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Best Indoor Rock Climbing Shoes

Getting a good pair of indoor rockclimbing shoes is one of the key factors that will help you level up at the climbing or bouldering gym. This article looks at what indoor climbing will help you build your strength, while giving you a plush and comfortable fit that will keep you climbing.

Best Indoor Rock Climbing Shoes

What are the Best Indoor Rock Climbing Shoes?

This is a question we get asked about all the time. The answer is like the age old climbing proverb, how long is a climbing rope? Proverbs aside, the answer really depends, so we are going to break down the key elements for you.

Your shoes actually fit you

Crazy, I know – but so many climbers get this wrong. A general rule of thumb is to size down 0.5 to a full size in comparison to your street sneakers. You want to aim for a pair of shoes that are uncomfortably snug, not painfully tight.

Do you have a wide or narrow foot?

Some brands like La Sportiva make shoes for rock climbers with narrow feet, whereas Evolv works better for people with wide feet.
Remember: Just like new jeans, your shoes will stretch when you break them in.Stiff of soft soles?

If you are a beginner, go for a stiff sole, as this supports your foot as you develop your foot muscles. For more advanced climbers, soft soles enhance your ability to edge and smear on smaller holds.

Workhorse of performance pony?

If you are looking for a shoe that lasts, you want a durable rubber sole that will withstand the abuse of countless laps at the gym. Whereas, if you are really trying to push yourself on tough climbs, you want a shoe with a more sensitive sole. But don’t be angry at your performance pony if it wears out quickly, it has a sensitive sole afterall.

Velcro straps or slippers

To reiterate a characteristic of a climbing shoe, if you are climbing in the gym, go for shoes with velcro straps or slippers. This enables you to quickly take your shoes off between climbs giving you quick foot relief. And it is even more important for mid-level to advanced climbers who go for performance fit shoes.

So what should I actually get?

Following our above criteria, 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.

1. La Sportiva Miura Men

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

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


  • Velcro straps
  • Durable rubber
  • Excellent edging ability


  • La Sportiva typically suits people with narrow feet

2. Evolv Defy

Evolv Defy
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Synthetic, Vegan
Closure Type: Velcro Strap on

The Evolv Defy’s are made for the beginner to mid-level climber looking to get a little more performance out of their shoe. They have a more sensitive sole, than our top two picks, which will suit the climber that is pushing the grades and finding themselves on smaller, and smaller holds. The shoe also has a good level of downward toe turn, which makes them a great option for anyone looking to up their overhang game. Last but not least, this is also a vegan shoe and no animal testing is done in order to produce it.


  • Odor reducing materials Durable build
  • Affordable price point


  • Not suitable for people with narrow feet

3. Butora Acro Climbing Shoes

Butora Acro Climbing Shoes
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap on
Shoe Material: Synthetic Leather

If overhang is your thing, than this Butora Acros is what you need. The downward toe angle is designed for boulders or rock climbers venturing into overhang territory outdoors. It allows for the climber to maximise the power transfer from their toes all the way to the rock wall. With a easy to slip on and remove velcro strap, and elastic tongue system, these buora model is a breeze to take on and off between indoor and outdoor climbs and give your toes a breather before you continue your route and multi pitch.


  • Stretchy tongue enables snug fit
  • Sticky sole for smearing and edging
  • Downturn design for overhangs
  • Comes in wide and narrow designs


  • Not suited for beginners due to aggressive design and downturn

4. Scarpa Instinct

Scarpa Instinct
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap
Shoe Material: Leather
Shape: Aggressive

The Scarpa Instincts are streamlined bouldering shoes, suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Designed to perform well on steep, overhanging roofs, the generous coating of rubber and downturned design ensure that your delicate toes are protected when jamming them into small pockets and when toe-hooking and that you retain power when pushing upwards in these angles. They are quick to put on and take off with their one strap velcro-design, and the thickness of the strap ensures that the product is durable. The shoes are very rigid and strong, which is great specifically for overhangs, but they will not perform so well on slabs, although the flexible center does help a little to get grip on sloping surfaces.


  • Generously coated in rubber on the top
  • Aggressive downturn, perfect for overhangs
  • Easy-on velcro design
  • Flexible center


  • Extremely reinforced – performs well on overhangs but not so well on slabs

5. Black Diamond Momentum

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

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.


  • Breathable Long lasting sole
  • Beautiful design


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


After all of our long research about the Best Indoor Rock Climbing Shoes, we found that La Sportiva Miura Men is the best indoor rock climbing shoe available today.

There’s also a Premium Option with all the best features and high-quality materials if you have more money to spend, namely Butora Acro Climbing Shoes.

However, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, you can also consider the Evolv Defy as an affordable alternative.

Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

What You Should Know Before Buying indoor rock climbing shoes

Most Important Features for Indoor Climbing

Indoor climbing shoes are worn for performance. The downside of a performance fit is they are rather tight (Ok, understatement of the year). That’s why we suggest you go for shoes with velcro straps or slip-ons. The next thing you want to consider is how aggressive a shoe you realistically need. Are you going for a banana, aubergine, or carrot shaped shoe?

If you are smashing overhangs on a regular basis, go for a banana shaped shoe with the aggressive downward toe turn. If you are intermediate, a moderate shoe with a slight downward toe, or to continue the fruit and veg analogy, an aubergine curvature shall do the trick. If you are a beginner, you need a beginner rock climbing shoe that is stiff to support your feet. In this case, your shoe should be as straight as a carrot. If you want further information on selecting you dream shoes we have you covered: How to Pick the Best Rock Climbing Shoes.

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.

Questions and Answers About indoor rock climbing shoes

Why shouldn’t I use lace up shoes indoors?

It is best to use velcro or slip-ons for indoor climbing as this allows you to quickly take your shoes off and rest your feet between climbs.

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

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

Do I need durable rubber for an indoor climbing shoe?

It you want a workhorse training shoe, then go for a shoe with durable rubber. If you want a true performance pony, choose a shoe that has a sensitive, sticky sole as this will assist you pushing your climbing grades.

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