Best Climbing Shoes of 2020 – Complete Reviews With Comparison

Best Climbing Shoes of 2018 - Complete Reviews With Comparison
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Climbing shoes are a fantastic tool to use during your climbs. These work to keep your feet safe while helping you to find the ideal gripping points on rocks and other surfaces.Because of that, it’s important to make sure you get a pair that fit well and work well to suit your needs while climbing.For those who are new to shopping for these kinds of shoes, or haven’t done it for a while, it can be hard to tell which options are going to suit you the best. To provide a little shopping guidance, we’re going to take a look into five popular climbing shoe options.Read on to learn about these great shoes!

Comparison Chart

Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe
Mad Rock Flash 2.0 Climbing Shoe Yellow 10
Butora Unisex Narsha Climbing Shoe
Evolv Men's Defy Climbing Shoes
La Sportiva Tarantula Climbing Shoe
SCARPA Men's Instinct Vs Climbing Shoe
Mad Rock Men's Flash 2.0
Butora Narsha Climbing Shoe
Evolv Men's Defy Shoes
La Sprtiva Men's Tarantula Climbing Shoes
Editor's Rating
4.6 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Feature 1
Includes Vibram x Edge and Vibram x Grip for gripping and heel hooking.
Includes a leather/rubber sole and Syn Flex materials.
Uses a 3D-molded heel.
Uses 4.2mm Trax high friction rubber.
Uses Sticky FriXion to grip easily.
Feature 2
Comes in yellow and orange.
Available in orange and black and yellow and black.
Comes in narrow and wide fits, blue and black, orange and black, and black and blue
Comes in sulphur/black and charcoal colors.
Comes in flame and kiwi colors.
Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe
SCARPA Men's Instinct Vs Climbing Shoe
Editor's Rating
4.6 out of 5 stars
Feature 1
Includes Vibram x Edge and Vibram x Grip for gripping and heel hooking.
Feature 2
Comes in yellow and orange.
Mad Rock Flash 2.0 Climbing Shoe Yellow 10
Mad Rock Men's Flash 2.0
Editor's Rating
4 out of 5 stars
Feature 1
Includes a leather/rubber sole and Syn Flex materials.
Feature 2
Available in orange and black and yellow and black.
Butora Unisex Narsha Climbing Shoe
Butora Narsha Climbing Shoe
Editor's Rating
4.1 out of 5 stars
Feature 1
Uses a 3D-molded heel.
Feature 2
Comes in narrow and wide fits, blue and black, orange and black, and black and blue
Evolv Men's Defy Climbing Shoes
Evolv Men's Defy Shoes
Editor's Rating
4.1 out of 5 stars
Feature 1
Uses 4.2mm Trax high friction rubber.
Feature 2
Comes in sulphur/black and charcoal colors.
La Sportiva Tarantula Climbing Shoe
La Sprtiva Men's Tarantula Climbing Shoes
Editor's Rating
4.4 out of 5 stars
Feature 1
Uses Sticky FriXion to grip easily.
Feature 2
Comes in flame and kiwi colors.

Best CLIMBING SHOES Reviews

1. SCARPA Men’s Instinct Vs Climbing Shoe

Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe

If you’re looking for something effective, bright and easy to notice these are a great option at a higher, but still affordable, cost.

Product Highlights

These shoes are made to be a softer option than some others out there while still allowing you to get an excellent grip. They use Vibram XS rubber to remain flexible and grip well onto the surfaces you’re climbing. That way, you’ll easily be able to rely on them to keep you steady while you’re on the go.

SCARPA, the manufacturer of these shoes, was established way back in 1938 which goes to show that they have spent a lot of time perfecting these shoes. For those who appreciate brightly colored options, these shoes come in orange and yellow and will surely be able to stand out!

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Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe
  • Highly charged bi-tension active randing provides maximum toe power
  • Vibram xs edge in forefoot provides incredible grip and durability
  • Vibram xs grip 2 makes heel hooking simple
  • Mid length outsole construction
  • Floating power strap enhances fit and provides power.Select 1/2 size up.

What’s to like about the SCARPA Men’s Instinct Vs Climbing Shoe

Most customers who have tried out these shoes have found that if they get the perfect size, they are incredibly comfortable and effective. The grip is well-made and allows users to climb more easily, which is great for those who want shoes they can rely on while they’re off the ground.

In addition to that, once you get them broken in they are sure to provide a perfect, comfortable fit. They also don’t tend to require many adjustments that can come with laces and straps on other brands or types of climbing shoes. Overall, these tend to be an option that are well worth the cost.

What’s not to like about the SCARPA Men’s Instinct Vs Climbing Shoe

Generally speaking, customers haven’t had many problems with these shoes but it is possible to experience some discomfort while they are being broken in. Because most climbers want their climbing shoes to provide a fit that is similar to a second skin, it’s important to give them plenty of time to break in properly before climbing with them.

Another issue customers can run into is that the sizing on these shoes can be quite different from the sizing you’ll find with regular shoes. It’s a good idea to make sure you understand the ideal resulting fit for climbing shoes, otherwise you can end up with shoes that get too stretched out.

PROS

  • checkGrip surfaces effectively
  • checkStretch for ideal comfort
  • checkRequire few adjustments

CONS

  • Sizing can be tricky
  • Can be painful
  • May stretch too much

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2. Mad Rock Men’s Flash 2.0

Mad Rock Flash 2.0 Climbing Shoe Yellow 10

If you’re looking for something that may come at a little bit lower cost, these are a great option with a fantastic design.

Product Highlights

When compared to some other climbing shoes out there, these have a little bit more of a simple design. Alongside that, they can also come at a lower cost. That alone makes them a great choice for those who are just getting started in their climbing hobby and need to break into the climbing shoe market.

Furthermore, this option allows you the benefit of a 3D-molded heel in combination with Shock Gel, which can help to avoid pain or injury that can occur due to impact force while climbing. Overall, these are a simple shoe with a lot to offer those who need some extra grip.

Mad Rock Flash 2.0 Climbing Shoe Yellow 10
  • Traditional leather upper has been combined with Synflex, a synthetic stretch material, to offer performance while maintaining a consistent plush fit
  • 3D molded heel to maximize friction
  • Uses Shock Gel to reduce the impact force on the heel
  • Poly-carbonate midsole that gives the Flash 2.0 a consistent and predictable flex
  • Mad Rock

What’s to like about the Mad Rock Men’s Flash 2.0

Many customers who have tried out these shoes have found that the right size gives them the perfect fit. These shoes tend to be tighter than street shoes so many users find they need to select a size larger than what they would normally wear, but with that they get a very snug, comfortable fit.

Furthermore, users typically find that the rubber is well-designed and allows them to grip well as they climb, whether that be inside or outside climbing. It is important to do some research before buying if you’re new to climbing shoes, but with the right size you’ll have the perfect shoe.

What’s not to like about the Mad Rock Men’s Flash 2.0

In a few cases, customers can experience some issues with the sizing. As mentioned earlier, it can be tricky to get the right size in a climbing shoe if you aren’t familiar with how the sizing works.

Furthermore, it can be a good idea to talk to professionals to understand the size you need to order and the fit to look for.

Because of this, some customers have found that they’ve gotten a size that was far too tight. In much rarer cases, customers can find that the shoes break after just a short time wearing them. This is usually due to the material tearing, so be careful if you try them out.

PROS

  • checkComfortable
  • checkSnug-fitting
  • checkExcellent rubber quality

CONS

  • Breakages can occur
  • Sizes run small

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3. Butora Narsha Climbing Shoe

Butora Unisex Narsha Climbing Shoe

At a great middle-of-the-road price, these shoes provide a functional shoe with a quieter tone than some of the others out there.

Product Highlights

Unlike many other climbing shoe options out there, these ones aren’t quite so brightly colored. They often come in mostly black with some blue or red added in. This can make them more appealing to those who may not want bright yellow or orange shoes.

In addition, these are made to offer a reliable heel that will ensure you don’t slip while you are climbing. They’re made from German leather which is made to be high quality, so you’ll be able to trust that they’ll last a long time. The toe is also made to allow for easy toe-hooking.

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Butora Unisex Narsha Climbing Shoe
  • DURABLE AND RELIABLE OUTSOLE - Butora's own NEO Fuse sticky rubber; unique heel and rand system stretching four ways for a fit you can count on - no more heel slippage!
  • HIGH-QUALITY MATERIALS - Superior German leather, Nylon 66 stitching and NEO friction rubber
  • CUSTOMIZIBLE STRAP - Internal NFS strap that allows for all day comfort or extreme precision - customize by tightening the strap
  • SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE - Injection molded full length mid sole with formed arch support and 3D molded heel cup for power transition and superb edging performance
  • FEATURES - Beautifully designed toe cover made for toe hooking

What’s to like about the Butora Narsha Climbing Shoe

Reviewers who have purchased these shoes and tried them out have found that they provide you with a great, stiff toe. This is fantastic for those who tend to do a little more vertical climbing as it can help with making toe-hooking a little bit easier.

Once customers find the correct size, they tend to find that these shoes provide them with a comfortable, snug fit that they are able to easily wear for all of their climbing needs. It’s just a matter of making sure you get the correct size and wear them in well.

What’s not to like about the Butora Narsha Climbing Shoe

There are a couple of things to keep in mind with this specific brand. Sizing can run small in many climbing shoes, but that seems to be even more true for these shoes. Some customers find that they need to purchase shoes up to two sizes larger than their normal street shoes to get a decent fit.

Furthermore, it’s important to remember that there is a break-in period for climbing shoes, in which they can be very uncomfortable. Some customers can find that they end up with blisters and other problems while they are breaking shoes in, but it becomes worth it once they’ve stretched out.

PROS

  • checkStiff toe
  • checkSnug fit
  • checkComfortable

CONS

  • Run very small
  • Discomfort

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4. Evolv Men’s Defy Shoes

Evolv Men's Defy Climbing Shoes

For those on the hunt for some great-looking climbing shoes at an affordable price, these are well worth a look!

Product Highlights

The color scheme on these shoes is fantastic, combining a touch of color without the brightness of the yellows and oranges you often see. Instead, these come in a sulphur/black combination as well as a charcoal coloring option with a touch of green.

In addition, these shoes use a high friction rubber to ensure that you’re able to be comfortable and get a solid grip while you climb. They’re also made with synthetic materials designed to be durable and allow you to get just the fit you need. They also avoid shoelaces so you won’t need to worry about them coming untied.

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Evolv Men's Defy Climbing Shoes
  • Profile: Asymmetrical
  • Upper: Synthetic (perforated Synthratek upper); Lining: Nylon (comfortable and plush)
  • Midsole: MX-P: 1mm sensitive half-length
  • Rand: VTR rand (thick front toe area)
  • Sole: 4.2mm TRAX high friction rubber

What’s to like about the Evolv Men’s Defy Shoes

Sizing can be tricky with climbing shoes, so you may find that you need to try out a few sizes and brands to get the perfect fit. That said, customers who have found their size in these shoes find them to be rather comfortable and efficient once they have broken them in and started climbing.

It is important to keep in mind that climbing shoes are meant to have a snug fit for ideal results. They also come at a price that is very reasonable for those who are into the climbing hobby, which is great for those who may not want to break the bank on a pair of shoes.

What’s not to like about the Evolv Men’s Defy Shoes

There can be some instances where customers can find that these shoes aren’t the most comfortable, even after being broken in. This could be due to having the wrong size, so make sure you’re certain you have the correct sizing for your needs. Some customers have noted that the sizing can run very small on these shoes.

In some other cases, customers can find that they may not offer the best possible grip. This can result in slipping from time to time so you’ll want to make sure to test them in a safe capacity before using them in any serious climbing scenarios.

PROS

  • checkComfortable
  • checkSnug fit
  • checkFit well after breaking in

CONS

  • Can be uncomfortable
  • Sizes run very small
  • May slip easily

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5. La Sportiva Men’s Tarantula Climbing Shoes

La Sportiva Tarantula Climbing Shoe

These shoes come at a great price and provide a great style to keep you looking and feeling great while you climb.

Product Highlights

If you’re looking for the perfect mixture of style, efficiency and cost, these are a great way to go. They provide an adjustable closure that can really help you to get the perfect level of tightness, even if the fit of the shoe is just slightly off. This can really make things a lot easier when it comes to getting the ideal shoes.

Furthermore, these use an unlined leather that keep your feet comfortable. It also allows the shoes to breathe, so you won’t have to deal with sweaty feet.

The materials used are also meant to be very durable so that you can rely on these shoes for years before you need new ones.

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La Sportiva Tarantula Climbing Shoe
  • Comfortable fit with low asymmetry
  • Ideal for all around climbing
  • Unlined leather upper for moisture management and super comfortable for all day wear
  • RL45 last
  • Midsole: 1.8mm laspoFlex

What’s to like about the La Sportiva Men’s Tarantula Climbing Shoes

To begin with, these shoes come with a nice design. The adjustable fit also helps with keeping them in place while you climb.

Typically, users find that they also offer a snug and comfortable fit, which is very important when you’re climbing for hours at a time.

Many also find that these shoes offer a decent grip, which is a necessary addition for any good climbing shoe. The price also makes these a solid option for those who are just getting into the market; just make sure to do your research before making a purchase.

What’s not to like about the La Sportiva Men’s Tarantula Climbing Shoes

There are a few concerns some customers have had while trying out these shoes. The first is that they might run a bit larger than expected by many customers, resulting in them not being the best option for climbing with, as climbing shoes are meant to have a snug fit.

Others can find that the heel angle on these shoes is too steep to be comfortable, which might become a problem for some customers. A few have also found that due to their design, these shoes may not be the ideal choice for more vertical routes, but work well for those that are less intense.

PROS

  • checkSnug and comfortable
  • checkSecure
  • checkGreat grip

CONS

  • Steep heel angle
  • May run large
  • Not ideal for more intense routes

La Sportiva Tarantula Climbing Shoe

BUYER’S GUIDE

While you’re shopping for climbing shoes, there are some features you’ll want to consider. These include the type, fit considerations, brand and sizing, whether the shoes have Velcro, laces or are a slipper-style and other variables that may determine the type of shoe you need.

Type

There are a few different kinds of climbing shoes out there, which can offer different benefits. These can include aggressive designs, those that are more moderate, and some neutral options. This type is going to depend on your skill level and the intensity that may come with your climbing.

Fit Considerations

Many of these shoes can run with a snug fit, so customers often find that their size in climbing shoe may be different from their street shoe size. When it comes to climbing shoes, you will want something snug so that you can have more control over the shoe while climbing.

Brand and Sizing

In addition to the differences between the fit of a climbing shoe and a normal shoe, you’ll also need to consider the specific sizes offered by various brands. If you can, stop by a local sporting goods store to get an idea of how the different brands fit, as it can help you with figuring out the brand and size you prefer.

Laces, Velcro, and Slipper

Using laces tends to offer you the highest level of versatility because you’ll be able to tighten or loosen those laces as needed. However, laces can be annoying if they come undone or get in the way.

Velcro offers a little bit less versatility, although you’ll still be able to adjust them. Slippers won’t provide versatility, but you’ll be less likely to have to worry about them coming loose.

Climbing Shoe Variables

There are a number of variables to think about while you’re shopping for climbing shoes. Your skill level is going to matter, as well as where you’ll be climbing. Some shoes may be more suited to rock, and others to the plastic or rubber surfaces of indoor climbing walls.

Climbing Shoe FAQs

What Climbing Shoes To Buy

To find this out, you’ll need to think about the kinds of paths you’ll be on. How intense or vertical are they? Will they be indoors or outdoors? These are all great things to consider while shopping.

If you’re new to shopping for these kinds of shoes, then talking to a professional about your needs is a fantastic idea.

How To Stretch Climbing Shoes

To stretch out your shoes accurately, you’ll have to first wear them a bit. While you’re working on breaking in your shoes it might be a good idea to hold off on more challenging climbs and stick to easier, safer routes until they are broken in.

Also, try not to keep the shoes on for too long at a time because they may start to cause blisters or other damage that is better to avoid.

What Are Rock Climbing Shoes

These are shoes that are specifically made for the climbing hobby. They can help to provide more control, comfort and grip for those who are climbing. This is especially important when climbing tall, dangerous surfaces.

They often have designs that are very different from street shoes, as they are made for more vertical climbing rather than typical walking on flat surfaces.

How To Break In Climbing Shoes

Breaking in climbing shoes can be quite an endeavor, so it’s important to do it carefully. Try to only wear the shoes for shorter periods of time to avoid too much damage to your feet, and use easier paths to ensure you’re safe until they are fully broken in.

Do keep in mind that unlike with typical shoes, it is pretty normal to have climbing shoes be uncomfortable until they are broken in.

How To Size Climbing Shoes

This can really depend on the shoes themselves. You will want to make sure that you have a snug fit, so in many cases that can mean moving a size downward from your typical street shoes. This can require that you spend some time breaking the shoes in for the most comfort and safety.

Talking to those who are more experienced in climbing, or a professional in a store can really help you to get an idea of what you need.

WRAPPING UP

In this list, SCARPA Men’s Instinct Vs Climbing Shoes hold the top spot. They combine convenience, capability and cost into one perfect package.

Their design is fantastic, they have a great grip and many customers find them to be very comfortable once they’re broken in.

That said, the others on this list certainly aren’t far behind. They have all received some fantastic praise, making them well worth a look for those in need of a solid pair of climbing shoes. Enjoy your climbing shoe shopping!

Don’t forget to also read our article on the “Best Climbing Shoes For Beginners“.

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