Best Women’s Rock Climbing Shoes | Reviews & Guide

When it comes to choosing the right pair of rock climbing shoes, the decision isn’t always clear cut; there aren’t always a lot of options available to try on in stores, and buying online without trying the shoes on can feel riskier than it needs to be. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a shoe for your needs. How do you know what to look for?

Have no fear; that’s what this guide is here for. This is a list of the best women’s climbing shoes to help you make a decision that works for you based on the different factors of what it takes to be a supportive rock-climbing shoe.

What to Look for in Women’s Climbing Shoes

As mentioned, several factors go into choosing a shoe that fits your needs and preferences. Here is a list of some of the elements of what you need to consider when shopping for climbing shoes:

Level of Experience

The amount of rock climbing experience you have may not seem that important when you’re choosing your rock climbing shoes, but it is. When you’re first starting with rock climbing, you’re using muscles in your feet that you wouldn’t typically use when walking.

At the same time, you are still learning and working on strengthening those unused muscles. The shoes you buy as a beginner should be catered more towards comfort and support.

Expected Level of Use

This factor goes hand-in-hand with experience. If rock climbing is something you do casually, or only a few times a year, you should focus on a comfortable and supportive shoe—shoe that will get through the excursions. If you go rock climbing every weekend, you’ll want to invest in a comfortable shoe, offers support in the right places, is durable, and is designed to make climbing easier for you.

Durability

As mentioned in the beginning, choosing the right rock climbing shoe can be a hassle. If you’re going to go through the motions of researching and finding the right shoes for you, you’re not going to want to replace them every other month. Making sure your shoes are built from materials made to last is step one.

Support and Comfortability

Your feet go through a lot when you’re rock climbing. Not only are you engaging muscles you don’t often use, but you’re shoving your feet into tight spaces—not to mention when you’re in the middle of climbing, you’re not always able to take a break to rest your feet.

The constant engagement is challenging on your feet, so make sure you’re looking for shoes that are comfortable and provide the proper support for rock climbing.

Grip

Whether you’re climbing a rock wall or a mountain, you will want to buy climbing shoes with the best grip. This not only makes getting onto footholds easier but makes it safer for you to climb. The last thing you want when climbing is to have your feet slipping off a foothold, possibly leading to injury or a bad fall.

Size and Fit

The way your shoe fits is critical in the world of rock climbing. When you’re looking for a shoe, you’ll want to be choosing one that fits as close to your foot as is comfortably possible. Remember: the goal isn’t to cut off your circulation or rearrange your feet, but to stop slippage, which can lead to blisters or your shoe slipping off.

You may need to experiment a bit with sizes until you find what works best for you. Your regular shoe size may be 1-1.5 sizes too large in rock climbing shoe sizes.

A lot of climbing shoes run smaller than standard shoe sizing, so be sure you understand the sizing measurements in comparison to standard sizing. Some brands’ shoes run half a size or a full size smaller than the standard size (e.g. a UK 7 may feel more like a UK 6-6.5). This is something to keep in the back of your mind—especially if you are looking to buy shoes online.

Materials

Your feet are one of the main exit points for heat inside your body. Your feet collect a lot of heat—especially when you’ve been exercising.  As such, you will want to look for shoes made with breathable materials to help release some of that heat while still offering the perfect amount of protraction needed.

Lace-Ups vs Velcro

This factor is mostly up to your personal preferences and climbing style. Velcro closures make it faster and easier for you to slide your shoes on or off, while lace-ups are more time-consuming. However, lace-up shoes allow you to adjust the fit along your foot and make for a better, more comfortable overall fit.

Laces also make it easier for you to adjust your shoes during breaks or resting points if your feet are starting to swell. If you’re doing long term excursions, being able to loosen your shoes at any point during your climbs can be an asset worth having.

These are just some of the main factors that determine the best shoe for you, but other factors you might want to consider include climbing style and personal preferences, which differ on a person-to-person basis.

Women’s Rock Climbing Shoes: Top Picks

Now that you know where to start, it’s time to start looking at products. Without further ado, here are the top picks for rock climbing shoes for women.


1) SAGUARO Unisex Barefoot Shoes

The SAGUARO Barefoot shoe is designed to feel like you are barefoot, making for a better fit while still having the right amount of support for climbing, hiking, or running.

The gum rubber soles allow for great grip onto the foothold while you are climbing, and the laces allow you to adjust the shoes to best fit your feet.

Pros
  • “Barefoot” fit means the shoe is catered to your foot
  • Lace-ups make adjusting the fit easy
  • Waterproof
  • Gum rubber sole makes for better grip
Cons
  • Thinner material not as durable

2) La Sportiva Women’s Tarantulace Climbing Shoes

The La Sportiva Tarantulace climbing shoe is a great shoe for beginning rock climbers. The rubber compound in the soles and edging makes the shoes very durable and makes it easier for you to grip onto the footholds.

La Sportiva Women's Tarantulace Woman Turquoise Climbing...
  • FAST LACING SYSTEM - Quick-pull lacing harness allows for precise...
  • ALL-AROUND PERFORMANCE - Designed to help intermediate climbers...
  • CLIMB IN COMFORT - From the gym to the crags, the classic unlined...
  • BUILT TO LAST - This indoor/outdoor climbing shoe is constructed...
  • TIPS FOR BUYING - Rock climbing shoes are designed to fit...

The leather outer material and the lined tongue allow for moisture absorption and better breathability to help keep your feet cool and cry. The harness lace-up system allows you to customise the fit to your feet better than the typical Velcro closing.

Pros
  • Rubber compound edging and sole allows for great grip and durability
  • Lace harnessing allows for better control over the fit of the shoe
  • Lined tongue allows for moisture absorption
  • Best for entry-level climbers
Cons
  • Sizes run small
  • Bulkier design not good for a tighter foothold

3) Scarpa Women’s Helix WMN Climbing Shoe-W

The Scarpa Helix WMN climbing shoe offers great support during any type of climbing. The laces stop lower than the average shoe, allowing for a better overall fit and giving you more control on tightness throughout your whole foot.

Scarpa Women's Helix WMN Climbing Shoe-W
  • Passive randing offers classic performance
  • Vibram xs edge provides incredible grip and durability
  • Flat lasted construction delivers all-day comfort and performance
  • Light heel cup cushioning enhances all day wear
  • To-the-toe lacing enhances all-day fit and adjustability

The Vibram rubber edging allows for a better grip on footholds, and the pointed toe allows you to get your footing in tighter spaces. The shoe has extra cushioning in the heel cup region to allow for a more comfortable and supportive fit for your heels and ankles.

Pros
  • Flat sole offers superior support
  • Lace-up shoe allows for bespoke fit
  • Vibram edging allows for better grip
  • Extra padding for more comfortable full day wear
Cons
  • Sizes run small
  • Narrow toe box uncomfortable for wider feet

4) CLIMBX Rave NLV Women’s Performance Rock Climbing Shoes

The CLIMBX Rave shoes are a great set for beginners or casual climbers. The flexible leather with extra inner padding allows for the extra comfort and support that you need as you’re training your feet and strengthening the muscles in the midsole region. The downward point of the toe makes it easy to latch on to footholds and allows you to get your footing on the smaller crevices.

CLIMBX Rave NLV Green Women's Performance Rock Climbing Shoe...
  • New Model 2019---The Ideal Rock Climbing Shoe for Women
  • Padded Collar and Heel for Comfort.
  • outer_material: Leather
  • closure_type: Lace Up

The sizes do run smaller than standard sizing, so you should be looking to purchase 1-1.5 sizes larger than your regular street shoe size.

Pros
  • Padded collar adds extra comfort and support on heels and ankles
  • Pointed toe makes it easier to latch on to footholds
  • Sturdy leather outer material for durability
  • Mesh tongue for breathe-ability
Cons
  • Sizes run small
  • Wide toe not suitable for those with wider feet

5) Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes – SS21

Black Diamond’s Momentum climbing shoes have a flexible sole, so the support points adjust as you move your feet. The adjustable support system makes climbing easier on your feet, no matter which muscles you’re using.

Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoe - Men's Ash 5
  • Upper Material: Engineered Knit Technology
  • Closure: hook-and-loop
  • Midsole: soft flex
  • Rubber: NeoFriection (4.3mm)
  • Last: flat

The knit outer material makes the shoes softer, pliable, and more comfortable overall. The double Velcro straps help keep the shoe to your foot and give you some of the same adjustability that lace-up shoes allow.

The shoe’s pointed toes make them a great fit for climbs with smaller or more challenging footholds. The rubber soles and edging allow for a good grip while climbing. The shoe size runs small, so you should be looking to get at least one size up from your typical street shoe size.

Pros
  • Velcro closure make shoes easy to slip on
  • Flexible midsole offers support where you need it
  • Wide range of sizes available
  • Pointed toe great for smaller footholds
Cons
  • Sizes run small
  • Narrow style not suited for wider feet

6) ALPIDEX Leather Climbing Shoes

The ALPIDEX Leather Climbing shoe offers your feet the protection and grip benefits of leather, with a rubber sole for easy climbing. The lace-up design helps you customise the feet to your specific foot shape, making for a better overall fit and more comfortable design.

ALPIDEX Leather Climbing Shoes with Laces for Women and Men,...
  • ? Alpidex unites every aspects which make a climbing shoe...
  • ? Made of leather, the tongue is lined and thanks to the lacing...
  • ? Application: Allround climbing, indoor climbing and bouldering
  • ? This shoe has no pretension * non-slip rubber sole guarantees...
  • ? Closure: Lacing * Colour: Black/White * Sizes: UK 3,5 - 13,5...

The shoe offers great support and is a good fit for beginners while they train the muscles in their feet in their early climbing stages.

Pros
  • Leather edging offers better grip and protection
  • Lace-up allows you to tighter shoe where it is needed to fit closer to the foot, loosen where it feels too tight, etc.
  • Downward curve of toe allows the foot to latch on to foothold
  • Good shoe for beginners learning to train their feet
Cons
  • Limited size range
  • Sizes run small

7) Shark 2.0 Kletterschuhe

Mad Rocks’ Shark 2.0 is a beautifully designed rock climbing shoe. The shoe features an asymmetrical design, rubber soles, and a Velcro closure. The shoe offers a snug fit, making it great for rock climbing, as you do not have to worry about the shoe slipping off.

Mad Rock Shark 2.0 Climbing Shoes Black/Orange Shoe Size EU...
  • Closure: Velcro
  • Pretension: Strong pretension
  • Asymmetry,: Moderate asymmetrical
  • Climbing claims: Velcro Terex Perten
  • Down turn: with down turn
Pros
  • Fits snug to foot
  • Excellent gripping capabilities
  • Asymmetrical design to fit in tight spaces
Cons
  • Limited size range
  • Sizes run small
  • Can be difficult to put on

8) MILLET Women’s Ld Rock Up Climbing Shoes

The MILLET Rock Up Climbing shoes are lace-up climbing shoes with a gum rubber sole, designed for a close-to-foot feel, making them less bulky and easy to climb in. The materials are lightweight while still offering protection with rubber toe reinforcements.

MILLET Women's Ld Rock Up Climbing Shoes, Multicolour (Metal...
  • Straight axis, wide base for better support
  • Unlined leather upper for a close to the foot feel. 3D mesh...
  • Reinforced rubber toe protection
  • Effective lacing
  • 4PointsGripDurable Eraser Very Durable
Pros
  • Axis is straight with a wide base, making for better support
  • Four Point Grip system to better footing
  • Sizes range from UK 3.5-8.5
  • Mesh tongue for a more breathable feel
  • Leather edging for better grip and protection
Cons
  • Medium width not good for those with wider feet
  • Lace-up shoes can be a hassle

In Conclusion: The Best Women’s Climbing Shoes

With so many different brands and shoe types available, finding the best women’s climbing shoes can be a difficult task. While some of the factors that go into your purchasing decisions are up to personal preferences, others are clear cut for everyone.

As long as you’re paying attention to the sizing and fit of your shoes, the durability, grip, and overall support and comfort of the shoes you’re buying, you will be in good shape to choose the right shoe for you.

Remember: the overall goal for your rock climbing shoes is for them to have the right fit while still being comfortable and supportive. Investing in the right shoes makes your rock climbing experience safer and less harsh on your feet.


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