Best Climbing Shoes – [2020 Review & Guide]

If you’re into sports climbing then you need the right gear. One part of your arsenal of climbing equipment that you should never disregard is your shoes. When the first pair of climbing shoes entered the market, climbers all over the world were enamored by the innovation. Times were simple back then since the only major factor to consider was the fit. Simply speaking, if the shoes fit, then you’re going to use it until it needs replacing.

Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoe
Mad Rock – Best Climbing Shoe – Image credit from Amazon

Decades later after the first pair of climbing shoes entered the scene, we now have many different manufacturers trying to one-up each other for control of the industry. Many climbers now find it difficult and confusing in selecting the right pair of climbing shoes. Read on to see a list of the best climbing shoes to buy and wear this 2020.

#1. La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoes

La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoe

While the La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoe for Men is slightly more expensive than many entry-level climbing shoes on the market, it does justify its price tag with excellent features. The multi-pitch comfort, precision fit, durable build, and all-day performance make this pair of shoe ideal for climbing and casual use.

Conclusion: The La Sportiva Mythos Men’s Climbing Shoe is ideal for both casual and climbing use. It presents a “bang for your buck” offering thanks to its premium leather construction, snug fit, and durable build.

Pros
– Durable
– Secure laces
– Tight and comfortable fit
– Premium leather construction

Cons
– None


#2. Scarpa Men’s Helix Climbing Shoe

Scarpa Men's Helix Climbing Shoe

With its 100% leather construction, the Scarpa Men’s Helix Climbing Shoes presents a “bang for your buck” deal for climbers. It has a rubber sole with a light heel cup for added durability and comfort. The to-the-toe lacing enables a secure fit for users while enhancing adjustability.

Conclusion: The Scarpa Men’s Helix Climbing Shoes offers users with a premium leather construction for most of its areas. Its durable rubber sole makes this pair of shoe ideal for both indoor and outdoor climbs. New users are advised to “break in” these shoes for a few hours before using it on climbs as leather tends to be too stiff upon first use.

Pros
– Comfortable
– Premium leather
– Durable rubber sole

Cons
– Needs to be worn for a few hours first


#3. Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoe

Mad Rock Men's Drifter Climbing Shoe

The Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoes for Men is classified as a budget-friendly pair of footwear ideal for beginners and veteran climbers. Its upper material is made out of premium leather which helps heighten the value of these shoes.

Aside from the leather material, the rest of the areas of these climbing shoes are made out of tough polyester. It presents a tight and secure fit but it’s not the most comfortable feeling in the world. These shoes are ideal for short climbs, preferably at the gym.

Conclusion: Gym climbers should take note of the Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoes. This footwear has premium materials to heighten its value despite its budget-friendly price tag. Even though it does have some comfort issues, it does have a tight and snug fit.

Pros
– Tight
– Durable
– Premium materials

Cons
– Not very comfortable


#4. La Sportiva Women’s OXYGYM Climbing Shoe

La Sportiva Womens OXYGYM Climbing Shoe

While many of the climbing shoes on the market have polyester constructions, especially for models found in the budget-friendly department, these shoes are mostly made out of microfiber. Hence, the La Sportiva OXYGYM Climbing Shoes for women is 100% breathable.

Users with problems regarding sweaty feet won’t experience that concern when wearing these shoes. It presents excellent comfort even though it’s not an ideal choice to wear in rugged outdoor climbs.

Conclusion: The microfiber construction of the La Sportiva OXYGYM Women’s Climbing Shoes is great for gym climbs. Despite these shoes not being an ideal choice for rugged outdoor climbs, this pair of shoes is still great for people who have problems with sweaty feet.

Pros
– Secure fit
– Comfortable
– Microfiber construction

Cons
– Not very durable


#5. BUTORA Unisex Acro Rock/Indoor Climbing Shoes

Butora Acro Wide Fit Climbing Shoe - Men's

The Butaro Acro Wide Fit Men’s Climbing Shoes are aggressively down-cambered which means it’s an ideal choice for bouldering and steep sport climbing. Its construction brings a combination of soft synthetic materials and premium leather to offer excellent performance and comfort. Like other shoes with leather in their constructions, new users of these climbing shoes need to “break in” the footwear first before using it on climbs.

Conclusion: With the Butaro Acro Wide Fit Climbing Shoes for Men, it brings premium durability and comfort to its users. It’s an ideal choice for bouldering and steep sports climbing. New users, however, need to “break in” these shoes first upon first use.

Pros
– Comfortable
– Premium leather construction
– Ideal for bouldering and steep sports climbing

Cons
– Needs breaking in first


#6. Five Ten Hiangle Climbing Shoes for Men

Five Ten Hiangle Men's Climbing Shoes

The Five Ten Hiangle Climbing Shoes for Men has a 100% split grain leather construction for optimum comfort and durability. Its unlined leather upper material creates a highly breathable surface great for use for many climbs. It may stain socks, so wearing dark-colored socks to match these shoes is advised.

Conclusion: The durable construction of the Five Ten Hiangle Men’s Climbing Shoes is great for several indoor and outdoor climbs. Users should wear dark-colored socks with these shoes as the unlined leather may stain feet.

Pros
– Durable
– Comfortable
– 100% split grain leather construction

Cons
– May stain socks or feet


#7. Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe

Best Climbing Shoes

The Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoes are for women who are looking for pique climbing performance at the gym or outdoors. Its design is great for women with low-volume feet. The comfort on this pair of shoes is akin to wearing bedroom slippers.

With its hook and loop Velcro system, it presents users with a tight fit without constricting air flow. Despite some variations regarding the fit, this pair of climbing shoes is ideal for beginners because of its thin rubber construction.

Conclusion: Some verified buyers of the Evolv Electra Climbing Shoes have some complaints regarding the size. Interested buyers looking to purchase these shoes should order a half-and-a-size up. Besides some discrepancies from the manufacturer’s chosen sizing for their footwear, these climbing shoes are still great for beginner climbers.

Pros
– Comfortable
– Secure Velcro system
– Great for beginner climbers

Cons
– Size discrepancies


#8. Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe for Women

Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe

The Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoes for Women gets an upgrade from its 2014 model. This updated version has a fresh look with improved features. It now has a more anatomical fit as compared to its predecessor. All of these traits translate to a better pair of climbing shoes when comparing it to its 2014 variant.

Is it the perfect pair of climbing shoes? Interested buyers may want to purchase these shoes with a half or a half-a-size up than their standard shoe size. There are verified users who state that the size of the shoes they ordered were too small. Pick the right size and you’re in for a treat for your climbs.

Conclusion: Despite suffering from size discrepancies from its manufacturer, the Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoes for Women has what it takes to be part of the top climbing shoes for 2020. This improved version of the 2014 model is made to be more beautiful, comfortable, and secure.

Pros
– Fits well
– Comfortable
– Great design

Cons
– Size discrepancies from the manufacturer


#9. Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoe

Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoe - Men's

The Black Diamond Momentum Men’s Climbing Shoes presents a comfortable fit thanks to its synthetic materials. It doesn’t breathe well and it does have some issues regarding the fit, but gym-goers won’t have too many difficulties when wearing these shoes during climbs.

Conclusion: Despite having some concerns regarding fit and breathability, the Black Diamond Momentum Men’s Climbing Shoes presents comfort and performance for indoor climbs. Users can also continue wearing these shoes even after their gym session thanks to its excellent comfort.

Pros
– Comfortable
– Soft flex midsole
– Durable synthetic materials

Cons
– Fit issues
– Not very breathable


#10. Five Ten Women’s Blackwing Climbing Shoe

Five Ten Women's Blackwing Climbing Shoe

Unlike the men’s version of the Five Ten Hiangle Climbing Shoes, this model is ideal for use for women. The durable polyester and rubber construction brings comfort and durability to indoor and outdoor climbing sessions. It also has a dually adjustable Velcro closure for a secure yet comfortable fit.

Conclusion: The women’s version of the Five Ten Hiangle Climbing Shoes is still great for indoor and outdoor climbs. It presents a secure and comfortable fit thanks to its polyester and rubber construction.

Pros
– Durable
– Comfortable
– Padded tongue
– Secure Velcro closure

Cons
– Slight size discrepancies


#11. So iLL Street LV Half & Half Climbing Shoes

So iLL Street LV Half & Half Climbing Shoe Black and Teal

With the So iLL Street LV Half & Half Climbing Shoes, users bring ultra-light footwear to wear during their climbs. It has large buckle closures for a secure fit along with a downturned toe for efficient climbing. Interested buyers should buy this pair of shoes about one-and-a-half size up.

Conclusion: The Street LV Half & Half Climbing Shoes by So iLL follows the trend of many climbing shoe manufacturers of offering their footwear a tad too small for comfort. However, use the right size and users will get the most out of its features.

Pros
– Secure fit
– Lightweight
– Downturned toe design

Cons
– Size discrepancies


How to Choose the Right Climbing Shoe

You know climbing shoes are essential to your gear. With several shoes to choose from the market, it’s difficult to discern which model is the right one for you. It might even become a daunting task to select the right pair of shoes with the right fit, quality, and performance. Check out this guide to help you select the right climbing shoes.

The Type of Climbing
First, you can narrow down your choices by the type of climbing you do. Sports climbing, alpine climbing, bouldering, crack climbs, face climbs, and slab climbs are just a few of the many categories of climbing out there.

Just like the many different types of climbing, there are different gear made for varying climbing classification. With that in mind, there are various climbing shoes on the market fit for a particular climbing category. For instance, boulderers and sports climbers should find tight shoes to quickly pull off between climbs. Alpine and trad climbers, on the other hand, need a pair of shoes fit for all-day wear to maximize comfort.

Upper Materials
If this is your first time browsing around the market for climbing shoes, you’ll notice three main classifications of upper materials. These materials are lined leather, unlined leather, and synthetic leather. Each upper material will have a unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

For instance, lined leather offers next-to-skin comfort as opposed to unlined leather shoes. Still, lined leathers are less breathable than their unlined counterparts. Unlined leather material is highly breathable but the dyes included in its production may stain feet. Last, synthetic upper materials are durable and animal-friendly. However, synthetic materials are the least breathable uppers and the stinkiest out of the three.

Closures
After considering which upper material you want for your climbing shoes, the next step is to choose which closures fit you the best. Once again, there are three climbing shoe closures to select: Lace-up, Slipper, and Velcro.

Veclrop and slipper shoes are easy to put on and take off. Lace-up shoes require users to spend a few moments to tie and untie laces when necessary. It’s a matter of convenience, fit, and personal preference when you’re choosing the right climbing shoe closure.

Rubber Thickness
Many climbers disregard rubber thickness and find it nothing but a trivial matter. Remember, the thickness of the rubber affects your climb. 3 to 4mm rubber is soft and sensitive but it allows you to get a better feel of the rock or climbing materials underfoot. Shoes with thin rubbers are ideal for climbing short routes and bouldering. The main drawback of using thin rubbers is they wear out quicker than thicker materials.

Conversely, thick rubber has up to 5.5mm of thickness and can last longer than their thinner counterparts. Thick-rubbered shoes help provide extra support for long routes so your feet won’t fall into fatigue prematurely. It doesn’t have the same sensitivity as opposed to using thin-rubbered shoes, but these materials are ideal for long, technical, and vertical routes.

Final Word

Now that you’ve reached the end of this guide, you should now have a general idea on the best climbing shoes for you to buy and wear in 2020. You can always bookmark this page if you need further help on the matter. Remember, consider several factors before making your purchase to avoid regrets.


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