How To Choose 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 the best climbing shoe fit.
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 shoe pairs for you.
While choosing a climbing shoe, you must consider the following three things:
Type of Foot
Climbing shoe sizing
For each Climbing Shoe size may differ, So Size guide is attached with each individual climbing 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.
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 are focused more on comfort. They have thicker and flat soles, which make them ideal for inserting into cracks during crack climbing sessions. These flat shoes are the best climbing shoes for beginner climbers, built for all-day comfort during gym climbing sessions and not-so-tough hikes.
Moderate Climbing Shoes
Moderate shoes, unlike a neutral climbing shoe, 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 Climbing shoes
Aggressive climbing shoes, also known as bouldering or sports climbing shoes, are at the top of the hierarchy. These sport climbing shoes 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 tight fit, they are not much comfortable, but excel during aggressive sport climbing.
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. In beginner climbing shoes, the size is based on more comfort, but those who are into more adventurous hiking should prefer a tight 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 an extra tight climbing shoe. 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.
This is what keeps your shoes tight. There are three types of closure systems.
Laces: Lace up shoe pairs are the most common as they provide versatility. There is one downside to lace shoes, too, as getting them on and off can be time-consuming. So my advice is that you should get lace ups 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.
Slip-on: These are also known as slippers and are preferred for bouldering shoes because of their usability as they are easier to change. These slip on climbing shoes are more comfortable because they are more stretchable and take the form of your feet. The minimalistic and sleek design of slip on shoes can easily get into the cracks in crack climbing.
Straps: Also known as Velcro straps because of the brand producing these straps. Velcro shoes 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. Velcro closures 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 climbing shoes 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 it can be the best climbing shoe if you are a beginner because it lasts 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.
Also read 5 Best Women’s Climbing Shoes
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 climbing shoes and focuses mainly on comfort. So, trad climbing shoes 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 shoes these are the shoe models for aggressive climbs. 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 shoe pairs. 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 in mostshoes, 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 shoe pairs, 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 leather shoes with a leather upper 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 of climbing shoes.