Rock Climbing Shoes For Beginners

So, you caught the rock-climbing bug, and you do not know the type of shoes you are supposed to get. Unarguably, shoes are one of the most important gears a rock climber should have. A rock-climbing beginner’s shoe should be durable and comfortable, so the experience is more fun than it is unfortunate. New gear can be exciting and overwhelming, but climbing is a sport with many disciplines reflected by the various rock-climbing shoes in the market. So, to get the best fit for you as a beginner, you must do some research and ask an expert for advice. It might be tempting to take the advice of a friend because a certain type of shoes worked for them, but restrain yourself and get professional help. The ideal pair should work for both indoors and outdoors rock climbing, though; they do not need to be top performers. Here are some of the best rock-climbing shoes for a beginner.

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

Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe

Features

  • Made of 100% leather
  • It has a hook-and-loop closure system.
  • Has a polyester lining.
  • The shoe profile is flat

Pros

  • The sole is made of thick rubber, which makes the shoes very comfortable.
  • It is affordable.
  • The straps add stability and comfort.
  • The leather design does not stretch out despite continued use.

Cons

  • It is hard to size properly.
  • The thick sole makes it hard to grip small cracks.
  • The toe of the shoe curves upward.

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. 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. However, before buying, make sure it fits you snug.

La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe

Features

  • A quick pull up lacing system for easy removal.
  • Lined tongue.
  • Sticky FriXion RS rubber sole.
  • Has a classic unlined leather upper which is comfortable and soft.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Proper sizing can be challenging.
  • Stretches after several days of use.
  • Not high performance.

Product overview

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. Nonetheless, the shoe is not really a star performer when it comes to rock climbing, but neither it is not a dud. It smears well and is suitable for most terrain. Though that might sound like faint praise, the shoe is an exceptional blend of performance and accessibility. Look at it this way, the more comfortable the shoe, the more you will wear them and the more you will spend time climbing.

Five Ten Men’s Anasazi Moccasym Climbing Shoe

Features

  • They can be re-soled.
  • Breathable splint-grain unlined leather uppers with elastic bands for tight fitting.
  • The MoccAsym slip-lasted design offers sensitive rock feel and control.
  • Stealth ultra-sticky rubber outer sole which provides good edging.

Pros

  • 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.
  • It is not great for edging.
  • They tear quickly after continued use.

Product overview

The Five Ten Moccasym is a crack climbing shoe. The shoe has a flat shape and no mid-sole or support, so it lacks backing and is poorly edged. This is good news for those who have strong feet because the pair does not require assistance from your feet. The shoe will stretch out with time, so it is best for short term use, or you could order a smaller size. 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; however, it might not provide the best support for you.

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.
  • Vibram XS Edge outsole which is sticky and ultra-sensitive.

Pros

  • Wide toe box and a tight heel.
  • 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 giving the shoe exceptional edging.

Cons

  • Narrow feet
  • Can cause ankle pain
  • Expensive

Product overview

The Scarpa Instinct VS is an aggressive climbing shoe, and 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. Moreover, the Vibram XS Edge rubber sole provides a firm grip on the edges. 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 the nastiest terrain.

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

  • They are durable.
  • They are affordable compared to other shoes.
  • They are comfortable enough you could use them all day.
  • They stretch and mold well over time.

Cons

  • They tend to smell over time.
  • The performance degrades significantly with time.
  • The heels start digging in and they get stiff after a while.

Product overview

On the comfort performance scale, the Evolve shoe falls in the top because they are easy to put on and are comfortable for 8 to 10 hours. They are decent enough that you can wear them all day. They are fitting for a beginner, especially since their footwork is not precise and they will scrape around here and there. The 4.2mm sole gives you leeway to make mistakes without worrying that you will fall to the bottom. Also, 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?
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