Bouldering Climb Gear Reviews

Top 8 Best Bouldering Shoes for Intermediate Climbers

Bouldering is an awesome way for new climbers and veterans alike to build their strength during the week for their big climbs on the weekend. Bouldering is a go-to for all climbers, young old male and female, as it is a fun hassle-free work-out which lets you leave your ropes at home.

So if you are in the market for your first pair of bouldering shoes, or need to replace your much loved, yet beat up shoes this article is for you!

What are the Best Bouldering Shoes For Intermediate Climbers?

The best bouldering shoes you can get are the ones that fit your feet the best. Generally speaking, you need to size down for climbing shoes by at least half a size in comparison to your street shoes. People looking for performance climbing shoes may be looking at a full size down.

“Our mantra at Lydiascapes is you want a shoe that is uncomfortably snug, not painfully tight.”

If you want further information on fitting a climbing shoe, check out our article, How to Pick the Best Climbing Shoes.

So what should I actually get? Following our above guidance, we have compiled a list of indoor rock climbing shoes that will suit every indoor climber, from beginner to advanced. A buyers guide and an FAQ is provided for you at the end of the article.

Best Climbing Shoes: What You Need To Know

1. Evolv Shaman

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Trax Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap on
Shoe Material: Synthetic

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Sharman is a high performance shoe with downward toe and an asymmetric design. The upper is made from synthetic material, that can stretch up to half a size.

The sole is comprised of two separate pieces of rubber, which makes it a little more snug, and provides added flexibility. The sole excels at everything, except small edges. While it is an advanced shoe, due to its comfort, even a beginner could do well in a pair of Sharman’s.

Pros

  • Aggressive shape
  • 3 velcro straps for comfortable fit
  • Excellent heel cup

Cons

  • Suits people with wide feet

2. La Sportiva Solution Climbing Shoe Men’s

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap on
Shoe Material: Leather

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The La Spotiva Solution is an aggressive high performance climbing shoe designed for climbers looking for maximal performance when bouldering. It also comes in a women’s model that has added sensitivity in the midsole.

Note: male climbers also go for the women’s model when they after a shoe that performs better at smearing

It has a ‘P3 platform’, which brand jargon aside, ensures the aggressive shape of the shoe maintains in the long term. It has a leather upper that comes from a ranch which is wire free, that ensures the leather doesn’t have any weak spots.

A long lasting upper is a great design feature of La Sportiva shoes, as the sole of the shoe can be replaced multiple times, which ensures the longevity of the shoe and save you money in the long run.

Pros

  • Velcro straps
  • Aggressive fit
  • Super sticky rubber sole

Cons

  • Premium Pricing

3. Tenaya Oasi

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram rubber sole
Closure Type: Velcro Strap on
Shoe Material: Microfibre

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Tenaya Oasi is at the cross roads of performance and comfort. It is a higher volume shoe that has an aggressive down turned toe. It uses synthetic uppers, cotton lining and a Vibram XS sole. It has patented “Draxtor” lacing system that creates a fine tuned fit, for various foot-shapes. We also like, that if the velcro strap blows, Tenaya will replace it for free.

It has a sensitive sole, that is semi-split which allows added flexibility. However, the downside is, this shoe is not easy to replace the sole.

Pros

  • Odor reducing materials
  • Durable build
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Not suitable for people with narrow feet

4. Butora Acro

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap on
Shoe Material: Synthetic Leather

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Butora Acros are designed for those doing vertical acrobatics. The downward toe angle is designed for climbers venturing into overhang territory. This is where the shoe excels, as its performance fit allows you to maximise the power transfer from your feet to the wall. With a velcro strap, and elastic tongue system, they are a breeze to take off between climbs and give your toes a breather.

Pros

  • Stretchy tongue makes for great fit
  • Extremely sticky rubber
  • Great for overhangs
  • Wide and narrow options available

Cons

  • They are a performance shoe (AKA they fit tight)

5. Five Ten Blackwings Women

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Stealth Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap on
Shoe Material: Synthetic
Shape: Agressive

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Five Ten Blackwings are for kick ass female climbers looking for a bouldering specific shoe. They have a gentle downward toe turn and have a super sticky rubber making it a climbing performance shoe heavy weight. Yet the design provides comfort, with a padded tongue and a super plush fleeced microfiber interior. Despite the aggressive style, it still has a stiff rubber sole, which is what makes it a killer indoor bouldering shoe. This is known to be Five Ten‘s most aggressive female shoe model.

Pros

  • Vegan friendly
  • Dual velcro straps
  • Odor resistant
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Not suitable for beginner climbers

6. Climb X Crush Lace

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Lace
Shoe Material: Synthetic
Shape:

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Climb X crush is designed for the intermediate to advanced climber. It has a durable yet sticky rubber that will serve advanced climbers on smears and jibs. All in all, they are a traditional shoe make, with no bells and whistles, yet they incorporate the best of the past at a great price point. If you want a a reliable workhorse for the gym, the Climb X Crush is a good budget option.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Lace option for precision fit
  • Breathable mesh tongue works great in hot climates

Cons

  • More hassle given the need to lace up

7. Black Diamond Shadow

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap on
Shoe Material: Knitted microfibreM
Shape: Agressive

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Black Diamond Shadow’s are a newly released aggressive bouldering shoe that are aimed at the mid-level to advanced climber. The Shadow’s excel on steep climbs, while also performing well on slabs, and technical small holds. They have a sticky midsole and toe box that really helps you feel your toe on small holds and jibs. The heel cup is a medium to small size, though a low volume, women’s size is in the works and will be released soon. The Black Diamond Shadow is a great all round shoe, with a medium to hard level of stiffness.

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Long lasting sole
  • Beautiful design

Cons

  • Take a bit longer than other brand shoes to break in

8. Mad Rock Lotus Women

Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap on
Shoe Material: Synthetic
Shape: Morderate Downturn

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Mad Rocks Lotus’ are designed for the mid-level to advanced climber. They have an aggressive shape and provide relative sensitivity for climbers finding themselves on smaller and smaller holds. As it is a women’s shoe, it is low volume, which provides a tighter fit around the heel and mid foot. While it lands in the advanced climber territory, they remain a comfortable shoe that can be used either bouldering or on multi pitch sport climbs. In sum, the Lotus is a great option for all women looking for a diverse shoe with an affordable price tag.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Long lasting sole
  • Beautiful design

Cons

  • Fit might not be suitable for varied foot types ( Wide feet)

Following all the comparisons, research and information we have gathered about these top intermediate bouldering shoes, we can confidently say that Evolv Shaman is the best bouldering shoes for intermediate climbers out in the market.

However, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, you can also consider the Climb X Crush Lace as an affordable alternative. It is a unisex pair, but if you are looking for a gender specific shoe like female or male climbing shoes, check out our other articles.

Lastly, if you are going all the best features with high quality materials and would like to consider all the premium options out there, we will strongly recommend the La Sportiva Solution Climbing Shoe Men’s. We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below what are some other models that you might have experienced that are even better!

What You Should Know Before Buying Intermediate Bouldering Shoes

Most Important Feature For Intermediate Shoes

Finding the best bouldering shoes is a bit of black magic. In essence, they resemble the same characteristics as other climbing shoes, yet there are nuanced differences.

A bouldering shoe needs to cover a variety of tasks, edging, smearing, toe and heel hooks. Yet it also needs to be durable, as bouldering is fundamentally training for the main event – your dream big wall adventure. Come on, we all dream of going to Yosemite and climbing El Capitan one day.

Typically bouldering shoes have a more aggressive shape than say trad shoes. This is because they aim for prime performance. The banana-shaped downward toe turn provides a climber with better friction on steeper and underhung climbs. However, this doesn’t mean that all bouldering shoes must be aggressive.

“Consider bouldering shoes like a tradesman would their tools – you need the right one for the job.”

In contrast, if you are a novice climber, the basic characteristics of a beginner bouldering shoe, will resemble that of a beginner indoor climbing shoe. You want a stiff flat sole, as an aggressive shoe, with a sensitive sole will be too tough on your feet.

Laces, Velcro Strap Or Slippers

Whether you are going for beginner or expert bouldering shoes, we recommend getting either velcro straps or slippers. Simply because when bouldering you are climbing for minutes at a time, and you want to easily slip your shoes off between climbs.

However, don’t completely count out laces. If you found a perfect fitting shoe with laces – go with them. Fit is always the first priority for a climbing shoe.

Bouldering Indoors Or Outdoors

Yes, you can boulder indoors and outdoors. While there is a big cross-over between indoor and outdoor bouldering shoes, the primary difference is durability. In essence, indoor climbing involves plastic holds, so a shoe that edges well should be a priority in your decision making.

Materials And Shoe Stretch

All climbing shoes have a rubber sole. Advanced shoes have a more pliable and sensitive rubber. Additionally, it is common to see performance bouldering shoes with two pieces of rubber, as this provides added flexibility to your shoe which aids the technical moves involved in bouldering.

In terms of your shoe’s uppers, they are made from either leather, synthetic, of hemp materials. In general terms, hemp and synthetic will stretch about a half shoe size once you break them in. Whereas leather will stretch up to a full shoe size.

Questions and Answers About Intermediate Bouldering Shoes

What’s the difference between bouldering shoes and climbing shoes?

Bouldering shoes are made for performance. They have an aggressive shape, sensitive sole and a flexible shoe. Whereas Trad climbing shoes emphasise comfort, and have a stiff sole as they are made for people climbing hours at a time.

How do I know if my bouldering climbing shoes are the right size?

The best way to find the right size climbing shoes is to trial a variety of shoes. Take note of each brand, model and make each time you rent shoes at your climbing gym.

Should I get aggressive climbing shoes if I am a beginner?

Beginners don’t require aggressive shoes. A neutral shoe with a stiff sole will provide you with the support you need. Only when you advance into steep, overhung routes will a more aggressive shoe be useful.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbnJJN0DJkY

What’s the difference between a women’s bouldering shoe and a men’s bouldering shoe?

A women’s bouldering shoe will have a low profile and a narrower foot shape. This creates a more snug fit around the heel and arch of your foot.
If you are in the market for women’s shoe, check our article Top 9 Best Women’s Climbing Shoes.

What’s the difference between rock climbing and bouldering?

Bouldering stops at the four to metre metre mark. Beyond that height you need ropes and a harness to climb safely. Bouldering is characterized by short explosive moves. Whereas rock climbing focuses on sustained endurance.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

    Leave a Reply

    As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from a link you click on the site that lead to a qualifying purchase. It will not cost you anything additional, but it does help us in supporting this site to keep creating great content for you. All our recommendations and reviews included in the site are purely unbiased.