Best Beginner Climb Shoes

The 5 Best Beginner Climbing Shoes in 2023

Shoe NameRatingClosureUpper MaterialRubber
Mad Rock Rover4/5VelcroSyn FlexScience Friction 3.0
La Sportiva Finale – My Top Pick4.5/5LaceLeatherVibram XS Edge
Five Ten Niad Moccasym – Comfiest4.3/5Slip-OnLeather & LeatherStealth C4 rubber
Evolve Defy – Best for Indoor3.8/5VelcroSyntheticTRAX XT-5
La Sportiva Tarantulace4/5LaceLeather & SyntheticFriXion RS

Climbing shoes are an essential piece of equipment for beginners venturing into the world of rock climbing. Selecting the right pair of climbing shoes is crucial for several reasons. Not only do they directly impact performance, but they also play a vital role in ensuring safety during climbs. A comfortable and suitable pair can increase balance, precision, and making the experience more enjoyable and successful. Lets look at the best beginner climbing shoes.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Best Beginner Climbing Shoes

When selecting climbing shoes for beginners, several factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Shoe design: Neutral vs aggressive features
    • The design of climbing shoes can vary significantly, with different models offering specific features. Neutral shoes typically have a flatter shape and a more relaxed fit, providing comfort for extended periods of wear. Aggressive shoes, on the other hand, have a downturned shape and a tighter fit, allowing for more precise foot placement on overhanging routes. Beginners should opt for neutral shoes to prioritize comfort and versatility.
  • Climbing shoe materials: Leather vs. synthetic options
    • Climbing shoes can be constructed using either leather or synthetic materials. Leather shoes tend to stretch and mold to the shape of the climber’s foot over time, providing a more personalized fit. Synthetic shoes, on the other hand, tend to be more durable and require less break-in time. Beginners may find synthetic shoes more suitable, as they offer a consistent fit and do not stretch significantly.
  • Closure systems: Velcro, laces, or slip-on?
    • Closure systems on climbing shoes also vary, with three main options available: velcro, laces, or slip-on. Velcro closures provide convenience and quick adjustability, making them popular among beginners. Lace-up shoes offer a more customizable fit, ensuring a more secure feel. Slip-on shoes, although less common, provide ease of use and are perfect for gym climbing or quick boulder sessions.
  • Climbing shoe sizing: Understanding differences from regular shoe sizes
    • It is essential to note that climbing shoe sizing is typically different from regular shoe sizes. Climbing shoes often have a more snug fit, so climbers should expect their climbing shoe size to be smaller than their regular shoe size. A proper fit is paramount, so it is crucial to try on different sizes and brands to find the perfect fit for individual foot shapes.

Get A Proper Fit for Climbing Shoes

A snug fit is very important in, when selecting a climb shoe. It directly influences how functional the shoe will actually be. A well-fitting shoe typically has the wearers toes right on the very end of the shoe. Experienced climbers will have their toes curled just a bit inside the shoe.

Note: climb shoes will stretch after a few uses, so its a good idea to get them just a bit snugger than you’d like at the store. I recommend making sure they have a good return policy, but most retailers do.

Best Shoe Fit for Rock Climbing Shoes

Types of Climbing Shoes

There are different types of climbing shoes available in the market. For beginners, it is advisable to opt for neutral shoes. These shoes are designed to offer a balance between comfort and performance, making them ideal for novice climbers. On the other hand, aggressive shoes are better suited for advanced climbers who prioritize performance over comfort. Aggressive shoes are designed with a downturned shape and a more pointed toe, allowing for better toe power and precision on smaller footholds. Moderate shoes fall between neutral and aggressive shoes, offering a compromise between comfort and performance.

Reviews of the 5 Best Beginner Climbing Shoes

To help beginners make an informed decision, here are detailed reviews of the top 5 beginner climbing shoes:


  • Features
    • Good for beginner to intermediate climbers
    • Flat sole for comfort and stability
  • Pros
    • Affordable
    • Comfortable
    • Versatile for different climbing styles in the gym
  • Cons
    • Less precision on smaller holds
    • May take longer to break in

The Mad Rock Rover stands out as a versatile climbing shoe, especially tailored for gym environments. Its medium flex coupled with a slight downturn makes it a harmonious blend of functionality and comfort. The innovative toe inset enhances edging capabilities, allowing climbers to experience elevated precision, while the textured heel intensifies grip during heel hooks, providing increased stability and control.


Mad Rock Rover

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  • Features
    • Balanced performance
    • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor climbing
  • Pros
    • Comfortable for longer sessions
    • Durable with good edging capability
  • Cons
    • Comfortable for longer sessions
    • Durable with good edging capability

The La Sportiva Finale is the epitome of traditional climbing footwear in this list characterized by its unlined leather and straightforward lace closure system. This shoe has proven to be a revelation due to its blend of comfort, functionality, and adaptability.

Comparatively, the Finale offers a more secure fit than its counterpart from La Sportiva, the Tarantulace, when chosen in the same size. The leather material yields slightly during the break-in period, resulting in a close yet comfortable fit; it’s advisable to choose a size 1 to 1.5 smaller than your regular Euro size.

The standout trait of the Finale is its versatility, demonstrating proficiency across diverse terrains and proving to be enjoyable on climbs of varying lengths. It even qualifies as a notable crack climbing shoe—a distinction seldom attributed to shoes tailored for beginners. Although most novices may not initially venture into crack climbing, having a pair of shoes capable of adapting to any climbing adventure is a significant advantage.


La Sportiva Finale

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  • Features
    • Slip-on design for ease of use
    • Stealth C4 rubber for exceptional grip
  • Pros
    • Comfortable, no pressure points due to lack of straps or laces
    • Excellent sensitivity, allowing for precise foot placements
  • Cons
    • May not be suitable for those with wider feet
    • Slip-on design may not provide the same level of security as laced or strapped models

The Five Ten Moccasym has been a renowned slipper for over 30 years, recognizable by its iconic red uppers, and has conquered diverse climbing terrains since 1992. Its popularity stems from revolutionary design features like the asymmetric last, which has redefined foot utilization for climbers, enabling access to advanced grades (5.14 and 5.15). The latest iteration maintains its legacy while introducing modern enhancements such as improved heel tension and a substantial toe patch, amplifying performance without compromising the cherished comfort it’s known for.

Five Ten Niad MaccasymBest Beginner Climb Shoe


Five Ten Niad Moccasym

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  • Features
    • Renowned for its comfort
    • Performs well on indoor climbs
  • Pros
    • Affordable
    • Comfortable for extended use
    • Suitable for gym climbing
  • Cons
    • Not durable enough for rough outdoor use

The Evolv Defy is a reputable and value-driven shoe, maintaining its foundational features through various updates. It retains the high-friction 4.2mm TRAX rubber and a supportive 1mm half-length midsole that characterize its reliable design. With a sharp toe and Velcro closure, it parallels many leading shoes in the market. It enjoys widespread acclaim in climbing gyms and, per Evolv Sports, is among the top-selling climbing shoes globally. Its cost, substantially lower than many high-end models, makes it an ideal selection for beginners honing their footwork.


Evolve Defy

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  • Features
    • Flat profile and symmetrical shape
    • Designed for comfort
  • Pros
    • Great fit for wider feet
    • Durable and comfortable for multi-pitch climbs
  • Cons
    • Lacks precision on tiny holds or overhangs

The La Sportiva Tarantulace, along with its Velcro version, the Tarantula, are economically priced shoes crafted to assist newcomers in navigating the vertical realms of climbing.

Though not designed for top-tier performance, their cozy fit, sturdy full-length sole, and cost-effective pricing make them the go-to choice for a multitude of beginners. These features facilitate the learning of fundamental techniques, enabling novices to refine their climbing abilities effectively.

La Sportive Taranulace Best Beginner Climb Shoe


Comparing Beginner Climbing Shoes

When comparing beginner climbing shoes, several key factors should be considered:

  • Durability
    • Assessing shoe lifespan and resilience is crucial, especially for beginners who may put their shoes through extensive wear and tear. High-quality materials and construction can contribute to a shoe’s durability, ensuring it can withstand repeated use.
  • Comfort
    • The level of foot support and padding provided by climbing shoes can greatly impact comfort levels. Beginners should prioritize shoes that offer ample cushioning and support to minimize discomfort during climbs.
  • Traction
    • Analyzing grip performance on different types of terrain is essential. Climbing shoes with excellent traction offer better adherence to footholds, increasing safety and confidence while climbing.
  • Price Range
    • Considering the cost-effectiveness of climbing shoes is also important for beginners. While investing in a quality pair of shoes is recommended, it is crucial to find a balance between affordability and performance.

Taking Care of Your Climb Shoes

In addition to the climbing shoes themselves, there are several accessories that can enhance the overall climbing experience for beginners:

  • Climbing Shoe Brushes
    • Proper shoe maintenance and cleaning are essential to extend the lifespan of climbing shoes. Climbing shoe brushes help remove dirt and debris from the soles, ensuring optimal grip and performance. Climbing shoes should be cleaned using a soft brush and water, combined with mild soap. 
  • Resoling services
    • Resoling climbing shoes offers a cost-effective way to extend their lifespan. As shoes wear out over time, resoling can help restore their performance and save money by avoiding the need for a complete shoe replacement.
  • Shoe deodorizers
    • After intense climbing sessions, shoes can develop unpleasant odors. Using shoe deodorizers can help address this issue, ensuring that climbers have fresh-smelling shoes for their next adventure.
  • Wash Your Shoes

Importance of gradually adapting to new footwear

Start with shorter climbs at an easier grade to give the shoes time to mold to the foot shape. Don’t take them straight to the to the limits of your skill level.

Stretching exercises for comfortable molding

Stretching exercises can help facilitate the molding of climbing shoes to the individual foot shape. Flexing and stretching the shoes gently before wearing can help speed up the break in process and make them more comfortable sooner.

Summary: Picking the Best Beginner Climbing Shoes

To summarize, when choosing the beginner climb shoe for you, it is crucial to prioritize fit, comfort, and shoe type. Neutral shoes are recommended for their versatility and comfort, while considering individual preferences and foot shape.Hopefully this detailed review of my top 5 shoes is helpful in making your choice!


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