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Everything You Need To Know About Climbing Shoes

Everything You Need To Know About Climbing Shoes

Whether you have been climbing for a couple of days and want to buy your first pair of climbing shoes, or you are considering buying new shoes, you may have questions about climbing shoes. If you have a question about climbing shoes, chances are it has already been asked and I’ve included an answer for you in the FAQ below. 

OVERVIEW/OUTLINE:

  • COMMON QUESTIONS
  • BUYING NEW SHOES VS. REPAIRING THEM QUESTIONS
  • SHOE FIT QUESTIONS
  • SHOE MAINTENANCE QUESTIONS
  • SHOE PARTS QUESTIONS
  • CLIMBING SHOE BRAND QUESTIONS

Basic Climbing Shoe Questions

What Are Climbing Shoes?

Climbing shoes are one of the most important tools that climbers use to complete a climbing route. Climbing shoes are a specially made shoe that fits around the climber’s toes tightly to help climbers use small footholds or the edges of cliffs/climbing walls for toe hooks and heel hooks. In addition, they are made with a special rubber that is built to grip rock faces and indoor climbing wall better than standard shoe rubber.

Can I Climb Without Climbing Shoes

Though it is not a requirement, rock climbing and bouldering is very difficult without climbing shoes so it is recommended. Without climbing shoes, you will be limited to intro climbing levels because your street shoes will be too big to fit on footholds. Most climbing gyms have shoe rentals for an inexpensive price if you want to try climbing before buying your own pair.

Do You Need To Buy Climbing Shoes Before Going Climbing?

If you enjoy climbing and plan to do it a few times a month, then buying climbing shoes will be better than renting them or borrowing them from your friends. Additionally, you can usually try a pair of shoes before purchasing them to make sure they fit you well and address your needs. If you aren’t able to try the shoes before purchasing, make sure that there is a decent return policy so you can properly try them and return them if needed.

If you are climbing for the first time, it may be worth renting or borrowing them from a friend to test if you like climbing. However, when you decide that you want to climb more often, you should buy your own shoes. The reason for this is because rentals can get expensive over time. If you are borrowing your friend’s shoes, you wear them out a little each time you use them so even though you may not be paying for the shoes, your friend is paying for each time you use them. In addition, when you wear someone else’s shoes, they won’t fit as well as a pair of your own shoes would fit because you aren’t able to break them in like you can your own pair of shoes.

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Can You Climb Barefoot?

This is about climbing without shoes. If you want to know about wearing socks or barefoot with your climbing shoes, review the next question.

Most climbing gyms require you to wear shoes of some sort while climbing to protect from spreading athletes’ foot. Unfortunately, if a climber has athletes foot and climbs, every person that touches the footholds or handholds afterward are susceptible to getting athletes foot and even athletes foot on their face.

Some videos on social media may lead you to believe that climbing without shoes on is common for climbers. However, climbing shoes provide substantial support so that you can place your weight on your toes for long periods of time without becoming exhausted. In addition, climbing shoes are built with a rubber that is superior to the grip that sweaty feet can provide. Not to mention the likelihood of cutting your foot on a sharp rock.

Do You Wear Socks With Climbing Shoes?

Climbers typically don’t wear socks with climbing shoes. The main argument for this is because the socks may cause your feet to slip or the shoes to not fit. However, that isn’t the case for all climbers. If you are considering wearing socks with climbing shoes to prevent shoe odor or something like that, check out this article (Do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes?)

Buying New Climbing Shoes

When To Retire Shoes

Usually, climbers prefer getting their shoes resoled instead of completely retiring them. However, if the cost of getting them resoled is more than half the cost of the shoe then it may not be worth getting resoled. In addition, you are only able to resole a shoe based on how worn they are. If your shoes have spots that are no longer grip but there aren’t any holes, then you may consider getting your shoes resoled. 

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Here are the three main reasons to retire your shoes: 

  1. The sole, heel or toe have tearing or cracking
  2. There is delamination of the sole (when the glue that holds the sole to the shoe comes loose
  3. If there is prominent wear or tearing in the uppers

When To Resole Shoes

Depending on the value of your climbing shoes, you may consider resoling your climbing shoes instead of retiring them. Resoling is when you replace the sole of your climbing shoes after they have lost their grip. You can get your shoes resoled as soon as they lose their grip and before they get holes. Depending on the brand and rubber needed, there may be local resoling shops near you or you can ship your shoes to them. Prior to sending your climbing shoes to the shop, make sure that they service your shoe type and rubber.

Keep in mind that resoling your shoes doesn’t have the same quality control on the soles that brand new shoes have.

How Often Can You Resole Your Shoes?

Some climbers resole their shoes multiple times before getting new shoes. Resoling your shoes multiple times is fine as long as your uppers are in good shape. Most climbers prefer to base the number of times that they get it resoled on the cost of the shoes and the cost of getting them resoled. 

A good rule of thumb is that the cost you spend on resoling your shoes should be less than 50% of the cost of your shoes. For example, if your shoes cost $100 and you have gotten them resoled for $20 two times, then you’ve already spent $40 on that pair of shoes and another resole would bring you to $60, which is over the 50% mark. In this situation, you should probably buy new shoes. 

When To Get A Rand Repair

When your shoe gets a hole in the toes, you can get a rand repair instead of buying new shoes. This can be valuable if your shoes cost more than half the cost of a rand repair/replacement. Sometimes you can also get new toe caps if the rand isn’t stable enough for repair. However, some climbers have reported that new toe caps alter how the shoe fits and isn’t worth the additional cost.

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How Often Can You Repair or Replace the Rands On Your Shoes?

Most companies don’t have a rule against continuously replacing the rands on your shoes so it is up to you to decide how many times you get your rands repaired or replaced. Like the rule of thumb for resoling your shoes, the cost you spend on your rands should be less than 50% of the cost of your shoes. For example, if your shoes cost $100 and you have gotten the rands repaired or replaced for $30 already, getting them repaired or replaced for $30 more would bring you to $60, which is over the 50% mark. If it is over the 50% mark, then you are likely better off getting new shoes.

When Should You Buy New Shoes With A More Aggressive Downturn

Many beginner climbers get shoes that have a flat sole while more advanced climbers get a more aggressive downturn angled climbing shoe. Some climbers feel like they need aggressive climbing shoes before they are able to advance in climbing grades. However, technique can do more for your climbing performance than the shoes that you wear. 

The aggressive climbing shoes are best for short problems (bouldering) that are on inclined angled walls. Wearing aggressive climbing shoes while sports climbing can be exhausting on your feet and it will be harder to climb for long periods of time. With that being the case, you should evaluate the type of climbing that you do the most and make your decision based on that.

If you feel confident with your technical skills and your beginner shoes need to be replaced, then it may be time for you to upgrade to a more aggressive downturn climbing shoe. Keep in mind that the more aggressive the downturn of the shoes are, the less likely you will be able to stand (let alone walk) while wearing the shoes. If you are in a bouldering gym and want to go from one climb to the next without removing your shoes every time, then find an aggressive-like shoe that you can still walk in. Check out my article about the best climbing shoes for bouldering for recommendations (Best Climbing Shoes for Bouldering)

Should You Wear Different Shoes Indoor Vs Outdoor Climbing?

Climbing shoes are built to be used indoors and outdoors so you don’t usually need different shoes for each type of climbing. Many climbers keep their old climbing shoes for training in the gym and only use their nice climbing shoes while outdoor climbing. The main reason for this is that many climbers feel that the indoor climbing gyms are rougher on their shoes. This is true if you frequently reposition or twist your foot (transitioning to a drop knee position, etc.) on the climbing holds frequently. 

However, if you practice quiet feet and methodically place your shoe on footholds, your climbing shoes will likely last just as long as they would outdoors. 

Of course, if you have an extra pair of shoes lying around, you can pick one for indoor climbing and outdoor climbing. I’d consider what shoes you perform best in and where you want more performance. Some climbers prefer performing better outdoors to limit falls from feet slipping.

What Kind Of Climbing Shoes Should You Get For Bouldering?

Generally, bouldering shoes are more aggressive than sports climbing shoes because you are doing shorter problems that are usually focused on technique compared to sports climbing that is longer and requires more endurance. In addition, some climbers choose to use velcro for bouldering so that they are easy to take on and off between climbs since climbs are shorter. For recommendations about the best shoes to wear for bouldering, read this (Best Climbing Shoes for Bouldering) Hint: It’s not La Sportiva Solutions

What Kind Of Climbing Shoes Should You Get For Rock Climbing?

Since rock climbing requires you to wear shoes for a long period of time, climbers typically wear lace-up shoes so that you don’t have to worry about readjusting the tightness of your shoes. In addition, they should be comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time since rock climbing routes are longer. This is especially important for big wall climbing.

Should You Purchase Velcro or Shoelaced Closure Climbing Shoes?

The type of closure system you should have on your climbing shoes is based on the type of climbing that you are doing. Typically boulderers will wear velcro closure shoes because climbs are short and they need to be able to take them on and off easily and quickly. 

In comparison, rock climbers typically wear lace-up climbing shoes because you can easily adjust where the shoe is tight and where it is looser to make it more comfortable while you climb. In addition, you don’t need to take them on and off as frequently so tying the shoelaces doesn’t take away a lot of time from climbing.

How Much Do Climbing Shoes Cost?

Climbing shoes range from $40-$250. The price differences are usually based on the type of rubber and lining materials provided in the shoe. As well as the durability of the shoe and how many climbing sessions you expect to get out of the climbing shoes. The more expensive the climbing shoes are, the more likely that you can get them resoled so some climbers recommend getting shoes that fit into the resoling category to get the most out of your purchase.

Why Do Some Climbing Shoes Cost More Than Others?

In addition to the brand logo sewn into the climbing shoe, the most common price differentiators come from the rubber material used in the sole and also the material built into the uppers. In general, if you are looking for a higher quality rubber, you will be paying over $100 for the shoe, no matter the brand. 

In addition, the aggressiveness of the climbing shoe makes a difference too. The process of creating shoes that have a bigger downward angle is more difficult so more aggressive shoes are more expensive.

Should You Buy Climbing Shoes For Growing Kids?

Children’s feet are constantly growing and shoes that are too tight can damage growth plates and cause additional damage that should be avoided. With that being the case, many parents wonder if they should buy climbing shoes for their kids. After all, shoes that fit today are likely too small in a month and it isn’t ideal to buy new climbing shoes every month. Luckily, climbing shoe manufacturers recognize this concern and have created a way to make adjustable shoes that can ensure your child will fit in the shoes for a few months before getting new shoes. Similar to the life-span of adult climbing shoes.

In addition, children’s climbing shoes have a stiffer sole throughout the shoe so there isn’t flexibility in the arch. This makes it so that kids can have the same benefits of climbing shoes such as toe support, additional grip, and additional sensitivity, no matter what size the shoe is adjusted to. If your child enjoys climbing and does it often, then you are likely better off buying shoes for your kid rather than renting climbing shoes from the gym each time you go. Plus, their own climbing shoes usually gives them a confidence booster while they are climbing. 

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Should You Buy Beginner Climbing Shoes Before Getting More Aggressive Shoes?

For the average person, I’d suggest starting with beginner shoes and then working up to more aggressive shoes after you have a good foundation in climbing technique and have grown to love climbing. 

Many seasoned climbing gurus that you find online, especially on YouTube frequently suggest that you should just skip beginner shoes and move to more aggressive shoes right off the bat. However, the more you climb, the more comfortable you are with your feet being jammed into tiny shoes and the easier it is to transition to more aggressive shoes.  This means that seasoned gurus may have forgotten what it is like to be a beginner and how uncomfortable climbing shoes are. Not to mention the pain your feet go through when training them to angle downward.

As a beginner, it is important to climb as often as possible so that you can build strength and technique quickly. If you are in constant pain from wearing your aggressive climbing shoes, you will likely be distracted while climbing and won’t be able to build your skill level or love of climbing. 

Additionally, the cost of more aggressive shoes compared to beginner shoes can be a significant barrier for those who are just getting into climbing. 

With that said, you will likely increase your climbing performance faster if you wear more comfortable shoes because it will be more enjoyable to climb and it is easier to focus on technique, strength and balance compared to when you are in constant pain from your aggressive shoes.

Should You Buy Used Climbing Shoes?

Climbing gear that is made for safety should always be bought brand new to ensure that they are up to safety standards and will do their job correctly. However, climbing shoes aren’t necessary for your safety so you can buy climbing shoes pre-worn/used. 

If you are interested in buying used shoes, be sure to inspect them for the following before purchasing:

  • The current state of the rubber/sole – make sure that it doesn’t have any cracks, lifting away from the edges, or extensive wear. This check will ensure that you can enjoy a lot of climbing sessions before needing to get them resoled or the rands replaced
  • The state of the upper – make sure the seams are tight and there aren’t any tears or holes

Should You Rent Climbing Shoes

If you don’t climb very often and you don’t want to invest in a pair of climbing shoes, then you can rent them. The price of renting climbing shoes can add-up, so it may be worth buying your own pair, but in the meantime, renting shoes is better than using tennis shoes or climbing barefoot.

What Is The Difference Between Flexible And Stiff Climbing Shoes?

Stiff climbing shoes have additional support in them to help you hold your body weight on your toes without getting too tired. In contrast, flexible climbing shoes don’t support you as well but it is usually easier to feel the rock beneath your feet. With additional sensitivity to the rock under your feet, you may be able to be more precise with your movements and improve your technique further.

Shoe Fit

How Much Space Should I Have In My Climbing Shoes?

You shouldn’t have any space in your climbing shoes. Climbing shoes are built to fit your feet like a glove, meaning that your heel and toes touch the ends of the climbing shoes. Any space for movement in the shoe can detract from your ability to rely on small climbing holds and may cause you to slip.

Should Climbing Shoes Be Smaller Than Street Shoes?

Yes. Most street shoes are built to allow wiggle room in your toes and heel area for comfort. However, climbing shoes should be small enough that there is no wiggle room for your toes or heel to move. The average climbers wear one size smaller in climbing shoes than they do in street shoes. The range is typically ½-2 sizes smaller and is usually dependent on the climbing shoe brand and aggressiveness of the climbing shoe.

Should Climbing Shoes Hurt

A myth in climbing is that if your feet aren’t hurting than your shoes aren’t tight enough. This myth comes from people trying to increase sensitivity of the rock and hopefully allow you to use smaller footholds. However, studies suggest that wearing shoes that are too small will likely be more harmful than being a performance boost. Climbing shoes are not supposed to be super comfortable but rather tight on your feet so there is no wiggle room. You may feel some discomfort but you don’t want them too tight that it takes your focus and attention away from your climb.

How Do You Break In Climbing Shoes?

Though there are ways to decrease the time it takes to break in climbing shoes, the most straightforward way is to wear them while you climb. Wear them for as long as you can during the climbing session and then take them off when you can’t wear them any longer. Many climbers carry around an extra pair of climbing shoes while they are breaking in their new shoes so that they can switch them out if their new shoes become too tiresome to wear.

In each climbing session, you will be able to wear them longer and longer until you are able to wear them for the entire climbing session.

How Long Does It Take To Break In Climbing Shoes?

Depending on the material that a shoe is made from, it can take 1-7 days to break in shoes if you wear them climbing every day. Some material is easy to break into and will only take one day of climbing in them. Other material takes more work like wearing them in the shower and wearing them for a couple of hours at home for a week in addition to wearing them while climbing. 

How Do You Decrease The Time It Takes To Break In Climbing Shoes?

There are many ways to decrease the break-in time for climbing shoes. 

One common technique is wearing your climbing shoes in a hot shower. The heat and water make the material pliable and then as they dry, they mold to your feet and fit like a glove. 

Some climbing gyms have shoe stretchers that are used to loosen the shoe’s stiffness and stretch it so that it fits your feet better.

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How Tight Should Climbing Shoes Be?

Your climbing shoes need to be tight enough that there isn’t space for your toes to wiggle or move. A myth about climbing shoes recommends getting shoes as tight as possible, even if the pain is distracting you from climbing. Wearing climbing shoes that are super painful to wear is actually more likely to cause you long term foot damage compared to any additional performance you are hoping to get from the tiny shoes. 

Because most people are used to wiggle room in their shoes, some people feel uncomfortable in climbing shoes even when they are wearing the appropriate size. A good rule of thumb is to get a pair of shoes that are as small as you can fit your feet into but not small enough that the pain takes away from your climbing experience.

How Should Kids Climbing Shoes Fit?

Since kid’s feet are growing fast, it is important that they aren’t too small and damage kids’ growth plates. To avoid this, you want to make sure that their shoes fit snug enough that they don’t wiggle around but they are still comfortable for your child to wear. If your child puts on the shoes and says their feet hurt, then adjust the heel strap and make them bigger.

Most kid’s street shoes have a lot of room in the toe area because parents buy them to last a couple of months. This may make it so your child is uncomfortable if the shoes are snug on their feet, but it doesn’t cause pain. If you can, ask them if it hurts or if they are ok climbing in them. If they say they can climb in them, then let them. If they say it is too small or that it hurts, then make them bigger.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if their shoes are too big if they feel uncomfortable and don’t want to wear the shoes otherwise. It is more important that they have a good time then it is for them to have snug shoes. Also, the more they climb, the better they will recognize how tight their shoes should be so it is worth asking them about it throughout the session so you can make them tighter or looser as needed.

How Should Approach Shoes Fit

Since approach shoes are used to hike for miles at a time, they should be a little looser than climbing shoes. Your approach shoes should be snug but allow you to walk normally and spread your toes out when you place your weight over the balls of your feet.

Shoe Maintenance

What Shoes Smell The Worst

Most climbing shoes are made with antimicrobial products to help limit bacterial growth, which is what causes shoes to smell. However, all climbing shoes smell if you don’t take preventative care. Synthetic shoes tend to be stinkier than other materials. Evolv Defy/Elektras, for example, tend to be stinkier than other beginner shoes because they are made out of synthetic uppers. 

What Makes Climbing Shoes Smell Bad

Because most climbers don’t wear socks with their climbing shoes, climbing shoes tend to smell more than other types of shoes. Shoe odor comes from bacteria growth in the shoe. Bacteria growth is boosted by dead skin and sweat from your feet paired with the dark sanctuary that climbing shoes provide. If you want cheap ways to make your shoes smell better, check this out (11 CHEAP Ways To Make Your Shoes Smell Better)

What Keeps Shoes Smelling Fresh

Some climber’s shoes don’t seem to smell as bad as other climbers. Part of that is what the shoes are made of and part of it is because some climbers don’t sweat in their feet. However, it is usually related to the preventative care that they use. For example, allow your shoes to air out after each climbing session so that they can dry quickly. You can also use antibacterial spray after each climb and scrub your feet with a pumice stone so there isn’t any dead skin left in your shoes. For a list of ways to keep your shoes fresh, read this article (11 CHEAP Ways To Make Your Shoes Smell Better)

How Long Should Climbing Shoes Last?

Climbing shoes usually last between 3-14 months. How long your climbing shoes last depends on how often you climb, what kind of rock you climb on, how precise your footwork is, and how you care for your shoes while you aren’t climbing. For this reason, there isn’t a definite time that you can depend on your shoes to last. Some climbers report that they replace their shoes every three months whereas some climbers can go longer than a year before replacing their climbing shoes.

When Should You Wear Approach Shoes

Many outdoor climbing routes require you to hike a few miles while carrying heavy rope and climbing gear. Approach shoes give you support similar to hiking boots without additional weight. They are also made with a sticky rubber sole so they can grip rock better than most outdoor footwear.

When Should You Wear Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes should only be worn while you are climbing. Take them off while belaying, or hiking, or walking etc. In addition to wearing them out faster, wearing your climbing shoes while you aren’t climbing can make the toes of your shoes dirty. Dirt on your climbing shoes will make it difficult to smear and grip small footholds. 

How Do You Improve Shoe Grip Without Resoling Them?

The first thing you should do is to hand clean the bottoms of your shoes with a little water and hand soap. Dirt and chalk can make them slippery so cleaning them should help.

If that doesn’t work, some climbers reported this working if you have plenty of rubber left on your shoe: Wash the soles with warm water and then vigorously brush them with a wire brush. 

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Where Should You Store Your Climbing Shoes?

Climbing shoes should be stored in room temperature and where they can dry out easily. Avoid storing them in moist areas or in your backpack where the sweat can’t dry.

Can You Store Climbing Shoes In Your Car?

Generally, you should not store climbing shoes in your car. If you live in a relatively mild temperature area and your car’s temperature is stable at room temperature with minimum humidity, then you should be fine storing them in your car. Intense heat can melt the glue that holds the rubber onto your shoes. In addition, intense cold can make the rubber on your shoes brittle and more likely to crack or break. 

Is Storing Climbing Shoes In The Cold Bad For Them?

Yes, storing your climbing shoes in the cold may make it easier for the rubber on your shoes to crack or break. For this reason, you should avoid storing climbing shoes in the cold.

Is Storing Climbing Shoes In A Hot Car Bad For Them?

Yes, if your shoes get too hot in your car, the glue may melt and the rubber may separate from the uppers on your shoes. To ensure a longer lifespan, store your shoes in a dry/room temperature area.

What Makes Up A Climbing Shoe

What Are The Main Materials Used In Climbing Shoes?

Climbing shoes all have different kinds of rubber, but when people talk about the materials used in climbing shoes, they are usually referring to the upper part of the climbing shoe. The three most common materials are:

  • Unlined Leather
  • Lined Leather
  • Synthetic

What Is The Difference Between Unlined Leather and Lined Leather?

The biggest difference between unlined and lined leather climbing shoes is how much they stretch. 

Unlined leather can stretch a full size

Lined leather can stretch half a size

In addition, unlined leather is usually more breathable compared to lined leather that is is more next-to-skin comfortable.

What Is The Difference Between Leather and Synthetic Climbing Shoes?

Besides leather shoes generally smelling better than synthetic climbing shoes, the biggest differences are how much they stretch. Synthetic climbing shoes don’t stretch and maintain their shape and size the best. In comparison, leather can stretch a full size.

What Material Is The Best?

Because the material feels different on your feet, most climbers try on each of the climbing shoes and decide what is most comfortable to them. In addition, there are a few personal key things that you may consider:

  • Do your feet sweat a lot? Unlined leather is the most breathable material
  • Do you have sensitive skin? Lined leather is generally the softest on your skin 
  • Do you have concerns about wearing leather/animal hide? Synthetic shoes are animal-friendly
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What Are The Different Parts Of The Climbing Shoe?

Climbing shoes are all built with the same basic parts:

  • Sole
  • Midsole
  • Footbed 
  • Rand
  • Heel/heel cup
  • Toe box/Toe Rubber
  • Upper 
  • Closure
  • Pull tabs 
  • Last

What Is The Sole (Outsole) In A Climbing Shoe

The sole is the rubber part of the shoe that touches the rock. Depending on the type of rubber, it may grip the rock differently. In addition, this is the part of the shoe that most climbers pay more money for.

What Is The Midsole In A Climbing Shoe

The midsole is the layer between the sole and the footbed. This layer determines the stiffness of a climbing shoe. The midsole varies from thin, partial, or split midsole. For example, the midsole in childrens climbing shoes are usually full length and creates stiffness through the entire climbing shoe. 

What Is The Footbed (Insole) In A Climbing Shoe

The footbed, also known as the insole, is what the bottom of your feet touch in the climbing shoe. This is also the part of the shoe that is commonly made with antimicrobial material to help prevent the climbing shoes from stinking.

What Is The Rand In A Climbing Shoe

The rand is the layer of rubber that surrounds the shoe between the outsole and the upper and goes over your toe. It is also where the outsole is glued to and connects it to the upper. 

What Is The Heel/Heel Cup In A Climbing Shoe

The heel cup is the part of the shoe that shapes to your heel and prevents that back part of your foot from moving around in the shoe. Typically, men’s climbing shoe heel cups is bigger than in women’s climbing shoes. It is also the part of the shoe that you use for heel hooks.

What Is The Toe Box/Toe Rubber In A Climbing Shoe

The toe box is the section of the climbing shoe that allows climbers to place their weight on their toes without becoming exhausted.

What Is The Upper In A Climbing Shoe

The upper is the material above the rubber that wraps around the top side of your foot. It is usually leather or synthetic.

What Is The Closure In A Climbing Shoe

The closure is the means of tightening your climbing shoe to prevent it from falling off while you are climbing. There are three main types of climbing shoe closure systems:

  • Laced
  • Velcro
  • Slipper

What Is The Pull Tabs In A Climbing Shoe

Since climbing shoes are so tight, they are built with pull tabs that climbers can pull on to help cram their feet into the shoe. Pull tabs are also a great loop to attach the carabiner too when transporting your shoes. That way you don’t have to put them in your bag while they are sweaty.

What Is The Last In A Climbing Shoe

The last is the foot shape that the climbing shoe was molded to. It is what determines how wide or narrow the shoes are.

What Is The Asymmetric Shape In A Climbing Shoe

The asymmetric shape in the toe (the longest point of the shoe is over the big toe) is used to assist climbers by providing power on the inside edge of the shoe so you can use small footholds. It is also one of the biggest differences between climbing shoes and other sports shoes. 

Is There A Difference Between Men’s And Women’s Shoes?

Besides the color, the sizing is usually the only difference between men’s and women’s climbing shoes. Men’s shoes are typically wider and women’s are more narrow. Of course, women may fit better in men’s shoes and vice versa so don’t use the gender tag as a decision-maker when comparing shoes. This difference is most obvious when comparing the heel cup so try on the pair of shoes before buying them. Even if you plan to buy them online, check out your local climbing shop for sizing.

Climbing Shoe Brands

What Brands In Climbing Shoes Are There?

Depending on where you live, you may not have access to every brand at your local climbing store. For example, I checked three different climbing shops and outdoor shops before ordering my Mad Rock Drone Shoes online. (Check out why I bought these Mad Rock Drone after wearing La Sportiva Solutions)

  • Boreal
  • Butora
  • Climb X 
  • Evolv
  • Five Ten/Addidas
  • La Sportiva
  • Mad Rock
  • Red Chili
  • Scarpa
  • Tenaya

Did I Miss Anything?

This article was created to provide the answer to every question you may have about climbing shoes. However, there is a chance that you had a question I couldn’t think of or find in my hours of research. If you have additional questions or need clarification on something, please comment below so we can provide that information to you and any other climber that may be wondering the same thing.

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