When you first come across rock climbing, the pros can amaze you with their skill and technique. You might be tempted just to find out what shoe your favorite climber wears and buy it. As it turns out, it will probably better to get rock climbing gear for beginners.
Buying a shoe that your favorite climber wears is a bad idea.
Another bad idea is buying the most expensive, well-reviewed shoe on the market. While these shoes are expensive and well-reviewed for a reason, it takes an experienced climber to use them for all they are worth. If you are a beginner, you will want to shoot for something that meets the following two criteria:
It may sound like cheap shoes will break down easily, and you will end up buying another pair quickly. That’s true but not for the reason you think. In reality, if you buy an expensive shoe it will break down quickly, too. This has more to do with the climber than the shoe. If you are a beginner, your footwork will be sloppy and undeveloped because of inexperience. As you slide your feet along the rock, the rubber will wear down. This will wear out expensive shoes just as easily as cheap ones. Buying a cheap shoe allows you to practice your footwork while not wearing out an expensive pair.
For a beginner, you will want to buy a pair of shoes that is comfortable. As you begin climbing, having a comfortable shoe will give you the freedom to experiment and focus on your climbing technique. If you are constantly struggling with painful shoes, you will have less energy to develop your footwork and strength.
With those two criteria in mind, here are the top five shoes for beginners:
👟 Evolv Defy
The Evolv Defy is supposed to be the best-selling climbing shoe in the United States. This is oftentimes the shoe that rock climbing gyms rent out to newcomers. The Defy is everything you need in a beginner’s shoe. Firstly, it does what you need it to do. Even though it is lower cost than most shoes, it will help you focus on developing your footwork.
Another important aspect of the Defy is that it is durable. While you are developing your footwork, you can depend on it to last even with the beating it is receiving. The Evolv Defy is a shoe that will stand up to more wear and tear for less money. Lastly, the Evolv Defy is a comfortable shoe. This is one of the main reasons so many gyms use this shoe. It combines performance, comfort, and cost to be the best shoe for beginners to try.
👟 La Sportiva Nago
Another great beginner’s shoe is the Nago by La Sportiva. In fact, keep La Sportiva in mind as your progress as a climber. They are the top climbing shoe company on the market right now. La Sportiva designed the Nago to be a beginner or intermediate shoe for all-around use.
This shoe meets both the important criteria for beginners. The Nago is a low-cost shoe, even though it uses state of the art rubber, Vibram XS Edge, and is made with leather. It also uses laces instead of velcro, like Evolv’s Defy. The Nago is a neutral type shoe with a flat bottom. This means it can be worn for long periods of time without hurting your feet. You can slip a pair of Nagos on at the beginning of a gym session and take them off at the end. All without any discomfort or pain.
👟 Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym
The Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym is a great, quality shoe for beginners. The Moccasyms have been on the market for over twenty years, which is a statement about their quality. They are slip on shoes, so you will not have to worry about laces or straps.
With a name like Moccasym, these shoes are some of the most comfortable climbing shoes out right now. Because they are made of leather they will stretch some. Make sure to buy a pair that is smaller than your regular shoe size. It may hurt while you break them in, but once they are broken they will love up to their name.
The performance of this shoe is perfect to fit your needs as you practice and improve your skills. There are even some professionals that wear this shoe when the climb.