Top 5 Best Rock Climbing Shoes of 2018

Rock climbing shoes have been specifically designed to meet the need of rock climbers. These are one of the most essential pieces of rock climbing gear that you cannot afford to miss.

With time, the climbing footwear has undergone a lot of technological improvements that add on to the durability and comfort of the shoe. Now, climbing shoes come in a variety of styles and are made of different kind of materials.

Factors to be considered while purchasing Climbing Shoes

Having the right shoe on your foot makes the whole difference. Before we proceed, let’s take a look at some of the most important factors that will directly influence your purchase:

  1. Type of climbing– It’s very important to have a clear idea of what sort of climbing you intend to do and what kind of experience you carry along, i.e. whether you are a beginner or a pro climber. Do you prefer sports climbing, crack-climbing, bouldering, alpine climbing or face climbs? For sports climbing, bouldering you need to wear tighter shoes while alpine climbers need to wear shoes that offer long-lasting comfort. In case you are a beginner, go for an all-around shoe.
  2. Tightness– This should be in correspondence to comfort. Tight shoes give that snug fit that is needed for sports climbing and bouldering. But, tightness should be limited to an extent where you don’t hurt or mash your toes. For multi-pitch climbs, moderately tight shoes are better. For crack climbing, prefer a flatter-toed shoe. In climbing shoe, half sizes matter. If possible try the shoe before you buy.
  3. Brand and sizing– A good brand promises a good quality climbing shoe. Sizing gets a bit difficult, especially when you shop online. Several brands size their rock shoes the same as your street shoes. So, there is no difficulty with the sizing. However, for a few European brands you need to buy one size to one and a half size down from your street shoe size.
  4. Tightening system– These shoes feature three main types of tightening system: Velcro straps, lace-ups, and slippers. Velcro shoes are easy to pull on/off and they are perfect for sport, bouldering, or gym climbing. Lace-up shoes have all those strings which make it bit slower to put them on/off. However, they can be easily adjusted and offer the most customisable fit. Slippers are the most comfortable out of three and they stretch out more.
  5. Uppers– There are three main types of upper materials: unlined leather, lined leather, and synthetic leather. Each has its own pros and cons. Unlined leather uppers are the most breathable ones and automatically conforms to the shape of your foot, the moment you put them on. Lined leather uppers are the most comfortable ones, but they are less breathable than unlined leather shoes. Synthetic uppers are most durable out of the three and won’t stretch much, but they are the stinkiest ones too.
  6. Rubber– There are many different types of rubber used on the soles. However, all the rubbers that are used are sticky’ in nature, as “sticky rubber” provides excellent grip and better friction than normal rubber.

best climbing shoes

For beginners, finding the right climbing shoe can be an extremely challenging task. Unlike your street shoes, climbing shoes have a unique shape and different sizing system.

Best Rock Climbing Shoes of 2018

To ease it out for you, we have listed down some of the best rock climbing shoes of 2018. Take a look:

SCARPA Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe

These shoes are made from a synthetic fabric that minimise stretch. The curved, asymmetrical shape gives the user enhanced comfort. Featuring a softer construction, these shoes are perfect for bouldering and sports climbing.

The thin sole provides more flexibility and sensitivity to the shoe.

The upper of this shoe is composed of durable Lorica synthetic leather that retains the shape and will not stretch out over time. The bi-tension and design position your toes excellently, which makes the shoe edge well.

The single Velcro closure system gives a comfortable fit without any signs of pulling off. The loops at the heels allow for easy entry.

It features the Vibram XS Edge rubber grips that are durable enough to handle regular wear and tear. Due to two-part soles, the front and back function independently that gives the user maximum maneuverability on tough routes.

The fit is comfortable and they easily mold to the contours of your foot. It has rubber patches on the top of the shoe that provides adequate protection in cracks and allows the user to experiment with their moves.

These shoes are not perfect for crack climbing, due to their stiffness and high volume toe box. However, these shoes are perfect for pocket climbing as they handle edges with ease.

These shoes can be resolved. While buying these shoes, select half size up. For such a downturned shoe, they offer a great fit.

These aggressive bouldering shoes are truly excellent and are priced genuinely. This one is truly worth the consideration.

Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe

Established in 2002, Mad Rock is known to produce some of the best rock climbing shoes. Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe features a solid, seam- taped body construction and weighs only at 1.79 Pounds.

The whole seam taped body (excluding the sole) makes this shoe perfect for all kinds of weather conditions. Mad Rock claims that the shoe has been worn to climb problems up to V15.

Made for indoor rock climbing, this flat-soled slipper feature a great design and a classic look. These high-quality shoes are made of premium grade leather, that ensures durability to withstand the harshest of rock abuse.

The rubber sole with polyester lining ensures a stronger grip that makes it easier to climb on multi-dimensional surfaces. A lined toe-box avoids overstretching at the toes. Initially, the shoe may fell medium-stiff, but it softens up with one-two uses.

The double Velcro straps keep your feet secure and gripped with the shoes, so that your foot and toe stays at the right place, even while climbing the edgiest rocks.

The red colored padded piping lends a stylish look and strength to the shoe. You should wear a half size down from your street-shoe to get the best fit.

These budgeted price shoes are totally worth the money. Lending extreme comfort, these shoes will totally enhance your rock climbing experience.

La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe

This shoe features asymmetric shape for advanced performance and extreme comfort. This asymmetric shape basically protect the user’s toes and deliver great upper end performance.

These shoes are specifically designed for advanced climbs that include a varied amount of techniques and maneuvers. It has a rigid sole that supports your arch and makes sure that your foot stays in place.

These rock climbing shoes are built to last. Highly durable, they are made from premium quality materials; it features 1.8mm LaspoFlex at the midsole and the outsoles are constructed of 5mm FriXion RS rubber that lends stability and exceptional friction to the shoe.

It’s upper is compiled of natural and synthetic leather; one of the best combinations to ensure secured fit. The classic unlined leather upper is soft and comfortable to the skin. The synthetic leather uppers provide a secure fit and an adequate level of support.


The lined tongue helps manage moisture and enhances breathability. The La Sportiva TarantuLace rock climbing shoes have a quick-pull lacing system to offer a closed- precise fit, thereby giving the user excellent support and enhanced comfort.

The aggressive rubber heel rand let climbers cross the edgiest rocks with ease.

Easy to wear, they easily stretch and mold according to your feet the moment you wear them! They are so comfortable, that you don’t even feel the weight of these shoes.

La Sportiva guarantees that these shoes will never harm your foot and they stand true to their claim. These high-grade performing shoes come at an affordable price.

Be it for indoor or outdoor rock climbing or for gym purposes, this one-quiver shoe is perfect to handle all. It provides the required traction, support, and comfort that is needed for advanced climbs.

A perfect blend of quality and comfort, these shoes are ideal for complex climbs and is truly worth its price.

La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoe

It is a versatile climbing shoe, which features patented Mythos lacing system that gives you the perfect and comfortable fit. The soft unlined leather uppers offer a snug-closed fit and deliver excellent performance.

It easily stretches and molds according to the shape of your foot. The best part of this shoe is it’s flat fit that is extremely comfortable for all day multi-pitch climbs where your feet tend to swell. The flat fit also ensures comfort during those extended gym sessions.

Constructed from high-quality durable materials, this indoor/outdoor climbing shoe has 1.1mm full-length LaspoFlex midsole and 4mm Vibram XS Grip2 sole that adds to the stability of the shoe.

La Sportiva Mythos rock shoes are great for crack climbing and face climbing. For crack climbing, Mythos offers a low-toe profile, that lets you slot your feet into thin cracks easily.

It has a dry lining in tongue controls that manages moisture and enhances breathability. The FriXion RS rubber soles help climbers find strong footholds without any pain. These shoes have a weight of 8.74 oz.

The 4mm Vibram® XS Edge outsoles provide sticky coverage even when you are climbing cracks. The rands are well- perforated and provide adequate stretch for an enhanced comfort of the user.

These boots can be resolved. It features the patented Mythos lacing system that adapts to the shape of your feet for the perfect and comfortable feel.

These shoes are perfect for long multi-pitch climb or at the gym for a quick workout. Before the actual purchase, refer to the La Sportiva size chart in the product images for an accurate fit.

Overall, it is one of the most versatile and comfortable shoes that is great for all day. It truly justifies its price to performance ratio.

Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe – Women’s

These flat shape shoes are perfect for beginners. The low asymmetry design ensures maximum support and comfort. These shoes have a synthetic suede upper, which is flexible and extremely comfortable. It resists stretching, thus stays true to its size.

The nylon linings provide moisture management inside thereby allowing breathability.

To keep the shoe shape better, these shoes feature a Variable Thickness Rand (VTR), which means there is thick rubber in the areas that are likely to wear out quickly. This enhances the life of the shoe.

The flat shape of the shoe is perfect for crack climbing as it slides into cracks easily. These shoes are so comfortable that you can you climb all day on long on multi-pitch routes or at the gym without hurting your toes.


The Velcro hook and loop closure make it easy to pull on/off the shoes. The bottom Velcro strap is high enough to protect your heel and toes. These shoes are highly sensitive. The Teardrop MX-P 1mm half-length midsoles lets you cross the edgiest of rocks smoothly.

The high-performance 4.2mm TRAX high-friction rubber soles add durability and cling to rock. The varying thickness of toe rands increases the durability of the shoe and increases its lifespan.

This is not one of the best edging shoes, but then for beginner climbers they are perfect. They are good for pocket climbing as they decently use pockets as footholds. If you are doing a majority of your climbing indoors, these shoes offer the perfect precision. However, for outdoors, the precision may not be that accurate. These shoes don’t stretch much, so they conform to the shape and width of your foot.

Undoubtedly, this is one of the best women’s climbing shoes to buy, specially if you are on a budget. These shoes are affordable, durable and completely worth the money.

Comparison Table of Best Rock Climbing Shoes

The below-mentioned table filters out some of the important features for you to make a smart choice:

ModelUpperTightening systemLiningOutsole
SCARPA Men's Instinct VSSynthetic leatherVelcro strapsNoVibram XS Edge rubber
Mad Rock Men's DrifterLined LeatherVelcro strapsPolysterScience Friction 3.0
La Sportiva Men's TarantuLaceCombination of unlined leather and synthetic Lace-upNoFriXion RS rubber
La Sportiva MythosUnlined leatherLace-upNoVibram rubber
Evolv Elektra WomenSyntheticVelcro strapsNylonTRAX rubber

A good pair of climbing shoe can make a real difference. They directly affect how well you climb. Be sure to buy the proper size for an accurate and comfortable fit.

Rating table of Best Rock Climbing Shoes

Best Rock Climbing Shoes
  • SCARPA Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe
  • Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe
  • La Sportiva Men's TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe
  • La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoe
  • Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe - Women’s
4.9

Conclusion

With market flooded with options, buying the right one gets difficult. So, do your homework well and make a smart choice.

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