Best Bouldering ShoesBouldering is becoming increasingly popular as a climbing sport, perhaps more so than traditional rock climbing. While a few decades ago, gyms were not equipped to offer bouldering courses, now they are becoming just as common as top-rope or lead climbing courses.

As bouldering grows in popularity, boulderers are on the lookout for rugged, dependable shoes that can keep up with the unique demands of the sport.

Before diving into the top-rated bouldering shoes, let’s take a quick look at the essential elements of the best bouldering shoes.

Top Bouldering Shoes Comparison Table 2017

Bouldering Shoe Features Sole Thickness Price Our Rating
La Sportiva Solution
  • Molded 3-D heel cup
  • Fast lacing system
  • Patented power platform to retain shape
4mm $$$ 3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
Scarpa Boostic Climbing Shoe
  • Precise Heel Fit
  • High Friction Toe Patch
  • Floating closure straps
4mm $$$ 4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
La Sportiva Miura VS
  • Enhanced Micro edges and smears
  • Edge sticky rubber outsole
  • Convenient hook and loop fastening closures
4mm $$ 4 Stars (4 / 5)
La Sportiva Miura VS
  • Aggressive asymmetrical toe box
  • Dual easy-on heel pulls
  • Stealth HF outsole
4mm $$$ 3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

Climbing Shoes: The Basics

Finding a good fitting pair of climbing shoes is a much more complicated task than finding a pair of running sneakers. Climbing shoes have their own unique fit and form, particularly when it comes to bouldering shoes.

Before getting into the best type of fit for bouldering shoes, there are a few important features of all climbing shoes to consider:

Climbing Shoes: The Basics👞 Volume

This describes the depth of a shoe, and ultimately, the shoe volume should match the volume of your natural foot. If you have a shallow, more compact foot, then wearing a shoe with high volume will not only be uncomfortable, but the baggy fit could make climbing unsafe.

👞 Width

While this is an important feature of any shoe, it becomes even more important when applied to climbing shoes. Climbing shoes are built to fit snugly—especially when considering bouldering shoes—so width makes a huge difference.

If the shoe is too narrow, toes can quickly be pushed into uncomfortable positions, causing cramping and ineffective climbing. If it is too wide, the shoe could roll around your foot, causing difficulty grasping onto rock surfaces.

👞 Heel Depth

It can be tricky to find the right heel depth, but it’s worth it to take your time and try on a few pairs. A snug-fitting heel can provide support when pressure is put on the toe, keeping a steady grip and preventing the shoe from sliding.

A small amount of space is fine, but bear in mind that the best heel depth will not only support to pressure, but it will also move pressure away from the Achilles’ tendon.

How to Choose the Best Bouldering Shoes

How to Choose the Best Bouldering Shoes👞 Climbing shoes come in all types of shapes, sizes, and widths, and each model is specially formatted to tackle a particular kind of terrain. When looking for bouldering shoes, there are a few key characteristics that bouldering shoes should have.

👞 Bouldering often involves climbing through steep, overhanging terrain. To tackle the unique challenges that these angles produce, bouldering shoes need to be similarly steep and aggressive. The best bouldering shoes will have downward pointing toes, which will allow the climber to have secure foot placements on overhanging rock.

👞 Keep in mind that, due to their unique construction, aggressive climbing shoes may not be comfortable enough to last all day. To improve comfort, most boulderers look for a shoe that keeps their toes pressed to the end of the shoe and slightly curled.

👞 Ultimately, the decision between a shoe with laces or Velcro comes down to personal preference, though many boulderers prefer Velcro for convenience and comfort.

The Top-Rated Bouldering Shoes

Finding the best bouldering shoes is a huge part of making sure that each bouldering excursion is comfortable, productive, enjoyable, and most of all, safe. When looking for the best bouldering shoes for you, the top-rated shoes is certainly a good place to start.

Below is a detailed list of the best bouldering shoes currently on the market. Each of these shoes demonstrates high levels of performance and efficiency, making them the best shoes to consider for your next bouldering trip.

👟 La Sportiva Solution

La Sportiva SolutionKey Features:

  • Molded 3-D heel cup
  • Fast lacing system
  • Patented power platform to retain shape over time

This bouldering shoe is used by gym rats and professionals alike, making it one of the most popular all-around models. The downward shape and aggressive nature makes them perfect for bouldering or climbing overhung faces. The toe has a marked angle, which gives it ultimate edging and hooking power. The top rubber is soft and sticky to allow for increased sensitivity, so you can feel every rock feature.

👟 Evolv Shaman

Evolv ShamanKey Features:

  • Microfiber outer
  • Inset front strap
  • Additional toe rubber for improved hooking

Experienced boulderers may recognize the Evolv Shaman name, though this redesigned model comes with a ton of new features. Designed by professional climber Chris Sharma, the new Evolv Shaman comes with even more high-end rubber to enhance sensitivity and create a better grip. The new profile features a narrower, more downturned toe, and an inset front strap. For a wider climbing shoe, the Evolv Shaman is still an excellent choice, as the new model does retain its traditional wide construction.

👟 Scarpa Boostic Climbing Shoe

Scarpa Boostic Climbing ShoeKey Features:

  • Precise heel fit and sticky rubber for hooking
  • High-friction toe patch
  • Floating closure straps for varied foot shapes

The Scarpa Boostic is well-known for its comfort and performance, making it a great option for those who plan on longer bouldering excursions. With a combination of suede and synthetic materials, this bouldering shoe will retain its fit consistently over years of wear and tear. For those who want to use their bouldering shoes indoors and outdoors, the Scarpa Boostic is ideally suited for both arenas.

👟 La Sportiva Miura VS

La Sportiva Miura VSKey Features:

  • Enhanced sensitivity on micro edges & smears
  • Edge sticky rubber outsole
  • Convenient hook & loop fastening closures

The Miura VS from La Sportiva is a dynamic and versatile option for a bouldering shoe. The aggressive downturn of the shoe is perfectly suited for the demands of bouldering, while the asymmetrical toe box keeps unnecessary stress off the toes. With a thick coating of XS Edge rubber, this bouldering shoe is ready to tackle any bouldering challenge.

👟 Five Ten Dragon Climbing Shoe

Five Ten Dragon Climbing ShoeKey Features:

  • Aggressive asymmetrical toe box
  • Dual easy-on heel pulls
  • Stealth HF outsole

While most bouldering shoes feature Velcro, this shoe comes with laces instead. For those who want a more customizable fit, laces are a great benefit. The Stealth High Friction outsole makes this shoe a great option for bouldering and climbing steep overhangs, providing excellent grip and sensitivity. Made from synthetic leather, the width may give and stretch over time, though not so much as to ruin the effectiveness of the shoe.

Conclusion

When looking for the best bouldering shoes, looking at the top-rated shoes is a great start. Bouldering is a unique form of climbing, and as such, the sport requires a unique type of shoe. Having the right equipment is essential to keeping climbers happy, efficient, and safe.