The Best Rock Climbing Shoes For Beginners To Get Started

Rock climbing is an adventurous activity that is not only fun, but a great way to stay fit. While some people think rock climbing is only meant for daredevils, that is just not the case. There are a lot of everyday people that enjoy climbing. Okay, so it might be everyday people who like to have a little extra shot of adrenaline, but that is okay.  Having the best rock climbing shoes for beginners is one of the gear essentials to get you started.

Rock climbing shoes are designed to conform to the shape of the climber’s foot. While the uppers can be made of leather or synthetic materials, the real star of the show when it comes to rock climbing shoes is the climbing rubber that makes up the soles of the shoes. Another trademark design feature for theses shoes is very little padding. The idea is to create a shoe that feels naturally formed to your feet, give great support when climbing, and a very smooth yet sticky rubber sole. Let’s face it when your rock climbing, you want something that is going to stick like white on rice and isn’t going to slide around on your feet. To help with this, climbing shoes are manufactured so the toe box is downward-pointing, instead of straight. The design of the toe box increases the climber’s ability to stand on small holds and pockets. The flip side is that they are not as comfortable as traditional athletic shoes.

As a beginning rock climber, we suggest you stay away from overly aggressive shoes. Beginner rock climbing shoes should be flatter or more neutral as opposed to the sharply curved aggressive arch. While you are learning to rock climb, you need a pair of shoes that work well at gripping, but you also need to be comfortable while climbing. Aggressive shoes will have your feet screaming in no time, which will be a distraction. Beginner shoes typically have a slightly stiffer sole. Learning to climb takes time and you want a pair of shoes that work with you, not against you as you learn.

Our Top Pick For The Best Rock Climbing Shoes For Beginners

Our pick for the best rock climbing shoes for beginners is the La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoes.

best rock climbing shoes for beginners top pick

The La Sportiva TarantuLace is a great pair of beginners’ rock climbing shoes with all-around performance. We really like the fast lacing system and the way it makes the shoe fit snuggly on your feet. It has an aggressive heal and their sticky FriXion RS rubber soles give you just the grip you are looking. The shoes are well designed and allow you to climb in comfort. You can see our full review below.

 

Rock Climbing Shoes Comparison Table

You can see our comparison table of the top 6 rock climbing shoes for beginners. Our list included men’s, women’s, and kid’s shoes. They also contain lace style shoes and strap style shoes. We believe all the shoes included in our review are a solid choice for shoes.

Preview
Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe 2018 (12.5, Red)
Best
La Sportiva Men's Tarantulace Rock Climbing Shoes, Black/Poppy, 34.5
Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe - Men's Ash 5
Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe - Men's Black/Gray 7
La Sportiva Kids' Stickit Rock Climbing Shoes, Chili/Poppy, 26/27
BUTORA Women's Endeavor Crimson - Wide Fit, Color: Crimson, Size: 4 (ENDE-CRIM-WF-W-4)
Rock Climbing Shoes
Climb X Rave Strap
La Sportiva Men's TarantuLace
Black Diamond Mens Momentum
Evolv Defy
La Sportiva Kids' Stickit
BUTORA Women's Endeavor
Manufacturer
ClimbX
La Sportiva
Black Diamond
Evolv
La Sportiva
Butora
Rating
Reviews
345 Reviews
509 Reviews
162 Reviews
84 Reviews
61 Reviews
43 Reviews
Style
Strap
Lace
Lace
Strap
Lace
Strap
Price
$59.95
$85.00
$89.95
$89.00
$48.00
$99.90
Preview
Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe 2018 (12.5, Red)
Rock Climbing Shoes
Climb X Rave Strap
Manufacturer
ClimbX
Rating
Reviews
345 Reviews
Style
Strap
Price
$59.95
More Details
Best
Preview
La Sportiva Men's Tarantulace Rock Climbing Shoes, Black/Poppy, 34.5
Rock Climbing Shoes
La Sportiva Men's TarantuLace
Manufacturer
La Sportiva
Rating
Reviews
509 Reviews
Style
Lace
Price
$85.00
More Details
Preview
Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe - Men's Ash 5
Rock Climbing Shoes
Black Diamond Mens Momentum
Manufacturer
Black Diamond
Rating
Reviews
162 Reviews
Style
Lace
Price
$89.95
More Details
Preview
Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe - Men's Black/Gray 7
Rock Climbing Shoes
Evolv Defy
Manufacturer
Evolv
Rating
Reviews
84 Reviews
Style
Strap
Price
$89.00
More Details
Preview
La Sportiva Kids' Stickit Rock Climbing Shoes, Chili/Poppy, 26/27
Rock Climbing Shoes
La Sportiva Kids' Stickit
Manufacturer
La Sportiva
Rating
Reviews
61 Reviews
Style
Lace
Price
$48.00
More Details
Preview
BUTORA Women's Endeavor Crimson - Wide Fit, Color: Crimson, Size: 4 (ENDE-CRIM-WF-W-4)
Rock Climbing Shoes
BUTORA Women's Endeavor
Manufacturer
Butora
Rating
Reviews
43 Reviews
Style
Strap
Price
$99.90
More Details

Climbing Shoes We Review

When you go rock climbing, some gear is optional, and some gear is essential. Rock climbing shoes are definitely essential for this activity. You need to have shoes designed to grip and perform the various holds and foot positions as you climb or bolder. A normal pair of sneakers is not going to cut it. Here is a preview of the shoes we selected as the best for our review. Each model has different advantages and disadvantages, so it is up to you to decide what works best for you. Here is our final list.

Best Rock Climbing Shoes For Beginners

1. Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe

best rock climbing shoes for beginners 1

When looking for the best rock climbing shoes for beginners, there really is only one place to begin, and that is with these climbing shoes from Climb X. These shoes are comfortable, yet they feature a construction that is robust and will give you complete peace of mind when rock climbing. The double-stitch construction ensures that this is the case.

Another part of this shoe that is worth a mention is the polypropylene, which takes the comfort element of this shoe to new heights, even during extreme climbing. When you combine this with the padded heel and collar, you can really tell that these shoes have been thoughtfully designed with plushness in mind.

Aside from this, the strong ankle support is another part of the shoe that we really like. Your ankle will not get harmed when you are in the same momentum for extended periods of time. The hemp footbed is also worth pointing out, ensuring that your shoes are fresh and there is no strong odor. After all, we all know that climbing can be hard work, but your shoes won’t be evidence of this!

The breathable mesh technology is the final element that we’re going to discuss. This helps to ensure that you do not feel too suffocated while wearing these climbing shoes. We have noticed that this is an issue with a lot of rock climbing shoes on the market, but it is something you’re not going to have to worry about here.

Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe 2018 (12.5, Red)
345 Reviews
Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe 2018 (12.5, Red)
  • Please refer to the Sizing Chart for Recommended Size.
  • Padded Collar and Heel for Comfort.
  • Visit https://climbx.us/ for More Details.

2. La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe

best rock climbing shoes for beginners 2

This shoe is known as one of the most popular climbing shoes for beginners, and after trying it, it is not hard to see why this is the case. It boasts a vibrant and exciting design, so if style means a lot to you when you are looking for rock climbing shoes, this pair will not let you down. However, it is not all style without substance, you will be pleased to know.

One of our favorite parts of this pair of shoes is the toe box. When compared with most climbing shoes on the market, the toe box is bigger and it is more comfortable. This tends to be the least comfortable part of any climbing shoes, which is why it really matters when you’re shopping.

The heel of the shoe has been thoughtfully designed as well. Movement is minimized thanks to the tensioned heel hand, which makes your foot feel snug and secure. On the otter of the heel, there is a generous amount of rubber, which is important because it means that you are going to get a significant amount of grip. Versatility and comfort have been prioritized with these climbing shoes, which is what you would expect when you’re in the market for the best rock climbing shoes for beginners.

One thing that is worth pointing out is that La Sportiva does tend to be a little bit bigger than other brands on the market. Therefore, if you are often in between sizes, it is always better to go for the smaller of the two sizes.

La Sportiva Men's Tarantulace Rock Climbing Shoes, Black/Poppy, 34.5
509 Reviews
La Sportiva Men's Tarantulace Rock Climbing Shoes, Black/Poppy, 34.5
  • FAST LACING SYSTEM - Quick-pull lacing harness allows for precise regulation of inner volumes; Wrapping the foot snugly for excellent support, fit, and comfort
  • ALL-AROUND PERFORMANCE - Designed to help intermediate climbers smear, hook, and edge like pros; The aggressive rubber heel rand, sticky FriXion RS rubber soles, and low-asymmetry RN45 build let climbers find purchase on edges with great sensitivity and without pain or cramping
  • CLIMB IN COMFORT - From the gym to the crags, the classic unlined leather upper is soft and comfortable; Lined tongue controls moisture and enhances breathability; Synthetic leather overlay adds just the right level of support
  • BUILT TO LAST - This indoor/outdoor climbing shoe is constructed from high quality materials; 1.8mm LaspoFlex at the midsole and 5mm FriXion RS at the sole make the TarantuLace as stable as it is durable
  • TIPS FOR BUYING - Rock climbing shoes are designed to fit differently than other footwear; Be sure to reference the La Sportiva size chart in the product images for more accurate sizing; The fit should be tight, but not painful, and without pressure points

3. Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes

best rock climbing shoes for beginners 3

Black Diamond is another brand that has a great reputation in the world of rock climbing shoes. Their Momentum shoe range has been designed for beginners, offering comfort all day long on lengthy routes. While this is the men’s version of the shoe, you can get a female version as well. Plus, although we have recommended the lace version here, there is a Velcro option if you would prefer.

So, let’s take you through some of the different elements of this pair of shoes. There is a relatively soft sole, with a flat last. A soft micro-fiber liner is included in the front toe area, which is designed to maximize comfort and minimize stretch, which is pretty accurate. We found these shoes to be very comfortable from the off!

One part of these shoes that we feel is unique when compared to other rock climbing shoes on the market is the midsole. This is because it is not cut from a single sheet, as is usually the case. Instead, it is molded. The reason for this is because it is optimized for comfort and durability.

So, what about the upper? Well, this has been made by using Engineered Knit Technology, which is the brand’s own technology. As a consequence, the result is softness with a very low stretch. There is also the inclusion of a heel tension strap as well.

Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe - Men's Ash 5
162 Reviews
Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe - Men's Ash 5
  • Neutral, flat last for vertical climbing and all-day comfort
  • Engineered Knit Technology upper provides exceptional breathability and comfort
  • 4.3mm NeoFriction rubber is built for durability and molded for optimal consistency and performance
  • Medium flex midsole adds support without sacrificing sesitivity
  • Lace entry for fit adjustability

4. Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe

best rock climbing shoes for beginners 4

Next, we have the Evolv Defy climbing shoes, which have been popular amongst beginners for quite some time now, and for good reason. These shoes can handle their own irrespective of the terrain.

The comfort and fit of these shoes are impressive. They are very comfortable and you won’t have any difficulty breaking them in. They come with two Velcro straps, with the fit being secure and tight. Some people like to buy them a size smaller so that they are more aggressive, however, this really does come down to personal preference.

The Velcro straps deliver a snug fit. They are also very breathable too, which means you should not experience any trouble in terms of odor. After all, smelly feet after a long climb is to be expected, and you’re really don’t want this lingering in your nice new climbing shoes, do you?

These shoes are ideal for slabby routes as well because of good sensitivity. In terms of rubber, 4.2 mm of Trax is used, which makes them more sensitive and soft when compared to a lot of other climbing shoes in this category, so do keep this in mind!

Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe - Men's Black/Gray 7
84 Reviews
Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe - Men's Black/Gray 7
  • A major upgrade to Evolv's all time best selling shoe
  • New anti microbial mesh to eliminate odor
  • Improved fit
  • New upper material, Synthratek VX, for a soft feel and secure fit
  • Fresh new look

5. La Sportiva Kids’ Stickit Rock Climbing Shoe

best rock climbing shoes for beginners 5

If your little one is going to be joining you on your climbing adventure, you will need to make sure that he or she has a good pair of rock climbing shoes that are not going to let them down. We definitely think that these La Sportiva shoes are one of the best rock climbing shoes for beginners and children on the market today.

A lot of the kids’ climbing shoes on the market today will prioritize comfort over performance, and we think that this is rightly so. However, you do not want the performance to be horrendous, and that is certainly not the case here. Nevertheless, your child’s feet will certainly be housed in a flexible and soft shoe, which feels plush.

There are some great performance features as well, including the fact that the rubber is pretty sticky. Great sensitivity is delivered as well thanks to the 3mm of sticky Frixion Rs rubber that is incorporated. Your child will not find it an issue to locate the sweet spot of a foothold when they are wearing these shoes.

All in all, this pair of rock climbing shoes from La Sportiva is a great entry choice for children, and so if you’re looking for something comforting for your child, you would be hard-pressed to find something that does a better job than these.

La Sportiva Kids' Stickit Rock Climbing Shoes, Chili/Poppy, 26/27
61 Reviews
La Sportiva Kids' Stickit Rock Climbing Shoes, Chili/Poppy, 26/27
  • SIMPLE & FUNCTIONAL DESIGN FOR KIDS - The Stickit will help little feet grip holds without being too aggressively tight or technical; The straightforward design provides the comfort, convenience, and adaptability to spur kids to higher, more advanced routes at a faster pace
  • EASY ON AND OFF - The Stickit is highly adjustable, looping around the top of the foot and the heel, and easy to lace up for kids of all ages
  • ALL AROUND COMFORT - The unlined, rugged leather upper is breathable and keeps feet comfortable all day, whether indoors on the instruction wall, at the climbing gym, or outside bouldering
  • GRIPPY RUBBER SOLE - Lightly structured with less rigidity to offer a strong multi-purpose rock climbing shoe; FriXion rubber grips plastic and rock equally well for edging and versatility across all surfaces
  • TIPS FOR BUYING - Rock climbing shoes are designed to fit differently than other footwear; Be sure to reference the La Sportiva size chart in the product images for more accurate sizing; The fit should be tight, but not painful, and without pressure points

6. BUTORA Women’s Endeavor Rock Climbing Shoe

best rock climbing shoes for beginners 6

Finally, we are going to end with a great pair of rock climbing shoes that have been created by BUTORA for females especially. These shoes are made from organic hemp, with moisture-wicking split leather, a Butora F5 rubber sole, and a polyurethane midsole.

So, let’s take a look at some of our favorite features of these climbing shoes in further detail. The D molded midsole makes sure that these climbing shoes deliver great stability. They have been created using 3D injection-molded full-lengths, with the polyurethane midsole coming in variable thicknesses, ensuring precision edging and torsion rigidity are delivered.

The leather being moisture-wicking is another great quality. This ensures that you have a custom fit to your toes and complete comfort. Plus, organic hemp fabric is always our favorite because it ensures the shoes dry quickly and that they are highly breathable. This means that these shoes are never going to let you down no matter the weather conditions. The 100 percent organic hemp is used to fully line the shoes, which makes certain that no nasty odors will develop, as well as minimizing the stretch – both very important qualities when looking for a good pair of rock climbing shoes.

Finally, we have to say that these rock climbing shoes are very comfortable. You should never compromise on comfort when you are looking for rock climbing shoes, and we’re pleased to say that there is nothing to worry about here. We’ve seen so many comments praising these shoes for their comfort, and after trying them ourselves, we definitely have to say that we fall into this category as well.

BUTORA Women's Endeavor Crimson - Wide Fit, Color: Crimson, Size: 4 (ENDE-CRIM-WF-W-4)
43 Reviews
BUTORA Women's Endeavor Crimson - Wide Fit, Color: Crimson, Size: 4 (ENDE-CRIM-WF-W-4)
  • OUTSOLE - Butora NEO Fuse sticky rubber
  • LINING - 100% Organic Hemp lining to control stretch and odor
  • FOOTBED - Split leather footbed for comfort and performance
  • MIDSOLE - 3D injection molded ABS midsole for precision edging and torsion rigidity
  • WEBBING - Triple fork webbing for a custom fit

Things To Consider When Buying Climbing Shoes As A Beginning Rock Climber

How The Shoe Last Makes a Difference

When it comes to making shoes, the “last” is a foot-shaped mold that the shoe is built around. It is used for the features such as the instep height, the overall shoe size, the dimensions of the heal as well as the toes. The last also determines the width of the shoe.

There are two commonly used lasts, referred to as either slip-lasted or board-lasted. If you are looking for a shoe that is more sensitive, then look for a slip-lasted shoe. If you prefer a stiffer shoe, then look for a board-lasted shoe.

The shoe last affects the shape and symmetry of the sole and mid-foot.

A straight last will produce a neutral fitting shoe that tends to be the most comfortable and is often suggested for rock climbing beginners. They are great for spending the day climbing comfortably.

Asymmetric lasts create a moderate to slightly aggressive shoe. It places the longest point over the big toe which in turn increases the power on the inside edge. This results in a better single point of contact for the rock.

A cambered or downturned last has a significant bend downward toward the toes. These are considered an aggressive shoe made for toeing and heel hooking overhanging rock. A downturned last will give you the best performance and control as you advance in your rock climbing skills. For beginning rock climbers, they may not be the best suited as they are the least comfortable of all the rock climbing shoes.

Footwear Closure Styles

Lace: Shoes with a lace up style are the most flexible for getting just the right fit. You loosen the laces or tighten them more depending on the climb and conditions. Not to mention the flexibility for those times when you feet get hot and swell as the blood is pumping to them.

Strap: Shoes with straps make it really easy for getting them on and off. People who spend a lot of time in climbing gyms like the convenience. The straps secure quickly using velcro straps.

What Are The Shoes Made From

Like many athletic shoes, the uppers are typically made from leather or synthetic material. Synthetic shoes tend to be lighter and they don’t stretch like leather shoes do. If you have a pair of unlined leather shoes, they can stretch almost a full size or more after some use. A lined leather shoe will stretch as well, but it is not nearly as much as an unlined pair. Typically the lined climbing shoes will stretch up to 1/2 a size after some use.

Some people prefer the stiffer feel of leather shoes with its solid material in comparison to the synthetic style which tends to breathe a little better.

How To Fit Your Climbing Shoes

In closing out this review of the best climb shoes for beginners, we’d like to show you this video which does a great job showing you how to fit your climbing shoes. We hope you enjoy your rock climbing adventures!