Game for Some Sport?

Rock climbing is an adventurous and demanding sport. And a man’s best friends during this exciting activity are his pair of climbing shoes.

The climbing shoes are the main points of contact between the rock and the climber. The wrong type of shoe can hold back the ascent. Climbing down would be an equally daunting task in that case.

Regular shoes vs.sporting footwear

Regular daily use walking shoes can never serve the purpose. The specialized climbing footwear differsin various aspects. They need to be lightweight yet durable, strong yet not bulky; these closely fit shoes should be able to fit into small footholds yet be reasonably comfortable.

The climbing shoemaking business is a highly specialized industry. All shoes are carefully crafted and offer superior comfort. They sustain wear and tear for a long time.

With more people indulging in fitness and outdoor sports, shoemaking has become a thriving and in-demand industry. The introduction of high profile multi-piece patterns on the market stands evidence to this. The multitude of options is amazing, as well as confusing for the newbie.

For any sport, and outdoor sports especially, choosing the best sporting gear is essential. The joy of climbing can only be experienced in its fullness when you doesn’t have to bother with ill-fitting shoes.

Choosing the best climbing shoe—a buying guide

If rock-climbing is on your mind, then you need to choose shoes based on the following:

  • Activity
  • Shoe features
  • The fit

Climbers are beginners, intermediate or experienced. Accordingly, shoes can be neutral, moderate or aggressive depending on the type of action levels.

  • Neutral shoes are best for beginners who aren’t used to much outdoor activity. They are comfortable to wear with thick soles, yet are conveniently pliable for slotting on rock or wall cracks. The only disadvantage is that they can’t be used for difficult routes as they are less sensitive
  • Moderate shoes are for those who have quite some experience in the field. They have a distinctive chamber which offers better grip while climbing. The feel is better due to thinner soles. This is also a disadvantage since they tend to wear out faster
  • Aggressive shoes, as the name suggests, are for experienced climbers. This is powerful gear with downturned soles that help focus power on the great toe. This helps in a stronger grip over footholds and slotting between cracks. But these are uncomfortable for extended use as the heel tension is more for better climbing. The stickier thinner rubber quickly wears out. But you can be assured of finishing an adrenaline charged overhanging route with ease.

The features of the shoe that need to be taken into account are the material used, footwear closure, last and outsole. All these again depend on the preference of the climber.

The fit is the quintessential point. The best way to ensure a good fit is to try them on before buying. Try shopping during late afternoon or evening when the feet are their largest size. Try a bit of activity to assess the shoe’s bend, flexibility, comfort, and fit.





  Scarpa Men’s Helix Climbing Shoe  99  4/5
  Evolv Axiom Climbing Shoes  155  3/5
  Mad Rock Mens Flash Climbing Shoe  82  4.1/5
  Muck Boot Muckster II Climbing Shoe  90  4.5/5
  Sportiva Tarantulace Climbing Shoe  88  4.3/5
  Sportiva Katana Lace Climbing Shoe  165  4.6/5
  Mad Rock Pulse Climbing Shoe  89  4.3/5
  Five Ten Mens Rogue Climbing Shoe  100  4.8/5
  Butora Acro Wide Climbing Shoe  154  5/5
  Evolv Luchador SC Climbing Shoe  88  4.5/5

Here is a quick guide to the five best climbing shoes in the market.

Scarpa Men’s Helix Climbing Shoe

Scarpa started as a modest family-owned company in Northern Italy. Scarpa stands for Associated Shoe Manufacturing Company of the Asolo Mountain Area. Since its inception in 1938, Scarpa has brought together tradition and innovation into all its hand-crafted models. Innovative footwear without compromise on quality and fit are the features of every Scarpa product.

Northern Italy has a long history of mountaineering and climbing culture. This has been aptly utilized by the company which recognized the importance to cater to its climbers. The passion for perfection has been the driving force behind Scarpa’s phenomenal global growth. This is evident in all products of this renowned Italian company.

Scarpa introduces its lightweight, neutral climbing shoe model which boasts of a snug fit and best grip for aspiring rock climbers.


  • Scarpa shoes are made of leather with an overall suede finish, except for the comfortable sole made of rubber with a thin Flexan midsole
  • It has an asymmetrical lacing with easy on-heel pull and flat last
  • It has a TAC 100 outsole
  • The light heel cup cushioning allows comfortable all-day wear
  • The climber is assured of the best fit by the to-the-toe lacing closure. This accommodates almost any foot shape


  • Lightweight is the USP of this particular product
  • Primates have relied on sticky toes for steep rock climbing, and the same strategy has been applied here.
  • The sticky sole is super sensitive and can be used for any kind of sports climbing
  • With its attractive color and elegant suede finish, this is definitely here to stay on the market for a long time


  • The size seems to be a bit small for wider broader feet. It is always best to try out before buying a pair
  • The design is very basic


Altogether an excellent lightweight option for novice climbers. Firsttimers may find it difficult to work around it initially. Scarpa’s state-of-the-art technology has developed from first-hand experience on climbing routes around the world.

This reflects in the product too, which is ultra-sensitive and suited for bouldering and sports climbing. It is light, supple but has a precise fit. With Scarpa’s long-standing history of elegance and quality, the shoes are nothing short of perfection.The shoes are definitely worth their price for their svelte fit and stylish design.

Evolv Axiom Climbing shoe with free climbing DVD

Evolv is a US company that specializes in designing outdoor footwear for performance climbing.  The company was started in 2003 by the owners in a garage. Their first product was an instant hit and was handcrafted to perfection.

The company aims to produce the best climbing shoes in the world. Evolv has sponsored many professional athletes and continues to encourage rock climbing sports.

Evolv boasts of innovative designs manufactured under strict quality control. The company uses patented TRAX XT rubber which is a high-friction rubber. It is formulated to be the highest performing rubber on the market.  This is an eco-friendly recycled product which shows the company’s dedication to a sustainable environment.

One of the advantages of owning an Evolv product is the warranty certificate that accompanies it. This way if any Evolv product is found to be defective, it is either repaired or credited partially. All the better reason to own the Evolv Axiom!


  • This shoe is made completely of leather with a microfiber fitted front half for performance and support
  • Since the arch and the heel of the feet are under maximum tension, the shoe has advantageously placed synthetic leather at these points
  • It has a non-aggressive last which can be rationalized for increased performance
  • The unique tongue lock system helps to position the tongue accurately
  • For easy use, a ¾ speed lacing system is provided
  • The best feature is the free DVD which provides a non-instruction action-packed climbing
  • The shoe is suited for all-day wear and is easy on the toes


  • The asymmetrical toe profile with low top-of-foot volume gives an all-around technical experience
  • It is suited for both beginners and advanced climbers
  • It is highly comfortable yet withstands heavy wear and tear owing to its 4.2mm TRAX highfriction rubber


  • Sizing up may be required as the shoe size runs small for few buyers
  • Very limited colors offered


This is one of the best products from Evolv which offers one option for a range of climbers. It is extremely durable and worth the price. The Evolv Axiom Climbing Shoe is an all-rounder, and many distinguished ace climbers vouch for their support for the company. With the advantage of a switching last for alternate action levels, this shoe is a keeper for all the right reasons.

Mad Rock Men’s Flash 2.0 Climbing Shoe

Mad Rock started as a modest climber-owned company in 2002. Since then, the company has grown by leaps and bounds. The company gives a lot of importance to its customers and takes their feedback seriously.

Manufacturing innovative, highly technical climbing shoes has been their top notch priority. Keeping this in mind, the company strategically makes subtle changes to existing designs. This saves the labor involved to produce newer sophisticated designs. This is where customer feedback matters the most.

Indeed, Mad Rock’s dedication to quality improvement is reflected in each of their products. All Mad Rock shoes are durable, attractive and affordable. Mad Rock’s iconic product, the Flash has undergone a total makeover and redesign. The Mad Rock Men’s Flash 2.0 is a unique product crafted to suit all types of climbers.


  • These rocker shoes are made of leather and Synflex, anartificial material that provides adequate stretch
  • It has a leather and rubber sole with a 3D molded heel that helps to maximize friction.
  • A unique Shock gel reduces the impact force on the heel
  • The polycarbonate midsole gives a predictable and consistent flex that is useful for beginners
  • The extra padding, cushioned heel and roomy fit make it a great shoe for wearing both on and off the rocks


  • Beginners swear by this pair
  • It seems to offer the best resilience and flexibility with its unique inbuilt features that appeal to first-time climbers
  • It is especially recommended for indoor bouldering


  • Very simple looking shoes
  • The price seems to a bit on the higher side. But generally, not many cons


Mad Rock’s Flash climbing shoe had always been a hot star in the sports gear market. It’s innovative design, and sleek features have always gotten rave reviews from beginners as well as established climbers.

So what makes the 2.0 version of the Flash even better is the addition of Synflex. The comfortable landing heel and hybrid Synflex are an instant hit with beginners. It offers the best package for every wannabe rock climber.

Synflex maintains a consistent plush fit while offering a superior performance. It is also the first shoe in the climbing market to incorporate a shock gel, which reduces the impact force on the heel and prevents injuries.

Muck Boot Men’s Muckster II Low Climbing Shoe

The original Muck Boot Company was started in 1999. The company was ambitious to build the most comfortable high-performance outdoor gear. The company started off with manufacturing boots that were waterproof, durable, and yet comfortable. The brand has grown phenomenally with over 60 styles of rubber and leather footwear. All these products were specially designed to endure tough outdoor conditions. The Muck Boot company is one of the fastest growing brands in the waterproof footwear market.

The Muckster II is a lightweight waterproof shoe not strictly designed for climbing. If you’re not the hardcore rock-climbing types, then this shoe is definitely your mate for outdoor running.


  • The Muck Men’s Muckster II Low Climbing Shoe is made of rubber and neoprene.
  • It has a rubber sole with a 4 mm CR flex-foam.
  • It has a breathable air-mesh lining with a self-cleaning outsole made of high traction rubber with a women’s last


  • Very comfortable footwear
  • Keeps the feet warm and dry during cool wet mornings
  • It offers the best experience even when worn throughout the day


  • Definitely not for the novice climbers
  • It doesn’t offer the specifications of a hard-core climbing shoe and is best suited for light outdoor activity


Lightweight all-day comfort footwear, these shoes are suited for minimal outdoor work such as gardening, walking or running.

From a traditional boots company comes the most versatile shoe ever. It isn’t as heavy as the usual products of Muck Boots. It is lightweight, easy to slip on for a quick errand, and equally easy to kick off when not required. The best features are the 4mm neoprene and the traditional Muck Airmesh lining that provide the maximum comfort for your feet.

Though it is strictly not meant for climbing or mountaineering, these shoes can serve as an alternative for beginners who don’t want a highly technical option.

The pricing is also a little on the higher side for a slip-on. Altogether it is an all-purpose lightweight shoe suited for wet conditions. The feet are well-protected from the moisture due to the superior waterproofing; the feet are always dry and warm, no matter how slushy or muddy the exteriors are.

If you are looking for high-performance action packed sports gear, then head on to the next product!

La Sportiva Men’s Tarantulace Climbing Shoe

Lo and behold! Here comes the La SportivaTarantulace which is sure to captivate your senses with its attractive features.

La Sportiva is a small 250-member staffed footwear-producing factory. It is situated in Ziano di Femme, a small mountain village in the Italian Dolomites. This company carries a rich heritage of traditional footwear designing which is incorporated into its every piece.

Since 1928, eight generations of this family-owned business have adhered to strict quality measures which bring out the uniqueness of their products. This company has always strived to rise to the top stating it as their goal, instinct, and vocation.

Every day, 140 families in this mountain village work hard to bring in innovation into their traditional handcraft.

The La SportivaTarantulace is anunlined leather shoe which has an asymmetrical shape. This helps to achieve advanced performance and maintaining maximum comfort at the same time.


  • La SportivaMen’sTarantulace Climbing Shoe is made completely of leather
  • It’s unlined comfortable leather upper portion imparts comfort all-day
  • The long-term sticky FriXion rubber easily gets attached to rocky and plastic surfaces
  • The multi-position finish system adapts to a variety of foot types
  • The asymmetrical design helps beginners push grades at a quicker pace
  • The Lapsoflex midsole is an ultra-light-weight and extremely thin laminate of synthetic fiber that provides ease


  • Excellent price option for the features offered
  • Affordable shoes that offer a wide range of activity
  • Sleek design which provides ultimate comfort


  • Non-aggressive
  • The ultra-thin sole may wear out quicker than expected


A great pair of high-performance leather climbing shoes for dedicated beginners and intermediate level climbers.

The RN45 shoe shape is best suited for high-level performance without hurting the toes. The artificial leather cover lacing harness is animmense feature for new to mid-level climbers.

The unlined leather is smooth, soft and comfortable. The rubber heel is sticky offering accommodation into microslots.  The FriXion rubber is resilient and aggressive which helps to offer a long-lasting life for this awesome product, despite being comfortable. It also offers good grip for bouldering and rock climbing.

The quick-pull lacing harness promises a snug fit while the lined tongue helps to manage moisture.

Whether you are an ace climber not compromising on comfort, or a beginner looking for a pair of fit shoes, this ultra-thin and super light-weight model offers maximum torsion rigidity. It can adapt to multiple foot sizes and shapes which make it highly desirable!

The verdict

As mentioned earlier in this article, the type of material used, the type of last, outsole and closure available are important facts for consideration.

Unlined leather shoes stretch the maximum but have the disadvantage of bleeding colors. Lined leather shoes have reduced stretch capacity. Synthetic shoes are not flexible and don’t stretch much, but they tend to soften up a bit with activity.

Slip-lasted shoes lack an insole and rely on the midsole for stiffness. They tend to be less sensitive than broad-lasted shoes. The latter are stiff and comfortable for all-day wear.

Straight or flat-lasted shoes have a relaxed fit with great comfort. Asymmetric shoes are built for moderate to aggressive activity. Downturned shoes are best suited for advanced climbers.

The thick outsoles provide good support, are durable and last longer. Thinner soles provide a better feel of the rock.

The type of footwear closure also matters. Lacingup is best suited for all grades of climbing. A strap closure is convenient and preferred indoors. Slip-ons have the greatest sensitivity and are fun to train with.

Based on all these criteria, the La SportivaTarantulace Climbing Shoe seems to fit the winner’s slot snugly! It is durable, lightweight, and easy on the pocket and adapts to many sizes.

For less adventurous beginners, the Mad Rock Men’s Flash 2.0, the Scarpa Men’s Helix Climbing Shoe and the Evolv Axiom Climbing Shoe are ideal to progress up the grades from starter level.

For jogging and running types, the Muck Men’s Muckster II Low Climbing Shoe is the best option available.

So get your pair of well-fitted climbing shoes and climb your way to success!