Guide to the Best Climbing Shoes (Bouldering/Gym/All Around) 2020

When it comes to rock climbing, a great pair of shoes will make all the difference. Seeming as half of your contact with the rock comes from your feet, you will need to make sure that your shoes are fit for the job. 

The right climbing shoes are crucial to the perfect hold and finding support during a climb. This is where the bulk of your weight and friction is carried, so having the best gear possible is something you just can’t go without. Not to mention,  much of your body’s comfort while climbing comes from your feet. 

Whether you are looking for your first pair of climbing shoes, or are wanting to upgrade to the best out there – take a look at our top climbing shoe reviews below. 

TLDR: Looking for the all-around best climbing shoes? Out of all the products we reviewed, the overall top pair has got to be the Scarpa Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe. These shoes are versatile, comfortable, and incredibly well-built. Whether you are an expert climber or a budding newbie, these shoes will be a smart choice.  

Best Rock Climbing Shoes Reviewed

  1. Scarpa Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe
  2. La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Performative Rock Climbing Shoe
  3. Climb X Gear Red Point Climbing Shoe
  4. Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe
  5. Climb X Crush Lace
  6. Five-Ten Men’s Rogue VCS Climbing Shoe
  7. So iLL The Street Climbing Shoe
  8. Scarpa Men’s Vapor V Climbing Shoe

Rock Climbing Shoes Comparison Table

Climbing ShoesImageBest ForPriceOverallBuy Now
Scarpa Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe



Best All-Around$$$9.5  Check Price
La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Performative Rock Climbing Shoe



Best Intermediate Climbing Shoe$$8  Check Price
Climb X Gear Red Point Climbing Shoe



Best Gym Shoes$7  Check Price
Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe



Most Comfortable$$$8.5  Check Price
Climb X Crush Lace





Best Beginner Shoe$$7  Check Price

Five-Ten Men’s Rogue VCS Climbing Shoe



Most Durable$7  Check Price
So iLL The Street Climbing Shoe



Best Bouldering Shoes$$$8.5  Check Price
Scarpa Men’s Vapor V Climbing Shoe



Best Advanced Climbing Shoe$$$$9  Check Price

Best Bouldering Shoes

Looking for the best shoes for bouldering? We would have to recommend the So iLL Street Climbing Shoe. These shoes have an aggressive profile and tight straps. Combined with tough outer material and a comfy fit, they are the perfect choice for bouldering. 

Best Gym Climbing Shoes

If you focus your climbing on the gym, then be sure to consider the Climb X Gear Red Point Climbing Shoe. These are some of the best indoor climbing shoes thanks to their contoured arch, flexibility, and comfort. They slip on and off easily and are a pleasure to wear on different indoor climbs. 

Best All-Around Climbing Shoe

If you are after a shoe that does it all, then we would have to recommend the Scarpa Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe. These incredibly versatile shoes can suit all kinds of skill levels and climbing styles. Whether you are bouldering, indoor climbing, or scrambling up steep cliffs, these shoes are a wise choice. 

Most Comfortable Climbing Shoes

Comfort is a key factor in any pair of shoes – especially if you use them for rock climbing. Our choice for the most comfortable pair would be the Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe. These lace-up shoes are snug fitting and easily adjustable. This provides plenty of support and comfort for all kinds of feet. 

Best Climbing Shoe Reviews

With so many amazing climbing shoes and gear options out there, choosing the right pair can be a challenge. Here are some of the best products available right now. 

Scarpa Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe

  • 100% textile
  • Synthetic sole
  • Floating power strap for a better fit
  • Highly charged bi-tension active randing

When looking for the best bouldering shoes, Scarpa should always be a top brand to consider. This light and versatile pair of theirs is a great choice for all-round climbing. These shoes utilize a tuned up slipper design to provide the perfect combination of grip, durability, and comfort. 

Any Scarpa climbing shoe reviews will rave about the versatility of these products. Something particularly appealing about these shoes is that they can be utilized in the gym, just as well as outdoors. 

Whether you are bouldering, climbing rocky peaks, or practicing indoors – these shoes offer excellent support and balance. 

Some highlight features include the easy heel hooking Vibram XS grip, the Vibram XS edge in the forefoot, and the mid-length outsole construction. There’s also a useful power snap to help enhance the fit. 

Pros

  • Excellent grip on the heel and forefoot
  • Lightweight to wear
  • Versatile for different climbing situations
  • Super comfortable

Cons

  • Can be difficult to find the right size

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La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Performative Rock Climbing Shoe

  • Leather climbing shoes
  • Fast lacing system
  • Rubber heel rand and rubber soles
  • An indoor/outdoor climbing shoe

This pair by La Sportiva is one of the top climbing shoes for intermediate climbers. The shoe features a smart lacing design that is super easy to slip on and off – allowing for the precise regulation of inner volumes. The foot is snugly wrapped up, while still allowing for maximum movement. 

Although very flexible, these shoes are also incredibly durable. They are made using quality, lasting materials. This includes a rugged rubber heel and super grippy RS rubber soles. These shoes also breathe very well. 

The medium profile makes them a great choice for beginner to mid-level climbers. 

Pros

  • Features a smart lacing harness for added support
  • Versatile – great for the gym and outdoors
  • Durable
  • A great combination of support and comfort

Cons

  • Can be difficult to find the right size

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Climb X Gear Red Point Climbing Shoe

  • Made from fabric and leather
  • Odorless organic hemp footbed
  • Contoured arch
  • Padded ankle cuff

These comfortable shoes are an excellent all-rounder pair that practically any climber can enjoy. Made using quality fabric and leather, the Red Point climbing shoes are durable, grippy, and flexible all in one. 

The contoured arch on these shoes allows for an amazing fit, as well as exceptional climbing performance. There is also a sticky 3D molded heel cup and a padded ankle cuff to help with support while on steep faces. The shoes use a convenient strapping system, to stay tight on your feet.

Pros

  • Soft but still strong
  • A great all-round shoe
  • Good value for money
  • Comfortable and versatile

Cons

  • The shoes are pretty wide – not ideal for narrow feet
  • Not much of an aggressive profile

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Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe

  • Engineered knit technology
  • Neutral, flat last for vertical climbing
  • Soft flex midsole
  • Lace-up shoes

These premium shoes by Black Diamond are a top choice for anyone wanting to take their climbing abilities to the next level. 

The first thing to note about this pair of shoes is the quality materials used to make them. The fabric is of a synthetic knit technology that allows for amazing breathing and strength. There is also a 4.3mm rubber sole – specially molded for ultimate performance. 

The shoes use a lace entry for fit adjustability. You really do get a snug fit with these. They are also ideal for vertical climbing and steep rock faces – thanks to the flat shape and grippy soles. 

Pros

  • Made using quality materials
  • Fits really well
  • Comfortable
  • Great rubber grip

Cons

  • Some people prefer velcro strap shoes

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Climb X Crush Lace

  • Lace up climbing shoe
  • Breathable mesh padded tongue
  • Rubber wrapped sticky heel
  • Padded ankle cuff

These shoes by Climb X are an awesome choice for avid climbers. The shoes are made using durable synthetic material and feature a super grippy rubber sole. 

This material allows for the last longer, as well as breathe really well. The shoes fit tightly with an extensive lace system. This is preffered by many climbers for its snug fit. These shoes offer comfort, grip, and style. The shoes are best suited towards beginner climbers, and can be used in the gym or outdoors. 

Pros

  • Fits really well
  • Made using comfortable materials
  • Breathes well
  • Easy to adjust
  • Very grippy rubber sole and heel

Cons

  • Not a very aggressive profile
  • Not the most advanced climbing shoe

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Five-Ten Men’s Rogue VCS Climbing Shoe

  • 100% leather
  • Heel slingshot rand
  • Rubber sole
  • Reinforced arch

Five Ten is always one of the best climbing shoe brands, and this offering of theirs will keep any climber happy! These shoes are made using quality materials (100% leather climbing shoes) and offer excellent foot support for bouldering or vertical faces. 

The shoes feature a dual hook-and-loop strap closure to keep them tight and comfortable on your feet. There is also a reinforced arch for added support, as well as a solid rubber sole for grip. 

These shoes tick all the boxes that any climber is after. They fit well, are comfortable, and allow for plenty of movement. All-in-all a great shoe for all levels of experience. 

Pros

  • Durable and quality build
  • Great rubber sole
  • Comfortable strapping system
  • Fits pretty easily
  • Versatile for the gym and outdoors

Cons

  • The shoes can stretch a little after use

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So iLL The Street Climbing Shoe

  • Large buckle closures
  • Downturned toe
  • Padded tongue
  • Coated in dark matter rubber

So iLL is known for making some of the best sport climbing shoes, something that can be seen in this product. These shoes are made using a specialized, dark matter rubber. This is an ultra-grippy material developed for use by the Navy Seals. 

One of the first things to notice about these shoes is how the toe box has been crafted. This has been done to work with the heel in order to provide even tension and superior comfort. The shoes are tightened with large buckles and finished with a thinly padded tongue. 

Pros

  • Tight-fitting
  • Made using quality synthetic material
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Great for the gym or outdoor bouldering

Cons

  • The shoes don’t stretch out very much 
  • Sizing can be tricky

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Scarpa Men’s Vapor V Climbing Shoe

  • 100% synthetic
  • Rubber sole
  • Bi-Tension active randing system
  • Split sole for more flexibility

Any serious climbers will know the name Scarpa, as this is always one of the best climbing shoe brands. The Scarpa Men’s Vapor V are some of the best intermediate climbing shoes out there. Thanks to their great edge, comfortable toe feel, and snug heel-fit, these shoes offer everything you need for a successful climb. 

The shoes secure tightly using two straps, and are easily adjustable. The excellent grip is then maintained from the Vibram XS edge. This material doesn’t only respond really well to the rock, but its also extremely durable. 

These shoes are amazingly comfortable, powerful, and flexible. A perfect choice for indoor and outdoor climbers. 

Pros

  • Comfortable and well supported
  • Durable
  • Fits very well
  • Excellent at edging and vertical climbing

Cons

  • Not the most aggressive shoe for bouldering
  • A more expensive pair of climbing shoes

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Climbing Shoes Buyers Guide

Climbing shoes are high-performance items. This means that there are all kinds of different aspects to them that one must consider. Whether you are looking for the best aggressive climbing shoes, bouldering shoes, or gym shoes, you will need to make sure that you choose a pair with the right features. 

Here are some important things to consider when finding the right pair of climbing shoes. 

The Shoe’s  Profile

Climbing shoes can be grouped into three main categories: the neutral profile, moderate profile, and aggressive profile. These profiles, or shoe shapes, are one of the most important buying factors. This will influence how comfortable the shoe feels, as well as its performance. 

A shoe with a neutral profile is great for beginners, or those climbing at lower angled slabs. These shoes are flatter and more symmetrical. Moderate shoe profiles are best suited towards intermediate climbers. These have a more pronounced arc and are more precise for technical climbs. 

Aggressive shoes have a more hooked shape. This allows you to grasp better footholds with your toes. These are more specific performance shoes, most suitable for an advanced rock climber

Lace-Up vs Straps

Another major consideration is how the shoes are secured to your feet. The options are between laces and straps – each with their own pros and cons. 

Lace-up shoes are often more comfortable, and they allow you to be a bit more precise with your fit. However, these shoes are a lot less convenient to take on and off. They can also limit some technical moves (such as toe hooks).

Strap up shoes are most common, as they provide ease of use with comfort. They work really well with aggressive shoes and are common with bouldering. However, they can sometimes limit how tight you want the shoe to fit. 

Material

Climbing shoes are practical items, and so they need to be made from the right materials. Especially if you plan on climbing outdoors a lot, you will need durable shoes that can take the harsh surfaces, rocks, and cracks. 

Some shoes are entirely synthetic, some are leather, and some make a point of placing a lot of focus on rubber. Whichever material you choose, make sure that it will be able to withstand the conditions that you are climbing in. 

Rubber Thickness

Following up from the material used in the shoe, extra attention must be made towards the rubber soles. The thickness of the rubber will greatly influence the performance of the shoe. Harder rubber lasts longer and is better for edging on small holds. Softer rubber is better for smearing on bare rock

Be sure to pay attention to the rubber soles, and figure out what kind of support and flexibility you are after. 

Summary

When it comes to rock climbing, the shoes you wear are one of the biggest influencers of your experience. In a sport where you need to rely on support and friction, the kind of shoes you pick is crucial.

With so many different products out there, choosing the best pair of shoes can be tough. This list covers some of the absolute best options for all kinds of climbers and experience levels. 

We hope that this guide helps you to find the perfect pair of climbing shoes – as this is undoubtedly one of the most important gear considerations in this sport.