Top Women’s Climbing Shoes 2017

Choosing the best womens climbing shoes 2017Finding the best womens climbing shoes is getting easier every year, thanks to the increasing popularity of rock climbing. Now, more than ever, women have a vast array of women’s rock climbing shoes to choose from.

To aid climbers in finding the best shoes for their next adventure, this article aims to highlight the top characteristics of women’s climbing shoes and provide a comprehensive list of the top-rated shoes available for women today.

Women’s Climbing Shoes: The Basics

Although women’s climbing shoes are very similar to men’s shoes, women’s rock climbing shoes will have a few significant differences. These include:

* Narrower heel

* Slightly higher arch

* Longer toe box

* Lower instep

For women who have difficulty fitting into unisex climbing shoes, rock climbing shoes that are specially formatted for women may create a much better fit. This is particularly the case for women who have characteristically narrow or shallow feet.

Different Types of Women’s Rock Climbing Shoes

Though there are plenty to choose from, finding the best rock climbing shoes women’s models can be a tricky process. Rock climbing shoes have a much different fit and function than running sneakers, making the purchasing process a bit more involved.

Before finding the best women’s rock climbing shoes, there are a few different styles to choose from. Each style will align closely with a particular climbing method and environment, so it’s important to understand which style of women’s climbing shoe will work best for you.

best womens climbing shoes👞 Neutral Climbing Shoes

While shoes should fit snugly, these climbing shoes tend to come with a looser, more relaxed fit. They usually feature thicker soles for added grip and comfort, and a flat profile to make it easier to fit feet into cracks.

Neutral climbing shoes work wonderfully as beginner shoes, since they are the typically the most comfortable, and their fit closely resembles that of a sneaker. For indoor top-rope climbing or lead climbing, neutral shoes are the best model to start with.

👞 Moderate Climbing Shoes

This type of shoe has a slight downward angle, making climbing easier without putting too much strain on the foot. With a combination of neutral and aggressive features, these types of shoes are the most versatile of the group.

Their snug, comfortable fit makes them sensitive enough to use for slab routes or long multi-pitch climbs. While they may not be a good choice for aggressive climbs, these types of women’s rock climbing shoes can easily tackle a variety of landscapes.

In comparison to neutral climbing shoes, moderate shoes tend to have thinner, stickier rubber to enhance sensitivity. As climbing skill and range progresses, these shoes are great options for top-rope climbing, lead climbing, or even bouldering courses.

👞 Aggressive Climbing Shoes

Rather than a flat or slightly downturned sole, aggressive climbing shoes will come with noticeably angled toes and solid heel tension to provide maximum power and positioning when tackling challenging climbs. For steep terrain, sport climbing, and bouldering, aggressive shoes will provide the best performance.

The fit for aggressive shoes will differ slightly. The toe box will be asymmetrical to allow for additional room and greater maneuverability. Even with extra room in the toe box, these types of women’s climbing shoes are meant to be form-fitting, with toes slightly curving inward.

While they may not be comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, they are certainly the most effective for bouldering or steep terrain.

Determining Fit For Women’s Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes fit much differently than traditional sneakers, and it can be difficult to determine which type of fit will produce the best performance.

Having shoes that are too tight may restrict movement and become a safety hazard, while shoes that are too loose may result in the climber losing control. Ultimately, deciding on the fit will come down to the type of climbing you are planning on doing.

No matter what type of women’s rock climbing shoes you choose, the fit will depend upon three things: shape, tightness, and stretch.

women's climbing shoes👟 Shape

Finding the right shape often means finding the right type of climbing shoe: neutral, moderate, or aggressive.

By nature, each type of climbing shoe will have a different shape. Neutral shoes will have a wider, flatter shape, while aggressive shoes will have a definitive arch, and they will be much slimmer and more form-fitting.

Keep in mind that as the scale travels from neutral to aggressive, the downturn and arch of the shoe will increase. When it comes to fit, you should expect an aggressive climbing shoe to be snug, a neutral shoe to have a little wiggle room, and a moderate shoe to fall somewhere in-between.

👟 Tightness

Climbers go back and forth between how tight a shoe should be, and while it does have to do with personal comfort, tightness can also affect performance. The best rule of thumb to follow is to wear tighter shoes for sport climbing or bouldering. Tighter shoes will enhance sensitivity and make it easier to grip onto ledges.

For longer, multi-pitch climbs, a looser fitting shoe is typically best. This is because tight shoes can get uncomfortable, and could potentially cut a climb short. Looser shoes can also make crack climbing a bit easier since it is easier to move your feet inside and through a crack.

👟 Stretch

Part of having a well-fitted shoe will depend upon the amount of stretch that the shoe will undergo over time. It’s rare for a shoe to hold the same exact fit that it has in the store, so make sure that the material is suited to uphold your desired fit.

Leather shoes will typically undergo the most amount of stretch, though expansion will decrease if the shoe has a lining. Lined leather shoes will have the effect of molding to your foot, rather than expanding and becoming loose with time.

The Best Women’s Climbing Shoes

After considering the differences between women’s and men’s shoes, the type of climbing shoe, and how to get the best fit, it’s time to look at the best women’s climbing shoes.

While women now have a great advantage by having more options available, these options can quickly become overwhelming. Finding the best shoes often involves extensive research and analysis into current trends, styles, and materials. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you.

This section will act as a guide for women who want to find the best women’s climbing shoes, taking an in-depth look at the top-rated shoes that are currently on the market.

Each of these women’s climbing shoes has received high praise for their efficiency, performance, and fit, making them ideal options for your next pair of climbing shoes.

👟 La Sportiva Miura- Women’s

La Sportiva Miura- Women’sKey Features:

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Speed lacing system

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Synthetic material

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 8-panel directional lining

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Slingshot rand connected to power hinge underneath

For women who are planning on tackling overhanging sport routes, gym climbing, technical face climbing, or bouldering, the Miura women’s climbing shoe from La Sportiva is a great option. Part of its draw comes from its versatility, ready and able to tackle a range of climbing challenges.

The shoe features a comfortable—though slightly aggressive—fit, maximum edging performance, and a synthetic construction. A padded heel provides a more customized fit while also increasing comfort.

The 8-panel directional lining decreases stretching over time, so climbers should not purchase this shoe with the expectation that the fit will loosen. As an additional benefit, the Vibram XS Gripe 2 rubber on the sole provides maximum sensitivity, allowing for comfortable and confident smearing.

👟 La Sportiva Solution- Women’s

La Sportiva Solution- Women’sKey Features:

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Molded 3-D heel cup

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Adjustable fast lacing system

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Patented P3 permanent power platform to retain shape

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Patented lock harness system to increase support and fit

The La Sportiva Solution is perfectly formatted for serious bouldering and sport climbing. One of the most notable features is its extremely aggressive downturned shape, which provides maximum power and control when used on steep terrain. The patented P3 permanent power platform helps the arch of the foot retain its original shape, making for reliable fit and function over time.

This women’s climbing shoe also features an adjustable quick lacing system and a lock harness system, two features which make it shine in comparison amongst competing aggressive climbing shoes. The lock harness system crosses over the top of the shoe, increasing fit and providing essential support. A unique lacing system allows the wearer to adjust the hook and loop closures to create a more customized fit.

For climbers who want a climbing shoe to be as form-fitting and as sensitive as their actual feet, the Solution from La Sportiva is one of the best available women’s climbing shoes.

👟  La Sportiva Katana- Women’s

La Sportiva Katana- Women’sKey Features:

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Adaptable Pacific lining in the forefoot

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Moisture-wicking lining underneath the tongue

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Adjustable hook & loop closure for multiple climbing styles

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Lorica toe box to provide maximum power while edging

As an incredibly versatile climbing shoe, the Katana shoe from La Sportiva is one of the most valuable shoes to own. While the shape of the shoe does have a slight downturn, the overall style is closer to that of a moderate to slightly aggressive shape.

The Katana comes with a few additional features to increase comfort and the longevity of the shoes. One common issue with climbing shoes is that they tend to retain moisture and soak up unpleasant smells over time.

The Katana women’s climbing shoe combats this by including a terrycloth lining along the tongue and the back of the shoe. Not only does this prevent sweat from seeping in, but it also prevents feet from sliding, increasing overall fit.

Another great detail about the Katana is that, while there is a slight downturn, this shoe has a flatter sole, making it easier to wear the shoes for longer periods of time. For those who are looking for climbing shoes that have equal parts comfort, sensitivity, and performance, the Katana from La Sportiva is a great fit.

👟  Evolv Shaman LV- Women’s

Evolv Shaman LV- Women’sKey Features:

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Rubber sole

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Low volume for shallower feet

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Knuckle box provides more room for toes

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 3 Velcro straps for a customized fit

While less aggressive than the women’s climbing shoes from La Sportiva, the Evolv Shaman LV comes with all the necessary components to support strenuous climbs. In fact, many professional climbers choose to wear this shoe, including Lisa Rands and Steph Davis.

For women with narrower feet, the Evolv Shaman LV is an excellent choice for a long-lasting, dependable fit. The microfiber lining allows the shoe to conform to the bumps and curves of your foot over time, creating a customized, form-fitting feel.

Although the shoe features a flattened arch, it also comes with a “Love Bump” in the toe box. This slight bump allows for better positioning of the feet and increased control, despite the lack of an arch.

One important factor to note is that, in comparison to other climbing shoes on our list, the Evolv Shaman LV does have less sensitivity. Some reviews have reported sensitivity increasing over time, so for those who are willing to break in their climbing shoes for higher performance, the Evolv Shaman LV is an excellent choice for a range of climbing styles.

👟  Five Ten Anasazi LV- Women’s

Five Ten Anasazi LV- Women’sKey Features:

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Two Velcro straps for a customized fit

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Cowdura upper material

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Stealth C-4 rubber sole

Heavy Check Mark on Apple iOS 10.2 Extreme sensitivity for enhanced performance

While the Five Ten Anasazi LV is not an aggressive shoe, it can certainly match the performance of the top-rated aggressive women’s climbing shoes. The thick, sensitive rubber sole provides maximum gripping power for any surface, whether on an indoor climbing course or on outdoor rock faces.

The toe box is longer and narrower than other models, making it a great choice for low volume feet. A lowered heel cup is designed to provide a better fit for all shapes and sizes of female feet. This updated model also features a slightly wider tongue flap, improving the overall fit.

One of the best features of the Five Ten Anasazi LV comes from the Stealth C-4 rubber sole. This thick, sticky rubber creates maximum sensitivity, making it possible to feel every crack and bump in the rock. It also improves stability, making it a great option for amateurs and professionals alike.

Conclusion

While unisex shoes—and even men’s shoes—can provide a perfectly agreeable fit, there are some cases in which climbing shoes women’s styles are simply better suited. With more attention paid to the heel, arch, width, and overall fit, the best women’s climbing shoes are certainly a worthwhile option for female climbers.