Ready for the most comfortable, exciting climb ever? With the right men’s climbing shoes, you can fall in love with climbing all over again. Check out the newest shoe designs and the tried-and-true favourites of men’s climbing shoes that will keep you going, no matter how long or short your climb is.
Investing in climbing shoes may be the best thing you do before your next outing. They provide support and security to keep you safe and improve your performance, but how do you know which ones are best for you? This article reviews some of the best men’s climbing shoes on the market and provides insight on how to pick the ideal pair for your next climb!
- Best Men’s Climbing Shoes Reviewed
- What to Look For in Men’s Climbing Shoes
Best Men’s Climbing Shoes Reviewed
Let’s take a look at our top choices for the best men’s climbing shoes.
1) Scarpa Instinct VS
If you’re looking for bouldering shoes, look no further than the Scarpa Instinct VS. With a moderate downturn and velcro closure, you can get all the control you need without sacrificing the sensitivity.
To improve the cost, the Scarpa Instinct VS uses a synthetic upper versus natural leather. Along with cutting down the cost a little bit, this prevents the safety risks that come with stretched material.
With the synthetic Lorica synthetic leather, the Scarpa Instinct VS has a strong grip on the moderately curved sole. This makes it one of the best men’s climbing shoes for sport climbing that you can choose.
With a built-in system that makes them especially sensitive to small features, you can scale everything from verticals to overhangs with the Scarpa Instinct VS., and because of the structure of the shoe, your big toe won’t feel so much pressure and pain.
Love to challenge yourself? With the built-in system within the shoe structure plus the Lorica synthetic rubber to avoid stretched material and the grippy toe, you’ll be able to scale those tricky, challenging routes that you’re dreaming of with the Scarpa Instinct VS.
2) La Sportiva Katana Lace
One of the top products on the market, La Sportiva’s Katana climbing shoes are versatile enough to work for most climbs. Like other La Sportiva shoes on this list, the Katanas embrace cutting-edge technology to improve your climb.
The first climbing shoe to use tubular construction, Katanas perform more like a lined shoe without compromising comfort. Factor in the Vibram® XS Edge™ technology, and you can expect more power and sensitivity.
To improve fit and increase power, the Katanas have a Lorica® lacing harness and toebox. Plus, the breathable tongue helps with moisture control for maximum comfort while climbing.
3) La Sportiva Miura VS
Arguably one of the best men’s climbing shoes on the market is the La Sportiva Miura VS. Whether you’re planning a multi-day climbing journey or just a day on the rock wall, the La Sportiva Miuras can hold up. They are a high-performance option that will be there through the long haul.
- Climbing Gear > Climbing Shoes > Sport Climbing > Men's
Combining a hook-and-loop closure with the hooked, aggressive curl of the sole, these are definitely shoes for the more serious climber. Because of the curve of the sole and the reinforced toes, you can comfortably hook the smallest holds and pockets.
With a slip-lasting construction, you’ll be able to master your performance and improve your flexibility. The encouraging thing is that you can resole these shoes when you need to, meaning they could be a lifelong investment you make into your climbing.
If you find yourself frequently experiencing fatigue in your feet and calves, you might consider making the change to the La Sportiva Miuras. The forefeet have a 1.1mm Laspoflex midsole that will ease up the tension in your feet without losing the control you need to conquer your next wall.
4) Evolv Supra
If you prefer technical climbing, you may want to check out the Evolv Supra climbing shoes. They may not look as advanced as some of the others on this list, but these shoes deliver, especially during technical face climbs.
- Upper Material: Synthratek VX (synthetic)
- Lining: cotton
- Closure: hook-and-loop straps
- Midsole: MX-P (1.6mm)
- Rubber: Trax (4.2mm)
These shoes seamlessly blend comfort and performance with vegan-friendly synthetic uppers and a unique, slightly cambered asymmetric design. Designed to deliver maximum support, the Supras also use a Velcro closure for enhanced breathability and easy on and off wear.
The Supras use a Variable Thickness Rand (VTR) system, meaning they have thin rubber areas to reduce pressure points and thicker spots in high wear zones to improve durability. Additionally, the Trax® XE edging rubber improves balance and performance.
5) Black Diamond Aspect
For traditionalists, the Black Diamond Aspect offers decent performance and comfort in an affordable, durable shoe. It looks and feels like a traditional climbing shoe, so expect excellent edging, comfort, and sensitivity with a compromise on some of the modern technology.
- Neutral, flat last for all day cragging comfort4.3mm rubber is...
- edgesHighest grade European leather upperUnisex
With so many choices on the market using advanced technology to improve climbing shoes, it may be difficult to embrace something more traditional. However, Aspects provide impressive support with enough flexibility to take edges with ease.
Though Black Diamond makes several beginner climbing shoes, the Aspects mark the designers foray into premium designs. The stiff sole offers immense support without sacrificing sensitivity, a unique accomplishment for such a traditional design.
Like other traditional climbing shoes, expect Black Diamond’s Aspect to perform well in most situations, especially cracks. The toes also work well in small spots, and you don’t have to deal with the traditional, high-top upper that can irritate people with Achilles pain.
6) La Sportiva Genius
The La Sportiva Genius has been touted as one of the most advanced men’s climbing shoes on the market. Great for both sport climbing and bouldering, it seems like La Sportiva Genius’s secret is the No-Edge technology.
- Designed for climbers
- Maximum adhesion
- High quality material
With No-Edge technology, you retain the sensitivity you need to scale walls of all sizes and difficulties. Rather than catching onto holds by the edge, you do what La Sportiva calls “smedging” – a sort of combination between smearing and edging.
The “smedge” is only possible thanks to the No-Edge technology. And with it, you’ll find yourself feeling like Spider-Man as you stick to the wall and scale your way up. The price is high for this pair of men’s climbing shoes, but you’re definitely getting what you pay for: the chance to be faster, stronger, and better.
What to Look For in Men’s Climbing Shoes
It can be challenging to choose the best climbing shoe to meet your needs, especially since there are so many things to consider. From foot shape to the type of climbing you do, your experience with a pair of shoes could differ from other climbers you know, rendering their suggestions useless. As you shop for new climbing shoes, it helps to consider the following things.
Choosing the right shoe type for the climbing you prefer is possibly the best thing you can do for your feet. Some shoes may be more versatile than others and accommodate multiple settings, but some general rules help you narrow the field.
Neutral Climbing Shoes
Neutral shoes work well for all-day wear, tend to be more comfortable and have flat profiles. They make excellent choices for beginners, but some advanced climbers appreciate the comfort with extended wear.
That said, neutral shoes may not work for overhanging routes and lack the sensitivity you get with thinner soles.
Moderate Climbing Shoes
Moderate shoes work best for technical climbing, but they tend to be versatile enough to manage most scenarios. You can identify moderate types by the slightly down-turned profile, known as camber.
Expect moderate climbing shoes to feel more comfortable than aggressive types but less comfortable than neutral designs. With thinner soles and stickier rubber than neutral shoes, you get a better grip and sensitivity as you climb.
Aggressive Climbing Shoes
If you see shoes with noticeably downturned toes and heel tension, you can bet they are aggressive climbing shoes. Most of them also have an asymmetrically shaped toebox with curvature toward the big toe for increased precision in smaller holds.
Aggressive climbing shoes have thin soles and stickier rubber to provide a better grip and feel during a climb. They work best for shorter climbs because they aren’t especially comfortable for all-day use. Note that the thinner sole means aggressive types wear out faster.
Like any shoe you wear, climbing shoes can use different materials that can impact durability, care, weight, and odours. It’s important to consider your options and make sure you choose materials that work for you.
- Unlined leather is stretchable enough that you may need to go down at least one shoe size to ensure proper fit. Unfortunately, you may get some colour bleed on your foot.
- Lined leather protects your feet from bleeding colours, but you get far less stretch, and sometimes manufacturers only line the toes.
- Synthetic materials have limited stretch but do soften up over time for a comfortable fit. Some synthetics offer impressive breathability and possibly sweat-wicking properties.
It would be unfortunate to lose a shoe mid-climb, but you also don’t want something that cuts off circulation in your foot. Choosing the best shoe closure for you could solve both issues.
- Lace-up shoes allow you to make adjustments to fit your feet properly, and you can even loosen them as your feet swell.
- Hook-and-loop closures involve straps for the most convenient on-and-off option.
- Slip-on shoes, sometimes known as slippers, usually provide superior sensitivity and have the lowest profile, making them excellent for tight spots.
The rubber part that touches the climbing surface can significantly impact your performance and experience. Each shoe uses a unique combination of rubber and thickness, so it helps to know the terms and standards.
Rubber can be firmer or stickier depending on the shoe type. Stickier rubbers appear on aggressive shoe types and wear down faster but provide superior grip.
Outsole thickness varies less than you might think, but even the slightest alteration can impact performance. Thick soles (4 mm to 5.5 mm) provide more support and durability but less sensitivity. Thin soles (3 mm to 4 mm) work best for experienced climbers.
Shoe Fit Tips
It’s important to try on climbing shoes in various sizes to find a proper fit. Climbing shoes should fit snugly without pinching anywhere. Remember that your feet swell during a climb, but you don’t want a lot of dead space in the toebox.
Climbing shoes provide support and protection for climbers in all settings, but choosing the best option isn’t always easy. Consider the type of climb you prefer, the materials, and how the shoe fits your foot. Hopefully, this guide helps you find the best men’s climbing shoes for you!
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