Beginning rock climbers quickly learn the importance of getting a well-fitting shoe that is specifically designed for rock climbing. Rock climbing shoes are the interface between the rock and your foot. The right shoes can give you traction in the small crevices and increase your balance. Rock climbing shoes have a narrow toe and thin sole. Size your shoes so that your big toe just hits the end of the shoe and lace them up tightly.
Beginning climbers should look for a pair of all-around, comfortable climbing shoes. As your skill level progresses, you’ll get a feel for the features that give you the best climb with the most comfort.
Running Shoes vs. Climbing Shoes
There is a distinct difference between running shoes or athletic shoes and rock climbing shoes. As with any sport, it’s important to get the right shoe for the activity to increase your performance and enjoyment.
One of the most important parts of the running shoe is the heel. Find a shoe that is snug to the heel, but not tight. This helps in supporting take-off and stride. Running shoes should fit snugly without being tight. In a good running shoe, feet need room to move and breathe. Your foot should have a little room to move side to side and there should be a thumb’s width space at the toe. If your shoes feel tight or if you feel pressure, you may need a looser-fitting shoe. Running shoes should be laced up, but not tied to allow for flexibility and foot movement.
Rock climbing shoes don’t require the support that running shoes require. Good rock climbing shoes make you feel one with the rock. They will fit more snugly and tightly than a running shoe, while still giving you a degree of comfort. Rock climbing shoes can have a lace-up, hook and loop tape closure or be a slip-on style. Look for rock climbing shoes with a thin sole for easy maneuvering in tight spaces.
The Best Rock Climbing Shoes For Beginners in 2019
1. Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe—Read Product Reviews
Mad Rock offers this quality shoe with an affordable price that offers a great value for the money. It works well for climbing grades up to V15. It’s a premium leather shoe with a rubber sole. It has a 2-strap closure and is supported with midsole stiffness. The sole is 3.8 mm thick and it has a traditional heel. This is a great shoe for crack climbing.
2. Climb X Icon Climbing Shoe—Read Product Reviews
This climbing shoe has a low-stretch synthetic leather exterior with a neoprene tongue for easy comfort. The sole is made of X-Factor sticky climbing rubber for solid traction. It is lined with a hemp footbed that helps reduce odors. This shoe comes in blue/grey or grey/grey and comes with a free climbing DVD.
3. Climb X Rock Star Climbing Shoe—Read Product Reviews
This is a great rock climbing shoe for beginners because it fits like a glove. It’s based on the Rock-It series and adds a lace-up for a precise, secure fit. It has a 3-D molded climbing, rubber hook heel and a breathable mesh tongue. The interior is lined with organic hemp footbeds to keep odors at bay. This is an ideal shoe for serious competitors, as well as beginners.
4. La Sportiva Tarantulace Climbing Shoe—Read Product Reviews
This is a comfortable, all-around leather climbing shoe that is great for beginners who are trying to find their niche with climbing. It is made of a durable FriXion RS rubber compound for excellent grip. The tongue is lined for maximum moisture absorption. It has a quick-pull lacing harness that snugs the shoe tightly to your foot. It’s sharp-looking in Kiwi/grey.
5. Evolv Axiom Climbing Shoe—Read Product Reviews
Evolv brings this leather shoe with a microfiber-lined front half that is ideal for sport and performance. It supports heels and arches with a synthetic leather lining. It has a tongue-lock system to keep the tongue in perfect position while climbing. Lace it up quickly with the ¾ speed lacing system.
6. La Sportiva Oxygen Climbing Shoe—Read Product Reviews
This is one of the sharpest-looking shoes on the market with its colorful design. It has a 3-layer WashTex external fabric that keeps the shoe clean. The interior is breathable and ultra-comfortable, which is great for extended use. It has a patented hook and loop tape closure for personalized fit.
With all of the features available for climbing shoes, beginning rock climbers may quickly become overwhelmed. You’ll want to take advantage of having so many choices once you gain some advanced skills. To begin with, choose an all-around climbing shoe that is comfortable for your foot.