downturn and asymmetrical profile
- Vibram XS Edge rubber enhances comfort as well as sensitivity
- Low-charged V-tension active randing system
- Does not stretch due to synthetic material
For a beginner, my preference is durability and comfort in climbing shoes. Due to that, one of the best beginner climbing shoes that I will choose is La Sportiva Men’s Low Top Shoes. These shoes are entry-level climbing shoes that offer comfort, control, and stability. The material is durable, reliable, and breathable. Also, the rubber used makes it stickier to feel the ground as well as protects against sharp edges. The padding in the toe box and heel protects the foot. Overall, it is an ideal combination of comfort as well as performance for the beginners.