Crack climbing is a different form of climbing. It requires jamming your feet in thin cracks and precise edging. For that reason, you need specific shoes if you are planning to climb cracks. That is why I have reviewed 6 of the best crack climbing shoes to facilitate you. They will help you jam your foot in small cracks with protection and comfort.
How To Choose the Best Crack Climbing Shoes
For crack climbing, shoes need to have a specific design for edging and maneuvering cracks. Consider the following factors for the best crack climbing shoes.
The material used in the upper part and the bottom of the shoes should be durable and comfortable. Either leather or synthetic material constructs the upper part. But, the leather shoes give more comfort than synthetic ones. Moreover, the rubber makes the sole of the shoes, which should be robust.
Three types of closure styles are available in climbing shoes: laces, Velcro, and slip-on. When it comes specifically to crack climbing shoes, the Velcro design is not recommendable. That is because the straps can come undone when you are putting your feet in cracks. Also, it will not support jamming your toes into cracks.
The slip-on and laces are more comfortable and capable of holding out friction against the rocks. Laces maintain a slimmer profile and adjust the fitting. In contrast, the slip-on is quick to wear and offer the greatest comfort.
If your shoes have quite thin rubber, jamming your feet into cracks can be painful. But, if the rubber is too thick, it will restrict movements. You cannot twist your feet in the cracks easily. The best crack climbing shoes have a moderate thickness of rubber. So, your feet will remain safe and flexible to twist around.
Comfort Vs. Performance
Climbing shoes depend on several factors for comfort. These factors include shoes’ size, the shape of the shoes and your feet, and the material used. Typically, the tighter the shoes are, the better they will perform. However, that will compromise the comfort of the footwear. So, a design that balances comfort and performance together is best for climbing shoes. Now, you can find many brands that create climbing shoes, which performs well without pain.
It is also crucial to choose a pair of crack climbing shoes that are not too soft or stiff. A soft pair will allow sharp edges to poke in your feet. In contrast, the stiff pair of shoes will have less sensitivity. You cannot feel edges and cracks properly. So, the best thing would be to find a pair that has a delicate balance of softness and stiffness. In that way, you will not lose sensitivity and will get enough support while climbing.
Low Toe Profile
The best crack climbing shoes will have a low volume toe box. It should be narrow and should keep your toes flat. That is because a slim and flat toe will slide in small cracks easily. Therefore, you should get those shoes that do not let the toes curl. It will help in climbing narrow cracks as well as avoid pain and fatigue. Moreover, flat toes are comfortable for moving across multi-pitch routes.
Size matters a lot when you are looking for footwear. A tight shoe can suck the life out of your foot. While a bigger shoe can come off and will have dead space inside. So, the shoes you select should be specific, according to your size. Also, crack climbing shoes might have some room left in the toe box. As you have to jam your foot in the cracks and twist and turn them in it.
Crack climbing shoes should be able to resist the roughing up, as you will jam them in cracks. For that, choose those shoes that have used solid material. Moreover, look for shoes with randing, as that will improve grip. Also, it will create friction and make the shoes more durable. Further, shoes with laces are usually long-lasting than Velcro because they are replaceable in case of damage.
Downturn points out the curve in the shoes. It ranges from neutral to aggressive downturn. The neutral form consists of a flat sole, which is comfortable. In contrast, an aggressive downturn provides exceptional performance. Mostly, the flat or neutral form is better for crack climbers, as it supports hooking in the cracks.
Best Crack Climbing Shoes Review
Review of 6 of the best crack climbing shoes for you.
Black Diamond specifically designed Aspect climbing shoes for crack climbing. The upper part is a combination of 80% leather and 20% knit synthetic tongue. It gives an ideal balance of comfort and stability. Also, the padded leather makes cracking painless. While the engineered knit tongue provides high breathability with comfort.
With a neutral sole, that is stiff, one can climb cracks all day long. The 4.3mm rubber used in the sole allows edging and optimizes the shoe for high-performance. Also, the randing around the shoes stabilizes the shoes and prevents from sliding. Moreover, the medium flexibility of the midsole is a delicate balance of comfort, support, and sensitivity.
Additionally, the lace closure system gives extra protection for crack climbing. It offers a perfect fit and adjusts the shoes as per the requirement. Also, these shoes are available at reasonable prices. So, you get great value with these shoes at a minimal cost.
- Neutral and stiff sole for support and comfort
- Rubber randing balances sensitivity and performance
- Medium stiffness of the midsole
- Material is reliable and durable
- Affordable prices
- Not ideal for steeper terrains
- The rubber is not as sticky as expected
Exceptional climber Tommy Caldwell helped in designing La Sportiva TC Pro Climbing Shoe. That’s the reason why this shoe has all the qualities of the best crack climbing shoes. Also, it offers high performance with greater comfort. The material used in its construction makes it durable and robust. Moreover, the stiff P3 platform delivers power to the sole and offers precise edging.
The flat sole enhances the sensitivity as well as support crack climbing. It gives ultimate comfort and keeps the foot relaxed at any position. Also, the ventilated tongue and tiny pockets ensure breathability and airflow. The Vibram rubber with XS Edge compound technology in the soles helps in technical edging. It makes it stickier to hold onto the sharp micro edges.
This shoe protects your foot from any injury, because of thin padding in the ankle and above the toes. Moreover, it makes the crack climbing painless and fatigue-free. Also, the lace-up closure style ensures fitting and adjusting of the shoes.
- Thin padding for ankle protection
- High performance and comfort
- Solid yet sensitive and soft
- Lace-up closure style
- Ventilated tongue for breathability
- Sticks to provide support and stability
- The toe box is big, which may cause issues with sizing
Another shoe for crack climbing by LA Sportiva is Skwama. This shoe has the ideal combination of comfort and sensitivity. The upper part, made of suede leather, is comfortable and flexible. Also, it snugs the feet and wraps them to provide stability and control. Moreover, the S-Heel construction offers heel-hooking mobility and fits the cracks or rocks perfectly.
The P3 platform allows precision and sensitivity on the surfaces. Also, it combines with new split-sole construction to flex up the sole under pressure. Thus, it enhances the gripping power and reduces edge deformation. The Vibram XS-Grip2 sole adheres to the tiniest edges and prevents slipping. Further, the Velcro design secures the shoe on your feet.
The ultra-sticky rubber patches at the toes allow the gripping for toes hooks. Also, it protects the toes against abrasion and a better grip. These multi-purpose shoes have greater adaptability, sensitivity, and flexibility. It is also less stiff and allows a feeling of the ground, without any fatigue. Further, you need to look into their size chart for an accurate fit.
- Sensitive and flexible
- A balance of comfort and high performance
- S-Heel construction offers heel hooking
- Ultra-sticky rubber toe patches for protection
- Leather upper stretches, which causes an issue in sizing
- Velcro closure style is not preferable for crack climbing
Scarpa Vapor V Climbing Shoe has used Suede and Lorica microsuede for the upper part. It helps in stretching as well as maintains stiffness and stability where needed. Moreover, this shoe has a Vibram XS Edge rubber for the sole. That helps in standing on sharp edges and thin cracks. Along with Bi-tension active randing, the power shifts to the forefoot and strengthens hold.
Moreover, the heel construction supports all day long crack climbing. It helps in maintaining support and comfort. Also, this shoe has an ideal balance of performance and comfort. Its design supports precise edging and multi-pitch outings. It offers standing on thin cracks and tiny edges.
Moreover, the Flexan sole gives ultimate softness and flexibility to maneuver. The dual strap Velcro design adjusts the shoe on the feet and secures it. Also, the slight downturn grips the edges with more precision. It does take away some of the comforts, but rubber in its sole makes up for it.
- For precise edging and thin cracks
- Soft and flexible
- Exceptional grip and stability
- Not as comfortable as other shoes
- Velcro design is not preferable for crack climbing
Five Ten Anasazi Pro Climbing Shoe comes with a hook and loop closure style. It offers ease in wearing them on or off. Also, it provides a snug fit and better adjustment than other shoes. Moreover, the Stealth C4 rubber in the flat sole helps in gripping the edges and improves the hold. The rubber toe patch increases tension and friction at the heel for stability.
Further, the medium-stiff midsole allows enough softness to feel the ground. Also, it protects the feet from any pain or sharp edges. The heel design fits precisely to reduce any dead space and enhances gripping and hooking power. Moreover, the perforated tongue offers breathability and airflow. It allows an ideal combination of flexibility, sensitivity, and performance.
- Comfortable and soft
- Offers grip and stability
- Heel design offers hooking power
- Rubber toe patches
- Flat sole with medium stiffness
- Perforated tongue for breathability
- Hook and loop closure style is not preferable for crack climbing
- Does not provide precise edging for thin cracks
Evolv Astroman shoe has the upper part made of 100% leather. It increases the durability, flexibility, and comfort of the shoe. Moreover, the mid-top upper protects the ankles from getting hurt in cracks. Also, the flat rubber sole makes it stickier with better gripping.
The toe box has a narrow and low profile, which helps in jamming the cracks with precision. With padded Achilles patches, it protects the feet and makes it more comfortable. The perforated top is breathable and allows airflow. Moreover, the lace-up closure offers a snug fit and secures the shoe on foot.
- The low profile toe box
- Padded Achilles patch
- Leather is durable
- Mid-top upper for protection
- Flat, rubber sole
- Lace-up closure system
- The toe box is narrow but does not fit thin finger cracks
Crack climbing asks for precise edging and jamming in thin cracks. Hence, the best crack climbing shoes for me would be La Sportiva TC Pro Climbing Shoe. It offers exceptional performance with comfort. The platform is stiff yet soft and sensitive enough to feel the ground. The Vibram rubber helps in gripping and strengthens micro edging. It is expensive than most shoes, but its durability and longevity make up for it.