Today, we list eight of the best rock climbing shoes for beginners as you learn different skill sets related to the sport. Having the right pair of shoes is essential as it affects your overall performance and your safety.
In this rock climbing shoes review, we tested several brands in terms of their performance in actual climbing conditions. Our team also considered other factors such as sizing, quality of construction, and other factors as we list the top rock climbing shoes for beginners today.
- Best Rock Climbing Shoes for Beginners Reviews
- 1. La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Rock Climbing Shoes
- 2. SCARPA Men’s Force V Rock Climbing Shoes
- 3. Black Diamond Zone Climbing Shoes
- 4. Five Ten Men’s Asym VCS Climbing Shoes
- 5. Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoes
- 6. Evolv Skyhawk Women’s Climbing Shoe
- 7. Climb X Crush Lace NLV Women’s Shoes
- 8. BUTORA Women’s Endeavor Rock Climbing Shoes
- Factors to Consider when Looking for Rock Climbing Shoes for Beginners
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Rock Climbing Shoes for Beginners Reviews
1. La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Rock Climbing Shoes
Comfort is what TarantuLace offers to anyone who is using it. In fact, if you are a novice climber, you also want to be comfortable when you climb to achieve excellent performance. It does not matter if you are climbing in the gym or outside as long as you are comfortable.
One of the outstanding features of this product is the excellent design built to provide comfort to anyone. The usual upper unline leather part of the shoe radiates softness and comfortability.
Meanwhile, the line tongue provides excellent ability to control the moisture coming inside, increasing the shoe’s breathability. The shoe’s overlay is made of synthetic leather, enhancing comfort and giving the foot additional support.
Another feature of this rock climbing shoe is its unique lacing system, which provides additional comfort to the user. It is built with a fast lacing system and a quick-pull lacing harness, allowing the user to wrap the foot with excellent fit and comfort.
I am also impressed by the quality of this rock climbing shoe in terms of its durability and toughness. In fact, it is constructed with high-quality materials to ensure that these materials will be used for a long time.
To be specific, the midsole is built with LaspoFlex, which provides stiffness and rigidness of the shoe. Meanwhile, the FriXion RS rubber soles provide stickiness to enhance stability during the climb.
I always feel that this rock climbing shoe is designed to help new rock climbers improved their skills. Whether it’s smearing, heel hook, or edging, this rock product can help in enhancing every movement they make.
Meanwhile, the other parts of the shoe, like the rubber heel rand, the rubberized soles, and the low-asymmetry build, all play essential roles. They are all designed to provide the climber with the comfort they need during the climb.
Overall, this product is a perfect beginner-oriented climbing shoe built to be used by inexperienced climbers. As one of the top rock climbing shoes brands, the La Sportiva ensures that this shoe provides the comfort and quality that every new climber needs.
2. SCARPA Men’s Force V Rock Climbing Shoes
An excellent rock climbing shoes for beginners will help in fast-tracking the skills and development of a new climber. And this is what the Force V from Scarpa gives, an entry-level rock climbing shoe that can be trusted whether it’s used indoor or outdoor.
This climbing accessory shares similar features with the other rock climbing shoe, but it is also distinct in some ways. For example, a unique feature of this shoe brand is its ability to combine comfort and performance during the climb.
This rock climbing shoe is built with a flat-lasted and comfortable design. These features will enable the climber to use it for a long time in the gym or on the outside.
If you need a rock climbing shoe that is less aggressive and still provides more extended comfort, then the Force V should be an excellent option. But, it still has a softer and more compact construction that balances the comfort it gives and the performance.
As far as the fitting is concerned, this shoe will give you no dead space in essential areas such as the toe box, arch, and heal. Once the shoe is in your foot, expect it to be tight as it should be but not painful.
The snug heel cup in the shoe helps as well as the padded mesh tongue which will provide cushioning for a long time. It also helps that it comes with a dual power strap closure, which quickly adjusts the foot.
In addition, this product is an excellent starter shoe that comes with a rubberized design that fits well for starters. It works well, does not stretch, and comes with several color options, which are pretty nice.
Meanwhile, the velcro straps provide easy adjustment of the shoes while providing excellent support during the climb.
Lastly, this shoe will help you quicken your learning curve as it enables you to edge decently, smears comfortably, and crack climbs well. It is also a tremendous advantage that it can be worn throughout the day with or without socks.
3. Black Diamond Zone Climbing Shoes
Every new climber needs a versatile shoe to help in keeping the pace in check during the climb. And this is precisely what the Zone from Black Diamond provides to the climber. It helps in making you be more comfortable while learning different rock climbing skills and tricks.
The upside of having this climbing shoe is its excellent construction. If you take a closer look, the attention to the details is awesome. The innovative engineered Knit Technology is in full display with the two-strap velcro that provides excellent breathability.
It also comes with toe-and-heel hooking, which helps in the scaling of angled roofs quickly. Meanwhile, the shoe’s downturn and strong beak will give you a lot of room, even on tiny edges and nubbins.
Another upside in using this rock climbing shoe is its excellent design. This shoe is built to be more on the aggressive side but not too much. The sole is molded to be a range shoe that allows you to do well on overhangs and small foot chips if and when it is needed.
The design will also let you do well on smears too. The shoe comes with an excellent randing on the forefoot to let you toe-kiss parts of the slab without a foothold. The shoe’s forefoot will is built with sticky rubber that provides friction on the surface.
The Black Diamonds manufactured their shoes, so there is no problem if you order them according to your street shoe size. But you need to make sure because there are different variations available. So, you will need to choose the sizing wisely.
My advice is to get the shoe size larger compared with your street shoe size to give you some room. But make sure that the fitting should be snug fit and the foot squeezing on the shoe. It might be painful to some, but all you need is to break in to get acquainted with the fittings.
The only downside to using this rocking climbing shoe is its narrow sizing which is smaller than expected. You must fit in the actual situation before purchasing the product, or you will just return it to the store if it does not fit on your foot.
4. Five Ten Men’s Asym VCS Climbing Shoes
The Five Ten Men’s Asym VCS climbing shoe is perfect for beginners looking for reliable performance during the climb. The design of this shoe is not immensely aggressive but not also very basic. It is somewhere in the middle, which is perfect for novice rock climbers.
The primary purpose of this rock climbing product is to provide the user comfort and support during the climb. In fact, the leather upper is design to adhere to the foot and give an excellent fit. The unlined interior brings the lighter side and even roomier fittings.
Meanwhile, it is also built with asymmetrical hook-and-loop closure, which provides the user with easy adjustment in securing the feet. It also helps increase the precision of the support to both of the feet to provide a more comfortable feel.
The hook-and-loop system will also let you put or remove your shoes easily and quickly. If you think that it may not bring anything to the climber, think again. Wearing the shoes for a long time may bring pain to the feet. But if you are removing it from time to time, the pain will be reduced.
Another impressive feature of this rock climbing shoe is the moderate downturn and medium-stiff midsole. These features will allow the climber to some technical movement in the climb. Whether it’s doing heel hook, smearing, or edging, this shoe can help with its structure.
Last but not least, the rubberized outsole is what you need for friction and stickiness in doing the climb. It also helps in giving the shoe the durability to last longer, even in the most challenging climbing situation.
In terms of sizing, climbing shoes are supposed to be tight, and this shoe does. My advice is for you to order a bigger size when compared to your usual street shoe size. It will be better if you fit it before buying.
If you are ordering it online, it will be better to go a full size up. Make sure that it is a snug fit which is the usual requirement when doing rock climbing.
5. Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoes
The Mad Rock Drifter is all about affordability. So, if you are a new rock climber looking for the best cheap rock climbing shoes, this brand is an excellent fit for your tight budget. It is the right shoe to use in climbing walls for the first time.
But this rock climbing shoe is not limited to its affordability. In fact, there are several features it offers which make it fit for novice rock climbers.
The Drifter is more of a neutral climbing shoe which is excellent for multi-pitch routes. Meaning, it performs best on climbs where smearing is needed. It can also be used on other applications such as bouldering and other sport routes.
When it comes to comfort, this rock climbing shoe can give it to you. The uppers are made of leather to let the shoe mold and adjust into the user’s foot over time. The left upper is unlined, which for me is perfect since having it sometimes is annoying.
After some time, you may feel that the leather will stretch, but this is normal. It will make the fit improved a little better and also enhance the comfort level. The 3D-molded rear foot will help in providing a more intimate fit on the heel.
The shoe’s heel fits well as it provides a significant amount of rubber that provides a painless experience when pulling on a heel hook. With that said, I feel that this shoe is perfect for beginners to do advanced techniques gradually.
Meanwhile, the velcro closure provides easy adjustment and easy removal for the climber. Also, I have been mentioning that the hoop-and-look straps are popular because they allow for an easy adjustment to the user’s foot.
Lastly, one feature that stands out with this rock climbing shoe is the simplicity of its design. I always feel that the Drifter is a non-technical shoe that is a complete upgrade to a standard gym shoe. It is perfect for beginners looking for a reliable rock climbing shoe.
6. Evolv Skyhawk Women’s Climbing Shoe
This product is one of those rock climbing shoes designed and made for women. The Skyhawk is known for being versatile, an all-rounder shoe built to cater to the needs of women climber’s looking to have a reliable shoe in their foot.
One of the upsides in using this rock climbing shoe is being an all-around shoe. You can use this shoe on different terrain, and it can perform well. Whether you use it on a granite slab, vertical and edgy volcano rock, or a slippery quartzite, this shoe can give an excellent performance.
The fitting of the shoe all depends on how your foot responds to its low-volume interior. It should be perfect for narrow-footed climbers, while the unlined upper will just adhere to the shape of both of your feet.
Another upside in using this shoe is its ability to give comfort to the climbers. The asymmetric toe-box shape is thicker, which helps enhance the climber’s comfortable feel in this part of the foot. The leather upper provides maximum breathability to the foot in any climbing situation.
It also comes with a rubberized outsole which provides enough thickness for additional comfort. It also gives enough power and security to mount different types of surfaces. This feature enables the shoe to provide optimum performance regardless of the terrain.
Lastly, this rock climbing shoe is built with a lockdown lacing system. Synthetic lace is being used to let you adjust the shoes quickly, depending on the type of foot you have.
The only drawback that I see from using this shoe is the difficulty in finding the right size. It can be an issue since this brand usually has very small sizing. Meaning, you need to go up one or two sizes from your original straight shoe size to find the perfect fit for your foot.
7. Climb X Crush Lace NLV Women’s Shoes
Rock climbing is for everyone regardless of your sexual orientation. If you are a woman who is just starting to learn this sport, you also need to have the right rock climbing shoe to maximize your experience. And this is what this product from Climb X will give to you.
What is unique about this rock climbing shoe compared to the previous shoes I reviewed earlier is that this product is for women. I mean, this rock climbing shoe is designed according to the female foot features.
This shoe has a narrow width, is smaller in shape, and even has a higher instep, all for a woman’s features. However, for a man with a narrower foot, this shoe is still wearable.
I am also impressed by the unique lace design. It is built in such a way that you can easily adjust to fit your foot shape perfectly. This lace design will give you the ability to adjust the tightness according to the shape of your shoe.
Meanwhile, the shoe’s upper is built with genuine, high-quality leather, which provides excellent stretch and breathability.
I also find these shoes to be an excellent fit. Meaning, once it is in your foot, it should be tight enough that it squeezes once you walk it off. They work great for my daughter, who is just started rock climbing.
They are tight, but the tightness should fit like a glove if you look for a reference. You do not want it to be loose too much that the tip of the shoe will squish upward. It is because you still need to balance on the smaller footholds.
Lastly, some climbers prefer velcro for convenience. But the shoelaces of this shoe will let you let the top part be a little bit lost to compensate for the narrow size.
8. BUTORA Women’s Endeavor Rock Climbing Shoes
The Endeavor from Butora is not just your ordinary climbing shoes. It is designed to give power and precision to help the climber have an excellent all-around performance. It is also one of the best budget rock climbing shoes for women, which makes it perfect for beginners.
The primary purpose of this rock climbing shoe is to provide the user with an excellent fit to be comfortable during the climb. At first, it may feel tight and may cause some discomfort, but this is actually normal.
After a few days of use, you will start feeling comfortable with the fitting and will notice an improvement in your performance. In my experience, you will start feeling good movement on the toes, which will make you comfortable during the climb.
Another purpose of this rock climbing shoe is to provide a durable shoe for beginners with its excellent construction. This shoe is made with organic hemp lining that helps control stretch, which you usually experience from leather shoes.
Another upside in having the hemp lining is its ability to control the odor inside the shoes. If you have smelly feet, this feature will help eliminate those foul odors formed during the climb, which is an excellent plus.
In addition, what makes the Endeavor different is its wide size. It is usual for women’s rock climbing shoes to have a narrow size, but they can be comfortable for those with wide feet. But this shoe comes with a wide width that fits nicely.
If your foot is wide, the fit of this shoe is perfect, precisely its width and length. The foot will fit snuggly, but you do not need to curl them to fit right in. This shoe is comfortable as it gets.
Factors to Consider when Looking for Rock Climbing Shoes for Beginners
Looking for the right rock climbing shoes can be a challenge with all the options available. But not all climbing shoes are created equal in terms of quality. Meaning, there are different factors that separate the right climbing shoes from the normal ones. Please check the list below:
Quality of Construction
This factor is all about how the shoe is made and the type of materials being used. For climbing shoes, either the shoe is made of leather or synthetic materials. Leather climbing shoes can stretch. It is also breathable and will personally fit overtime.
Meanwhile, the synthetic materials are known to have zero or a minimal stretch as it provides the best performance immediately. It also has the properties of keeping its original shape after a long time.
The Shoe’s Closure System
The closure system is essential to a climber as it provides convenience in putting up or removing the shoes. For the closure system, you will either select a velcro, lace-up, and slip-on.
For a velcro or strap system, the upside is taking off or slipping on the shoes quickly. The lace-up system will let you personalize the fit and adjust according to your comfort. The slip-on, meanwhile, is very comfortable and easy to wear.
Affordability is all about the price. So, if you are a beginner, my suggestion is to invest in an all-around shoe that fits your budget. So, whether it’s cheap or expensive, as long as you have the proper budget, then go for it.
The asymmetry of the sole is all about how much it curves towards the shoe. For a beginner like you, my suggestion is to look for a straight or low asymmetry shoe to help you concentrate on improving your movement first.
The Shoe’s Profile
The profile of the shoe refers to the amount of curve built in the shoe’s footbed. It can be classified into neutral, moderate, and aggressive. The shoe’s profile is essential since it determines and affects the comfort and precision of the shoe during the climb.
For beginners like you, it is essential to use a neutral rock climbing shoe. This type of shoe will give you more comfort compared to the more aggressive shoe. The neutral shoe profile will let your toes flat without being pointed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you wear socks with indoor rock climbing shoes?
Wearing socks in using indoor rock climbing shoes will all depend on the climber. But, climbing shoes are all designed to be used barefoot or without socks. Most experienced climbers are not using socks when doing the climb. However, a few do not follow the norm and are more comfortable in wearing shoes with socks.
What size rock climbing shoes do I need?
There is a difference in the sizing of rock climbing shoes compared to regular straight shoes. For beginners, the size you need should be half a size or one full size, more significant than the standard street shoe size. The reason behind it is the sizing of rock climbing shoes is narrower or smaller than the regular straight shoe size.
When it comes to choosing the best climbing shoes for beginners, there are several factors to consider. However, it should all goes down to having the right fit and comfort for your foot. After all, the shoe will play an important role as you learn different climbing skills and techniques.