Best Intermediate Climbing Shoes Reviews 2020 & Buying Guide


by James Smith | Last modified: October 6, 2020

When you’re climbing, you need comfortable, flexible, and durable shoes. Best intermediate climbing shoes for beginners are highly demanded on the Internet. However, you should be careful. Many models are too fragile, exposing your feet to serious damage.

Climbing on abrasive surfaces can easily turn a beautiful climbing shoe into a piece of trash. Therefore, climbing shoes should also be scratch resistant. Without a doubt, there are a lot of things you need to consider before making the final decision.

In this buying guide, you’ll learn how to choose the best beginner rock climbing shoes by following some simple tips. Here, you’ll also find a top 7 list with the best selling models on the current market.

Best Intermediate Climbing Shoes 2020

Product NameSole TypeColor VariationPrice (USD)
For Man
La Sportiva TarantuLaceRubber3
Climb X Icon BlueRubber1
Black Diamond MomentumRubber4
Scarpa HelixRubber1
For Woman
La Sportiva OxyGymRubber1
La Sportiva TarantulaRubber1
La Sportiva TarantuLaceRubber4

FAQs

Here are some common questions with answers that you need to know. Need to know to buy the best climbing shoes. So, let’s go.

Q1. How to break in climbing shoes?

There’s a quick and easy way to do it. Just put on your new climbing shoes and get into the shower. Then, wet the shoes with hot water and start walking around your house. Finally, fill the shoes with newspaper and let them dry in a fresh place.

Q2. How to clean climbing shoes?

First of all, remove the midsoles and laces. Then put them in the washing machine on a soft washing cycle. After that, put them in the dryer. Finally, leave them in a cool place for a couple of hours. Sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes to remove bad odors.

Q3. When to resole climbing shoes?

It’s recommended to resole the shoes when the outsoles start cracking or they suffer any damage that may leave your feet exposed.

Q4. How should climbing shoes fit?

It’s suitable that your climbing shoes aren’t too tight. Also, you’ll need extra space on the tip so your toes can move freely. As a tip, always choose an extra shoe size than the one you currently wear.

Q5. How to stretch climbing shoes?

To do this, fill plastic bags with water. Make sure the bags have the same volume as your feet after being filled. Then, put each bag inside the shoes. Then, put the shoes with the bags inside your refrigerator. Finally, take them out of the refrigerator when the water is frozen and let them rest in a fresh, warm place.

Q6. How long do climbing shoes last?

The average useful life of climbing shoes is 3-9 months. It all depends on the frequency of use and the type of terrain you use to climb.

Top 7 Intermediate Climbing Shoes Reviews

Our experts found 7 best climbing shoes (4 for men and 3 for women. If you are serious and have no time, you can rely on these shoes.

1. La Sportiva TarantuLace Climbing Shoe


The Sportiva TarantuLace adapts perfectly to the shape of your feet, thanks to the quick-pull lacing harness. The FriXion RS sole has an asymmetrical shape. That way, your climbing shoes will fit inside the cracks of rocks. In addition, it’s thin to provide maximum sensitivity but strong enough to prevent piercing.

On the other hand, the Lapso Flex midsole helps prevent impacts and reduces pressure points.

Pros

  • Durable and resistant
  • Maximum foot sensitivity
  • Flexible outsole

Cons

  • The tip of the shoe may wear off on the abrasive ground
  • Not recommended for people with wide feet

Certainly, La Sportiva TarantuLace is one of the best climbing shoes for wide feet. It provides maximum sensitivity so that your feet can easily recognize uneven ground. In addition, its irregular configuration better fits the shape of your foot.

2. Climb X Icon Blue Climbing Shoe


Climb X Icon Blue has a mesh upper to accelerate sweat evaporation. That way, there’s no risk of bad odors and humidity inside your shoes. In addition, the soft neoprene tongue remains attached to your foot. That way, there’s less risk of friction, which can cause blisters.

Also, the outsole made of climb XX-factor rubber is soft and highly resistant. It allows you to bend your foot in different ways and keeps it protected at the same time.

Pros

  • Flexible outsole
  • The tongue prevents friction
  • Durable and resistant

Cons

  • It may be a bit larger than the indicated size
  • It doesn’t provide too much grip on the heel

Certainly, Climb X Icon is an excellent alternative for beginner climbers. This climbing shoe is quite comfortable and breathable. So, it’s an excellent buying choice for people with sweaty feet.

3. Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes


Black Diamond Momentum has an ergonomic design, adapting to the curves of your feet. The mesh upper guarantees optimal breathability, keeping your feet dry and cool all the time. The NeoFriction rubber outsole is flexible to provide maximum freedom of movement. Besides, the 4.3 mm thick outsole reduces the risk of the piercing.

Without a doubt, these are the best climbing shoes for bouldering. The outsole also guarantees maximum sensitivity, for better interaction between your feet and the terrain.

Pros

  • Highest sensitivity
  • Durable and resistant
  • Thick outsole to prevent piercing

Cons

  • It’s too narrow at the tip
  • The outsole may wear out too fast

If comfort is important for you, this is the climbing shoe you need. These best indoor rock climbing shoes are like gloves for your feet. They provide a perfect fit and the soft upper caress your foot with every step. Unfortunately, it’s too narrow at the tip.

4. Scarpa Helix Climbing Shoe


These climbing shoes are made in Italy with the best and most resistant materials. They’re also perfect for expert and beginner climbers. The heel cup provides extra protection and prevents injury to your foot. The outsole is made of Vibram XS Edge rubber, which is more resistant to abrasion.

Also, the Scarpa Helix comes with a padded tongue that prevents damage to your skin. Also, the upper is made of breathable material to keep your feet cool while you’re climbing.

Pros

  • Durable and resistant
  • Made with high-quality materials
  • Very comfortable

Cons

  • It may be a bit smaller than the indicated size
  • The outsole may wear out very quickly

Without a doubt, Scarpa is the best brand of rock climbing shoes. These best men rock climbing shoes have superior durability than regular climbing shoes. In addition, they’re very soft and comfortable. But, the outsole tends to wear out with friction, so they aren’t suitable for too frequent use.

5. La Sportiva OxyGym Climbing Shoe


La Sportiva OxyGym is one of the rock climbing shoes for women. It’s washable and dries very easily thanks to its mesh upper. Besides, you can put it in the dryer without risk. The asymmetrical configurations of the shoe adapt better to the shape of your foot. In addition, the outsole can bend in different directions for greater freedom of movement.

Also, the upper is reinforced with three different layers of material. That way, the shoe is less prone to tears.

Pros

  • Washable and dryer-safe
  • Durable and resistant
  • Reinforced upper with 3 layers of material

Cons

  • The upper may detach from the outsole with high pressure
  • The midsole tends to retain too much moisture

Certainly, you can wear these shoes over and over again because they’re washable and durable. After washing them, you put them into the dryer, wait a few minutes and they’re ready to go. However, the midsole tends to absorb sweat, causing bad odors.

6. La Sportiva Tarantula Climbing Shoe


La Sportiva Tarantula takes the concept of durability to the next level. The upper is made of genuine leather, which makes it highly resistant to scratches. The outsole is made of Frixion RS rubber, which is much more resistant than common rubber. The outsole is also flexible, allowing your foot to bend in any direction.

The adjustment system uses Velcro straps, which are safer and easier to use than shoelaces.

Pros

  • Superior durability
  • Optimum adjustment
  • Very comfortable

Cons

  • It’s a bit smaller than the indicated size
  • It’s too narrow on the tip

Without a doubt, this is one of the best women’s rock climbing shoes on the market. The leather upper resists abrasion and tension. They’re also perfect for those who visit the climbing gym daily. However, they can be a bit uncomfortable for people with wide feet.

7. La Sportiva TarantuLace Climbing Shoes


La Sportiva TarantuLace uses a quick-pull lacing harness to provide a perfect fit and superior comfort. The outsole, made of FriXion rubber RS is thin for maximum sensitivity and highly resistant to prevent piercing. The outsole also has a complex friction pattern to provide maximum stability on uneven surfaces.

In addition, the leather upper is more resistant to tears. So, your feet will always be safe, even when climbing over sharp rocks.

Pros

  • Durable and resistant
  • Made with high-quality materials
  • Stable on uneven surfaces

Cons

  • The sole may wear out too fast
  • Not recommended for people with wide feet

Certainly, La Sportiva TarantuLace is one of the best women’s climbing shoes for wide feet. It’s also very comfortable and stable. The complex friction pattern on the outsole gives you more grip to prevent accidental slips. Also, the leather upper is thick, keeping your feet protected from pointy objects.

Buying Guide

Certainly, climbing is an excellent exercise for your whole body. It helps you to strengthen the muscles of your arms, legs, chest, back, and abdomen. In addition, it helps you have strong hands and feet. However, climbing is also a risky practice. Without the proper shoes, you may lose grip and fall.

Best climbing shoes under $100 are very different from regular sneakers. They’re more flexible and have a thinner outsole. That way, your foot can better adapt to uneven terrain. Because of their peculiar features, wearing climbing shoes is the closest experience to being barefoot.

If you’re a beginner climber and you’re reading this, you certainly need help to choose the right kind of shoe. In this detailed buying guide, you’ll learn each of the features you should look for in the best shoes for stair climbing.

Type of Climbing Shoe

There are three main types of climbing shoes: neutral, moderate, and aggressive. Each type is better for specific terrain conditions. Below, you’ll find the most interesting features of each type of shoe to know which one to choose in different circumstances.

Neutral

Neutral climbing shoes are the best for beginners. Their main purpose is to provide comfort, keeping your toes flat on a cushioned surface. They’re also excellent for absorbing high impacts, which makes them suitable for climbing on rocks.

However, the cushioned midsole on these shoes could decrease sensitivity. This may be a big con when you depend on the sensitivity of your feet to recognize the terrain.

Moderate

Moderate climbing shoes have a downturned shape which easily differentiates them from the rest. They’re suitable for highly demanding climbing routes, where the climber has very little room to maneuver.

In addition, moderate shoes help you strengthen your toes, supporting your body weight on the front of the foot. They also have a complex friction pattern to improve grip.

Aggressive

Aggressive climbing shoes are similar to moderate ones, however, the curvature of the outsole is much more pronounced. The outsole is rigid, forcing your foot to rest on the toes. These shoes help the climber to make precise movements and support the body weight at a small point on the ground.

Aggressive shoes have a thin outsole to improve sensitivity. However, this feature also makes them prone to tears. So, their useful life is pretty short.

Material

Usually, climbing shoes are made of leather or synthetic materials like nylon or polyester. However, above all materials, there’s nothing better than leather. Leather climbing shoes can be lined or unlined.

Unlined leather shoes are made from a single piece of leather. They can be stretched, so they can adjust to different foot sizes. In this case, it’s recommended to leave extra space in front of your toes so they can move freely. But lined leather shoes also have their negative side. They transfer the dye to your skin when your feet sweat.

Lined leather shoes stretch less than unlined ones. Usually, manufacturers only line the parts of the shoe where stretching is higher. That way, they also reduce production costs.

On the other hand, climbing shoes made of synthetic materials aren’t as flexible as those made of leather. However, they’re stiffer for better stability and breathable to prevent bad odors.

Type of Closure

The type of closure your climbing shoe uses provides optimum fit and comfort. In total, there are three different types of closure for climbing shoes: strap, slip-on, and lace-up.

Lace-Up

Lace-up shoes are the most common of all. They’re quite practical because they allow you to adjust the pressure on the feet by simply loosening or tightening the laces. However, they have a big con. The free tips of the laces may get stuck in the cracks of the rocks.

Strap

Strap shoes are very comfortable and easy to wear. With them, you don’t need to learn how to tie a rabbit knot. You just need to stretch the straps and the Velcro takes care of keeping them in place. They’re commonly used in climbing gyms because they slip so easily around the climbs.

Slip-on

Slip-on climbing shoes or slippers are made of a sole piece of elastic material. They’re quite comfortable and provide a high sensitivity level. They’re similar to socks because they adapt to the shape of your feet.

Slip-on climbing shoes are great for training and their design helps strengthen the muscles in your feet. They’re quite flexible, allowing your foot to bend freely and adapt to the shape of the terrain.

Shoe Last Shape

The shoe last is the foot-shaped mold used to make the shoe. The last is what gives the shoes their characteristic shape and volume. Below, there’s a list of the different types of lasts used in climbing shoes.

Downturned

Downturned shoes have a thin outsole which is curved downward. This last shape is common in aggressive and moderate shoes. They’re specially designed to reduce the contact surface. That way, the bodyweight is distributed over the tips of the feet. This kind of shoe is quite useful in places with very little room to maneuver.

Asymmetric

In this case, the contact area of the shoe is on the inside edge of the foot. This last shape is also common in aggressive and moderate models. The size of the contact surface may vary depending on the design of the shoe and the downturn level.

Straight

All neutral shoes are made with a straight or flat last. This setting is commonly used by professional climbers on rocky surfaces, where cracks are commonly used as support points. Straight shoes have a stiffer outsole that allows them to keep their shape. They’re very safe, but they can also reduce the sensitivity level.

Board-Lasted

Board-lasted climbing shoes have stiff and thick outsoles. They’re very comfortable, which is why common people use to wear them as all-day shoes. They’re perfect for those who suffer from swollen feet, helping to reduce pressure points.

Slip-Lasted

Slip- lasted shoes have a soft, flexible outsole to allow your feet to bend freely. In this case, the outsole is also thin to improve sensitivity. So, it’s perfect for climbers who depend on the sensitivity of their feet to identify the best support point.

Rubber Thickness and Friction Pattern

Considering the rubber thickness and the friction patter is also important to ensure your control and stability on the ground. First of all, you need a complex friction pattern. Those patterns with random figures and textures are the best of all. Small rubber points on the outsole also give you extra grip.

Stay away from outsoles with patters that follow the same direction all across the surface. For example, parallel lines that extend from heel to toe.

Choosing the right rubber thickness depends on your personal tastes and required comfort. Thick soles are in the 4-5.5mm range. These outsoles are very durable and help cushion high impacts. However, they considerably reduce the sensitivity level.

Thick soles are perfect for beginners, who usually have weak and overly sensitive feet.

On the other hand, thin soles are in the 3-4mm range. They’re flexible, allowing your feet to move freely as if they were barefoot. In addition, they help your feet to easily get into the cracks of the rocks.

Shoe Size

In the case of climbing shoes, it isn’t necessary to have a perfect fit. Instead, it’s suitable that your toes have enough room to move freely. Usually, when you stand on the tips of your feet, your toes are slightly spread apart. So, if there isn’t enough room, your toes will exert pressure against each other.

Therefore, it’s suitable for you to choose a larger shoe size than the one you currently wear. For example, if you’re currently wearing sneakers size 42, buy climbing shoes size 43.

Reviews

Before buying climbing shoes, it’s also advisable to take a look at some Internet reviews. Pay special attention to recommendations of expert climbers. You can also visit their personal blogs to find out what kind of shoes they wear in different terrain conditions.

If you’re going to buy online, make sure the product has a high rating. So, don’t choose anything less than 4 stars. To avoid taking risks, also check the seller’s reputation. If the majority of buyers seem happy with the product they received, then you can buy.

Price

Finally, when you know exactly the brand and model of the shoe, it’s time to search for prices. Some climbing shoes may be too expensive, so looking for deals can help to save some extra money. To get an idea of the current price, look for the factory price on the official website of the product.

After that, start looking for prices at shoe stores and e-stores. The more options you have, the better. Make sure the prices don’t exceed your current budget too much. If that’s your case, you’ll have to choose another option.

Calculate the average price and choose the option closest to that value. Don’t choose something too cheap, because it’s probably fake.

Final Verdict

As you can be, there are many different aspects you need to consider to find the best climbing shoes for you. Don’t forget that too thin outsoles aren’t recommended by beginners. At this point, the foot isn’t strong enough, so it’s more sensitive and prone to injuries.

Choose a climbing shoe that makes you feel comfortable and helps you strengthen your feet. Also, it should be durable, breathable, and highly resistant. If you follow each of these tips before buying, there will be no risk of choosing wrong.

James Smith

James Smith, along with an army of foot soldiers, personally tries and reviews some of the most revered products and brand in almost every imaginable category of footwear.

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