how to choose right climbing shoes

Finding a new pair of rock climbing shoes can be as hard as finding a diamond in a coal mine. Since there are many brands, each brand has many climbing shoes, and it isn’t very comforting for a newbie to find the one that best fits.

But you don’t have to worry about anything as I have discussed various shoe qualities based on which these should be selected for different purposes as all climbing are not alike. After reading this article, you will be able to choose the best climbing shoes for you.

While choosing the climbing shoes, you must consider the following three things:

Type of Foot

Shapes and Size of foot 1

Climbing shoe sizing

For each pair of Climbing Shoes size may differ, So Size guide is attached with each individual shoe, Also we have provided the shoe size conversion table and best practices of conversions so that you can measure your shoe size simply and convert that in US, EU size.

Aysmmentry of Climbing shoes

Types of climbing Shoe

There are three types of climbing shoes neutral, moderate, and aggressive. All these are specific for a specific type of climbing.

As I have mentioned, various types of climbing, including indoor and outdoor, and rock faces like vertical and slab and over-hanging routes. What kind of shoes will be the best fit for each type is discussed below

Neutral shoes

Neutral shoes are focused more on comfort. They have thicker and flat soles, which make them ideal for inserting into cracks. These are the best climbing shoes for beginners, built for all-day comfort and not-so-tough hikes. 

Moderate shoes

Moderate shoes, unlike neutral shoes, don’t have flat and thick soles; instead, they come with a thin and a bit arched sole with the toes slightly downturned. They are not for extreme hiking but a good choice for those who have just started technical climbing. Downturned toes give your body good support. These are good for vertical and slab surfaces.

Aggressive shoes

Aggressive shoes, also known as bouldering or sports shoes, are at the top of the hierarchy. They have a heavily downturned shape, starting from heel to toe. This allows transferring body weight onto the toes, which helps climb overhanging rocks or walls. But because of their snug fit, they are not much comfortable.

Climbing shoe sizing

Choosing a climbing shoe size is as important as any other thing when selecting the shoe. Again, this also depends on what kind of climbing you are into. For beginners, the size of shoes is based on more comfort, but those who are into more adventurous hiking should prefer a snug fit. 

But while looking out for a snug fit, you should be careful. They must not be so tight that they start hurting you. Foot injuries are common because of extra tight shoes. Also, they should not be such loose that you will be worried about their flailing around while you are in the process of climbing.

So you check various sizes before making a final decision because this varies from person to person.

Features of climbing shoes

Climbing shoes have various components, and you may call them features, which should be considered before making the final call.

Closure system

This is what keeps your shoes tight. There are three types of closure systems. 

Laces: These are the most common as they provide versatility. There is one downside to it, too, as getting them on and off can be time-consuming. So my advice is that you should get a pair with laces only if you use these for longer duration hikes like rope climbing so that you don’t have to put them on and take off.

Here is a list of 3 best laces Shoes

Slip-on: These are also known as slippers and are preferred for bouldering shoes because of their usability as they are easier to change. They are more comfortable because they are more stretchable and take the form of your feet. Their minimalistic and sleek design can easily get into the cracks.

Straps: Also known as Velcro straps because of the brand producing these straps. These can be the best choice if you are not a fan of laces and don’t want to tie and untie them all the time. These are quite capable of tightening the shoes and are preferred over the laces in case of multi-pitch days because they are easier to take off during breaks.

Climbing shoe sole

There are two types of soles, either thick or thin. Both have their benefits and drawbacks.

Thick sole: These are durable because of their thickness. However, they do not provide the same feel for the rock surface as thin sole ones. But they are the best climbing shoes if you are a beginner because they last longer and you can have more practice before moving to the next level.

Thin soles: These are best for the veterans in the climbing field. They give you a better feel of the surface under your feet. The downside is they don’t last long.

Climbing shoe last

The last in this category is just a fancy word for the shoe design. These climbing are built on a 3D model. Common lasts that are used in the industry are of two types.

The Traditional last

This one is used for the neutral type of shoes and focuses mainly on comfort. So, these are thick and rigid and do not have any downturn. It is also known as straight last shoes.

The Cambered Last

Also called the downturned because these are the shoe models for aggressive shoes. They are used for hard rocks as these provide more power and precision.

How long do climbing shoes last?

You must have wondered about the lifetime of these rock climbing shoes. Well, this depends on how often you climb. Most of the quality shoes are good enough to last for six months even if you climb twice a week, but if you are a beginner, then there is a strong chance you will get them ugly before that just because you are naive. 

But mostly, the outer sole is torn, so you don’t have to throw them; instead, get the outer sole renewed, and you are good to go.

Summing things up

It is quite difficult to get the right shoes even after you have all this information. In short, go for the neutral shoes, which are straight lasted if you are a beginner, as these are comfortable and durable.

But if you are into doing daunting things, get the aggressive ones because these can give you a better feel of the rock.

It is just a matter of time before you know what exactly is your type. Till then, keep rocking different types.