A good pair of rock shoes is crucial for climbing performance. Whether it’s your first pair or your 50th, this list has a shoe for you

It’s said that the best climber is the one who’s having the most fun but, no matter what your skill level, our list of the best climbing shoes should help you get the most out of your climbing. Although rock climbing is a complex sport with a long and colourful history, there really is a place for everyone in the great church of climbing, from the seasoned trad climber to the enthusiastic beginner at the local wall. And now that climbing has officially been made an Olympic sport, it’s bound to get more popular than ever.

When buying climbing shoes there are numerous factors to consider. Our roundup includes the best climbing shoes to suit all types of climbing and climbers of all skill levels. Most importantly, it also caters to all budgets, big or small. Before our list of shoe recommendations begins, you’ll find a short buying guide that’ll answer the questions you might have about how to choose the perfect pair of climbing shoes. 

Best climbing shoes: At a glance

Don’t have time to read the full guide? Here are our top picks:

How to choose the best climbing shoes for you

Do you really need special shoes for climbing?

Technically you can go climbing in any shoes you like – but you may not get very far. Climbing shoes use special, grippy types of rubber on the soles, heels and toe areas to assist you in sticking to the wall. Trainers are too clunky for precise foot placements and don’t provide the required grip on angled or blank surfaces. Unlike normal shoes, climbing shoes have firm, stiff midsoles to provide extra support when putting all your weight on small footholds.

Why not just rent shoes?

If you’re just getting into climbing in an indoor setting then you’ll likely start off by renting rock shoes each time you visit the gym. Even if the gym’s hygiene standards are of the highest level it’s still not ideal because those hiring fees will add up over time. It’s actually more cost-efficient to buy a pair of shoes that works for you early on and, provided the fit is right, you’ll have more confidence on the wall too.

Can one pair of climbing shoes do any style of climbing?

There’s no need to splurge on multiple pairs of climbing shoes right away. Finding one pair that you like (and that fits!) is more important. With that said, there are various styles of climbing shoe aimed at different forms of rock climbing. Some shoes are designed with long outdoor climbs in mind, while others are best suited for hard, steep routes or bouldering. There are plenty of all-round climbing shoes out there too, though.

How many types of climbing shoes are there?

Climbing shoes come in three general shapes: flat (or neutral), moderate and downturned (or aggressive). Flat shoes are great beginner shoes and tend to be more comfortable, with a straight last and stiff sole that allows the foot and toes to remain in a neutral position. The toe rubber and sole are thicker than other kinds of climbing shoes.

Moderate shoes, sometimes called intermediate or all-around shoes, have a slightly downturned shape that provides a technical edge over flat shoes. They typically have thinner soles and stickier rubber too.

Finally, downturned shoes are aimed at high-performance and have aggressively cambered toes and high-tension heels for maximum accuracy and power. While excellent for hard climbs they are uncomfortable due to the curved and asymmetrical shape, and the rubber is even thinner so they wear out quickly.

When should you switch from beginner shoes to performance shoes?

A flat or neutral shoe with a thicker sole and toe is ideal for beginners because it takes time to advance your footwork and you’ll burn through lots of rubber in the process. Wearing expensive high-end shoes with thin rubber when starting could get expensive.

Naturally, as you improve you may consider buying more performance-oriented shoes. Then again, plenty of advanced climbers wear flat, comfortable shoes if they’re climbing outdoors all day long. Comfier models also make for excellent ‘burner’ shoes that can be worn during warm-up climbs, before bringing out the big guns.

How does the sizing work for climbing shoes?

Fitting climbing shoes correctly is extremely important although it can be tricky to get it right. Aim for a snug (but not painful) fit that won’t come off or slip around while you climb

A portion of advanced climbers go for the tightest fit possible but this tends to cause discomfort and they’ll usually have to remove the shoes between climbs. When starting out, a comfortable fit is definitely best. Most climbers do not wear socks; going barefoot reduces slippage within the shoe and increases sensitivity on the rock.

Sizing varies wildly between climbing manufacturers. You may find your perfect size with one brand only to find you can’t get your feet into the same size in another. With aggressive, downturned shoes that contort the shape of your foot, sizing can be even more unpredictable. If you need some help, Alpine Trek’s Climbing Shoe Size Guide calculates (roughly) the ideal size for almost any model of climbing shoe based on your normal shoe size.


…are you ready for the best picks of 2022?

The best rock climbing shoes to buy in 2022

1- Best Climbing Boots |

Under Armour Men's UA Micro G Valsetz Climbing Shoe, Black Black Jet Gray, 12 UK
Amazon Echo Dot

Main Highlights

Full-length Micro G foam midsole for the ultimate in long-lasting, responsive cushioning

Anti-fatigue & anti-microbial molded Contoura Support footbed is shock absorbing for all-day comfort

Pull loops on heel & tongue for easy on/off

Welded forefoot overlay & molded TPU toe cap for added protection

Lightweight synthetic leather & textile upper is durable & breathable

2- best climbing shoes for bouldering |

Five Ten Hiangle Climbing Shoes - AW21-11 Black
Amazon Echo Dot

Main Highlights

Stealth C4 rubber outsole

High-friction climbing shoes

Synthetic upper

Elastic slipper with hook-and-loop adjustable strap

Preview Product Rating Price
Five Ten Hiangle Climbing Shoes - AW21-11 Black Five Ten Hiangle Climbing Shoes - AW21-11 Black 18 Customer Reviews £96.00
shoe odour

Concerned about shoe odour when climbing?  why not look into some shoe deodorizers to help? Available in PINK, BLUE, Yellow and Green

3- best climbing shoes for wide feet|

La Sportiva Tarantula, Unisex Adults' Low Top Climbing Shoes, Green / Grey, 9.5 UK (43.5 EU)
Amazon Echo Dot

Main Highlights

High-quality material

Maximum adhesion

Designed for climbers

4- best climbing shoes for beginners |

MILLET Men's Easy UP Climbing Shoe, Multicolour Grey Red 000, 5 UK
Amazon Echo Dot

Main Highlights

Easy up Velcro fastening


5- best climbing shoes for indoor bouldering |

La Sportiva Men's Tarantulace Climbing Shoes, Red, UK9
Amazon Echo Dot

Main Highlights

  • Medium width Fit
  • Lace Up Design

6- best climbing shoes for women |

Millet - Easy Up - Women's Climbing Shoes - Beginner - Polycotton Upper - Blue
Amazon Echo Dot

Main Highlights

Contents: 1x Pair of Millet women’s Easy Up W climbing shoes, Size: 5.5 UK (38 2/3 EU), Colour: Pool Blue

Wraparound sock liner offers an ideal compromise between comfort, Durability and performance thanks to its hemp-lined polycotton upper

Excellent grip/durability ratio thanks to the brand’s historic 4-point Durable Grip rubber, Velcro tightening for precise adjustment and quick on/off

Straight-cut shape and symmetrical sole with generous heel for optimum comfort, Contoured toe for precision climbing

Soft shoes for beginners who want to experience the vertical dimension, Designed for indoor climbing, compatible with outdoor climbing

7- best climbing shoes for narrow feet |

adidas Five Ten Men's Niad VCS Climbing Shoe, Black, UK10
Amazon Echo Dot

Main Highlights

  • Activity: alpine climbing, bouldering, sports climbing
Preview Product Rating Price
adidas Five Ten Men's Niad VCS Climbing Shoe, Black, UK10 adidas Five Ten Men's Niad VCS Climbing Shoe, Black, UK10 3 Customer Reviews £90.00

8- Best Climbing Shoes |

Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes - AW22-9.5 Black
Amazon Echo Dot

Main Highlights

4.3mm rubber is built for durability and molded for optimal consistency and performance

Lace entry for fit adjustability

Neutral, flat last for vertical climbing or all day comfort

Designed as the perfect entry level climbing shoe, this lace up shoe provides ultimate adjustability for all day comfort at the gym or crag

Featuring Engineered Knit Technology for exceptional breathability and our innovative proprietary molded rubber, the Momentum Lace is built for ultimate comfort and excels in performance

Preview Product Rating Price
Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes - AW22-9.5 Black Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes - AW22-9.5 Black 95 Customer Reviews £72.75

9- best climbing shoes for intermediate |

Black Diamond Momentum- Wmn's Climbing Shoes Womens Climbing Shoes UK 8 Black Alloy
Amazon Echo Dot

Main Highlights

Soft flex midsole for added sensitivity and comfort

4.3mm rubber is built for durability and molded for optimal consistency and performance

Two Velcro straps for fit adjustability

Women’s specific last provides customized fit

Neutral, flat last for vertical climbing or all day comfort


* We participate in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For the list of the best climbing shoes, we consider only products that are available on Amazon while the ranking is based on factors such as customer reviews, number of sales and keyword. It is not a climbing shoe test



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