Best Beginner Climbing Shoes If You Are Just Starting

Getting into climbing especially as a beginner can be an exhilarating and fulfilling adventure to look forward to. Unarguably, shoes are one of the most important gears a rock climber should have.

Climbing equipment can be exciting and overwhelming but climbing is a sport with many disciplines reflected by the various shoe brands in the market.

You may not need an extensive kit as a beginner indoor climber. However, going outdoor climbing brings different challenges. It is essential to have the right climbing hear for having a safe and comfortable experience.

It might be tempting to take the advice of a friend but you need to always conduct your own research or speak to a professional.

Ideally, as a beginner, you may be looking for a pair of climbing shoes which work both indoors and outdoors. They need to be durable and versatile for you to be able to experience different surfaces.

We have prepared a list of selected climbing shoes which could work for both indoors and outdoors climbing. Their features, benefits and limitations are listed for your consideration.

Product Price Range Our Rating Buy

Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe

$$ 4.5/5

La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe

$$ 4.9/5

Five Ten Men’s Anasazi Moccasym Climbing Shoe

$$$ 4.7/5

Scarpa Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe

$$$ 4.8/5

Evolv Axiom Climbing Shoe

$ 4.5/5

La Sportiva Men’s Tarantula Beginner Rock Climbing Shoe

Features

  • Adjustable hook-and-loop closure system
  • A quick pull up lacing system for easy removal
  • A classic unlined leather upper which is comfortable and soft
  • Sticky FriXion RS rubber sole.
  • 8mm LaspoFlex at the midsole
  • 5mm FriXion RS at the sole

Pros

  • A quick pull up lacing system for easy removal
  • Has an aggressive rubber sole providing exceptional staying power
  • The toe is sensitive so you can find cracks and nooks to cling to more easily
  • The shoe is made of durable leather
  • Good for gym climbing and bouldering

Cons

  • Sizes may vary – read other customers’ reviews for guidance

Product Overview

Beginner climbers have a trusty pair in the La Sportiva Men’s Tarantula Beginner Rock Climbing Shoe.

The footwear comes with a synthetic sole and works well for use in the gym or outdoors. The Sticky FriXion sole gives the much-needed grip in mountainous terrains and the asymmetrical build gradually transitions beginner climbers to pros in good time.

The tarantula’s hook-and-loop closure system is adaptable and adjustable, making it your ideal climbing footwear for all day use.

The unlined leather upper is for breathability as you cruise through aggressive climbs in its exquisitely designed RL 45 last. La Sportiva Men’s Tarantula Beginner Rock Climbing Shoe also has a 5mm FriXion RS at the sole and a .8mm LaspoFlex at the midsole, perfect combination of high-quality materials to put you through your paces when taking on aggressive climbs.

Not everyone is crazy about lace closure system because they can be very inconveniencing. However, the Taratulace rock climbing shoes takes the crown for the most comfortable shoes for rock climbing beginners. The upper feels like a soft hug on your foot, which makes it comfortable to wear for hours.

Don’t forget to check Tarantulas size recommendation or purchase a 0.5 – 1 US size smaller pair than your regular fit for the best snug and convenience.

Read the full review


Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe

Features

  • Made of 100% leather
  • It has a hook-and-loop closure system – 2-strap closure
  • Has a polyester lining – 8mm polyester midsole
  • The shoe profile is flat

Pros

  • The sole is made of thick rubber, which makes the shoes very comfortable
  • The straps add stability and comfort
  • The leather design does not stretch out despite continued use
  • Easy to put on and off
  • It is affordable
  • Grips well

Cons

  • The thick sole may make it hard to grip small cracks
  • May not fit well for wide feet
  • Sizes may vary

Product Overview

The Mad Rock Men’s climbing shoe is made of soft and supple leather. It has a medium stiff feel which gives enough support to allow climbing with ease.

The shoe is malleable enough to bend and grab the holes on any steep. Beginners love the shoe because it increases their foot strength when climbing and especially on vertical surfaces. With a science friction 3.0 rubber sole, the footwear is at ease with virtually all mountaineering challenges you throw at them.

Since the shoes are a neutral fit, it provides comfort to your feet. It is the best choice when you need something that is supportive and versatile for rock climbing. The thick rubber soles prevent injuries when climbing, which makes the shoe perfect for beginners.

The performance is further enhanced with a slightly asymmetric last that helps beginners finesse their edging skills in very convenient shoes. The premium full grain leather upper, users say, stretches after a period of use, which is what you want for improved feel when used long term.

The 3D molded heel enhances the grip and makes the shoe ideal for all outdoor climbing.  Not a bad choice when wriggling your way through curvy walls and holds.

Read the full review


Five Ten Men’s MoccAsym Climbing Shoes

 Features

  • Breathable splint-grain unlined leather uppers with elastic bands for tight fitting
  • Stealth ultra-sticky rubber outer sole which provides good edging
  • Offers sensitive rock feel and control
  • Rubber sole – they can be re-soled
  • Triple pull tabs
  • Side-exit heel seam
  • Slingshot heel
  • Stealth C4 rubber 4.2mm

Pros

  • Snug fit – it is easy to take off and on
  • The unlined upper leather fits the foot like a glove
  • The sole is soft for steeps and sticky for slabs
  • The toes are flat for sliding into cracks

Cons

  • The shoe stretches after a while
  • Durability can be better
  • Not suitable for the most aggressive climbing

Product Overview

The Five Ten Men’s MoccAsym has a rubber sole design that enhances friction and a perfect snug fit performance as you labour your way up walls in the gym or outdoor or on a mountain.

The Stealth C4 rubber supercharges your traction when used on slippery surfaces, and the shoes don’t have problems dealing with sandstone, quartzite, and porphyry rocks.

The shoe is slim yet malleable, so it fits into cracks and small crevices. The flexible and sticky nature of the rubber soles makes the shoe suitable for beginners.

The narrow flat toe profile makes hard crack climbs and difficult toe hooks look easy, just as the triple pull tabs ensure you have a frictionless on and off.

To top it off, the soles are resolable, so you are welcome to use for extended periods if so desired. With buyers acclaiming its superior performance and ruggedness, the Five Ten Men’s MoccAsym is another top pick to consider when choosing a pair of good beginner climbing shoes.

Read the full review


SCARPA Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe

Features

  • 100% Lorica non-stretch material
  • Rubber toe for sweet hooking moves
  • Floating Velcro strap for easy adjustment
  • Highly charged Bi-Tension Active Randing
  • Vibram XS Edge in forefoot
  • Vibram XS Grip 2 heel
  • Mid-length outsole construction
  • Floating power strap

Pros

  • Wide toe box and a tight heel – snug fit
  • The toe box rubber is soft, giving the toe flexibility on almost any angle
  • The plastic deformation resistance ensures utmost stability and rigidity
  • The rubber compound is built for maximized performance
  • Good for aggressive use

Cons

  • Narrow and tight feet
  • Can cause ankle pain if used for a long time

Product Overview

The SCARPA brand has been around since the 1930s, churning quality outdoor footwear of various kinds. The SCARPA Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe has a floating power strap that provides better comfort while the vibram®xs edge rubber sublimely resists deformation when standing on edges and microflakes.

The single strap fits securely. The shoes offer a bi-tension randing that keeps you supported when standing on dimes. Take the gripping feature of the Vibram XS Grip 2 heel and you are all set to reach your climbing goals. The Midlength outsole construction blends well for the needs of both beginners and experts in all terrains.

The SCRAPA Instinct VS is an aggressive climbing shoe. It provides accuracy and sensitivity on foot placement. Its stiffness ensures an all-around performance and has an upper made from micro-suede for maximized flexibility and durability.

The shoe has a higher cap toe box combined with profile hugging arch and a well-fitting heel. The Velcro straps are the most convenient form of closure, so it makes it easy to remove it and put it on. The aggressive down-turned toe and heel provide a stable grip on even some of  the nastiest terrains.

Read the full review


La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoe

 Features

  • Soft unlined leather upper
  • Dry-Best tongue lining
  • 1.1mm full-length LaspoFlex midsole
  • 4mm Vibram XS Grip2 sole
  • Flat fit

Pros

  • Snug fit
  • Comfortable and good performance

Cons

  • Size discrepancies

Product Overview

There you go on another top buy for most climbers. La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoe is laden with features too many to ignore.

For starters, the climbing shoe is not only offers snug fit but arguably wins the fit department by providing a patented to-the-toe lacing feature for better feel.

The dry-best tongue lining also makes breathability an easy job while preventing entry of water. Perfect for use on wet terrains!

The multi-pitch design keeps you safe from developing swollen feet and the FriXion RS rubber soles are your best friends when finding solid footholds and better sensitivity. With painful cramps and sores out of the way, get ready to cruise through mountains all day!

At lightweight 8.74 oz, La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoe is not only convenient to wear but light on your feet, giving you the snug you want regardless of the obstacles.

With a 4mm Vibram XS Grip2 sole and a 1.1mm full-length LaspoFlex midsole, beginners have a rugged footwear in the La Sportiva Mythos to spice up their climbing gear.

Read the full review


Evolv Axiom Climbing Shoe

Features

  • The leather is microfiber lined front for performance and support.
  • Arch rand tension for increased torsional rigidity.
  • Non-aggressive so it can be downsized for the best performance.
  • Has a unique tongue lock system which perfectly positions the tongue.  

Pros

  • Durable
  • Affordable compared to other shoes
  • Very comfortable and can be used over a long climbing sessions
  • Stretch and mold well over time

Cons

  • Tend to smell over time
  • The performance may start degrading over time
  • The heels start digging in and they may get stiff after a while

Product overview

On the comfort performance scale, the Evolve is easily rivalling the top brands because they are easy to put on and are comfortable for 8 to 10 hours of use at one time.

They are a good solution for a beginner. The 4.2mm sole gives you leeway to make mistakes. The break-in period is about three weeks, but once it has formed to the shape of your foot, you will completely enjoy the experience.

Since they are flat-toes, they are also non-aggressive which helps you manage your hold. 


How to choose the best beginner climbing shoes

Upper material

Leather: This is the most common material for rock climbing shoes, but it stretches the most during break-in. Therefore, when you buy one, leave a little room for stretching so buy a smaller size. The upper leather can be either unlined or lined but partially lined is the best because it stretches slightly.

Synthetic: The upside of this material is that it does not stretch during sizing. The uppers will only stretch a half size at most. However, the downside is that synthetic shoes tend not to breathe which could make your feet sweaty.

Knit: This is the newest material is the Black Diamond’s “Engineered Knit” technology, which is basically a thin stronger layer of fabric. It is more breathable than both leather and synthetic, though the difference is not that much. It feels stretchy when you touch but it does not stretch out during the break-in process.

Closure system

Velcro: These types of climbing rock shoe are good for beginners because they are easy and quick to take on and off. However, the closure system is asymmetrical so, if you want to cinch the shoes down, the upper material overlaps. Given that the shoe has only two points of adjustment, it is also less customizable.

 Lace-up: The toe box of such shoes can be tightened more than the arch, or the arch more than the box toe. Consequently, lace-up shoes fit a wider variety of foot shapes. But the definite downside is that they take long to put on or take off.

Slipper/slip-on: Although none of the shoes I analysed fell in this category, they are still very nice rock-climbing shoes for beginners. These types of shoes have stretchy patches of fabric, allowing slip-on fit. The shoe depends mainly on a close tight fit and they might also become sloppy with time, nonetheless, they are the easiest of the three to wear and remove. 

Rubber

Rubber sole shoes are the best for rock climbing beginners. You cannot go wrong with a sole that is sticky and soft because they are both comfortable and secure. A thick sole is more durable and less sensitive. For a beginner, a medium 4-5 mm is the best alternative for maximum support because it allows you to grow in the experience and love it.

A must for all beginner rock climbing shoes

  • Sensitivity– how much can I feel in the shoes to understand my footwork!
  • Comfort– how long can I climb in the shoes? Is it making my experience fun?
  • Performance– how competent is the shoe in rough terrain? How comfortable am I in them?

Final thoughts

The products listed in this article offer a good selection of climbing shoes for beginners in indoor or outdoor conditions.

Most of the issues which you may face with these types of shoes are related to their size. There are certain discrepancies which can be observed in some of these brands. However, size problems are probably a mainstay in the footwear industry, you don’t want to ignore checking official size charts and customer reviews before buying your piece.

Indoor climbing is obviously not as challenging as outdoors. In this respect, beginners may wish to start with climbing in the gym or bouldering.

The shoes presented here are easy on the legs, comfortable and durable for most indoor climbing routines.

Some users have found La Sportiva Men’s Tarantula Beginner Rock Climbing Shoe a perfect springboard due to its sizeable fit and good traction on all terrains.  You also get to climb in an easily adjustable footwear as it comes with a hook-and-loop closure system. If you pland to climb for a prolonged period of time, its breathability enhancing unlined leather upper would do a great job.

Another shoe you may consider from La Sportiva is the Mythos Climbing Shoe which has a dry-best tongue lining design for increased breathability. The Mythos grips well with its 4mm Vibram XS Grip2 Sole. Combine this with its 1.1mm full-length LaspoFlex midsole and you have a reliable pair of footwear most for most of your climbing needs.

The widely acclaimed versatility of FiveTen Men’s MoccAsym Climbing Shoes on all types of rocks makes it a worthy gear if you intend taking on multiple terrains. Plus, the MoccAsym soles are resoleable, which makes it your ideal pick for long-term climbing. Frictionless on and off with the triple pull tabs ensure you spend less time on your gear and focus more on climbing.

Beginners looking to perfect their edging skills can consider SCARPA Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe as it has all you need to stand on microflakes and edges with its vibram®xs edge rubber. The accompanying highly charged Bi-Tension Active Randing allows you to stand on dimes with impregnable support to your heels.

The best climbing shoes should take you through all terrains and give you the best performance, regardless of what you throw at them. But they also have to be convenient, and so an overburdening weight is the last thing you want when getting started. If you are looking for a lightweight and convenient footwear for your gym climbing sessions, check out the Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe which snugs well and weighs little to none on your feet.