How to choose climbing shoes

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Are you an outdoor enthusiast? If your answer is ‘yes’, then you must find the best equipment that will help quench your thirst for adventure. Do you know what you need the most for a safe and thrilling climbing experience? It is nothing but adorning a pair of good climbing shoes. Your feet need to work with your vision to accomplish your adventure. So, you need the best pair of climbing shoes that help you face the obstacles and reach your destination with ease. Legs are the most-used among your body parts during climbing. So you must save your legs from potential dangers with quality footwear. Let’s discuss about points you need to consider to buy a great pair of shoes for climbing.

What you will need to follow this tutorial

The rock climbing is not for the faint heart as it involves dangers that you need to overcome to reach your goal. The rock climbing shoes act as an interface between the rock and your body. So, a wrong type of shoe can pull you back, putting your life in danger. The tutorial will help you the basic details that will help your selection of the best shoes. Therefore, the points that you need to focus while choosing shoes for the outdoor activity are;

#1. The Shoe type

You need to select the right type of shoes depending on your type of climbing. You have different options like

  • Neutral/Flat Shoes
  • Moderate Shoes
  • Aggressive shoes

#2. Shoe Features

If you are wondering how to choose climbing shoes that fit you well, then you need to focus on its features. The features are significant in determining the shoe’s performance to ensure your satisfaction. So, concentrate on characteristics like;

#3. Shoe Fit

You need to find the right fit that is snug without causing discomfort to the feet. With the right fit shoes, you can enjoy the outdoor activity for a long duration.

Step by step instructions

Step 1: Shape

So, how to choose climbing shoes that are best for you? The first step is identifying the shape as it is significant in providing you comfort during the outdoor activity. It has three main categories;

  • Flat Shoes: It lets your toes and foot to lie flat giving you utmost comfort for a longer duration. The stiff rubber offers your foot and muscles a lot of support giving comfort all day. It is an ideal shape for beginners.
  • Moderate Shoes: You detect the moderate shoes easily as it has a slight downturn that increases the performance level to give you optimized support and comfort. It has an improved feel and grip that assist in slab climbing, sport climbing routes, crack climbing, etc.
  • Aggressive Shoes: The shoes have a sharp downturn with an asymmetrical shape from the bottom. It focusses on performance more, so it is ideal for overhanging sports inside and outside the gym.

Step 2: Shoe Features

Look for the features that will make the shoes comfortable and durable.


You need to choose the right material that offers you breathability and support during the climbing. Different types of materials available are;

  • Leather: It stretches to your feet size after using it for some time. It is long lasting, tough, breathable, and less smelly. It offers the right amount of stretch that will protect the ankles.
  • Synthetic: You will know the fit of the material while trying it. It is less breathable and tends to sweat more.

Closure system

The climbing shoes have three types of closure system that is significant while selecting the ideal footwear.

  • Laces: It offers customization to ensure your comfort. You can loosen or tighten the area of the shoe for the best fit. Though it takes time to tie them, it offers coziness to the feet.
  • Strap: It offers the quick and swift closure method that will aid in easy on and off of shoes. It is popular among gym climbers as they adjust the fit during the climbs. It is not customizable like the lace, but you can adjust it for the comfortable fit.
  • Slip-on: It is the simplest of the closure systems as you can just slide it to wear the shoes. It offers no customization as you cannot tighten or loosen it according to your wish. It is mostly preferred as training shoes.

Rubber Outsole

When you opt for the shoes, you need to check the thickness and firmness of the rubber sole.

  • Thickness: The shoes come in thick and thin rubber outsoles that offer support to the feet. The thick rubber (4-5.5mm) outsole lasts longer. It offers more support to the feet that will not tire your feet easily. The thin outsole (3-4mm) does not last longer but offers sensitivity to the foothold. Thinner outsole enhances the performance compared to the thick outsoles.
  • Firmness: A firmer rubber may last longer, but it is stickier. The firm rubber offers good support to the climbers. Softer rubber offers better techniques by the experienced climbers.

[Video Credit: Youtube]

Step 3: Finding the Right Fit

You need the right fit shoes that will offer comfort to the feet. As each brand sizing is different, you need to wear the shoes to check the fit personally. Wear the shoes with your feet flat in the shoe with the toe touching the front. It must offer coziness when you stand on the toes. The snug fit must not let you slip and never give pain. If the shoes fit you painfully, then it can cause foot pain that will prevent you from achieving your full potential. In addition to that, it causes problems like blisters, bunions, calluses, etc. Your performance is dependant on the right fit of the shoe, so compare and try many brands before opting the right one.

[Video Credit: Youtube]


Did you enjoy the tutorial? It is aimed to offer you the insight about the right equipment that will make your adventure fruitful. The outdoor or indoor climbing activity requires precision and accuracy as one misstep may cause serious damage. So, the best climbing shoes will offer you the protection that will enhance your pleasure of the activity. Please share your views and thoughts about the article in the comments section. If you liked the article, please share it with others to spread the information that will help many more people.