Best Climbing Shoes for Crack Climbing

For those intrigued by crack climbing, having the right climbing shoes is essential. Standard indoor gym shoes simply won’t suffice. Through our many adventures in the world of crack climbing, we’ve experienced firsthand the pivotal role of a shoe’s grip, stiffness, and sole composition in negotiating the diverse rock surfaces, whether we were meticulously edging on granite or skillfully smearing on sandstone. Below, we’ve highlighted some crack climbing shoe options that meet the unique demands of different rock surfaces to help you get started.

Best Climbing Shoes for Crack Climbing

What are the Best Climbing Shoes for Crack Climbing?

Below you’ll find the list of the top 5 Best Climbing Shoes for Crack Climbing. We compiled this list from climbing shoes for crack climbing we have used, asked others about, and researched further to give you the best possible roundup. With many years of experience with crack climbing shoes you can be assured that this article will give you what you’re looking for.

We also wrote a buying guide and answered some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) at the end of this article.

1. SCARPA Arpia Climbing Shoe

SCARPA Arpia Climbing Shoe
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro
Shoe Material: Microsuede
Shape: Aggressive

Scarpa designed their Arpia shoe to have all the benefits of an aggressive shoe without the pain. This is due to the moderate downturn; it doesn’t bend the arch of your foot too much. The climbing shoe is excellent for boulderers; it uses a velcro system that replicates laces. This feature makes it easier to put on but gives you a lace-like fit around the foot. It’s constructed using Vibram XS Grip rubber, which makes the shoes extra sticky. If you’re looking for a bouldering shoe that can handle smears, these shoes do the job straight out the box. We found that users didn’t have much joy when crack climbing. The lack of rubber around the toe made it quite uncomfortable when jamming your foot. This shoe is excellent for technical climbing; the large toe box helps with hooks. And the rubber which connects the two parts of the shoe helps to transfer power into your toe.


  • V-Tension system
  • Vibram XS Grip rubber
  • Lace styled velcro system
  • Perfect for smearing


  • Heel cup dislodges easily
  • No rubber to protect toes

2. La Sportiva Men’s TC Pro Shoes for Climbing

La Sportiva Men's TC Pro Shoes for Climbing
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Leather
Closure Type: Lace-up
Shoe Material: Leather
Shape: Moderate downturn

The La Sportiva Men’s TC Pro Climbing Shoe is a comfortable and versatile laced up shoe that is designed for technical, big wall and free climbing. Its uniqu mid hike cuff with padding makes it great for vertical edging, crack climbing and all day comfort and support. Climbing atheletes like Tommy Caldwell are some of the users of this model.


  • Lace design
  • Comfortable fit that can be worn all day
  • Endorsed by Tommy Caldwell
  • Padded toes to protect from sharp edges


  • Thin material may decrease longevity
  • Not best on mountains or slippery slopes

3. Five Ten Moccasym Shoes Men

Five Ten Moccasym Shoes Men
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Slip-on
Shoe Material: Leather
Shape: Neutral

The Five Ten Moccasym is a minimalistic, high-performance shoe, great for slab work with its soft materials and flat profile, and light as a feather to carry up the crack climbing wall with you. The slip-on design, while a little less comfortable than a lace-up, makes taking the shoes off and putting them on a seamless task, making it easy to transition to a more comfortable shoe to belay your partner in while halfway up the wall. The highly breathable shoe will ensure your feet stay as cool as possible, helping you to keep your cool while working hard at height.


  • Quick and easy to pull off and put on Light and breathable climbing shoe Soft and flexible
  • Great for smearing on sloping rock surfaces
  • Extra grip


  • Less rubber coating than competing brands
  • Less adjustable than other shoes

4. La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoes

La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoes
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Recycled/Repurposed Rubber and Eco Idro-Perwanger Biodegradable Leather
Closure Type: Lace-up
Shoe Material: Biodegradable Leather
Shape: Moderate downturn

The La Sportiva Mythos is an eco model that is full laced with an easy to break in leather uppers and low toe profile. Its is popular with both beginners and advanced climbers. This model is made with recycled materials in portions like the soles, webbing and tongue padding. The metal-free tanning, biodegradable leather makes it one of the most environmentally conscious and vegan climbing models out there.


  • Comfortable leather upper
  • Short break-in period
  • Made of recycled materials
  • Most eco-friendly climbing shoe out there
  • Great for beginners and advanced climbers


  • Time-consuming to put on due to laces
  • May not be suitable for a bouldering gym as the material is too thick

5. Evolv The General Climbing Shoes for Men

Evolv The General Climbing Shoes for Men
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Lace-up
Shoe Material: Leather
Shape: Low-Moderate downturn

The Evolv General Climbing shoe is a great show for multi pitch and big wall. The sole made with Trax XE rubber sole and comes with a protective rubber and stiff rubber, which makes it perfect for edging and small cracks. This not overly agressive and downturn model has a slight asymmetry balances between performance and all-day comfort.


  • Secured and adjustable lace up style
  • Bright colors
  • High cut designed to protect the ankles while climbing
  • Protective rubber perfect for edging


  • Shoes look a bit “chunky” due to solid and thick material Not very breathable


Based on all of our experience with crack climbing shoes, we found that SCARPA Arpia Climbing Shoe is the best climbing shoe for crack climbing available today.

Our Premium Option is La Sportiva Men’s TC Pro Shoes for Climbing with all the best features and high-quality materials, but that’s only if you have more money to spend.

However, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, you can also consider the Five Ten Moccasym Shoes Men as an affordable alternative.

Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

What You Should Know Before Buying climbing shoes for crack climbing

Most Important Features

The most important feature to look for in beginner climbing shoes is comfort. An uncomfortable shoe isn’t going to entice you to climb more! The second feature you should look for is the overall stiffness of the sole. By having a stiff sole, the muscles in your feet will be supported during your early stages of rock climbing. Once you are a more advanced climber, you may opt for a shoe with a slip lasted sole which provides sensitivity, as this will allow you to push your climbing grades.

Maintenance of Your Gym Climbing Shoes

Maintaining your climbing shoes will extend their lifespan, so it is important for all climbers to follow a few basic rules. Only wear your shoes when climbing – every step off the wall wears the rubber out. Wipe your rubber soles down with a cloth after use. This is particularly important should you take them outdoors and they get covered in mud.

Take them out of your pack when you get home, so they can dry out and don’t develop mould.

Store them in place that avoids direct sunlight and extreme temperature changes. This avoids the glue cracking and the fabrics fraying. Don’t wear them as part of a costume at fancy dress party. Again, rule 1 – they will wear out.

Neutral, moderate and aggressive models

There are three main shapes of climbing shoes: neutral, moderate, and aggressive. If you are a beginner, you don’t need to buy the expensive and tight fitting aggressive climbing shoes. A cheaper shoe that has a stiff sole will serve you better in the early stages of climbing.

If you are an intermediate climber, a moderate show with some flexibility will improve your ability to edge on small holds. If you are climbing in a gym, you can get away with a softer rubber, but for outdoors you want to look for something that is durable.

Hot tip: Make sure you only use your shoes when climbing. The more time you spend in them, the quicker they wear out. We recommend having some approach shoes if outdoors, or simply a pair of flip-flops if you are climbing at a magic beach like Krabi.

Questions and Answers About climbing shoes for crack climbing

What shoes do pro climbers wear?

Pro climbers generally wear what is termed “aggressive” shoes. These shoes typically have a ‘banana shaped’ curved sole, with a doward pointed toe box. This allows for maximum traction and power transfer from the foot to the wall. Advanced shoes typically have two pieces of rubber for increased flexibility, rather than one continuous sole. You’ll also find rubber on the top of the shoe, which provides traction when doing overhang toe hooks. Have a look at pro climber Adam Ondra talk about all the considerations he takes into account when choosing a climbing shoe.

Should you size down in climbing shoes?

In general you will need to size down for climbing shoes. For a beginner, this should be about .05 to a full size. If you are buying your first set of shoes, take note of the climbing shoes you have been renting at the climbing gym.

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