Rock climbing is one of the most popular outdoor sports throughout the world. If you consider yourself a rock climbing fanatic and are looking for the best climbing shoes, you will get exactly that from this article.
Outdoor sports is one of those things that has been with us humans for as far as we can recollect. We used to live in caves, then hunt and gather food to feed us, our friends and families. That is what the outdoor sports of this day and age resemble, more or less. It is just that the stakes are relatively lower. Because back in the days, failure meant you will not get to eat for that day.
But nothing among all the great outdoor sports that you can play will give you the sheer thrill that rock climbing can give you. You will be at one with nature and at the same time will be challenging yourself. So, if you are into that kind of a sport, doesn’t matter if it is part time or full time, you will need the best rock climbing shoes. So, this article will be just the thing that you need.
- 1 What Goes Into Making The Best Climbing Shoes?
- 2 The Best Climbing Shoes You Can Get In 2019
- 3 Wrapping It Up….
What Goes Into Making The Best Climbing Shoes?
A great craftsman needs great tools, period! That is why you would need to get yourself some of the best climbing shoes within your budget.
Choices will always be subjective and will vary widely from person to person. “One size that fits all” is a complete myth as every human body type is quite unique. And it is very much that way for the feet too, as it is with our feet that we make contact with the world we know. Before any of the senses that we have.
Also, another significant thing when it comes to shoes and our feet is that it, plain and simple, has to be the right way. Because if the alignment of your feet is not optimal, it will affect your knees. And from knees on to the hips, which if impinged will give you hell.
I remember my lower back injury which gave me excruciating pain from time to time. Although it did not take me a serious surgery to fix it, it was still a bad experience in all. And one of the most important factors that went into the recovery process was having the right shoe. That helped me a lot get through that and to this day, I take care to keep my shoes right.
So, with that experience and also some of my days spent doing rock climbing, I am sure of these three qualities that go into making a great pair of rock climbing shoes.
Comfort While Wearing
Because rock climbing is that type of a sport where you would be climbing for a long time. That too with the shoes on to protect the skin under your feet. So, comfort is a very important factor and I have taken that into account.
Grippiness Of The Surface
When you are going to focus on climbing up the steep cliff or a rock-climbing surface, the last thing you would want is your feet to slip off the point of contact. That can be dangerous, so the grip of the shoe is going to be very, very important.
Last but not least, the best climbing shoes have to be durable to last through all those grueling climbing sessions. Basically, it has to be something that you can totally rely upon.
All of these are the essentials and yes, going from one model of a climbing shoe to another, there will be certain variations. But these three qualities are the most fundamental ones that you might want to pay attention to.
So, without further ado, I present to you the best climbing shoes that you can buy this new year.
The Best Climbing Shoes You Can Get In 2019
Now, here are all the shoes that you can pick from and it is my guarantee that you will be satisfied completely with your purchase. But once again, keeping in mind the antithesis of the “one size fits all” principle, some shoes are better than others in certain aspects.
What you have to keep in mind is your needs with the shoe that you are going to buy. Once you have that dialed in, you are good to go ahead and make your purchase. So, have a look at the best rock climbing shoes that you can buy this year.
Let’s ease into this list with the budget shoes and this one is going to be from NightHawk. I must say that NightHawk really shines in this price bracket with this shoe. This is pretty much an all-rounder within the $100 mark and is definitely quite reliable.
At this price bracket, these are probably the best beginner climbing shoes that money can buy. The NightHawk is a flat-lasted shoe with lace system leather uppers without a line. Also, you get an antimicrobial split tongue with a synthetic overlay.
The midsole is MX-P type and 1.4mm long, with the 4.2mm Trax SAS type sole. Performance tests have shown that this shoe is very much suited for short bursts of intense activity. And also for tagging along for extended periods of time in harsh to harsher conditions.
As a general statement regarding this shoe, this is not the best performing shoe by any means. But considering the price point, and the level of general comfort of use it has, this is definitely one of the sweetest deal that you might get.
The test reports by actual full-time climbers confirm the durability and also the antimicrobial quality. Even after long sessions with all the hard workers’ sweat, the shoes did not fail. The common smell of leather was still there and very little, if at all any offensive odor. Can very well be one of the best women’s climbing shoes.
- Uppers are made of leather along with closures of synthetic that blend the custom fit capability with the robust synthetic parts
- Quite sensitive but still very strong rubber outsoles of the 4.2mm Trax SAS type, good for rough-and-tough use in the gym and outside
- Midsoles rock-solid that stay strong during the long and hard climbing sessions, competition or practice
- The shape allows more space and the lacing is adjustable to fit all the different feet types
Scarpa Vapor V
This particular rock climbing shoe, if we need to describe in a single word, is a “workhorse”. The Scarpa Vapor V fits good and they edge quite well. Which is the primary reason why they are especially good for boulder climbing and the sport of rock climbing? It is also stiff enough to give you support for those long and arduous climbing sessions.
You will find a lot of climbing enthusiasts, as well as seasoned professionals that have bought themselves different sizes of this shoe. Now, why is that? It is because of the design of these shoes allow for the different sizes for different purposes.
It is because of the Bi-tension rand, you will get the feel as well as the kind of performance like the famous La Sportiva Katana Lace. But the difference would be that the fit of the shoes tend towards the narrower sides.
For the latest iteration of the Vapor V, you will get some extra rubber grip spots on the toe. That will allow better gripping with the surfaces of the rocks. This climbing shoe does not stick out for qualities like sensitivity or edging, as it is a bit wide.
Test reports give validation to the fact that the Scarpa Vapor V is very good for climbing where there are thin cracks. As with the thin cracks among the rocks that you might find, these shoes will grip well. All in all, it is quite among the best intermediate climbing shoes.
- The design of the rands pull the heel backwards for increased precision and power
- Mesh tongues have the design which allows better breathability and comfort
- For moves which go overhung, the split sole really helps
- Excellent grippiness and durability from the Vibram XS Edge rubber outsoles
- On/off is easy due to the strap closures which come in real handy at dire times
La Sportiva Finale
One of the most renowned companies in this niche, La Sportiva has truly demonstrated their craftsmanship in all the different models of their shoes. To keep up with the ever increasing competition, they come up with new shoes every other year.
The La Sportiva Finale is no doubt one of the premier examples of the dedication that this company has. This particular model best suits performance for rock climbing as well as boulder challenges. It does a fantastic job of edging along with a great degree of sensitivity. The design of the toe is low volume and so, it works very well with the thin cracks that you may come across.
Other than that, the Unlined leather upper will give you a crisp and snug feel of wear. This shoe is the most colorful union of performance and longevity, a must buy for the serious rock climbers. Even though some people complain about the sizes, I recommend you consult the official size chart to get yourself the proper size. As the size profiles are a bit different than the usual ones available.
- The leather uppers in this shoe come unlined and that will mold to your feet quite well
- 5mm Vibram XS Edge rubber outsoles grip edges on the wall, and hold up to heavy gym/crag use
- Neutral, slightly narrow last fits low-volume feet well, plus lacing system allows a more custom fit
- La Sportiva’s Powerhinge technology wraps the entire foot in rubber and connects to a tensioned Slingshot rand. So, when you weigh small edges, the back of the shoe stretches and the toe stays stable
La Sportiva Kataki Lace
This particular model from La Sportiva resembles the Otaki, but with laces and is a brilliant shoe for rock climbing. Especially the ones that require both technical face climbing as well as some crack climbing. All of that put together makes La Sportiva Kataki one of the most versatile rock climbing shoes that you can get in 2019. It can also top the list of the best beginner climbing shoes and the best intermediate climbing shoes without a doubt.
But since La Sportiva happens to be one of those brands that have a long list of climbing shoes that you can choose from where one will be better than the other and also in different fields of use and performance, you might ask, why choose these shoes?
What you get with the Kataki is that these shoes bring the best of both worlds together. Bringing together the designs of the top buys from this brand, the Katana and the Otaki. The Kataki is quite the performer for many different types of climbs.
To give you an estimate of where this climbing shoe will excel the best, I would say that if you are climbing a vertical with cracks here and there, this would fit right in. The low-profile of the toe box backed by the moderately rigid midsole and the laces together create this versatility.
You will be able to find better shoes if you look for them, better in different regards. Still, if you want a single shoe good for both technical face climbing and dealing with the difficult cracks, the Kataki Lace is undoubtedly one of the top picks.
- Very comfortable padded tongues
- Great footwork even with toes larger than usual, while climbing is a direct result of the downturned asymmetrical last
- Micro-adjustments closer to the toes possible due to varied lacing
- The S-heel construction for greater strength for heel hooks, keeping the heels safe while you put pressure through them
- Great comfortable fit due to the Suede leather uppers which stretch over time
Five Ten Quantum
Another one of those shoes that fit the versatility bill or this is what the manufacturers claim. The all-new Five Ten Quantum is a produce of this company’s close association with professional rock climbers. These guys boast a resume so impressive that it would definitely inspire other people to get into this game. So, this is the kind of design expertise that you can get with the Five Ten Quantum rock climbing shoe.
There is the already existing version of Quantum with features which are very good and with this iteration of this model, you get even more. For example, they have completely revamped the last of the new Five Ten Quantum. And especially owing to this fact, I believe that it will be more worthwhile to consider this model as completely new on its own.
Overall, this rock climbing shoe performs optimally in the versatility aspect, although it is best to consider this as a high-performance and long-lasting shoe. The edging aspect will be very, very good form this shoe in case of the “Indian Creek” splitters where you will often be going headfirst into the difficult cracks.
I personally like a last that is a bit flat with somewhat of a low-profile toe box than what this shoe has to offer. But larger routes inside the walls of granite are usually much more dynamic than those of the desert. The Five Ten Quantum performs phenomenally for the more varied styles of rock climbing.
- Completely synthetic uppers which hold their structure throughout the length of usage and it will not break off much from that
- Rubber outsoles of the 4.2mm Stealth C4 type, which are pretty solid as well as sticky
- Downturned lasts, quite symmetrical and a bit wider than the ones that Five Ten usually puts on their shoes. This allows the feet to stay in the relaxed position, with the right amount of aggression
- Midsoles are stiff enough to support your feet during the long hours that you will spend climbing
Wrapping It Up….
I would like to end with a bit on the recommendation side regarding the best climbing shoes that you will get this new year. I suggest that you carry out a complete analysis of the climbing style that you have. Make sure to take into account every nuance that there might be and ask questions all the while.
That way, once you figure out your needs, then you will be able to decide on the best climbing shoes that fit your needs perfectly. Such that your investment will be that much more of a success. And with all the information from this article, your decision-making process will be that much easier.