Rock climbing is an exciting sport that allows you to reach new heights while experiencing the awe-inspiring power of nature. Even if you can’t find somewhere outside to climb, there are now many indoor climbing gyms where you can have fun and practice.

There are shoes designed with the specific needs of the rock climber in mind. Shoes for indoor and outdoor climbing are designed for climbers of all skill levels. Whether you’re an advanced rock climber or a beginner, it’s important to have the right footwear.

Rock Climbing: The Basics

There are several styles of rock climbing, each with their own challenges and limitations. Each method of rock climbing features specific techniques, and with that requires specific equipment and shoes. There are seven major categories of rock climbing:

👞 Traditional/Trad

Traditional climbing requires the climber, or group of climbers, to carry and place protective and supportive gear along a passage and remove the gear upon completion.

mens climbing shoes👞Sport Climbing

Sport climbing relies on permanent anchors and bolts for safety, as opposed to upward mobility, and is considered a type of free climbing. The steeper the climb, the better it is to have a more aggressive shoe.

👞 Mountaineering

This is serious climbing not meant for beginners. In addition to climbing skills, you also have to deal with snow, ice, and extreme hazards. Mountaineering requires multi-day trekking, so you need survival equipment in addition to climbing gear.

👞 Bouldering

Climbers don’t rely on harnesses or ropes, but rather climb short heights over a crash pad. Bouldering is typically practiced indoors at climbing gyms, but can also be practiced outdoors on large natural boulders.

👞 Top Rope Climbing/Top-Roping

The top rope system is ideal for beginner and intermediate climbers, and works well indoors and outdoors. The climber is attached to a rope and harness system, with a belayer spotting from the bottom. This is one of the safest forms of climbing and can be an excellent way to practice difficult passages.

👞 Free Solo Climbing

Free soloing is the climbing practice wherein the climber does not use any harnesses, ropes, or protective gear. Many people die from this method of climbing, experienced or not, and it is not recommended.

👞 Lead Climbing

Although similar to top-roping, lead climbing offers more flexibility but requires more training and is more dangerous. Sport climbing and traditional climbing utilize lead climbing techniques.

How to Choose the Best Men’s Rock Climbing Shoes

The most intimate and important part of rock climbing is the physical connection between your body and the rock, so your shoes should be the most important choice you make. There are a lot of factors involved in determining the right shoe for your needs, so it’s important to learn the terminology.

Your preferred type of rock climbing will have an impact on what kind of shoe you should invest in. Choosing the wrong type of shoe can not only be uncomfortable, but dangerous. Therefore, it’s important to understand the differences between neutral, moderate, and aggressive climbing shoes.

👟  Neutral Climbing Shoes

An excellent choice for beginners, neutral shoes have a slightly more relaxed fit than other climbing shoes, which makes them comfortable to wear all day. Neutral shoes can also be a great choice for advanced climbers looking for shoes good for all day. Neutral climbing shoes feature a flatter, thicker, stiffer sole, which offers excellent support. The flat sole makes it easier to fit feet into cracks, but the relaxed fit makes it unsuitable for overhanging routes.

Neutral Climbing Shoes👟 Moderate Climbing Shoes

This style of shoe features a slight downward angle, also known as camber, which makes it a great option for technical climbing. Moderate climbing shoes are more comfortable than aggressive shoes and can provide all-purpose support for slab routes, crack climbs, and long, multi-pitch climbs. Typically, moderate climbing shoes have thinner soles and stickier rubber than neutral shoes, giving you a better foot grip, but this sole type also wears more quickly than neutral shoes.

👟 Aggressive Climbing Shoes

Aggressive climbing shoes feature a distinctly angled toe and heel, which provides maximum power and positioning for difficult climbs. Typically, aggressive climbing shoes feature stickier and thinner soles than other climbing shoes, and the extreme angle of the shoe makes it less suitable for fitting into cracks.

Important Features to Consider When Purchasing Climbing Shoes

In addition to understanding climbing shoe types, you need to understand the differences between shoe features
Important Features to Consider When Purchasing Climbing Shoes👞 Closures

When searching for the right men’s climbing shoe, you’ll typically see one of three types of closures:

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.

👟 Lace-up

Lace-up shoes offer that most customizable fit, as you can tighten to your needs. This is a great option for an all-purpose or multi-pitch shoe you can wear all day, as they take a little longer to put on and remove.

👟 Velcro Strap

Also known as a hook and loop strap, Velcro shoes tighten well while being easy to take on and off. If you like bouldering or sport climbing, Velcro strap shoes are an easy design when you’re often transferring between climbing and street shoes.

👟 Slip-on

Slippers are typically more comfortable and sensitive than other shoes, and they naturally have a very low profile, perfect for fitting into cracks. Often, slip-on shoes are unlined, which means they have a tendency to stretch out.

👞 Stickiness

Stickier rubber is typically going to be soft and less durable than less sticky rubber. Shoes with stickier soles can wear out more quickly, so if you’re looking for an all-day shoe or if you’re a beginner, consider shoes with harder, more durable rubber.

10 Best Rock Climbing Shoes For Mens Reviews

Even when you know what to look for it can still be an overwhelming process. We did research to find the best-rated men’s climbing shoes. We found models from beginner to advanced climbers, indoor and outdoor. Listed below are the best shoes to consider for your rock climbing adventures.

1.SCARPA Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe

 SCARPA Men’s Instinct VS Climbing ShoeSCARPA is known for high-quality performance outdoor footwear, and the Instinct VS is a fantastic, aggressive-style shoe perfectly designed for those steep overhangs. The design has been upgraded from it predecessor with the addition of a single strap, as well as deformation-resistant Vibram XS edge rubber. This climbing shoe has been designed with bi-tension randing, giving you the surety of foot you need when climbing. The rubber is sticky yet durable, and the overall shoe structure offers excellent toe and heel power. You’ll get great toe-hooking due to the rubber on top of the toe. This is one of the best-reviewed models for bouldering.

2.La Sportiva Men’s Tarantulace Climbing Shoes

La Sportiva Men’s Tarantulace Climbing Shoes These leather climbing shoes are great for all-day climbing. The closure is a quick-pull lacing harness that promises a close fit, and the proprietary rubber compound is durable while giving you a great grip. The unlined shoes will naturally stretch as you wear them, so consider buying a smaller size than your street shoes. The leather upper material offers a soft and comfortable fit, while the lined tongue provides a degree of moisture wicking. La Sportiva’s Tarantulace is a great option when you’re looking for an all-purpose shoe at a great price.

3.La Sportiva Tarantula Shoe

 La Sportiva Tarantula ShoeAnother great model from La Sportiva, the Tarantula features two Velcro straps that easily fit to most foot types. The specialized FriXion rubber is durable, sticky, and adapts easily to plastic and rock. The shoe also features an asymmetrical design that helps beginner climbers focus weight on the toe for greater control and support. The midsole is made of an extremely lightweight, synthetic fiber-laminate, giving you a great balance between rigidity and flexibility. Overall, this is a great shoe for beginner climbers, as it is easily adaptable to indoor and outdoor climbing while providing all-day comfort and usability.

4.SCARPA Men’s Force X Climbing Shoe

SCARPA Men’s Force X Climbing ShoeSCARPA has produced yet another quality piece of footwear with the Force X. The synthetic upper features two Velcro straps for easy removal and a great fit. The shoe is partially lined and has a suede footbed that forms comfortably to your feet. The padded mesh tongue provides extra comfort while you climb, and the relatively flat nature of the shoe makes this a great option for all-day climbing. The SCARPA Force X is a great beginner shoe that still provides the support you need for small holds.

5.Mad Rock Men’s Remora Climbing Shoe

Mad Rock Men’s Remora Climbing ShoeThis climbing shoe by Mad Rock is named for the Remora “suckerfish,” and the shoe seems to simply suction to your foot and the rock, giving you a great grip. The slip-on shoe is made of synthetic materials, and the SynFlex construction maintains a consistent fit. The Remora is easy to take on and off, and the sole is made of a proprietary rubber blend that gives you a great grip. The Remora is great for all-day comfort, trad climbing, bouldering, and sport climbing.

6.Evolv Men’s Defy

Evolv Men’s DefyThe Defy by Evolv is made in the U.S. and features a perforated, breathable, synthetic upper with a nylon lining. The shoe has an asymmetrical profile, giving your foot the right focus. The Defy is great for beginner and intermediate climbers, as the shoe is good for multi-pitch and gym climbing. You get the right balance of flexibility and rigidity with a half-length midsole, and the high-friction rubber sole is great for edging and smearing. You get the perfect fit with two adjustable Velcro straps, and the synthetic upper is less likely to overstretch over time.

7.Evolv Men’s Bandit Climbing Shoe

Evolv Men’s Bandit Climbing ShoeThis versatile shoe by Evolv is great for trad, sport, and gym climbing, and the lace-up shoe is lightweight with a low profile. The non-stretch upper guarantees that the shoe will maintain its shape and is designed with perforations for breathability. The shoe features a thin midsole that offers flexibility, and the rubber outer sole gives you the grip you need. The Bandit is perfect for indoor or outdoor use and is hard enough for edging but sticky enough for a good grip all day. Beginner and intermediate climbers will enjoy every minute of these multi-purpose shoes.

8.Evolv Axiom Climbing Shoe

Evolv Axiom Climbing ShoeThe Axiom is yet another great shoe from Evolv that is constructed with a comfortable leather that includes a microfiber-lined front half for added comfort. The shoe has several unique features, making this shoe stand out from the crowd. The tongue lock system ensures the shoe tongue will sit in the perfect position every time, ensuring long-term comfort and fit. The shoe employs a speed lacing system for easier use, making this a great all-around technical shoe. As an added bonus, the shoe has a very low top-of-foot volume, making it easier to fit into cracks. The shoe can be downsized for higher performance.

 

9.Evolv Luchachor SC Climbing Shoe

Evolv Luchachor SC Climbing ShoeThe Luchachor climbing shoe by Evolv features a three-strap hook and loop closure for the right fit. The elastic tongue system is breathable and is designed to reduce bulk while staying in place. The upper is synthetic, while the foot bed is unlined leather for a soft, comfortable fit. This moderate climbing shoe is slightly cambered with an asymmetrical toe profile, giving you excellent control on edges.

10.Evolv Men’s Cruzer Approach Shoe

Evolv Men’s Cruzer Approach ShoeThis climbing shoe by Evolv has a canvas upper and a rubber sole. The microfiber liner wicks away moisture while the memory foam insole gives you long-term comfort. The midsole is thin and flat, and the rubber outer sole has high-friction TRAX rubber. The lace-up shoe has a collapsible heel for the feel of a slip-on. These shoes are great to wear when you’re climbing and when you’re not – they even look great for a night out!

Conclusion

Whether this is your first pair of climbing shoes or your eighth, it’s important to get the right equipment that fits properly. Climbing shoes typically fit much more snugly than street shoes, so you may need a climbing shoe several sizes smaller than what you normally wear; try them on in person or order multiple sizes to make sure you get the right fit.