Welcome, future climbers! If you’ve recently discovered a love for scaling heights and exploring vertical terrains, you’ve come to the right place. Picking up climbing as a sport can be thrilling but it’s equally important to equip yourself properly. Let’s start at the base – climbing shoes! This article will guide you on choosing the best climbing shoes for beginners like you.

Understanding the Basics of Climbing Shoes

When starting out, it’s crucial to understand your gear. Climbing shoes are more than just a fancy pair of footwear; they’re an extension of your feet. They come with key components:

  1. Upper: This is the top part of the shoe that covers your foot. It can be made from leather or synthetic materials, affecting the shoe’s breathability, comfort, and how much it stretches.
  2. Closure: Laces, velcro, or slip-ons, each has its pros and cons. Your choice will affect the shoe’s adjustability to your foot shape.
  3. Last: This is the foot-shaped model over which the shoe is built. Depending on the last shape (straight or asymmetric), your foot position and comfort level can vary.
  4. Sole: This is the bottom of the shoe that interacts with the rock. Soles can be thick or thin, stiff or flexible, each influencing sensitivity and durability.

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Factors to Consider When Choosing Climbing Shoes

Choosing the best climbing shoes for beginners involves various factors.

  1. Comfort: Forget the myth that climbing shoes must be painfully tight. Comfort is key, especially for beginners.
  2. Shoe Style: Choose from neutral, moderate, or aggressive styles based on the climbing you intend to do.
  3. Fit: A well-fitting shoe feels snug but not painfully tight. Your toes should lie flat in a neutral shoe, making them great beginner climbing shoes.

Decoding Climbing Shoe Terms

For those new to the sport, climbing shoe jargon might feel like a foreign language. Here’s a quick guide to make you a savvy shopper:

  • Lasting: This term refers to how the shoe is built around the foot-shaped model, also known as a “last”. Shoes can be slip-lasted (flexible and sensitive) or board-lasted (rigid and supportive).
  • Rand: It’s the rubber layer that wraps over the toe and sides of the climbing shoe. It helps enhance grip when you toe-hook or jam your foot into a crack.
  • Heel cup: A well-designed heel cup offers protection and ensures a snug fit. It plays a vital role when you need to perform heel-hooks.

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The Evolution of Climbing Shoes

Over time, as you evolve as a climber, your choice of climbing shoes will also change. Here’s a probable progression:

  • Beginner Stage: At this stage, comfort reigns supreme. You’d most likely go for neutral shoes that let your toes lie flat, providing all-day comfort.
  • Intermediate Stage: As you start attempting more technical climbs, you might switch to moderate shoes. These have a slight downturn for better performance on small holds and steeper terrains.
  • Advanced Stage: When you’ve mastered the art of climbing and are pushing your boundaries, aggressive shoes become the go-to choice. Their significant downturn provides precision and power on overhangs and tiny footholds.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Climbing Shoes

A well-maintained pair of climbing shoes can serve you for many adventurous climbs. Here are some tips to prolong their lifespan:

  • Air them out: After a sweaty climb, let your shoes air out. This helps prevent build-up of unpleasant odors.
  • Avoid heat: Extreme heat can damage the rubber soles of your shoes. Avoid leaving them in the car on a hot day or near a heat source.
  • Clean them periodically: Depending on how often you climb, a gentle cleaning routine can keep your shoes fresh. Use a soft brush to clean the soles and a damp cloth for the uppers.

Remember, each climb brings you one step closer to your peak potential. Keep ascending and keep exploring with the perfect pair of climbing shoes!


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The Best Climbing Shoes for Beginners

This part gets exciting! After extensive climbing shoe reviews, here are the top beginner climbing shoes:

  1. SCARPA: Known for comfort and affordability, a great choice for those starting their climbing journey.
  2. BLACK DIAMOND: Offers great performance and quality. Perfect for beginners moving into intermediate climbing.
  3. EVOLV: Offers aggressive styled shoes for those looking to dive right into challenging boulders.

Remember, “the best climbing shoe” varies for each individual. Your feet are unique, and so are your climbing shoes!

Where to Buy Your Climbing Shoes

Whether you choose to buy from local stores or online, ensure a proper fit. Many sellers provide a climbing shoe size guide to aid you. In physical stores, don’t hesitate to try on multiple pairs and styles.

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Importance of Trying and Testing

There’s no better test than real-world experience. Try out your climbing shoes indoors before venturing outdoors. Listen to your comfort and adjust as necessary. The best climbing shoe for beginners is one you forget you’re wearing!


Choosing the right climbing shoes is vital for your safety and climbing performance. Remember to consider your comfort, the shoe style, and fit while making your selection. Be patient and find a pair that feels like a natural extension of your feet.

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I hope you found this guide helpful. Check out other articles on our website for more climbing gear reviews and tips. And hey, once you’ve got your first pair, drop a comment with your own climbing shoe recommendations for beginners!

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I use regular sneakers for climbing? Sneakers lack the design and grip necessary for climbing. It’s safer to use dedicated climbing shoes.
  2. How tight should my climbing shoes be? Your climbing shoes should be snug but not painful. Your toes should lie flat in a neutral shoe, the best style for beginners.
  3. How do I maintain my climbing shoes? Keep them dry and clean. Most importantly, let them air out between climbs. Don’t expose them to extreme temperatures to maintain the rubber soles.

Enjoy your climbing journey with the right pair of shoes!


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