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Climbing Shoes

Top Picks

How we choose: The best climbing shoes highlighted here were selected based on 528 reviews of 119 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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La Sportiva Otaki

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

The La Sportiva Otakis climbed very well on the sandstone of Castle Rock and on the volcanic conglomerate of Pinnacles. They work well for experienced rock climbers. While I did not get a chance to climb on quartzite or limestone during the review period, the bit of foot-scuffing I did on our home quartzite front entry indicated that the Otakis will also work well on quartzite. As with all technical rock shoes, you should get them fitted by a boot and shoe fitter who is well trained in the peculiarities of high tech rock shoes.

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent fit provides good “feel” on the rock, esp. when “smearing”
  • Dual Velcro straps make adjustment fairly easy
  • Water repellent leather top
  • Sticky rubber
  • Finger loops at heel make putting shoe on easy

Reasons to Avoid

  • Pricey, as typical for specialized, high quality climbing shoes
  • Soft rubber will wear down rapidly, requiring re-sole
  • As with all high tech rock shoes, even when properly fitted, they feel very tight during extended climbs
  • Color does not thrill me, personal taste, I guess

Background At the top of the list of gear for anyone climbing on technical routes is what you wear on your feet. In my many decades of outdoor activities, I have had footwear that ranged from miserable to wonderful. I have climbed technical rock in everything from mountaineering boots to running shoes to PAs and EBs to purpose-made rock shoes, and modern approach shoes that make provision for edging and smearing (see my review of La Sportiva’s TX4 approach shoe). Much of that footwear, like these specialized Otaki rock shoes, has been single purpose, designed for a very narrow range of activities.

Read more: La Sportiva Otaki reviews (2)

La Sportiva Miura VS

user rating: 5 of 5 (8 reviews)

Great shoe that is sure to help improve your climbing experience. I would never think of wearing any other climbing shoe for technical routes.

Reasons to Buy

  • Downturned/assymetrical toe
  • Flat inside and outside edges along toes
  • Vibram XS Edge Sole provides great grip
  • Narrow heel great for heel hooks
  • Velcro straps for quick on and off
  • Leather/textile combination keeps them comfortable

Reasons to Avoid

  • Very narrow

Even though it's a matter of personal preference, I'd suggest wearing them smaller than your regular climbing shoe to get the most out of the toeing and edging capabilities. They are somewhat narrow so people with wide feet might have problems finding a comfortable side, but they do stretch after a few days of use so take that into consideration when selecting a size. Also, the snug fit helps improve toeing and edging accuracy. The rubber on the soles has great grip even out of the box. Also, they smear great once you get used to the more curved shape.

Read more: La Sportiva Miura VS reviews (8)

La Sportiva Miura

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10 reviews)

These shoes are just great for sport-climbing, boulder, and even trad climbing. I've used these guys overall and have no regrets. They're comfortable, sticky, and efficient. Since a reliable edging on routes from a powerful heel job, this shoe, if fitted correctly, can be your number one shoes. I'd recommend for every kind of climb. Seriously.

Reasons to Buy

  • Heels
  • Sticky rubber
  • Reliable edging

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not so good for steep boulders

I felt that rubber stretched a lot, so I'd recommend down sizing. How much? Depends on your style and your use. I wear a 9.5 street size and bought the Miuras on 39.5 (7 US) for precise use. It is still comfortable, making me able to use at some routes (max. on 30' - 45'). When bouldering, I use to take'em off. The sole is a Vibram and super sticky. Try to maintain it clean and you won't regret. Idk about how much time it will last, but for sure one year with intense use will be the minimum.  I've used on sandstone, granite, limestone, and quartzito (in Brazil) and it last long very good.

Read more: La Sportiva Miura reviews (10)

La Sportiva Testarossa

user rating: 5 of 5 (4 reviews)

I've only owned these for a couple trips now, but so far I love them. I upgraded from Zens and the difference is phenomenal. I can smear like none other. I haven't used them on a roof yet and anticipate doing so soon, but they grip so well I doubt they will have trouble. They are very comfortable and in my opinion more comfortable than Anazazis. The difference is night and day. Don't get this if you aren't serious about climbing; it's truly an advanced climber's shoe. Would do well bouldering.

Read more: La Sportiva Testarossa reviews (4)

Tenaya Oasi

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

The Oasis are a versatile slipper that can handle pretty much anything you can throw at it. I have been heavily using my pair for a few months now, and so far nothing about them has disappointed me. I've spent long days bouldering (outdoors and in) with them, used them on slabby and steep sport climbs, and even spent some time in them on longer trad routes. They have shone in all scenarios.

Reasons to Buy

  • Flexible
  • Comfortable
  • Versatile

Reasons to Avoid

  • Too soft for long slab

FIT.  These fit me perfectly, but make sure when sizing for yourself you get a size down. Once you dial in the size, they are incredibly glovelike. Unlike other downturned shoes I have tried, these are very ergonomic. I have a fairly wide forefoot, and a regular heel. The Oasis have a funny looking swedge on the outside part of the heel that actually does an excellent job of grabbing your foot and still providing room. COMFORT. Absurdly comfortable. You have to consider how incredibly technical these are, and even despite a fairly aggressive downturn, they manage to achieve an all-day-wear feel.

Read more: Tenaya Oasi review (1)

La Sportiva Katana

user rating: 4 of 5 (8 reviews)

I am a novice weekend climber, who purchased the La Sportiva Katana climbing shoes two years ago. During this time it has given me many opportunities to test them out and provide useful information for prospective buyers.

Uses I have used the Katana climbing shoes for bouldering and indoor rock walls. They have other uses but these are types of climbing that I have used them for. My review will be based on these types of climbing. Any climbers who are out on the crag, may have different experiences using these shoes. Fit Rock climbing shoes are very unique in their fit and style. If you are from a country that does not use the metric system you will need to do a conversion to find the correct size for you. Once you have completed the conversion the fit seems to be true to size.

Read more: La Sportiva Katana reviews (8)

La Sportiva Solution

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4 reviews)

The name is not meant in jest, these are by far the best performance shoe I've come across. I tried Katanas and found there was far too much space in the heel — not so with Solutions. I went down three shoes sizes, still snug and not too painful! The strap is great and the smell is not too funky.

Reasons to Buy

  • Snug fit and high performance
  • Great strap and two loops for cramming your foot in
  • Look cool

Reasons to Avoid

  • Expensive

I tried Katanas a while ago and found there was far too much space in the heel —not so with Solutions. I went down three shoes sizes, still snug and not too painful! The strap is great and with the two finger loops—these are very easy to get on and off. After a whole day at the crag, you may cramp a bit. Just try to remember to slide them off for a break every now and then.

Read more: La Sportiva Solution reviews (4)

Scarpa Origin

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Fantastic beginner shoe for anyone looking to get started. Fit tapers a little from a slightly narrowed heel to a medium-wide toebox.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable
  • Good performance
  • Cheap
  • Durable
  • Great outdoors

Reasons to Avoid

  • Harder to use once you get into 5.11's
  • You'll outgrow these fast if you're bouldering
  • Proprietary rubber (Don't think anyone carries it for resole yet)

These were my first pair of shoes I bought. I normally wear 12-12.5 and got a size 46, I found this too tight so I also got a pair size 47 and used those until my feet got conditioned and then I went back to size 46. What can I say about this shoe? They've stuck with me since the beginning and I've gone from climbing 5.9 to 5.11 in about nine months. They're good at pretty much everything up until 5.11s I would say. They're not the stickiest shoe, but that's all right since they stick well enough and the rubber lasts a very long time.

Read more: Scarpa Origin reviews (2)

Five Ten Anasazi Lace

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

This shoe is the ferrari of 5.10. Along with the Anasazi velcro version, these two shoes dominate in terms of precision. I prefer the lace-up as it stays on my foot better when heel hooking. The lined leather insures minimum stretch, and the toebox is very aggressive, though not downturned. Combined with stealth rubber, these shoes are about as high performance as shoes get. Size down 1/2 - 1 full size for a tight, bouldery fit. I have used two pairs so far, the same size as my street shoe (10.5) and find them very precise, yet comfortable enough for a few pitches in a row or a lengthy bouldering session. They are excellent in cracks as well, but not if your toes are curled and squished! Entirely worth the price.

Read more: Five Ten Anasazi Lace reviews (3)

La Sportiva Oxygym

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

This is an excellent versatile climbing shoe for a beginner. Comfortable and as good outside the gym as it is in the gym. Excellent fit.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable
  • Fit
  • versatile

I tried on various hiking shoes that were beginner shoes and they were all extremely uncomfortable. All the salespeople were telling me that the shoe had to fit small or tight in order to climb properly and that the shoes would break in and stretch and eventually stretch and fit my foot like a glove. I thought that was nonsense. Finally a salesperson told me that the belief that smaller was better was now fiction especially since I was a beginner and not going to be doing overhangs or technical climbing.

Read more: La Sportiva Oxygym review (1)

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