The Best Rubber Available

Rock Climbing Shoes, from Beginner to Expert

July 8, 2016 Buying Guides By

Your feet are almost as important as your hands when rock climbing. They provide balance, keep your body planted against the wall and can help take some of the weight off of the arms and hands. In order to make the most out of your feet, it is crucial to make sure you’re wearing a quality pair of climbing shoes. While you could technically climb in sneakers, rock climbing shoes utilize a glove-like fit and specialized rubber compounds to help keep you glued to slick rock faces and overhanging cliffs.


Quantum by Five Ten $185
The Quantum received a complete redesign this year with the help of Thomas and Alexander Huber — world-class climbers and Five Ten athletes. They adjusted the fit of the old Quantum, making it less downturned and wider at the forefoot among other tweaks that make it more comfortable for all-day wear.


Vapor V by Scarpa $159
If you’re looking for a shoe that’s comfortable enough to wear all day but still offers a high level of performance, the Vapor V is a great choice. Two velcro straps make getting in and out of the shoes incredibly easy and the suede upper resists typical climbing shoe odors better than synthetic materials.


Katana Lace by La Sportiva $165
The La Sportiva Katana Lace is just about as tried and true as a climbing shoe gets. It’s the go-to for a number of professional climbers, thanks in part because of the Vibram XS Edge super sticky and durable rubber. Its moderate downturn provides ample performance without crushing your toes and the front of your foot.


Shaman by Evolv $155
The Shaman is the signature shoe that Evolv designed in concert with one of the best climbers in the world, Chris Sharma. The Shaman is designed specifically for Sharma’s style of climbing — steep, technical, aggressive terrain.


Oasi by Tenaya $165
While Spanish brand Tenaya might not be as established in the US as brands like Five Ten or La Sportiva, the shoes they’re making are of just as high quality. The Oasi features Vibram’s XS Grip — a compound lauded for its durability and stickiness.


Anasazi Lace by Five Ten $165
For trad climbing and multi pitch climbing, the Anasazi Lace is a no brainer. It features a nearly flat sole for maximum comfort, paired with a Cordura upper that resists stretching for a consistent fit.


Shark 2.0 by Mad Rock $119
Pound for pound, there is no better value when it comes to climbing shoes. The Shark 2.0 competes with the likes of the Shaman, Katana and Vapor at a fraction of the cost. It uses Mad Rock’s R2 rubber compound that is soft and sticky — perfect for an aggressive bouldering shoe or indoor sport climbing shoe.

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