Climb Gear Reviews Travelogues

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 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.

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. Five Ten Anasazi

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

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Five Ten Anasazi shoes are a great all round indoor rock climbing shoe. The velcro straps, and durable rubber sole make it a great workhorse shoe for the gym.

They have a relatively neutral sole which will suit beginner to intermediate climbers. We also love that despite being made by a top quality brand, they come with an affordable price tag.

Pros

  • Velcro straps
  • Affordable
  • Great for heel hooks

Cons

  • Wide toe box may suit some climbers

2. La Sportiva Miura VS

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

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

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

3. Evolv Defy

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

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

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.

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. Scarpa Instinct

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

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

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.

Pros

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

Cons

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

6. Mad Rock Drifter

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

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Mad Rock Drifter is a great all-rounder shoe that gains praise from beginners to advanced alike. It has a neutral shoe shape, with a leather upper that creates a comfortable climbing shoe. It is slightly asymmetric in shape, yet not too aggressive for a beginner climbing shoe.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Velcro straps makes for easy removal between climbs
  • Stiff soles supports new climbers

Cons

  • Sizing runs small. If buying online, check return shipping options

7. Black Diamond Momentum

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

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

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

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.

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 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.

Material And Pricing

All climbing shoes have a rubber sole. The more advanced you are, the more pliable and sensitive the rubber is. A word of caution: only go for sensitive rubber soles when you are ready for it, otherwise your feet will encounter a world of pain.

In terms of your shoe’s uppers, they are made from either leather, synthetic, of hemp materials. Leather is the traditional go to for climbing shoe uppers, but as the technology has developed, synthetic and hemp materials provide great alternatives. Which is great for the vegan climbers amongst us.

Price range can vary from as low as $70 and up to $200+. Remember, spending more doesn’t make it a better shoe for you. It still needs to fit, and be suited to your level of climbing. In general beginner climbing shoes are cheaper. To learn more check out our article on budget climbing shoes.

Our pick of the bunch are the Five Ten Anasazi’s. They are an excellent option for beginner to mid level climbers who want a shoe that continues to provide support as they develop their climbing prowess.

Its sensitive and super sticky rubber makes it a great intermediate level shoe for people getting to the level of foot smears, instead of footholds. It performs well on cracks and jibs, while maintaining a good level of comfort. This shoe is an all round workhorse, that is ideal for a dedicated newby who wants a shoe that will still perform as they go up the climbing grades.

Questions and Answers About Indoor Rock Climbing Shoes

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.

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.

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

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.

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.