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The Best Climbing Shoes for Gym in 2023

best climbing shoes for gym

This article compiles five of the best climbing shoes for gym that will help every climber succeed and reach their climbing goals. There is no denying the importance of using suitable gym climbing shoes, as it creates the connection between the climber and the climbing surface. The climbing shoes provide the traction and the footwork that will assist the climber in conquering new heights.

Our team tested several climbing shoes in an effort to find the top recommendations for the climbers. All features were considered, including the climbing performance, manufacturing quality, and other features that can help the climbers succeed and match their climbing needs. Please check our recommendations below.

Best Climbing Shoes for Gym Reviews

1. La Sportiva Tarantulace Rock Climbing Shoes

la sportiva tarantulace rock climbing shoes

This climbing shoe for men from La Sportiva is perfect for climbers just starting to get their feet wet in the gym. It is the most suitable climbing gym shoe, a do-it-all and jack-of-all-trades type of climbing shoe that provides comfort throughout your climb in the gym.

Based on my experience wearing them, I found the shoes super comfortable on any indoor climbs. In particular, the lacing of the shoes is very impressive and is easy to tighten or loosen. I feel a slight bend in the shape of the shoes, which helps prioritize the toe during the climb. This situation is perfect for new climbers.

Checking at the physical features of the shoe makes me admire its durability and breathability. A padded internal tongue and a cotton lining protect the sensitive top portion of the shoes. Furthermore, the presence of updated heel cups will help hold the heel in place for a snug fit.

In terms of fitting, expect slight tightness for the first couple of sessions but will eventually stretch out to a more comfortable fit after a week of using. The rounded forefoot and the higher volume also help comfortably fit the climbers.

Lastly, I am also impressed by its grip during the climb. Thanks to the rubberized heel rand and the sticky rubber that provides excellent grip on the surface during the climb. This design also increases while providing a solid edging platform that helps every climber.

  • Provides excellent durability and breathability with its all-leather upper
  • Perfect fitting with no pain points and tight spots
  • Built to provide security and a comfortable fit with its updated heel cup
  • Laces are constructed to hold up and are easy to put on and off
  • Made to provide excellent grip with its rubberized heel rand
  • Sizes tend to be smaller

Overall, these climbing shoes for gym will provide comfort despite wearing them for several hours. During the climb, the shoe will let you focus on the technique and the training without making the feet hurt. It is one of the perfect gym climbing shoes for beginners that anyone can trust during the climb.

2. Five Ten Moccasym Shoes

five ten moccasym shoes

This climbing shoe for gym from Five Ten is another one of those do-it-all climbing shoes that are perfect for beginners. This shoe comes with a soft and full leather build that provides comfort to the user. In my experience, this shoe is highly comfortable for the feet throughout the climbing session.

The first thing I notice is the comfort the toe box provides when walking around. The same toe box has the agility and precision I need when climbing the wall. It also helps that the shoes come with a stealth C4 rubber that provides stickiness, making smearing and edging manageable.

It also helps that the toe is thinner, allowing the user to wedge their toes into finger cracks. Furthermore, when dealing with smaller cracks, the shoe will allow you to jam the rand into the crack and twist to allow the shoe to stretch a little while staying on the crack as the toes stay out on the face.

Also, this shoe comes in a soft build that is perfect for gym climbing. It also comes with an easy on and off design, a great advantage to the climber. These rock climbing gym shoes also provide excellent grip, especially on smaller, slippery holds.

Lastly, the soft rubberized bottom of this shoe is excellent for getting the feel of the foot holds. However, the soft rands will let you use the power out of your toes instead of relying upon the shoe to do the work. And they edge fairly well during the climb.

  • Manufactured with a soft build that is perfect for gym climbing
  • It provides a snug fit and an elastic slipper closure
  • Built with a full leather upper to provide excellent comfort to the user
  • Made with an easy-on and easy-off design
  • Built with durability and strength
  • It will make your feet red if used without socks

This climbing footwear is an excellent option if you want a comfortable shoe that molds to your foot while protecting your toes. This product provides the comfort and tightness that you need during the climb. The soft build will make you feel the presence of an extra layer of skin on your feet, and it feels so good during the climb.

3. SCARPA Vapor V Rock Climbing Shoes

scarpa vapor v rock climbing shoes

These climbing shoes from Scarpa provide the versatility that you need when climbing in the gym. The first thing I noticed about this climbing footwear is the moderate downturn and a little asymmetric profile that will help the climber deal with steep terrain while still providing the comfort with every climber needs.

The importance of finding a shoe that fits is critical for every climber. This shoe fit was very snug around the entire foot, which is precisely what I needed. My toes are just bent barely, which is excellent. The rubber part is significant as it allows me to smear when required. The thickness is just enough that dealing with more acute spike footholds is not painful. It is also thin enough to let you feel shallow slippery footholds.

I feel that the stiffness of the shoe is enough to allow you to stand on the thinnest edges. Thanks to the outsole and the rubberized heel, that will help the climber handle short technical boulders to long vertical headwalls. Meanwhile, the midsole of this shoe also provides some stiffness to provide a lot of support while reducing foot fatigue when dealing with various pitches.

The strong forward curve in this shoe will help the toes grip overhangs, while the heel will assist the climber in dealing with heel hooks. Meanwhile, Velcro is very good at keeping the whole shoe against the foot without a gap while keeping the foot curve.

Lastly, I feel that this product is one of the top-notch rock climbing shoes for gym with its unique design. In my experience, the shoe’s overall design connects the heel to the toe, resulting in less discomfort while producing more power towards the edging surface.

  • Unique form excellent sensitivity and comfort to the climber
  • Provides stiffness that handles various types of edges
  • The midsole is built stiffer to provide support while reducing foot fatigue
  • Built with a unique design to connect heel and toe to produce power on edging surface
  • Made with an upper that offers all-day comfort
  • It takes time to break in

I am confident that this shoe will be your go-to climbing gym shoe daily. Wearing these shoes makes me experience how good this shoe is when it comes to edging, climbing vertically, and slightly overhanging. It may take a while to break in but still perfect for beginners.

4. CLIMBX Rave Strap Performance Rock Climbing Shoes

climbx rave strap performance rock climbing shoes

This climbing shoe for gym from Climbx takes pride in being an all-around shoe. Based on my experience wearing this climbing footwear, it provides enough precision to make it a perfect choice when climbing in the gym.

The first thing I noticed is the padded collar and heel of the shoe, which provides comfort to the feet. This climbing shoe is also not narrow, so they are pinching on my feet, bringing some comfort during the climb. And the best thing about it is that the shoes are easy to get on and off due to the Velcro closures.

Upon checking on the physical features of the shoe, I feel that the quality is quite impressive. It features a double stitch construction, enhancing the climbing footwear’s durability. The one-binding feature and the polypropylene midsole also provide toughness to the climbing shoe.

Fitting is also perfect for this climbing shoes for gym. I feel that the shoes felt excellent and sturdy since it is not too snug to where my toes are cramping. But, this shoe provides the tightness to give the best grip during the climb.

However, you need to check on the shoes’ size, as I feel the size was smaller than expected. Once you find the right fitting, expect the shoes to provide the comfort and the lightness you need during the climb. The shoe also makes it easy to put all the weight on your toes.

  • Built with padded collar and heel to provide the best comfort
  • Made with double stitch construction to provide durability
  • Features one-piece binding and polypropylene midsole
  • Velcro closure provides easy usage
  • Excellent climbing shoe for beginners
  • Sizing is small

Overall, this product is an excellent beginner climbing shoe that can be used in the gym. They fit well once you find the correct size and will help beginners progress to the next level. The rubber part is good, and the overall comfort is excellent during the climb.

5. Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoes

mad rock drifter climbing shoes

I have used other climbing shoes made by Madrock before, and this company is known to use innovation and the latest technology in making their climbing shoes. And this particular product is no different.

This shoe was tight out of the box when I first wore this shoe while the toes knuckle very sharply. If you are new to climbing, you may experience pain the first time wearing this shoe, but this is normal. You will be feeling the pain in the right way. This shoe will compress the foot all over while making contact everywhere.

During the climb, I felt that there were no pressure points or loose spots, which resulted in a complete suction fit. This situation is perfect when you are climbing. I also noticed that the shoe stretched a bit after an hour of use, which is fine.

In terms of comfort, this shoe provides enough comfort for the climber. The leather in the uppers will allow the shoe to mold itself to the foot of the user after some time. I also like the simplicity in the interior with no unnecessary stitching while the leather upper is left unlined.

Lastly, the toe box and the length of the shoe work well with my feet. The leather uppers can stretch to fit across the foot. I feel that the heel pocket is not that deep, making the overall shape of the shoe super flat. The shoe works well when edging.

  • Built with excellent fit to make the toe arched and not jammed for comfort
  • Toe bend provides some flexibility
  • Excellent construction quality using high-quality rubber
  • Provides the tightness that is needed during the climb
  • Built for newbie climbers
  • The sizing is too small

This climbing shoe for gym is excellent for beginners looking for a solid product that will serve them for years. You can feel the quality of the materials during the climb. This shoe will also provide comfort and is the best alternative to using those smelly climbing shoes for rent.

What to Look for When Looking for Climbing Shoes for Gym

best rock climbing shoes for gym

When you just start climbing in the gym, choosing your first climbing shoes can be overwhelming with so many options available. However, there are certain factors that you need to consider for you to choose the correct climbing shoes that you will be using in the gym. Please see below.

Construction Materials

The first thing you need to check is the materials used to construct the climbing shoes. In most climbing shoes, the choice is between leather and synthetic materials. Leather-made climbing shoes are either unlined or lined.

The shoes have unlined leather; it tends to stretch at full size. So, sizing is essential when you prefer this type. You must ensure that your toes just touch the end of the shoes. On the other hand, when the leather upper is lined, the stretch is reduced to half its size.

As for the shoes that use synthetic materials, the main characteristic is it does not stretch too much. It also tends to soften up when it is in use. Synthetic materials are also known to let the feet breath.

Rubber Usage

Most climbing shoes use rubber in varying amounts when they are constructed. When climbing shoes come with a lot of rubber, it will make the shoe denser and less form-fitting. But it also makes the shoe more adaptable to various footwork techniques that a climber uses. The climbing shoes also tend to last longer.

When the climbing shoe has a thin rubber, it provides more sensitivity when it is used in the climb. It may slightly hurt your feet but also offers better smearing and edging capabilities. Thin rubberized climbing shoes also work better in overhangs.


The type of closure that the climbing shoe provides is also an essential factor to consider. As of today, there are four different closures that climbing shoes have. Arguably the most popular is the Velcro closure, where the climber gets the shoes in and out quickly. However, this closure type limits the climbing shoe’s ability to have a customizable fit.

Climbing shoes with laces used to be popular but have been overtaken by Velcros. The best thing about climbing shoes with laces as closure is that they provide a customizable fit to the user. However, tying and untying the laces can be an issue during the climb.

A climbing shoe with slip-on closure is an excellent option if you want easy access in and out of the shoe. However, there are no tightenings with this type of shoe which is a downside. Lastly, the climbing shoe with strap closure is also an excellent choice if you want a more customizable fit and tightening.


The shoe’s downturn or aggressiveness is an essential factor to consider. Based on experience, the more aggressive the shoes are, the more it gives you the chance to execute and provide precision in your footwork.


The toe-box is an essential part of the climbing shoe that needs to be checked because of its importance. Toe-boxes are either large, boxy, precise, or pointy. When the toe-box is pointy, all the force you apply will hold to a single point. The wider toe box provides more comfort but with less precision.


When you are a first-time climber and want to perform better when climbing in the gym, using the best climbing shoes for gym is essential. It will not only help you feel comfortable during the climb, but it will also help in improving your skills moving forward. Using the right climbing shoes is essential and can be done by following the guide and product suggestions presented in this article.

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