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Buyer's Guide Climbing Shoes

What's a downturn and asymmetry? What size climbing shoe do I need? What was that thing about the hook? Our Buyer's Guide highlights the most relevant things you'll need to know about climbing shoes and gives an easy-to-understand introduction into the features of the climbing shoe.. continue reading

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Climbing Shoes

(125 articles)
-0% New
Joker Plus Boreal

Joker Plus

Average Rating

Beginner climbing shoe - very comfortable and with increased precision for long alpine routes

99,95 € Reg. 99,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
UK 6 UK 6.5 UK 7 UK 7.5 UK 8 UK 8.5 UK 9 UK 9.5 UK 10 UK 11 UK 11.5 UK 12.5 UK 13 UK 13.5 UK 14 UK 14.5
-0% New
Ninja Jr. Climbing Shoe Boreal

Ninja Jr. Climbing Shoe

Average Rating

High-quality children's climbing shoe with heel adjustment strap

54,95 € Reg. 54,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
rojo
27-28 33-34 35-36
azul
27-28 31-32 35-36 37-38
verde
27-28 29-30 33-34 37-38
-0% New
Diabolo Boreal

Diabolo

Comfortable all-round climbing shoe for multi-pitch as well as sports climbing on rock and in the climbing gym

114,95 € Reg. 114,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
UK 6 UK 6.5 UK 7.5 UK 8 UK 9 UK 9.5 UK 11.5 UK 12
-0% New
Diabola Women Boreal

Diabola Women

Women's comfortable all-round climbing shoe for multi-pitch as well as sports climbing on rock and in the climbing gym

114,95 € Reg. 114,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
UK 3.5 UK 5 UK 5.5 UK 6 UK 6.5 UK 7 UK 7.5 UK 8 UK 8.5
-0% New
Joker Plus Women Boreal

Joker Plus Women

Beginner ladies climbing shoe - very comfortable and with increased precision for long alpine routes

99,95 € Reg. 99,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
UK 3 UK 3.5 UK 4.5 UK 5 UK 5.5 UK 7 UK 7.5 UK 8 UK 8.5
-0% New
Joker Women Boreal

Joker Women

Very comfortable ladies' climbing shoe with increased precision for long routes

89,95 € Reg. 89,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
UK 3 UK 3.5 UK 4 UK 4.5 UK 6 UK 7 UK 7.5 UK 8 UK 8.5
-0% New
Supra Climbing Shoe Evolv

Supra Climbing Shoe

Moderately pre-tensioned sports climbing shoe for maximum control for tighter moves and hooks

134,95 € Reg. 134,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
UK 4 UK 4.5 UK 5 UK 5.5 UK 6 UK 6.5 UK 7 UK 7.5 UK 8 UK 8.5 UK 9 UK 9.5 UK 10 UK 10.5 UK 11 UK 12
-0% New
Ninja Jr. Climbing Shoe Boreal

Ninja Jr. Climbing Shoe

Average Rating

High-quality children's climbing shoe with heel adjustment strap

54,95 € Reg. 54,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
rojo
27-28 33-34 35-36
azul
27-28 31-32 35-36 37-38
verde
27-28 29-30 33-34 37-38
-0% New
OxyGym Climbing Shoe La Sportiva

OxyGym Climbing Shoe

Average Rating

Indoor climbing shoe for beginners with washable upper

94,95 € Reg. 94,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
40 40.5 41 41.5 42 42.5 43 43.5 44 44.5 45 45.5 46 46.5 47 47.5 48
-0% New
OxyGym Women's Climbing Shoe La Sportiva

OxyGym Women's Climbing Shoe

Average Rating

Women's Indoor climbing shoe for beginners with washable upper

94,95 € Reg. 94,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
white-coral
35 35.5 36 36.5 37 37.5 38 39.5 41
mint-coral
35 35.5 36 36.5 37 37.5 38 38.5 39 39.5 40 40.5 41
-0% New
Force V Scarpa

Force V

Average Rating

Comfortable climbing shoe with supportive midsole for long routes - resoleable

129,95 € Reg. 129,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
40 40.5 41 41.5 42 42.5 43 43.5 44 44.5 45 45.5 46 46.5 47
-0% New
Force V Women Scarpa

Force V Women

Comfortable ladies' climbing shoe with supportive midsole for long routes and ideal for female climbers

129,95 € Reg. 129,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
36 36.5 37 37.5 38 38.5 39 39.5 40 40.5 41.5 42
-0% New
Kataki Climbing Shoe La Sportiva

Kataki Climbing Shoe

Average Rating

Very versatile ladies' climbing shoe with great stability for narrower foot positioning and hooks

144,95 € Reg. 144,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
38 38.5 39 39.5 40 40.5 41 41.5 42 42.5 43 43.5 44 44.5 45 45.5
-0% New
Tarantula Climbing Shoe Women La Sportiva

Tarantula Climbing Shoe Women

Very comfortable ladies' climbing shoe for endurance training and climbing newbies

79,95 € Reg. 79,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
33 33.5 34 34.5 35 35.5 36 36.5 37 37.5 38 38.5 39 39.5 40 40.5 41 41.5 42 42.5 43
-0% New
Kataki Climbing Shoe La Sportiva

Kataki Climbing Shoe

Very versatile ladies' climbing shoe with great stability for narrower foot positioning and hooks

144,95 € Reg. 144,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
35 35.5 36 36.5 37 37.5 38.5 39 39.5 40 40.5 41
-0% New
Miura VS W's climbing shoe La Sportiva

Miura VS W's climbing shoe

Average Rating

Climbing shoe for tough ladies in technical routes with micro edges

138,95 € Reg. 138,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
blue
35 35.5 36 36.5 37 37.5 38 38.5 39 40 40.5 41
ice
32
-0% New
Mythos Eco Climbing Shoe La Sportiva

Mythos Eco Climbing Shoe

A comfortable climbing shoe classic made from sustainable materials and suitable for sport climbing and alpine rock routes

128,95 € Reg. 128,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
38 38.5 39 39.5 40 40.5 41 41.5 42 42.5 43 43.5 44 44.5 45 45.5 46 46.5 47 47.5 48
-0% New
Tarantula Climbing Shoe La Sportiva

Tarantula Climbing Shoe

Average Rating

Comfortable climbing shoe for endurance training and novice climbers

79,95 € Reg. 79,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
35 36 36.5 37 37.5 38 38.5 39 39.5 40 40.5 41 41.5 42 42.5 43 43.5 44 44.5 45 45.5 46 46.5 47 47.5 48
-0% New
Miura XX La Sportiva

Miura XX

Signature edition of a tried and tested climbing shoe for technical, tricky missions

148,95 € Reg. 148,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
36 36.5 37 37.5 38 39 39.5 40 40.5 41 41.5 42 42.5 43 43.5 44 44.5 45 45.5
-0% New
Instinct Scarpa

Instinct

Average Rating

Bouldering and gym-climbing shoe with very good performance thanks to sensitivity, fit and edge stability

139,95 € Reg. 139,95 €
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
36 36.5 37 37.5 38 38.5 39 39.5 40 41 41.5 43.5 44 44.5 45
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Buyer's Guide Climbing Shoes

Buyer's Guide Climbing Shoes - which shoes are right for me?

What size am I in climbing shoes? What was that thing with the hook? What you have always wanted to know about climbing shoes, but never dared to ask - an easy-to-understand introduction to the characteristics of climbing shoes.

Climbing shoe soles

In contrast to hiking boots, climbing shoes have a smooth, treadless sole. This design creates more friction and allows the climber to feel minor details in the rock's surface, making precise foot placement on small footholds possible.

Climbing shoes feature varying midsoles and rubber blends, depending on the manufacturer and what type of climbing the shoe has been designed for. Soft rubber for example is best when climbing on downward sloping footholds and for slab climbing, since the shoes can grip the rock better to create more friction.

Without modern climbing shoes the extreme difficulties that comes with bouldering would hardly be possible. |Photo: Scarpa Without modern climbing shoes the extreme difficulties that comes with bouldering would hardly be possible. | Photo: Scarpa

Soles made of harder rubber on the other hand are better suited for edging on small ledges and toeholds, since they provide more support to the toes and feet. Climbing shoes with stiffer soles and harder rubber mixtures are often used for those climbing areas where the foot- and handholds are especially small.

An additional advantage of this latter type of climbing shoe is that it does not wear out as quickly when used on rough rocks. A good analogy is to imagine a piece of sandpaper and an eraser; a soft eraser provides lots of friction, but is also quickly worn down when dragged along the sandpaper's surface. Of course this is a somewhat drastic metaphor, but it explains the principle well. The cleaner you climb, i.e. the more precisely you place your feet instead of dragging them around looking for a foothold, the longer a pair of climbing shoes will last.Training precise foot placement and spending lots of time wearing your climbing shoes pays off! Like most shoes, climbing shoes also fit best once they have been broken in.

Rubber edges

Nearly all climbing shoes have rubber running around the entire outer edge above the sole. This feature helps the climbing shoe maintain its shape over time, with more or less downturn depending on the model. Even the most precise climbers are bound to drag their shoes along the wall from time to time, especially in challenging sections. The rubber edge provides protection for the shoes' upper material, making it last longer.

Climbing shoe's upper material

The upper material of a climbing shoe consists of natural or synthetic leather. Choosing one or the other remains a matter of preference. The synthetic materials dry more quickly and retain their shape better, while leather adapts more precisely to your foot's shape and is more breathable. How well a climbing shoe fits is largely dependent on your individual foot shape, which should be taken into account just as when you were buying other shoes.

Heel loops

Found at the back of the heel, these small loops that help you enter a climbing shoe and take them off again are a blessing in disguise. Once you've worn climbing shoes a few times it will quickly become apparent how important these small loops at the heel are. Since climbing shoes are generally tight-fitting for optimum performance, pulling on the loops makes putting the shoes on significantly easier and prevents bruised fingers. It is worth taking a closer look at these inconspicuous little pieces of fabric when buying climbing shoes, to make sure they are robustly sewn to the shoe.

Lining

La Sportiva/Giampaolo Calza A good climbing shoe helps with precise kicks. | Photo: La Sportiva/Giampaolo Calza

A climbing shoe's lining is not designed to keep your foot warm, unless you are buying specialized climbing shoes for winter and expedition use. Instead, its main purpose is to make the shoe more comfortable and keep your feet from becoming too sweaty.

Fit and shape of a climbing shoe

The various climbing shoe manufacturers produce shoes with a different fit, contributing to a wide selection that is sure to include a model which will precisely fit the shape of your foot. A good climbing gear shop should not merely carry the most expensive climbing shoes, but more importantly offer a varied selection of shoes by different brands. La Sportiva, Five Ten, Scarpa, Edelrid and Evolv, Red Chilli are some of the top climbing shoe brands that cover just about all types of anatomical foot shapes. Climbing shoe shapes can be defined in the following ways:

Toe box shapes

Certain toe box shapes are well-suited for certain uses and less so for others. If the front of the shoe is pointy it will work well for rocks with small holes as footholds; if the sole has distinct edges it is best for edging on small ledges and micro-protrusions. Individual foot shape is however just as important to consider as the shoe's primary use.

Climbing shoes and their lasts

Assymetrie bei Kletterschuhen Climbing shoe lasts and their asymmetry

Climbing shoe shapes

Vorspannung bei Kletterschuhen Downturn, flat or asymmetric

Choosing the right shape climbing shoe is going to depend on the type of climbing you'll be doing. Most climbing shoe shapes or profiles differ from a flat position to an aggressive downturn, with a range in the middle. Gym climbing, bouldering, outdoor rock climbing, right up to Big Wall climbing - a suitable pair of climbing shoes are really going to make a difference to your climb. 

Climbing shoes with an aggressive downturn are best suited to extremely technical routes ideal for steep and overhanging sport climbing and bouldering. They are however less suited for severe overhangs, since the camber inhibits toe hooking. For novice climbers the rule of thumb is: Less is more.

How to size climbing shoes

Finding the right climbing shoe that you're happy with is an endless topic of discussion amongst climbers and has become downright scientific in some gearhead circles. Let us spare you the suspense; there is no general formula. The sizes of climbing shoes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and are constantly changing, e.g. when a climbing brand changes its last technology. There is simply no alternative to trying on the pair you are interested in and finding out for yourself. Sizing is also dependent on your technical skill level and what type of climbing you intend to use the shoes for. If you are planning to tackle a series of monkey-arm projects with miniscule protruding hand- and footholds (or rather: toeholds), it is advisable to choose a pair of climbing shoes that are tight enough to make you scrunch your toes. Such tight shoes are not comfortable and would make any podiatrist cringe, but they will enable you to place more weight on your toes to find hold on even the smallest of toe holds. Once you have found those climbing shoes with the exact fit, it's time to celebrate - the task is by no means easy! There's good reason why many climbers bunker 2-3 pairs of climbing shoes in their size at home, to make sure they have a pair for the future!

Lace-up, Velcro or slip-ons?

At some point your climbing shoes will need to be securely fastened. Basically you have three options to choose from: lace-up, velcro (Velcro®, named after the manufacturer of the same name) or slip-ons climbing shoes.

Dank Klettverschluss kann man den Kletterschuhe schnell an- und ausziehen und hat trotzdem guten Halt. | Foto: Red Chilli/Moritz Attenberger Thanks to Velcro fasteners, climbing shoes can be quickly put on and taken off again yet still have a good grip. | Photo: Red Chilli/Moritz Attenberger
  • Lace-ups: Climbing shoes with laces have the advantage that they can be fine-tuned for the perfect fit. The shoes not only become more comfortable, but also provide a better feel and power transfer. Tight, asymmetrical shoes with an aggressive camber pretty much make it possible to find footholds in drywall. Such shoes however tend to become rather uncomfortable rather quickly, and the time it takes you to undo the laces and get them off your aching feet may seem like an eternity.
  • Velcro:Velcro climbing shoes enable you to get in and out of them quickly, perfect for attempting ultra-technical boulders and short sport routes. Though giving your feet a break is easier, the downside of velcro climbing shoes is that they cannot fastened as tightly or precisely as lace-up shoes. Many sport climbers still opt for velcro shoes however, and compensate for the little bit of extra wiggle room by choosing a slightly smaller size.
  • Slip-on: Since there are no fasteners at all, it may seem that slip-on climbing shoes would be the easiest to get in and out ouf. This is true to some extent, but the shoes tend to have a tighter fit, especially in the heel zone - this prevents them from coming off your foot during a hook and compensates for the lack of fixation.

Climbing shoe care

Here are a few simple and helpful tips on caring for your climbing shoes:

  • Climbing shoes tend to become pretty rank; drying them with moisture-absorbing and scented shoe pads can help. Avoid drying them out directly on a heater.
  • Hand-washing the shoes is also an option, but caution: it can damage the glue and change the shoes' shape.
  • If all else fails, use an anti-bacterial disinfectant(use sparingly).
  • Clean dirty soles with water and a brush.

Climbing shoes for newbies

  • When starting out, your first climb will more than likely be in a climbing gym. In this case, two things need to be considered; 1. Buy an affordable climbing shoe to start out with (it won’t hurt so much if you wear them down after a year or decide to upgrade to a more technical shoe) and 2. Purchase a climbing shoe with a hardy rubber sole and rubber edges (more durabie) as these will hold out longer, especially in everyday type of climbing.
  • Dream big by all means! it's perfectlya ok to dream of climbing highly technical routes, however in the beginning of your climbing career you may want to take those first baby steps with a pair of comfortable climbing shoes rather than forcing your foot into an overly uncomfortable or unnatural position. Such technical shoes are not necessary at the beginning and will most likely take a fair bit of the fun out of climbing - not a great way to start. It also makes little sense to go with a certain brand just because all your buddies swear by theirs. Different strokes for different folks as they say - that particular brand may just not fit the shape of your foot. Only one thing will help - try on a variety of climbing shoes from various brands to find a pair that team up well with your foot.
  • When it comes to climbing shoes, too tight is just as bad as too roomy. Climbing shoes should not feel like a medieval torture device, but also not be as comfy as that pair of flip flops you've had for ten years. When starting out, it is best to size your climbing shoes so that your toes touch the front of the shoe but are not jammed up against it.
  • Many climbing beginners prefer lace-up climbing shoes, since removing their climbing shoes isn't necessary too often (the same goes for big-wall and multi-pitch climbing). Laces also allow you a fair amount of performance without being ridiculously tight. For those doing a lot of bouldering or who are going to be frequently taking their shoes on and off, velcro climbing shoes may be the better model. Note: Most velcro shoes are softer in construction and thus wear down more quickly, especially when used on artificial climbing walls. Slip-on climbing shoes do not make a lot of sense for beginners.
Markus Schindler

... can usually be found running around in barefoot shoes in the summer months and trading those in winter for hiking boots or a ski touring boot. As Product Manager for shoes and boots at Bergzeit, he certainly knows his way around the foot region!

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