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Best Climbing Shoes for Slab Climbing

If you are looking into doing more slab climbing in the great outdoors, then your typical indoor gym climbing shoes just don’t cut. Slab climbing requires your shoes to be extra grippy, and on top of that, you will be challenged to use more friction and balance to stay on the rock face. If you are on a harder rock surface like granite stone or slate, it will require you to have a harder rubber shoe that is stiff enough to edge carefully on even the smallest micro formations and flakes. On the other hand, if you are rock climbing on a softer more brittle rock surface, for example powdery and crumbly sandstone or limestone route, you will much prefer a softer rubber sole that has the ability to do smearing on that slab surface.

What are the Best Climbing Shoes For Slab Climbing?

To decide on the absolute best climbing shoes for slab climbing, we have examined dozens of slab climbing shoes and reviews left by real users who bought and used them. Based on what they geniunely shared and experienced, we have shortlisted the top 8 climbing shoes for slab climbing for you to consider, including their most important features, in order for you to make an informed decision.

On top of that, to make it easier for you, we have also compiled a list of critical things and frequently asked questions (FAQs) to consider before purchasing slab climbing shoes. You can find later further down in the article. So without further ado, here’s introducing the best climbing shoes for slab climbing.

1. Five Ten Moccasym Shoes Mens

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)

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The Five Ten Moccasym are a neutral climbing shoe model that has built a solid following in the climbing community. They are a good all round shoe, and provide a good level of comfort for rock climbers building their strength in the gym.

The break in period for the shoes are also relatively quick. While a great shoe, they are more expensive than the Mad Rock Drifter’s, so we didn’t give them the number one spot on our list.

Pros

  • Slipper style shoes make for great convenience for gym climbing,
  • Rubber topsole allows advanced climbers to take advantage of toe hooks,
  • Durable rubber

Cons

  • These shoes do stretch over time, so it is important to size down and account for shoe stretch after the breaking in period

2. Evolv Oracle Climbing Shoe

Specs
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Evolv Oracle uses a split heel outsole, which means the rubber on the toe and heel are separated. The middle of the shoe is connected with a red rubber arch which helps reduce the strain on your foot. Downturned shoes are notoriously unforgiving, but Evolv tries to break the mold. The main feature is the “Knuckle Box”; it provides more room for your curled toes. Another noticeable feature is the quick close laces. Laces give you a better fit with less movement, but it takes time to take them on and off. The quick close system gives you velcro speed but with a laces’ style fit. The Trax SAS rubber is 4.2mm thick, which is slightly more than other technical shoes. This feature made things a little more challenging as you there isn’t much sensitivity between your feet and the rock. It’s a super aggressive bouldering shoe and uses Trax SAS rubber to provide a soft sole with extra grip.

Pros

  • Quick close laces
  • Trax SAS rubber
  • Comfortable downturn

Cons

  • Softer rubber

3. La Sportiva Men’s TC Pro Climbing Shoe

Specs
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The La Sportiva Men’s TC Pro Climbing Shoe is a streamlined big wall, trad and multi-pitch shoe, perfect for the likes of multi-day missions traversing vertical kilometres of hard granite rock. The La Sportiva climbing shoe is not only optimised for long periods of use with its flexibility and malleability, but has been gently padded in key areas to protect your feet on common features of big wall climbing. The TC Pro Climbing shoe retains enough sensitivity to feel for imperfections in the surface under your toes, while providing a generous coating of rubber to give you plenty of grip.

Pros

  • Comfortable lace up design, remains malleable and flexible throughout the whole day without causing pain
  • Developed in collaboration with Tommy Caldwell, a professional and seasoned multi-pitch and trad climber
  • Padded above the toes to protect your toes in granite cracks

Cons

  • Thin rubber, wears down quickly.
  • Lacks definition and protection for steep boulder problems.
  • Take a long time to put on and take off.

4. Five Ten Anasazi Lace 2021 Women

Specs
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The Five Ten Anasazi Lace 2021 is a super-lightweight, high-performance lace up shoe, great for attacking long multi-pitches and trad routes. The generous rubber coating will provide extra grip during technical footwork and protection when squeezing your toes into cracks. The durable laces help make the shoe more adjustable to every foot shape. While a little more on the premium side of the price scale, these Five Ten climbing shoes do not sacrifice an ounce of quality and will perform well both indoors and outdoors.

Pros

  • Super light-weight shoe
  • Stiff mid-sole to provide support to your whole foot while executing tricky footwork
  • Adjustable lace-up design, great for wearing all day
  • Generous coating of rubber over the toe
  • PREMIUM

Cons

  • Quite expensive in comparison to competitors products.

5. La Sportiva Mythos

Specs
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Sole Material: Recycled/Repurposed Rubber and Eco Idro-Perwanger Biodegradable Leather
Closure Type: Lace-up

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The Mythos is a streamlined shoe for multi-pitching, and it is not rare to spot climbers sporting these tremendous shoes in places such as Yosemite. The soft and malleable structure is designed to be as comfortable as possible while maintaining a maximum grip on sloping volumes or pieces of rock. With that in mind, while they might benefit you on slab climbs in the gym or outdoors, these shoes will not help you so much on standard sports or boulder routes. The lack of protective rubber, the flat profile, and the long time it takes to take on and put off the shoes make them unsuitable for competition climbing.

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable, perfect for a long multi-pitch,
  • Durable leather material

Cons

  • Take a long time to remove and put on,
  • Not so much use in a bouldering gym

6. La Sportiva Miura Men

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram rubber sole
Closure Type: Lace Up
Shoe Material: 100% Leather

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La Sportiva is a powerhouse brand for rock-climbing shoes, and the Mirua’s live up to the reputation. What can we say, even Alex Honnold rocks a pair of these bad boys. The shoes are a great workhouse, that will help you develop as you keep ticking off routes at the gym.

It is a moderate to aggressive shoe, with a slight toe downturn, allowing you to get a better grip on slight footings. It got voted down to number two on our list as they aren’t quite as cheap as the Five Tens.

Hot tip: The women’s model came in second place in our Top 9 Best Women’s Climbing Shoes

Pros

  • Velcro straps
  • Durable rubber
  • Excellent edging ability

Cons

  • La Sportiva typically suits people with narrow feet

7. Black Diamond Momentum

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

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Black Diamond’s Momentum’s are designed to be a good quality beginner shoe. These shoes are reminiscent of the hand crafted classic La Sportiva design. However, the addition of the velcro system makes it a great gym shoe.

Made from a durable rubber, and a breathable upper, these Black Diamond shoes are a good option for a climber that values comfort.

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Long lasting sole
  • Beautiful design

Cons

  • They can take a bit longer than usual to break in

8. La Sportiva Katana Lace Climbing Shoe

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram XS Edge
Closure Type: Lace-up

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La Sportiva has made a name for themselves as some of the best bouldering shoes on the market. They’re known for their aggressive PD75 shape, which makes them great for boosting power on tiny footholds.

The Katana is a brilliant shoe for intermediate climbers who are starting to experiment with overhanging routes but still want to wear comfortable climbing shoes. The shoes are well padded on the inside which makes them feel good, and yet they still feature a sharp downturn to help you powerfully push up on steeper routes. The shoes are still flexible enough to provide ample footing on slopers, and they perform in almost all modern climbing situations.

To help you edge on tiny footholds, the shoe uses a Vibram XS Edge compound throughout the whole sole. The lace feature amkes the shoe snugness more adjustable as compared to velcro.One of the best features of the La Sportiva climbing shoe is its verstaile mix of edging to smearing qualities. Because of this, it makes them excellent for any style of climbing.

The shoes are not specialized in any particular discipline, and so the more serious climbers might feel restricted if they only have these shoes and nothing else. Furthermore, the La Sportiva shoes are lacking a little protective rubber on the top, and so toe-hooking is harder and you are more likely to agitate your toes when trying ambitious and dynamic moves.

Pros

  • Comfortable all-around high performer,
  • Aggressive downturn for overhangs and soft enough for slab,
  • Well padded on the inside
  • Vibram XS Edge
  • P3 patented technology
  • Two heel hoops

Cons

  • Laces while comfortable, take a long time to put on and take off,
  • Not much rubber for toe-hooks

What You Should Know Before Buying Climbing Shoes For Slab Climbing

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.

Difference Between Moderate Climbing Shoes And Beginner Shoes

A beginner climbing shoe will have a stiff and flat sole. This provides support to your feet as you develop your muscles. A moderate or intermediate climbing shoe will have a slightly down turned toe, with a bit more added sensitivity than a beginner shoe. This improves your ability to feel the small jibs you place your feet on.

This video provides a good run down on the basic models of climbing shoes.

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.

Questions and Answers About Climbing Shoes For Slab Climbing

Why should you have a different pair of shoes for indoor and outdoor climbing?

Indoor climbing is about building your strength. For this you want a relatively rigid and tight fitting performance fit shoe. For outdoors, you want a shoe with a sensitive, yet durable sole as this assists your foot to stick to natural rock, while also ensuring the longevity of your shoe.

How long does it take to break in climbing shoes?

The answer to this age old climbing proverb is – it depends. For some models of shoes, the break-in period can take far longer than others.
If you are climbing in a bouldering gym, you will break your shoes in much quicker than if you have a pair of shoes used only outdoors.

Should your toes be curled in climbing shoes?

Even in flat soled women’s climbing shoes, your toes will be slightly curled. For a beginner, your big toe should be curled down no more than 45 degrees. Remember, it’s not just your toes that should be snug in your shoes. Its also important to pay attention to how the heel of the shoe cups your foot.

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