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Best Climbing Shoes for Slab Climbing

Navigating the intricate world of slab climbing necessitates an upgrade from your typical indoor gym climbing shoes . These adventures call for footwear with superior grip and the ability to maintain friction and balance on the rock face. In our worldwide climbing experiences, we’ve felt the stark difference the right shoes can make, especially when facing varied rock forms and surfaces. Whether balancing on harder rock surfaces like granite or negotiating the nuances of softer, more brittle rocks, the importance of having shoes with the optimal rubber sole became evidently clear. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best climbing shoes for slab climbing, whether you’re edging on small formations of hard rock or smearing on softer surfaces. This guide can help you find shoes that align perfectly with your slab climbing endeavors, ensuring each climb is safe, enjoyable, and rewarding.

Best Climbing Shoes for Slab Climbing

What are the Best Climbing Shoes for Slab Climbing?

Below you’ll find the list of the top 6 Best Climbing Shoes for Slab Climbing. We compiled this list from climbing shoes for slab climbing we have used, asked others about, and researched further to give you the best possible roundup. With many years of experience with slab 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 Vapor Shoes for Climbing

Scarpa Vapor Shoes for Climbing
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap
Shoe Material: Leather, Microsuede
Shape: Moderate downturn

The Scarpa Vapors are brilliant intermediate bouldering shoes for women, especially for those who are beginning to transition from beginner slab style climbing to caves and overhangs. There is a small amount of rubber on the top of the shoe to protect your toes in your first toe-hooks, a slight downturn to give you power from your feet up on steep routes, and yet they are soft and flexible enough to provide confident footing on slabs and sloping surfaces. They are quick to put on and take off and have a relatively sharp inner edge to help you stand on small ledges.

Aside from the long breaking-in period that these shoes have, which is especially frustrating for those who have not used them (and as these shoes are perfectly aimed at those buying their second pair of shoes, this could well be the case), the Vapors are not particularly specialized in any discipline of the sport, which can be restrictive for those who want to focus on one type of climbing. One last plus point about this model and a lot of other Scarpa shoes is that it is vegan.


  • Great all-around shoe for intermediate climbers
  • Slight downturn but still flexible enough to perform on slabs Strong, reinforced straps
  • Sharp inner edge for standing on small ledges


  • Long breaking-in period
  • No climbing specialization

2. La Sportiva Men’s TC Pro Climbing Shoes

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

If you are looking for a agressive pair that is good for big wall, trad and multi pitch climbing, it has got to be the La Sportiva Men’s TC Pro Climbing Shoe.

It is perfect for the likes of multi-day climbs and is great for edging on granite rock. The shoe arch and toe is flexibility and malleability, with reinforced padded in key areas to protect your feet from blistering or getting cramped from long big wall climbing expeditions.


  • Comfortable and snug fit
  • Flexible and malleable design
  • Worn by climbing athelete Tommy Caldwell
  • Padded toes to protect your feet from sharp edgaes and granite cracks


  • Not best for long use on rocky mountains or slippery slopes
  • Lace design makes it difficult to wear and remove at ease

3. Five Ten Moccasym Shoes Mens

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

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. Plus, they’re a great choice for budget spending.


  • Slipper style shoes convenient for gym climbing
  • Rubber topsole allows advanced climbers to take advantage of toe hooks
  • Durable rubber
  • Comfortable
  • Quick break-in period


  • Stretch more than others (requires sizing down further)
  • Color may bleed or rub off

4. Evolv Oracle Climbing Shoe

Evolv Oracle Climbing Shoe
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Lace-up
Shoe Material: Vegan synthetic leather
Shape: Large downturn

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.


  • Quick close laces
  • Trax SAS rubber
  • Comfortable downturn
  • “Knuckle Box” gives curled toes more room


  • Not very sensitive due to thick heel

5. Scarpa Origin Shoes for Climbing

Scarpa Origin Shoes for Climbing
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap
Shoe Material: 100% Leather
Shape: Neutral

Scarpa Origin shoes are brilliant for beginners and intermediate climbers. The relatively flat profile makes them very comfortable, yet they have a very strong sole and so, with a bit of imagination, can also perform relatively well on easy overhanging routes. The sharp rubber edge gives you confidence on smaller holds, and the thick rubber takes a lot of wear and tear to get through. The Scarpa shoes are lacking in any protective rubber on the top, which means that your toes are going to suffer if you try to jam them into small pockets or toe-hook. This does, however, allow for a little more breathability as the suede is slightly more permeable than the rubber would be.


  • Fantastic beginner shoe that is also loved by intermediate climbers
  • Strong and durable design
  • Flat profile
  • Thick durable sole
  • Comfortable


  • No rubber on the top for toe-hooks
  • Not streamlined for overhanging routes

6. La Sportiva Mythos Rock Climbing Shoes

La Sportiva Mythos Rock 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

A streamlined shoe for multi-pitching, the La Sportiva Mythos is commonly spotted by big wall climbers tackling the routes at Yosemite. The soft and malleable structure is designed to provided excellent grip and smearing power as you inch up those grantite walls. Given its relatively flat design, its good for long outdoor climbs, but may not be downturned and aggressive enough for bouldering and overhang routes.


  • Leather material
  • Comfortable on your toes
  • Suited for high wall climbing
  • Soft and malleable
  • Great for smearing


  • Time-consuming to wear and take off due to lace design
  • More suited for outdoor climbing due to thicker sole


Based on all of our experience with slab climbing shoes, we found that Scarpa Vapor Shoes for Climbing is the best climbing shoe for slab climbing available today.

Our Premium Option is La Sportiva Men’s TC Pro Climbing Shoes 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 Mens as an affordable alternative.

Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

What You Should Know Before Buying climbing shoes for slab climbing

Difference between moderate climbing shoes and beginner shoes

There are a few differences between moderate and beginner climbing 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.

Top Features

Some of the top features of climbing shoes include performance, material, and shape. Bouldering shoes are flashy, cramped, and focus on performance, which is slightly different from what trad climbing shoes offer.

This also means you have to consider a few features that you won’t see in other climbing shoes.

Bouldering shoes’ most prominent feature is the “Downturned” sole. The shoe profile is noticeably curved down… they almost resemble a banana.

The downturned profile is there to give you the maximum power on tiny edges without slipping. They also tend to have more rubber around the toe box and heel cup.

Bouldering requires aggressive moves like toe/heel hooks, so the extra rubber gives you more grip.

Materials and shoe stretch

All climbing shoes are made from different materials, which can lead to different shoe stretching. For one, 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 climbing shoes for slab climbing

How long does it take to break in climbing shoes?

The answer to this age old climbing proverb is – it depends. In general, 3-5 sessions tends to be the average time it takes to break into a shoe. For some models of shoes, the break-in period can take far longer than others up to 2-3 months. 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 you be able to walk in climbing shoes?

The shape and design of climbing shoes aren’t recommended for walking around, but only climbing. The pointed and snug form of climbing shoes is primarily designed for usage on small footholds and maneuvers on the wall, so you should really only plan to wear them when you are ready to climb.

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