best intermediate climbing shoes
Editor’s Choice

1.

La Sportiva Katana Lace

La Sportiva Katana Lace

Premium Pick

2.

Scarpa Vapor V 

Scarpa Vapor 5 1 e1659431577821

Budget Pick

3.

Five Ten Asym

51EvFyl TnL. AC UX395 removebg preview

If you have been rock climbing for a while, you will be aware of the struggle of choosing the climbing shoe pair for the job. Due to the overwhelming number of available brands, users can sometimes become confused when selecting the best brand for their specific needs. Especially the climbers who have been climbing for a long time find themselves at a loss to determine the best climbing shoes for them. 

With this point in mind, we set out to find the best intermediate climbing shoes for the people who want the best product within a specific budget. Our climbers tested various climbing shoe brands over three years, and based on their opinion, we have selected the best climbing shoes among the bunch. 

Our reviews will mainly be based on men’s climbing shoes, but the same shoes are also perfect and usable for women. 

check Neutral Vs Moderate Vs Aggressive climbing Shoes

Here are our top Nine picks for the best intermediate climbing shoes:

La Sportiva Katana Lace:

La Sportiva

Synthetic

250 grams

Black / Yellow

Leather

Bouldering

La Sportiva is known around the world as the Italian climbing shoe-making giant. As regards the sales made by the company, in 2016 they were about $97 million and in 2019, they amounted to about $115 million. In 2021, this figure was 125 million euros. Most of these sales were made through exports of various climbing shoe category as the domestic sales were not that high. 

La Sportiva has made its mark as one of the best shoe-making brands. Founded in the 1920s, the company has been around for over a hundred years and makes a complete range of climbing shoes for all user types.

These La Sportiva climbing shoes are the cousin to the La Sportiva Otaki and are the best high-profile climbing shoes in their game. These shoes consider all the different conditions the climber goes through and provide some of the best results in each. Whether the climber faces different sizes of cracks, types of rocks, or smaller protrusions on the surface, these shoes are sure to give him peace of mind when facing all these conditions. 

The rubber sole in this climbing shoe gives accurate grip power for every type of rock. The rubber is 4mm thick and is of the Vibram XS Edge Rubber otype, which combines durability and grip power to give the climber a solid grip even in complex, slippery conditions, earning a good rank among the best intermediate climbing shoes.

Read Best Beginners Climbing Shoes

The breathable microfiber top leather provides the feet with proper airflow. So the climber can do more extended missions without the nuisance of their feet becoming sweaty. The lacing option instead of the Velcro gives the shoes a little more room for fitting in cracks and gives an overall better comfort. 

Now that we’ve covered the fit, let’s talk performance. For edging and clinging to a foothold on steep climbs, this shoe is reliable. On some of the overhung schist in this area, the modest toe downturn works incredibly well, and it also performs well in the gym. These are an excellent choice amongst their competitors in the best intermediate climbing shoes game, but I’m not sure whether I’d want to use them for a multipitch traditional climb because they can get a little uncomfortable.

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For Size Conversion please Visit the Climbing Shoe Size Conversion page

Breathable & Durable

The leather and microfiber upper’s placement of tough leather in high wear regions and microfiber in sections that required ventilation. For moisture management, the tongue’s high level of breathability collaborates with the inside lining of the shoe.

Fit & Comfort

Increased rubber covering and a new heel pattern with a thinner heel sole better traction during heel hooking. Made from recycled raw materials, full-length lacing. added two heel pull-tabs as an update.

Great Grip

Unmatched grip and durability are provided by full length 4mm Vibram XS Edge. The highest torsional rigidity is provided by a LaSpoFlex ultra-thin midsole.

Intended Use

Advanced-High Performance Shoe; Performs well for Thin Face and Traditional Climbing.

Sole/Toe Edge

4mm Vibram XS Edge

Fit Tip

Slip had a moderate degree of asymmetry. Rock climbing shoes are made to fit differently than other footwear; Be sure to reference the La Sportiva size chart in the product photos for more accurate sizing; The fit must be snug without being uncomfortable and without pressure points.


I’m size 12 US, should i buy the 46 or 45.5? The size chart says 46 but the size selection says 45.5.

Since every foot is unique, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. However, I wear socks with these and wear a US 12 shoe. I could probably wear no socks, drop to 45, and be alright until the shoes broke in. The 45.5 is a secure fit, though.

Do these have the same feel and functionality as the original Katana Laces? My feet fit in the originals perfectly, thus I would be disappointed if they were to change.

You should decrease by one and a half sizes, in my opinion. The front of the shoe is now a little more “roomy” since they altered the toe’s architectural design to allow your big toe to fit straight over the front edge of the shoe. You can compensate for this by sizing down by half.

Is there a time from of when these might be in stock?

We expect getting stock of the La Sportiva Katana Lace Climbing Shoes in April 2022. We don’t currently have any verified delivery dates.

cons

  • Synthetic leather which does not stretch much
  • High price
  • Harsh on the back of the ankle.

Also read The Best Climbing Shoe Rubber

Scarpa Vapor V 

Scarpa

Synthetic

240 grams

Blue / Black / Yellow

Suede

Bouldering

During our testing, most climbers found these shoes to be one of the most comfortable for long-term climbs. And to no surprise. Scarpa climbing shoes are one of the best intermediate climbing shoes in the traditional category. In 2020, the company’s sales value amounted to 110 million euros. Compared to the previous two years, this figure marks an increase.

The Scarpa Vapor V combines a microsuede upper with a solid heel to give comfort, a good climbing grip, and good durability. They also come with a rubberised forefoot to give the climber an advantage when putting the foot into tiny cracks and edges.

They have a Talyn midsole which gives proper comfort without compromising the performance. The shoes have velcro straps instead of laces which can perfectly adjust the shoes on foot. Although some of these also come with laces. The Scarpa Vapor lace variant can give better comfort than the velcros.

I’ve purchased them before, and I’ll do so again. They are the best intermediate climbing shoes in my opinion. Up to and including UIAA grade IX, suitable. Well suited for sights up to multi-pitch lengths, depending on size and fit. It fits me perfectly with a Greek foot shape because there isn’t too much camber or asymmetry. Once again, the best climbing shoe for me.

vapor1

Was previously really satisfied with all Scarpa shoes as they fit my foot shapes.
This shoe strikes a great balance between stability and durability in my opinion.

Superb quality and form, best for sport climbing.

vapor2

Scarpa Climbing Shoe Size Chart 1

For Size Conversion please Visit the Climbing Shoe Size Conversion page

MIDSOLE 

Microsuede upper for support and flexibility

Fit & Comfort

Increased rubber covering and a new heel pattern with a thinner heel sole better traction during heel hooking. Made from recycled raw materials, full-length lacing. added two heel pull-tabs as an update.

Great Grip

The strong heel pushes the foot forward firmly

Flexibility

The Talyn midsole supports the foot without compromising the flexibility of the shoe

Strap type

Velcro straps to adjust the fit of the shoe.

Fit Tip

Rubberized forefoot for easier toe hooks


Is the item durable?

The versatile Five Ten® Asym VCS climbing shoe is ideal for beginners seeking reliable performance and also for advanced climbers looking for long-lasting comfort

what is the weight of the shoes?

The weight of Five Ten ASYM is 10 OZ


How do these size versus a mythos 43.5?

I measured the width of my shoes from each brand at 43.5. The Vapor V fits me snugly but comfortably (10.5 US). The mythology is a comfort shoe, and according to sportiva, climbing shoes should be ordered down two sizes. Therefore, if you have a 43.5 sportiva, you are most likely a size 12 or 12.5 US. having the knowledge that a 43.5 will be too small for you. Hope this is useful.


Im a size 40 in women, but these are for men, what size should I get?

For both men’s and women’s shoe sizes, there is a conversion table for European and US sizes. Simply cross-reference the numbers will do.
Hope this was useful. Wonderful footwear!

pros

  • Perform well in thin cracks
  • Comfortable and breathable
  • The heel is strong enough for good heel hooks

cons

  • Velcro straps instead of laces can be uncomfortable.

Five Ten Asym VCS

‎Five Ten

Rubber 

226 grams

Black / Cyan

Leather

Bouldering

Five ten climbing shoes are unparalleled for long-lasting comfort and reliable performance during intense sport climbing sessions. Our research also found these shoes to be the best for proper fitting. Five ten also makes good fitting shoes for wider feet.

The perfect fit comes from a leather upper and an asymmetrical hook-and-closure system, giving the shoes one of the best fits and allowing them to be used for all types of climbing, be it trad climbing, rockclimbing, slab climbing, or sports climbing. It would be safe to say that these shoes are one of the most versatile climbing shoes.

These shoes also come with a C4 rubber outsole, giving the best gripping results. The interior is unlined, which minimises weight and allows for a roomier and breathable inner side. A medium-stiff sole provides the foot with good comfort so the climbers can wear them for long-term climbing. 

They do run small in these shoes. I’m a street shoe size 9. If I’m willing to put up with some discomfort, I could fit into the 9.5s. The size 10 was snug enough to allow me to climb for extended periods of time without having to take my shoes off right away to alleviate my feet after each ascent. They are still snug enough at size 10 for me to perform well in them. I climb as high as 5.10.

Five Ten ASYM VCS 2

I purchased these to replace some mocassins that were too small for me. I slightly upsized, and I believe the Velcro straps make a significant difference in how well they fit my foot. Since they fit my feet better than anything else, I normally climb in mad rock shoes, but so far I’m like them a little bit more. Since I’m climbing v3-5 these days, I try to avoid using aggressive climbing shoes to prevent injuries.

Five Ten ASYM VCS 3

Five Ten Shoe Size Chart

For Size Conversion please Visit the Climbing Shoe Size Conversion page

Upper And lower

Leather upper and lower conforms to the foot.

Symmetric

Asymmetrical hook-and-loop closure for easy adjustability and a secure fit.

Great Grip

Features a moderate downturn and a medium-stiff midsole that allows for easy technical moves


Is the item durable?

The versatile Five Ten® Asym VCS climbing shoe is ideal for beginners seeking reliable performance and also for advanced climbers looking for long-lasting comfort

what is the weight of the shoes?

The weight of Five Ten ASYM is 10 OZ

Is the item easy to use?

Hook-and-loop fastening with an asymmetrical design for simple adjustment and a snug fit.

pros

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Perfect fitting
  • Medium-stiff sole for technical climbing

cons

  • The heel cup is a bit difficult to get used to.

Evolv Shaman 

Evolv

Microfiber

225 grams

Black / Yellow

Microfiber

Bouldering

Evolv puts a lot of thought and engineering work into giving its customers the most comfort and the best performance in their best intermediate climbing shoes game. These climbing shoes are one of the best examples of the engineering marvels done by evolv and are among the best shoes for bouldering, indoor climbing, and sport climbing. 

See also  How To Dispose Of Old Climbing Shoes

These Evolv shoes are entirely synthetic vegan leather and come with “love bump” and “knuckle box” technologies. They love bumps to fill the empty gaps inside the shoes created by our toes so that maximum energy can be put into edging and the knuckle boxes make a good resting position for our middle toes. If this isn’t a thought process set into designing shoes, we don’t know what is.

The midsole is half-length, and the inside is unlined to give good breathing space. The upper is also made of lightweight synthetic leather, providing excellent comfort without adding to the bulk of the shoe. The shoes come with three straps, which we can adjust depending on our shoe sizes to allow proper fitting.

pros

  • Vegan synthetic leather
  • Lightweight
  • Love bumps and knuckle boxes for comfort
  • More toe rubber for toe hook

cons

  • Rubber is not very long-lasting

Scarpa Instinct VSR

‎Scarpa

Synthetic

229 grams

Black / Blue

Rubber

Bouldering

Same as the Scarpa Vapor V, these climbing shoes by Scarpa are known for their all-around performance and durability. Our climbers found these shoes to be perfect for aggressive climbing. 

They come with the Grip2 rubber technology by Scarpa and provide the best grips even in steeper climbs. They also have a toe rubber system to allow proper hooking grips. They have a single velcro strap, called the floating power strap by Scarpa, which is sure to provide good fitting and unmatched power.

These shoes also have a bi-tension system, which consists of a tensioned rubber strap that reaches both sides of the shoe and makes the sides stiff but leaves out the centre part to give proper support in acute climbing conditions. 

These shoes also have a bi-tension system, which consists of a tensioned rubber strap that reaches both sides of the shoe and makes the sides stiff but leaves out the centre part to give proper support in acute climbing conditions. 

Pros
  • Bi-tension system for support
  • Rubber toe grip
Cons
  • Velcro straps can be uncomfortable as compared to laces

Read 5 Best Women’s Climbing Shoes

Mad Rock Drifter 

‎Mad Rock

Leather

223 grams

Black / Grey

Rubber

Bouldering

Mad Rock is a relatively newer company for making climbing shoes. But it has proved itself as one of the best ones out there. Its shoes combine innovative design, technicalities, and affordability to give its customers the comfort and performance they are looking for.

The Mad Rock Drifters are one of the lightest climbing shoes and are made of 100% leather. They come with a rubber sole with the world-famous Mad Rock friction-reducing design to give a comfortable feel. Thes shoes have a 2-strap velcro closure design to allow proper fitting.

The shoes lack any pressure points or open spots, making the climbers a perfect fit for steep climbs. The price factor is also well within a reasonable range. All in all, these shoes are one of the best mountain climbing shoes and perfect for the climbers who go for the set it and forget it approach when it comes to climbing shoes.

Also Available in

51lTvKgDQwL. AC SX395. SX. UX. SY. UY 1
510lYKSLrnL. AC UX575 1
Pros
  • Mad Rock Science Friction rubber sole
  • Cheap and Budget-friendly
  • 2-strap velcro to give comfort and proper fit
Cons
  • Not recommended for bigger feet
  • Grip strength is relatively weak

Scarpa Veloce

‎Scarpa

Microsuede

192 grams

Black / Yellow

Rubber 

Sport Climbing

With this shoe on, your bouldering sessions will be much more fun and comfortable for your feet. Scarpa has hit the nail with this one, which comes with a wide toe box and an S-72 rubber design. These features and many more make this shoe the best option for indoor climbing jobs and bouldering purposes. 

This shoe has all the premium features that all other Scarpa shoes have. It has a DTS rand technology maintained at a medium tension level to give efficacy and performance for extended periods. The RPF system further improves the space in the toe area to provide breathing space. 

To make enhancements in the heel hooking department, the heels of the shoes also feature the RPF system technology. The closure system on this shoe is through a single velcro strap, which allows for a more comfortable and long-lasting fit. All in all, these shoes are the best option for all types of indoor climbing sessions.

Pros
  • Roomy toe box
  • DTS system for performance
  • RPF technology throughout for breathability
Cons
  • The shoe may be too roomy for small feet

La Sportiva Zenit

Manufacturer

‎La Sportiva

Outer Material 

Synthetic

Weight

229 grams

Color

Black / Blue

Material type

Rubber 

Style

Bouldering

With Zenit, La Sportiva has taken a step ahead regarding versatility and comfort.  The shoes have a knit upper, which makes them breathable and comfortable. To improve the sturdiness, the shoes have a rubber midsole, which gives excellent support without taking from the performance.

The outsole and the toe box are made of Vibram rubber technology, which is long-lasting and durable and makes the shoes flexible and supportive even in the tiniest of cracks. To improve heel hook, the heels come with an injection moulded technology. The forefoot of the shoes has a design in which easy resoling is allowed. 

The shoes also come with a dual hook and loop closure system, which allows the shoes to fit on the feet perfectly and further adds to the comfort. The tongue of the shoes is lined with cotton to give the users breathability and comfort all day long.

Also Available in

71CDr2Wm5ZL. AC UY575 1
Pros
  • Vibram rubber outsole 
  • Easy resoling 
  • Cotton lining in the tongue to give comfort
  • Roomy toe box
Cons
  • The stiffness of the midsole can compromise the sensitivity.

Tenaya Oasi

Manufacturer

‎Tenaya

Outer Material 

Synthetic

Weight

170 grams

Color

Black / Blue

Material type

Vibram

Style

Bouldering

This versatile shoe from Tenaya has been a favorite among some of the leading climbers in the world. It is a curved shoe that holds well in various challenging conditions. Climbing shoes that are high performance aren’t usually comfortable, but Oasi is comfortable for a shoe of its kind. 

See also  Tenaya Indalo Climbing Shoe review

Talking about specifications, it has a microfiber upper with TXT-treated cotton lining. Its sole is made from Vibram. It sports a Draxtor Velcro closure system that provides excellent control over the adjustment of the shoe.

Tenaya Oasi is specifically suited for bouldering and vertical routes. Its construction and material are such that it provides incredible power transmission. Its closure system is very intuitive and precise. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it is one of the best climbing shoes.

The hallmark of Tenaya Oasi is that it combines comfort with high performance. Users have reported that even after all-day use, it is incredibly comfortable; many have even rated these as the best intermediate climbing shoes. 

Pros
  • Highly Comfortable.
  • Great for bouldering and sport.
  • The velcro system is precise and robust.
Cons

  • Neoprene liner can produce odour over time.
  • It can be hard to find the right fit.

La Sportiva Miura

Manufacturer

‎La Sportiva

Outer Material 

Synthetic

Weight

239 grams

Color

Black / Yellow

Material type

Rubber 

Style

Rock climbing

This lace-up climbing shoe from La Sportiva is specially designed for edging control and pocket climbing. It is ideal for slabs and vertical or steep rocks. It has a suede leather upper with Dentex lining and Vibram sole.

The Dentex lining is ideal for keeping the feet dry and comfortable over more extended usage periods. It is an intermediate climbing shoe different from the Miura VS, a high-performance shoe. Miura is a flat shoe and more comfortable than the Miura VS.

It is one of the most comfortable downturned shoes in the intermediate climbing shoe business. If you are looking for a climbing shoe that has stood the test of time and is trustworthy, Miura is a good choice. It can do well in a variety of terrains without any hiccups. It is a do-it-all classic.

Although Miura is not particularly brilliant in a single terrain, it is an excellent all-around option that doesn’t lag in performance too much while providing comfort. If you’re keen, you can choose some exclusively designed high-end options.

Pros
  •  Great all-rounder
  • Cotton lining in the tongue to give comfort
Cons
  • Not exceptional as compared to some specifically designed intermediate climbing shoe options
  • Laces are not durable

Read Guide to resole climbing shoes

Five Ten Hiangle

Manufacturer

‎Five Ten

Outer Material 

Leather

Weight

255 grams

Color

Black / Yellow

Material type

Rubber 

Style

Bouldering

This award-winning classic shoe from Adidas is versatile and performs indoors and in outdoor climbing well. It comes with a synthetic upper and rubber outsole. It has a single strap velcro closure system. It is excellent for bouldering as well as for the gym.

It is a moderately aggressive shoe but is surprisingly comfortable. It has a moderate downturn and performs well in a variety of conditions, even when climbing outdoors. Its sole is sticky, which makes it ideal for smearing. Its C4 stealth rubber provides a great deal of sensitivity.

These soft shoes are a popular choice for those who climb at the gym. It is also a good all-rounder but nothing too high-end for tricky climbing. They do pretty well for bouldering, too and perform decently overall. It has a fairly reasonable price and provides good value for money. 

Available in

41pHWYPvC6L. AC 1
Pros
  • Great for gym climbing, beginner climbing

  • Comfortable yet aggressive
  • Great for smearing
Cons
  • Not suitable for edging and crack climbing
  • The blue colour could cause staining
  • Decent shoe for sport climbing but not exceptional as compared to other offerings

Pro Tips Before Buying The Best  Intermediate Climbing Shoes

After going through all this stuff above, if you have decided to get a pair of intermediate climbing shoes for your hiking activities then you must be wondering what features you should be looking for in them.

To make life easier for you, we have listed the parameters that you should use to judge these shoes while going out shopping for your next hike.

Comfort

A shoe is of no good if it is not comfortable as it does more damage than benefit. Shoes being comfortable must be your first priority. Even as a beginner shoe, it must not be so much tight that it hurt your feet as is the case with some climbers who sacrifice their comfort for better control while climbing vertical rocks.

Outsole

The outer sole of various shoes differs in thickness and the material that is used for the manufacturing. It all depends on what kind of hike they are going to be used for. The rubber used in it can be either firm or sticky. You should opt for firm rubber if better support is what you looking for. Otherwise, a stickier rubber is better for the grip on the smears of a slab in case of an adventurous hike, as occurs in a many a great intermediate shoe.

Shoe closure system

It can be either laces or slip-on or straps. All perform the same function but each of them has its own unique features specific for a particular hike.

Laces provide versatility and are the most common ones. These are specially made for climbing that last a longer duration. Slip-on or most commonly known as slippers are elastic and offer the lowest profile making them ideal for slotting into thin cracks. Veclro straps are useful in case of bouldering as these can be easily taken off in between the hikes.

It is up to you what kind of activity you are going to do with your intermediate shoe pair and should choose the closure system accordingly.

Stretch

Climbing shoes are not the same after a few days as you first wear them after taking them out of the box. They usually stretch as keep wearing them. So try to get a smaller shoe size for a better fit later on. They may be uncomfortable in the beginning but it decreases as you wear them. One thing to keep in mind is that shoes with rubber shoes, as in many beginner climbing shoes, and with a lining stretch less as compared to others.

Get to know more about BEST CLIMBING SHOES FOR WIDE FEET

Conclusion

Now you know your way around the best intermediate climbing shoes. Whichever brand you go for, ensure it has all the features you want. One thing about intermediate climbing shoes is that they have a lot of good features, but they are also pricey. But the peace of mind with a good pair of climbing shoes to help us during our climbs is well worth the price.

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