Bouldering shoes, also known as climbing shoes, are used for different types of rock climbing. In the early years, boulderers used heavy-soled climbing boots for climbing. But in recent years, top brands have come out with new, modern designs to make rock climbing more fun and relaxed. Rock climbing shoes come in different shapes with features crafted for specific types of climbing. While buying a rock climbing shoe, the key thing is to look for a shoe that suits your style of climbing. Looking for the best bouldering shoe? Here is a list of 6 Best Bouldering shoes for both men and women.
6 Best Bouldering Shoes for Men:
Scarpa Vapor V:
Scarpa Vapor V climbing shoes fall under the category of moderate bouldering shoes. This climbing shoe is excellent for steep climbing performance. This brand provides a relaxed fit and works great for climbing crack routes or out on the surface. The upper Scarpa shoe is made of synthetic microsuede. This shoe is designed with a strap grip, and the outsole provides flexibility. The tongue of the shoe provides a cushioning feel because of its padding. Scarpa is one of the best-known brands in the climbing shoe industry. They have earned their reputation by providing high quality shoes to everyone from amateurs to pros.
Five Ten Hiangle:
If you intend on aggressive climbing, this Five Ten Hiangle climbing shoe is a great option. It comes with straps, which makes it convenient to access for climbers. It also includes uppers made of leather. This Hiangle shoe features a downturned toe, specially designed for steep climbing. It provides a comfortable fit, great for all-day wearing. It is specially designed for aggressive climbing so it can tackle steep, overhanging routes suitably. The upper of the shoe stretches about a half size, so make sure to try it on before you buy. Hiangle climbing shoe soles are made from thermoplastic, which provides strong edging support.
Scarpa Instinct VS:
Another great offering from Scarpa, the Instinct V climbing shoe is specially designed for aggressive bouldering. This shoe is perfect if you are a boulderer and want a shoe that provides sensitivity and power. This shoe closes with straps, and has uppers made of Lorica synthetic leather. This brand offers a comfy fit. The sole of the shoe is two distinct parts made of Vikram XS edge rubber that delivers an excellent grip on tricky routes. The Scarpa Instinct VS climbing shoes bends at the heel to secure entry. Two-part soles permit the front and back of the feet to work independently for outstanding manageability on steep routes.
La Sportiva Solution :
The La Sportiva Upper is made of synthetic leather with a strap closure. This shoe is perfect for aggressive bouldering, sport routes, gym climbing, and technical face climbing. The La Sportiva is slightly downturned with a molded 3D heel cup that adds a secure grip to your feet. This climbing shoe provides a comfortable fit that mainly focuses on power over the toes for precise positioning on small holds. The La Sportiva Solution is very lightweight and is not an encumberance.
Five Ten Moccasym climbing shoe:
The Moccasym climbing shoe by Five Ten is a slip-on type and provides a good all-round moderate bouldering experience. The sole of this shoe is made of one of the stickiest rubbers available, providing excellent support on a small foothold. This shoe is very comfortable and is an excellent choice for beginners. These shoes stretch a little, so make sure to size down if you plan on getting one of these shoes.
Evolv Shaman climbing shoe:
The Evolv Shaman shoe is best designed for bouldering. Its features include synthetic suede upper with strap closure. This shoe is downturned which means that it provides an excellent grip on steep routes. Designed with a rubber toe for hooking that includes a strap at the front for enhanced medial toe scuffing. This shoe provides a high-performance experience because of the high friction rubber soles that stick well to the rocky face.
5 Best Bouldering Shoes for Women:
Scarpa Helix Climbing Shoe:
As with their men’s shoes, Scarpa sets the industry standard for women’s bouldering shoes. The Scarpa Helix women’s climbing shoe is best designed for neutral climbing. The upper of the shoe is made of suede leather and a lacing closure. It is a comfortable fit which you can wear it all day long. This shoe provides excellent grip and stability. It has a light heel cup and a well-tuned fit for any foot size. The Scarpa Helix climbing shoe is durable and can be re-soled. It comes with a padded mesh tongue that provides the comfort you desire. This Scarpa climbing shoe is also great for beginners.
Evolv Shakra Climbing Shoes:
Evolv Shakra Climbing shoes are explicitly designed for steep or aggressive climbing. This climbing shoe is downturned with a broader toe space that produces maximum toe entrapping power and side pressure relief. This shoe provides the most comfortable fit and the best climbing experience. The Upper of the shoe is synthetic with a strap closure which you can adjust according to your comfort. The sole is made of high friction rubber for better support.
La Sportiva Women’s Climbing shoe:
This shoe brand has sound features. It comes with a lacing detail that differs at the front and back for a perfect fit. The upper of the shoe is designed with suede leather and comes with an S-Heel that keeps the grip secured. Sportiva climbing shoes are an excellent choice for steep climbing and precise footwork. This shoe is versatile and provides a high-performance level.
Scarpa Vapor V Climbing Shoe:
Scarpa Vapor Climbing shoes are another excellent choice for bouldering. It comes with a closure system which provides comfort. Its sole is made of Vikram XS Edge 4MM rubber, which delivers superb grip and durability. Scarpa climbing shoes are mainly produced for moderate climbing. This bouldering shoe comes with an air-mesh tongue for comfort and breathability. The split sole allows for extra flexibility, which helps all-day comfort. This shoe can also be resoled, making it a budget-friendly option.
Five Ten Hiangle:
The Five Ten Hiangle women’s shoe provides a comfortable fit, best for steep, aggressive climbing because of its downturned shape and its features. The upper of the shoe is made of leather that stretches about a half size. This climbing shoe comes with a single hook and loop strap with elastic closure. It has strong edge support made of stiff thermoplastic midsoles. If you are intending on climbing all day, this Five Ten Hiangle is perfect as it provides comfort with all-day climbing experience.
Tips on How to Choose the Best Bouldering Shoe:
If you are someone interested in bouldering yet having difficulty in finding the right pair, don’t worry. Here are some tips to help you choose the right type of shoe for beginners as well as for experienced boulderers. You must get the right fit or the right shoe type when you look for a climbing shoe. While choosing a bouldering shoe, there are generally three factors you need to consider.
Choose the Right Bouldering Shoe for the Type of Climb
First thing, consider the kind of climbing you intend to do. Bouldering shoes are designed in three different types: Neutral, Moderate, and Aggressive.
- Neutral climbing shoes provide a relaxed and comfortable fit. You can wear this shoe throughout the day. This type of shoe features medium-stiff midsole and allows your feet to lie straight. Neutral climbing shoes provide excellent support while climbing as it is designed with thick rubber soles. Thicker rubber soles are more durable than thinner ones. This type of neutral bouldering shoe is an excellent choice for beginners as well as for experienced climbers who intend for long climbs. However, this type of shoes may not be the best choice for thorny routes, because the neutral shoe sole tends to be less sensitive compared to moderate and aggressive climbing shoes.
- Moderate Climbing shoes are best for crack climbs, hunk routes, long pitch climbs, and overhung sport routes. Moderate shoes are excellent for technical climbing because of the faintly downturned shoe shape. This type of bouldering shoe will help you climb complicated routes because of its downturned shape that puts your feet into a stronger position. Moderate climbing shoes are made of thinner soles with stickier rubber for better grip as compared to neutral shoes. Moderate shoes tend to be slightly less comfortable than neutral shoes because of their shape. However, this type still provides a soft feel when you wear them.
- Aggressive Climbing shoes are much preferred for challenging overhanging climbs. This type of aggressive climbing shoe has an asymmetric shape with a lot of heel tension, which is excellent for challenging climbs. The extreme downturned form is so that it puts your toes on a more definite place for positioning on small holds. Compared to neutral and moderate shoes, aggressive shoes are less comfortable. This type of boot does not work much for crack routes because of its extreme downturned shape. Shoes designed for aggressive climbing have thinner and stickier rubber soles.
Bouldering shoes come with three main types of closure mechanisms:
Shoe fit can make a massive difference to your climbing experience. Climbing shoes differ from regular shoes. It is designed in a way that fits your feet very closely, giving support while increasing the ability of the climber to set on small holds. Getting a perfect fit is the most crucial factor when it comes to buying a bouldering shoe.
- If you plan on buying online, be flexible with the sizing since different brands differ in sizes. Check out the size chart and look out for the measurement chart. However, it is best to try it on before getting them. By trying on the shoe, you will get an idea of how it fits.
- Climbing shoes should fit snug, not too tight nor loose. If the boots are too big, it will create gaps that will hamper the grip and increase your chances of slipping off.
Lace-up climbing shoes have the advantage to loosen the laces when your feet feel sore from long climbs. You can always tighten up the lace for steep climbs. This type of lace-up shoe has the benefit of adjusting the lace according to your comfort. In case you want to take off your boots between climbs, strap climbing shoes are a better choice. Strap climbing shoes are more convenient compared to lace-up climbing shoes. Boulderers much prefer this type of shoes because it is easy to put on and take off.
However, slip-on climbing shoes are designed with an elastic closure. Slip-on shoes are great for edging and smearing while climbing and are convenient to put on and take off. Provided the features, you have to choose according to your preference and the type of climbing you intend to do. If you are looking for a long climb, consider picking strap-ons, also known as a hook- and –loop or slip-on, often called slipper climbing shoes. This type of footwear is more convenient to wear off and on, in case you want to take off your shoes in between.
Climbing is not only fun, but it can help you lead a healthier life. In order to have a safe and fun experience while rock climbing, it is crucial to pick the best bouldering shoe for you. It is important to make sure that you pick the right type of shoe for your route, and that you pick the proper size.