Best Climbing Shoes: Top Picks for Peak Performance


Climbing is not only a popular recreational activity but also a challenging sport that necessitates the best climbing shoes to ensure both performance and safety. Among the essential pieces of equipment for any climber, climbing shoes are paramount. These specialized shoes are designed to provide the grip, precision, and comfort required to navigate even the most demanding routes. The design of climbing shoes has evolved significantly, incorporating innovative materials and technologies to cater to the diverse styles of climbing, from bouldering to sport climbing and traditional (trad) climbing.

Choosing the right climbing shoes can significantly affect your climbing experience. Factors such as the type of climbing, the fit, and the shoe’s closure system—whether lace-up, velcro, or slip-on—are crucial to consider. The material of the sole, usually made from rubber of varying stiffness, dictates the shoe’s grip and sensitivity, while the upper material affects overall comfort and breathability. Climbers should also consider the shape of the shoe, with options ranging from flat for comfort on long climbs to aggressive downturns for precise footwork on overhangs.

When selecting climbing shoes, it’s essential to consider the fit, which should be snug without causing discomfort, as shoes that are too tight can impede circulation and reduce climbing effectiveness. Additionally, understanding the nuances of your own foot shape—narrow or wide, the volume of your foot, and your arch type—is helpful in finding a shoe that provides the best performance and comfort for you.

We have dedicated significant time to examining and testing various climbing shoes, scrutinizing components such as rubber quality, closure systems, and overall durability to identify the top performers that cater to different climbing disciplines and preferences. The insights gathered aim to guide climbers toward making informed decisions to enhance their climbing experience. Now, let’s take a closer look at the climbing shoes that stand out in this competitive market.

Best Climbing Shoes Selection

In our quest to enhance your vertical adventures, we’ve meticulously tested and analyzed an array of climbing shoes to present you with the finest options available. Whether you’re edging on a technical face, crack climbing, or working on bouldery problems, our selection caters to various styles and preferences, ensuring optimal performance on the rock.

BD Momentum Climbers

best climbing shoes
BLACK DIAMOND Mens Momentum Rock Climbing Shoes

We find these shoes to offer a commendable balance between comfort and technical performance, making them an excellent choice for various climbing adventures.


  • Outstanding breathability, courtesy of the Engineered Knit Technology
  • Firm midsole providing edging power without compromising comfort
  • Vegan-friendly materials, an ethical choice for eco-conscious climbers


  • Beginners may need time to adjust to the neutral, flat last
  • Size might run small, requiring climbers to upsize for a better fit
  • Limited color options restrict personal style preferences

As seasoned climbers, we value a shoe that can keep up with us on long days out on the crags. The BD Momentum is a great all-rounder that doesn’t disappoint on longer climbs, where comfort is as crucial as performance. The vegan materials used throughout give an ethical edge, and the breathability of the knit puts these shoes ahead when it comes to keeping our feet cool.

The support these shoes provide on tiny footholds impressed us. It strikes a good balance, offering the stiffness needed for edging without sapping all the sensitivity. For climbers who play the long game on techy slabs or demand precision on edgy routes, the Momentum’s midsole has the right amount of rigidity.

What caught our attention was the thoughtful design that extends the Engineered Knit Technology to offer cushioned comfort where it’s most needed. Foot jams that would usually be unpleasant don’t feel as harsh, meaning we could focus more on our technique and less on the discomfort. That said, we’d suggest newcomers to size up, as the fit can be quite snug, especially if you’re not used to climbing shoes.

EVOLV Ashima

EVOLV Ashima Climbing Shoe

After a thorough test, we believe climbers seeking high precision and sensitivity on the rock will be greatly served by the EVOLV Ashima.


  • Exceptional sensitivity allows for nuanced footwork
  • Anatomically molded heel offers a precise and snug fit
  • Aggressive downturned shape aids in tackling overhangs


  • Sizing runs small, requiring careful selection or upsizing
  • May be too tight for those with wider feet
  • The aggressive shape might not be comfortable for beginners or for long climbs

Stepping onto the rock in the EVOLV Ashima climbing shoes grants a noticeable boost in how we engage with subtle features. The ultra-sensitive sole really connects us to the wall, allowing for micro-adjustments and maximum trust in our foot placements.

The aggressive downturn is a game-changer on steep terrain. Our toes can easily grab and hook holds, which is essential when conquering overhanging routes or bouldering problems that demand maximum performance from every piece of gear.

However, the snug heel and tight fit, while wonderful for precision, highlight the importance of choosing the right size, as our own experience reaffirms the feedback about the shoes running small. It might take a few tries to find the perfect fit, but once we do, these shoes feel like they’re an extension of our feet.

For those of us with wider feet, it can be a bit of a squeeze, and we had to balance the performance benefits with overall comfort. And while new climbers could be tempted by the high-end features, we’d recommend them to start with something a bit more forgiving and less specialized.

In essence, the EVOLV Ashima climbing shoes encapsulate the precision and grip that advanced climbers crave, but they demand attention to sizing and are not the best pick for wide-footed individuals or long-duration climbs.

La Sportiva Topaz

La Sportiva Women's Climbing Shoes

We think the La Sportiva Topaz is an excellent choice for climbers who seek a balance between comfort and precision.


  • Excellent snug fit that enhances climbing precision
  • Just enough comfort for extensive climbing sessions
  • Reliable grip for a variety of holds and walls


  • Some users may find the snug fit too tight for their toenails
  • Break-in period might be required for optimal comfort
  • There have been reports of sizing inconsistencies

La Sportiva, as a brand, is renowned for its quality and performance in climbing shoes, and this pair makes no exception. Our recent climb with the Topaz model was a testament to La Sportiva’s commitment to creating products that help climbers push their limits. The rubber outsole gives you the grip you need on tricky footholds, while the lace-up closure ensures the shoe conforms to the intricate contours of our feet.

Comfort didn’t take a backseat with the Topaz. The leather and rubber construction provides a secure fit without being overly rigid, making them suitable for both new routes and long training sessions in the gym. Plus, given that they’re washable, maintenance is a breeze, ensuring they’re always ready for the next climb.

The caveat with these shoes, however, lies in getting the right fit. The sizing can be a bit hit or miss, and the snug design might cause some inconvenience to your toes, especially if you’re fond of your nail polish. We advise ordering a half size up if you’re between sizes, based on our experience and what we’ve heard from the climbing community.

In summation, the Topaz by La Sportiva stands out as a solid performer for climbers ranging from beginners to intermediate. They offer a beautiful mix of precision footwork, comfort, and the reliable durability we’ve come to expect from the brand. Keep the slight sizing issue in mind, and you’re all set for a great climbing adventure.

La Sportiva Tarantulace

La Sportiva Tarantulace Climbing Shoes

We recommend these shoes for climbers who value a balance of comfort and precision.


  • Comfortable fit for extended climbs
  • Adjustable laces ensure a snug, custom feel
  • Durable construction holds up to rigorous use


  • May require sizing up for the best fit
  • Not ideal for those with wide feet
  • Break-in period can be longer than expected

After our latest climbing session, we were impressed with how the La Sportiva Tarantulace performed. The secure lace-up closure allowed us to fine-tune the fit around our feet, which was a game-changer on the rock. The comfort level stood out during long climbs, helping us stay focused on the route instead of our feet.

Durability also shined with these climbing shoes. We scaled rough surfaces without any signs of premature wear and tear. The robust rubber soles provided reliable traction, allowing us to navigate a range of holds confidently.

However, it’s worth noting that we felt the sizing ran a bit small. Some of us had to go half a size up to achieve that perfect fit. Additionally, our wide-footed climbers found them a bit snug around the sides, suggesting that if you have wide feet, these might not be your first choice. A few break-in sessions also seemed necessary to reach peak comfort, but once there, the shoes conformed nicely to our feet.

Women’s Momentum Climbing Shoes

Women's Momentum Climbing Shoes

We believe these shoes strike a perfect balance between comfort and performance for budding climbers.


  • Comfortable fit for long climbing sessions
  • Suitable stiffness for ample support
  • Aesthetically pleasing design


  • Might require sizing up for the right fit
  • Possible break-in period needed
  • Some issues reported with quality consistency

In our latest climb, we laced up the BLACK DIAMOND Women’s Momentum Climbing Shoes and were immediately impressed by their snug fit. These shoes provided the stability and support we needed on various routes, which speaks volumes about their versatile design. The rubber is resilient, withstanding wear from rugged surfaces while still allowing us to feel the wall beneath our toes.

Despite the initial stiffness, they adapted to our feet’s shape, offering more precision on smaller holds. The aesthetics are a bonus, sporting a sleek look that stands out at the crag or the gym. Most importantly, after several climbs, we appreciated how they maintained their shape, offering a consistent performance climb after climb.

However, we did notice they run a bit smaller than expected. It’s wise to consider sizing up when purchasing, as a snug fit is different from a painful squeeze. Also, while the shoes are sturdy, a few climbers raised concerns about the glue application and durability. But these were exceptions, not the rule, with the majority of feedback being overwhelmingly positive.

Overall, the Women’s Momentum by BLACK DIAMOND offers a solid choice for climbers at the beginning of their vertical pursuits. They’re comfortable, supportive, and stylish—qualities we all value as we reach for new heights.

Black Diamond Aspect Climbers

Aspect Climbing Shoes

We believe these shoes strike the right balance between all-day comfort and robust performance on the rock.


  • Superior breathability for extended climbing sessions
  • Vegan materials show attention to ethical considerations
  • Rubber molding offers consistent, durable grip


  • Stiffness may compromise sensitivity for advanced climbers
  • Design may not cater to those with wide feet
  • Price point could be a barrier for new climbers

Slipping into the Aspect by Black Diamond sends a wave of confidence through us as we gear up for our climbing adventures. The shoe merges comfort with the precision we need while navigating those trickier routes.

We appreciate the innovative breathability of their Engineered Knit Technology, which keeps our feet cooler. It’s a noticeable difference when we’re on a long climb, and that extra comfort goes a long way.

Their vegan approach is commendable and aligns with our ethical choices. It’s a reflection of Black Diamond’s commitment to sustainability, giving us a shoe that doesn’t compromise our values for performance.

We’ve felt how the rubber molding wraps around our feet, granting much-needed sturdiness with a consistent grip that has yet to let us down, whether on indoor holds or outdoor crags. It’s a design choice that also speaks to the durability of the shoes—those are soles that can stand up to continued abuse on the rock face.

While the medium-flex midsole supports us well on longer, vertical climbs, we do notice a trade-off in sensitivity. For those intricate toe placements on advanced routes, some of us wish we could feel the rock a bit more intimately. However, it’s a minor gripe and doesn’t diminish the shoe’s overall performance.

For those with wider feet, the Aspect might present a snug fit. It’s important to try them on considering their specific fit profile, which tends to be narrower.

Lastly, we are mindful of the cost. They aren’t the most affordable pair on the wall, potentially putting them out of reach for climbers just starting their vertical journeys. However, for the seasoned climber, we find the investment to be justified by their durability and comfort.

Overall, the Black Diamond Aspect offers a reliable, comfy climb, suitable for a variety of climbing styles, and serves as a strong contender for our go-to trad climbing shoe.

Solution Performance Shoes

La Sportiva Mens Solution Performance Rock Climbing Shoes

We believe these La Sportiva climbing shoes could be a game-changer for serious climbers focused on improving their performance.


  • Exceptional grip for precise footwork
  • Snug fit enhances sensitivity on the rock
  • Versatile for bouldering and technical routes


  • Break-in period can be uncomfortable
  • Priced higher than many entry-level options
  • Might be too aggressive for beginners

After putting the Solutions to the test on a variety of routes, we noticed right away their superior grip. The rubber on these shoes bites into the tiniest of ledges with confidence, giving us the extra trust in our foot placements. The lace-up closure provides a tailored fit, wrapping the shoe tightly around the foot, which directly translates to improved sensitivity. We could feel every contour of the rock, a real asset when tackling more challenging problems.

These shoes are undoubtedly aggressive, but with that comes a completely different climbing experience. The downturned toe helps in hooking holds on overhangs, making it feel almost like we had an extra set of hands. However, this might not be what a new climber needs, and the break-in period can certainly deter those unaccustomed to tight-fitting climbing footwear.

On the other hand, our movements felt more deliberate, and the power transfer from our legs to the rock was more efficient. They brought a noticeable improvement to our technical climbing, especially in areas where precision is non-negotiable. And while we felt a slight pinch during the first few climbs, the shoes eventually molded to fit our feet perfectly, almost like a second skin.

In summary, the La Sportiva Solution Performance shoes are a high-end choice that we found incredibly effective in elevating our climbing sessions. If you’re seeking to transition to a more advanced level, these shoes could be a significant part of that journey.

EVOLV Phantom

EVOLV Phantom Climbing Shoes

After giving the EVOLV Phantom a thorough test, we believe they stand out as a superb choice for climbers seeking precision and durability.


  • Impressive sensitivity lets you feel the rock and makes precise foot placements easier.
  • The innovative closure system ensures a snug, almost custom fit.
  • Exceptional durability; they hold up well even after rigorous use.


  • The fit may be too tight for climbers with wider feet.
  • They come with a steep price tag compared to other models.
  • Break-in period can be longer, requiring a few sessions for optimal comfort.

Climbing in the EVOLV Phantoms feels like a revelation. The shoe’s responsiveness and grip allow us to tackle overhangs and micro-holds with new levels of confidence. The powerful downturned toe contributes to our efficiency on steep routes, empowering us to push our limits.

Our experience with the Phantom’s sensitivity is noteworthy. Feeling the surface beneath our toes helps to fine-tune footwork. The rubber sole grips well, a quality we appreciate when precision is non-negotiable.

Heel-hooking in these shoes is a distinct advantage. The slim heel construction coupled with sturdy midsole support translates to better stability and control when executing complex moves.

Certainly, the EVOLV Phantoms are a premium investment, but for serious climbers looking to up their game, they’re a worthwhile asset in both performance and longevity.

Buying Guide

Assessing Fit and Comfort

We begin by ensuring a precise fit, which is crucial. Climbing shoes should be snug but not painfully tight. Since they’re often made of materials that can stretch, starting with a close-fitting shoe is ideal.

  • Fit: Aim for a shoe that conforms to the shape of your foot, leaving no dead space.
  • Comfort: Consider the amount of padding and the shoe’s overall shape to ensure you can wear it for the intended duration.

Types of Climbing Shoes

We look at the types of climbing shoes next. There are three main categories:

  1. Neutral: Good for beginners, offering comfort for all-day wear.
  2. Moderate: For technical climbs, they have a slightly downturned shape.
  3. Aggressive: Featuring a significant downturn, these are for advanced climbing and overhangs.

Closure System

Different closure systems affect performance and convenience:

  • Laces: Offer a customizable fit but are slower to put on and take off.
  • Velcro: Allow for quick adjustments but might not provide as precise a fit as laces.
  • Slip-ons: Have no closures, offering a minimalist approach that some climbers prefer for certain types of climbs.

Sole Construction

Lastly, we examine the sole construction:

  • Rubber Thickness: Affects sensitivity and durability. Thinner soles improve sensitivity while thicker soles last longer.
  • Stiffness: Influences edging performance. Stiffer soles offer better support on small holds, while softer soles are better for smearing.

Use this table to guide your decision-making:

Feature Benefit
Snug Fit Improved performance
Padding Extended wear comfort
Downturn Shape Enhanced technical ability
Closure System Fit and convenience
Rubber Thickness Balance of sensitivity and durability
Sole Stiffness Tailored to climbing style

We encompass these aspects while choosing climbing shoes to ensure they meet our standards and preferences for climbing adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we address some of the most common inquiries climbers have when choosing the right shoes for their climbing needs, focusing on performance, fit, durability, and features specific to climbing disciplines like bouldering.

What are the top-rated climbing shoes currently on the market?

Our research and experience suggest that models like the La Sportiva Solution, Five Ten Anasazi, and Scarpa Instinct VS rank highly among climbers for their balance of sensitivity, power, and fit.

How should a perfect fit for climbing shoes feel?

A perfect fit should feel snug but not painfully tight, with no dead space around the toes, ensuring maximum sensitivity and control on the rock or wall.

Can you recommend durable climbing shoes for outdoor terrains?

For outdoor climbing, shoes like the La Sportiva Tarantulace and the Scarpa Maestro are known for their robust construction and ability to withstand the demands of rough rock surfaces.

What features are important when choosing climbing shoes for bouldering?

When selecting bouldering shoes, prioritize a close fit, downturned shape for overhangs, a sticky rubber sole for grip, and a toe patch for toe-hooking capabilities.

How often should climbing shoes be replaced to maintain optimal performance?

The frequency of replacement depends on usage intensity, but on average, shoes might need to be replaced after 6 to 12 months for those who climb several times a week.

What are the benefits of high-end climbing shoes over entry-level models?

High-end climbing shoes offer superior precision, materials, and technology for advanced performance, such as tensioned heels, better rubber compounds, and advanced closure systems, which can be pivotal for challenging routes.

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