Best rock climbing shoes for beginners
Beginner rock climber and ready to invest in some shoes? Congratulations!
You’re about to have an amazing new look at life.
Buying rock climbing shoes can be really scary if you’re not sure what to look for. But never fear, that’s why Single Geared is here!
In this guide we’re going to dive deep into what kind of shoes to look for, materials, and costs and then we’ll compare some of the best rock climbing shoes for beginners. If you just want to jump to those, click here.
What kind of shoes to look for
If you’re just starting out, you might be confused by all the types of shoes out there:
You might not even know what all those terms mean, but when you get to the rack of shoes at your local REI you probably stand there, a bit dumbfounded.
So let us make a direct recommendation:
Find a shoe that has a neutral to flat sole, with velcro, that is made for sport (ie roped) climbing)
At this point, you are looking for a comfortable shoe that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg that lets you get started. Because you’re not yet sure what brand of shoe fits your foot best, you should get velcro because it allows for easier on/off when you get down from a climb or are getting ready for your next attempt.
The most popular beginner climbing shoes at this point are:
Climbing shoes come in many different materials. When you’re a beginner you want something light and malleable. When you get a bit more experience, then you can optimize your type of shoe and find what works best for you.
The common materials are:
At the beginning, you should get shoes made out of synthetic because they are cheaper than leather shoes. While leather shoes will last a lot longer, they also take longer to break in and often do not have the needed support for activities like bouldering.
Thus, get a synthetic shoe that breaks in easily and lets you try all the types of climbing.
Fit is the Achilles heel of climbing shoes. Let’s be honest – climbing shoes are not comfortable.
A climbing shoe should fit snug, but not make your toes go number (unless you specifically want this for the precision). It should not slip off your heel while on, and your toes should be a bit pushed against the front but not smashed.
After all, you need to be able to put pressure on your toes without being in extreme pain! Trust me, pain in your toes while climbing is zero fun and will severely limit your enjoyment of climbing if you experience it.
Climbing shoe costs
Beginner climbing shoes cost anywhere from $35-$80, though you can definitely pay more. The Evolv Defy starts around $50 and ends around $89 at the high end (I believe I paid around $60 when I bought my pair back in the day), while the Oxygym (which is the rental shoe of choice at most gyms now) starts around $53.
Climbing shoe care
One mistake that a lot of beginners make is not caring for their shoes well. There are a few things to keep in mind:
- Never put your just-worn shoes back into your bag. Hang them off your bag so they can air and dry out without breaking down the leather.
- Use your hands to wipe chalk off the toes and heels of your shoes so they grip better.
- If your shoes are leather, oil them from time to time to keep the leather from cracking.
These are our top picks for climbing shoes for beginners:
|La Sportiva Oxygym||$49.00||Link|
|Mad Rock Flash 2.0||$69.00||Link|