Climb Gear Reviews

Top 11 Best Synthetic Climbing Shoes

Rock climbing is an incredible sport, and one neccessity in climbing is none other than your climbing shoes.

We are all familiar that climbing shoes are usually made of rubber soles and leather upper lining, but that would mean that animals are killed in the process of getting your shoes done. So if we are looking at finding alternative climbing shoes that are made of materials that are as comfortable as leather, yet not compromising on comfort, fit, and snugness, what options are there out there. This brings us to consider some of the best synthetic climbing shoes in the market that is known for their vegan sources and workmanship and still a great fit and performance option.

What are the Best Synthetic Climbing Shoes?

To decide on the absolute best synthetic climbing shoes, we have examined dozens of climbing shoes that are synthetic and reviews left by real users who bought and used them. Based on what they genuinely shared and experienced, we have shortlisted the top 11 synthetic climbing shoess 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 climbing shoes that are synthetic. You can find later further down in the article. So without further ado, here’s introducing the best synthetic climbing shoes.

1. Butora Women’s Endeavor

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)

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The Butora Endeavour is an affordable entry level women’s climbing shoe. Made from synthetic and leather material, this shoe provides great stability when climbing.

We like that the design minimises foot odor through the inclusion of organic hemp lining. We also like that the Endeavour comes in both a narrow and a wide option.

While only achieving a bronze in our women’s climbing shoe round up, its level of quality and affordability makes it podium worthy.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Odor resistant
  • Low profile
  • Rubber sole good for edging

Cons

  • You may need to size up for a pain free fit

2. Evolv Defy

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

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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

3. Five Ten Quantum VCS

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)

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Five Ten wanted to provide climbing shoes that were comfortable yet aggressive. And that’s how FIve Ten created the Quantum VCS bouldering shoes; they offer the perfect balance between comfort and aggression.Considering the sole isn’t the stiffest on the market, they perform very well at edging on steep terrain. The most significant feature is the Stealth C4 rubber, which is among the market’s stickiest soles. If your climber that loves smearing yourself up climbs then, Five Tens will do the job. One problem a user found was in the breaking-in period. They found there was a minimal amount of stretch. If you’re looking for a more aggressive fit, you may have to go half a size down. It’s super breathable, making it great for people who hate sweaty feet. It’s also up there as one of the most comfortable climbing shoes on the market.

Pros

  • 4.2mm Stealth C4 rubber
  • 100% Synthetic Clarino
  • Breathable tongue

Cons

  • Not very stiff

4. Evolv The General Climbing Shoe Men

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 2 Pounds (0.9 kg)

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The Evolv General Climbing shoe aims to be a fantastic all around climbing shoe. When you are attempting a big wall climb, or even just a longer trad route, you should be prepared to encounter all styles of climbing across a multitude of different features on the wall. The robust, padded design ensures your feet are both protected and comfortable throughout long periods on the wall. The slight downturn should be sufficient to help guide you through trickier boulder problems or technical cruxes. The shoe is a great all-arounder, but may compromise those who are specialised in climbing on a particular type of rock or who want to train hard on indoor problems.

Pros

  • Comfortable and flexible lace-up design
  • Some downturned definition where comparable products tend to be more flat – great for technical footwork at the crux of a route.
  • Eye popping, 80s colors
  • High top shoe protects your ankles in deep cracks

Cons

  • Shoes take a long time to put on and take off.
  • Shoes are made of a tough synthetic material, restricting breathability and air flow.

5. Scarpa Helix

Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram Rubber, Synthetic sole
Closure Type: Lace Up
Shoe Material: 100% Suede

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The Scarpa Helix is perhaps one of the better shoes on this list for climbing instead of bouldering. The lace design and flexible materials make them one of the more comfortable shoes to wear for longer periods of time, a point only augmented by the flat profile often found on beginner and intermediate shoes. They come with that signature Scarpe inner edge to help you stand on small holds in peculiar positions. They are a truly versatile shoe, particularly good for slabs and when you have to wear them for a long time.The toes on this particular shoe seem to wear through quite quickly, and while the rest of the shoe is completely unhindered, it will still need a complete resole frequently. Furthermore, if you try to use these in a bouldering gym, you will likely get frustrated at how long it takes to put them on and take them off.

Pros

  • Another great beginner/intermediate shoe
  • Sharp rubber edge for standing on small holds
  • Comfortable to wear for longer periods
  • Versatile, flat profile

Cons

  • Laces take a long time to put on and take off
  • Toes wear through quickly

6. Five Ten Anasazi

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

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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

7. Scarpa Booster

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Microfibre, Synthetic
Closure Type: Velcro Strap
Shoe Material: Ceramic Microsuede & Alcantara
Shape: Moderate Downturn

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The Scarpa Boosters are another great shoe for modern indoor and outdoor bouldering, particularly streamlined for overhanging routes. They are coated in a very thick, generous amount of textured rubber to help you get grip using almost any part of your foot, and the sharp downturn again fits in with the modern trend for climbing steep overhangs. They are quick to take off and put on, and strong and durable shoes.

The Scarpa Boosters are certainly not the most comfortable shoes on this list, and the solid design, while being durable and protective, definitely limits sensitivity and versatility.

Pros

  • Thick and rigid rubber on the toes
  • Sharp downturn for steeper routes
  • Quick to take off and put on

Cons

  • Very solid shoe makes it very durable but limits sensitivity

8. Butora Acro

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

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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)

9. Evolv Shaman

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

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The Sharman is a high performance shoe with downward toe and an asymmetric design. The upper is made from synthetic material, that can stretch up to half a size.

The sole is comprised of two separate pieces of rubber, which makes it a little more snug, and provides added flexibility. The sole excels at everything, except small edges. While it is an advanced shoe, due to its comfort, even a beginner could do well in a pair of Sharman’s.

Pros

  • Aggressive shape
  • 3 velcro straps for comfortable fit
  • Excellent heel cup

Cons

  • Suits people with wide feet

10. Tenaya Oasi

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram rubber sole
Closure Type: Velcro Strap on
Shoe Material: Microfibre

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The Tenaya Oasi is at the cross roads of performance and comfort. It is a higher volume shoe that has an aggressive down turned toe. It uses synthetic uppers, cotton lining and a Vibram XS sole. It has patented “Draxtor” lacing system that creates a fine tuned fit, for various foot-shapes. We also like, that if the velcro strap blows, Tenaya will replace it for free.

It has a sensitive sole, that is semi-split which allows added flexibility. However, the downside is, this shoe is not easy to replace the sole.

Pros

  • Odor reducing materials
  • Durable build
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Not suitable for people with narrow feet

11. Climb X Crush Lace

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Lace
Shoe Material: Synthetic
Shape:

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The Climb X crush is designed for the intermediate to advanced climber. It has a durable yet sticky rubber that will serve advanced climbers on smears and jibs. All in all, they are a traditional shoe make, with no bells and whistles, yet they incorporate the best of the past at a great price point. If you want a a reliable workhorse for the gym, the Climb X Crush is a good budget option.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Lace option for precision fit
  • Breathable mesh tongue works great in hot climates

Cons

  • More hassle given the need to lace up

Following all the comparisons, research and information we have gathered about these top synthetic climbing shoess, we can confidently say that Butora Women’s Endeavor is the best synthetic climbing shoes out in the market.

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

Lastly, if you are going all the best features with high quality materials and would like to consider all the premium options out there, we will strongly recommend the Evolv Defy. We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below what are some other models that you might have experienced that are even better!

What You Should Know Before Buying Synthetic Climbing Shoess

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.

Price Range

So if you are in the market for your first pair of bouldering shoes, or need to replace your much loved, yet beat up shoes this article is for you!

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.

Safe And Hygienic Usage Of Climbing Shoes

Hygiene is of predominance for climbers. We don’t realize the importance of tidiness so it is important we enforce the sense of cleaning climbing shoes.

Depending on how frequently you are climbing, shoes must be cleaned. Do not brush harshly or use hot water for cleaning. Use a toothbrush to remove the stuck dirt. Pat is dry with a towel or newspaper and let the shoes dry in shade. Do not heat or sundry.

Lastly, avoid sharing of shoes as that is not hygienic. If the shoes are being shared make sure you clean your feet before and after climbing. Using thin socks is a great option and do avoid walking all around the premises with your climbing shoes on. Lastly, to increase the lifespan of your climbing shoes and the rubber base, avoid wearing shoes when not climbing the wall.

Questions and Answers About Synthetic Climbing Shoess

What size climbing shoe should I buy?

Climbing shoes sizes vary from model to model. Typically, you will need to go either a half size, or a full size down from your regular sneakers. More advanced climbers may even go down two sizes.
As a simple guide
Performance bouldering shoes should fit the tightest as they worn for the least amount of time
Sports route shoes should be comfortable enough that you can wear them for multiple pitches
Trad shoes should allow you climb all day
Remember you also need to get climbing shoes that are the right width for your foot. If you have a wide foot, get a wide shoe! Below is a chart that covers the general shoe cuts from major brands.

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.

What’s the difference between bouldering shoes and climbing shoes?

Bouldering shoes are made for performance. They have an aggressive shape, sensitive sole and a flexible shoe. Whereas Trad climbing shoes emphasise comfort, and have a stiff sole as they are made for people climbing hours at a time.

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.
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