The Ultimate List of Beginner-Friendly Climbing Shoes

Key Points

  • Beginner-friendly climbing shoes must be comfy, versatile, easy to use, flexible, and durable.

  • Many good brands like La Sportiva, Black Diamond, and Scarpa sell beginner-friendly climbing shoes.

  • Determine your budget and the features you want in your climbing shoes before shopping.

In all athletic endeavors, everyone is a beginner at some point. Beginner-friendly equipment is essential for improvement when you're in that amateur stage. Rock climbing is a hardcore sport that pumps up the forearms and works the quads. It requires a certain level of skill and grit. If you're a fledgling climber, the best means of steady improvement is a pair of beginner-friendly climbing shoes.

Climbing shoes are the most foundational piece of climbing equipment. Various climbing gear brands sell quality climbing shoes across a range of prices. The five principles of the best performance climbing shoes are versatility, durability, comfort, ease of use, and flexibility. If you get the best climbing footwear that checks all these boxes, you're poised to slay the climbing game.

La Sportiva TarantuLace Rock Climbing Shoes

La Sportiva TarantuLace Rock Climbing Shoes is a great all-around sports climbing shoe, given its ability to handle different climbing styles. Climbers need sticky footwear, and the FriXion rubber sole provides just that. Whether it's rock or plastic, you've got excellent traction.

Climbing puts your feet in all sorts of funky scenarios. The creators of these shoes understand this and developed them for all sorts of holds. They're asymmetrically shaped with a slight downturn for gripping narrow holds. The aggressive rubber heel rand and sticky sole are grippy, providing increased shoe durability and powerful edging abilities. If you're a beginner, you probably want to avoid the more hardcore climbing holds, but when you're ready to try them, these shoes are what you want to wear.

TarantuLace Rock Climbing Shoes last for a long time with proper TLC, and the lined leather is soft. They're comfy and strong.

There are a few gripes among users: The break-in period is long, sizing is a bit tricky, and the toe box might be a bit too tight.

Still, these adaptive fit shoes are easy to adjust — exactly what rookie climbers need.

La Sportiva TarantuLace Rock Climbing Shoes

Photo source: Amazon.com

Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes

Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes make long sessions at the gym or on the crag effortless. They're designed for comfort, as seen in the breathable knit upper and stretchy material that shapes to your foot.

The lace model makes it easy to adjust the shoes as your feet swell, which is inevitable.

In terms of performance, they work as both rock climbing and bouldering shoes. Beginning and intermediate climbers learning the basics of footholds are going to barely notice the rubber between their feet and the hold, allowing them to make precise foot placements.

Reviews run high for these outdoor shoes, though some people say the fit is tight. Go up half-size from your normal shoe size to get the perfect fit.

Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes

Photo source: Amazon.com

Evolv Defy Climbing Shoes

Evolv Defy Climbing Shoes have a reputation for being an exceptional value for climbers.

Its pointed tip and Velcro closure compare well with other top-rated climbing shoes. This model is an excellent option for beginners refining their footwork, given how they make heel-hooking easy. Since they break in fast, are comfortable, and offer great value, they make an excellent budget-friendly climbing shoe choice.

There are some downsides. Some climbers say the fit is too loose, and their not shoes made for extreme edging. The remedies to these two valid arguments are getting a smaller size and avoiding extreme edging. You're a beginner, so you best avoid that anyways.

Evolv Defy Climbing Shoes

Photo source: Amazon.com

Scarpa Origin Climbing Shoes

Origin Climbing Shoes come from the renowned climbing gear brand Scarpa. If you're looking for great rock climbing gear, look no further than this climbing company behemoth.

These shoes offer some serious bang for your buck. With a leather upper Velcro closure and a plush interior, they're a moderately priced pair of climbing shoes superb for beginners. It's a fine piece of climbing equipment with a flat, neutral last that makes edging easy.

If you're rock climbing, these Origins also serve as outdoor shoes as the suede upper is spacious and provides long-term comfort, making it easy to stand on the ground if you're belaying your partner.

The one issue is these aren't aggressive climbing shoes. The rubber slips occasionally, so they're best for safer forms of climbing rather than riskier stunts like free climbing.

Scarpa Origin Climbing Shoes

Photo source: Amazon.com

Five Ten Rogue VCS Climbing Shoes

Five Ten Rogue VCS Climbing Shoes are adaptive fit shoes capable of handling indoor and outdoor climbing scenarios.

The shoes feature Stealth Rubber, giving you the stickiness needed for more complex holds. Climbers build up quite a sweat, and the perforated fabric on the upper part of the shoe provides the ventilation to keep your feet dry and comfortable. This is useful when climbing in warm environments or on tough routes.

Smearing, edging, and heel or toe hooking is easy with a pair of Rogue VCS Climbing Shoes, making them prime beginner-friendly footwear.

For $100, it's a sleek, versatile climbing shoe, though some users complain about the thinness of the rubber sole, meaning you might have to re-sole them or get a new pair after a few years.

Five Ten Rogue VCS Climbing Shoes

Photo source: Amazon.com

Mad Rock Flash Climbing Shoes

Mad Rock Flash Climbing Shoes are some aggressive sport climbing shoes, absolutely perfect for seasoned and novice climbers. The aggressiveness comes from the Shock Gel heel, which provides an extra cushion in case of fall, a comfortable fit, and overall adaptability for various types of climbing.

The heel is also a negative aspect of the Flash Climbing Shoes. There's lots of space in the heel area, so you might notice some slippage.

Coming in at under $80 with a long-lasting build and ease of use that makes them a breeze to slip on. The Flash Climbing Shoes are great sport climbing shoes for beginners just dipping their toe in the infinity pool of climbing.

Mad Rock Flash Climbing Shoes

Photo source: Amazon.com

Butora Acro Wide Fit Climbing Shoes

Butora Acro Wide Fit Climbing Shoes are the best option if you're looking for bouldering shoes. They're able to handle anything you throw at them. A pair of these shoes is a versatile piece of rock climbing gear.

The toe box has an asymmetric design, which shifts the weight from the midsole to the big toe for better performance. There's a hefty amount of rubber on top of the shoe box, excellent for toe hooks. That extra rubber also serves as a heat trap, meaning your feet feel toasty after a while. There are vents in the shoes, though they might fail to keep your feet consistently cool.

Neo Fuse rubber coats the heel, which makes heel hooks easier and still maintains sensitivity so you can feel the holds. A big issue with a lot of climbing shoes is heel movement. With a pair of Acro Wide Fit Climbing Shoes, the high-tension heel rand reduces movement in the heel, so you don't experience chafing and blisters.

They're listed at $175. If you're just beginning climbing, that might be a bit pricey. It's best to test out climbing with cheaper shoes first to see if you even like the sport. Once you're committed, these climbing shoes are some of the best and are highly recommended.

Butora Acro Wide Fit Climbing Shoes

Photo source: Amazon.com

Climb to Better Yourself

The CEO of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, said, "There are a dozen reasons for climbing, some bad, and I've used most of them myself. The worst are fame and money. Commonly people cite exploration or discovery, but that's rarely relevant in today's world. The only good reason to climb is to improve yourself."

It doesn't matter what climbing gear brands you prefer, nor how much money you spend on climbing shoes. What matters most is that you're climbing for the right reasons. Fame, money, who needs them? Much more profoundly satisfying is the feeling that comes with self-mastery. Climbing isn't always easy, but it's always worth it. The strain and struggle of a hard climb are some of the greatest ways to improve yourself.

While superficial aspects don't matter, having a quality pair of climbing shoes does. If you're a beginner, do your research into the various brands selling climbing shoes, determine your budget, figure out what type of climbing you're going to do, and get climbing shoes with the features you want. Once you don a slick pair of new climbing shoes, you're climbing skills skyrocket as you conquer climb after climb.

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