So you have just started climbing and looking for the best climbing shoes in your town. Climbing is an expensive sport to adopt. But on the other hand, learning to climb is more fun. Climbing or bouldering gear costs more than any other outdoor gear you might have come across. One of the essential things for climbing is the right shoes. You don’t want to slip off and find yourself falling off that sharp cliff far away from your home. Therefore, you need good climbing shoes as it is the only thing protecting you from slipping off the rock. So, in this buying guide, you will find some of the best beginner climbing shoes for bouldering if you are on a tight budget.
Just keep in mind that beginner shoes for climbing are not top-performing shoes. The most important thing is durability. The shoes that are you are trying to buy for your first climbing experience should be good enough for the long run. It is good to have a pair of shoes in which you feel more comfortable and relaxed while you are climbing up on the boulders.
How to Choose the Best Beginner Climbing Shoes for Bouldering or Rock Climbing?
Climbing shoes are tight as compared to your casual shoes. Most of the new climbers complain about these shoes as they are not used to it.
It takes time for your feet to adjust to a new pair of shoes. Buying a cheap or beginner level shoes will help you a lot to understand what fits you well. Another reason that you should buy a beginner pair is that the rubber of climbing shoes wears out fast. The primary purpose of the climbing shoes is to provide you with a good grip on the boulders. Therefore, climbing shoes do not last for a more extended period.
For new climbers, injuries are quite often, so you may hurt your feet if your shoes are cramped. Wearing a beginner level climbing pair will allow you to know more about your feet. It will help you to decide which pair you should buy once you are good enough to climb.
Professional level climbing shoes are costly, don’t waste your money on them unless you find yourself comfortable using the beginner climbing shoes.
Buying your first pair of climbing shoes
So you have made your mind to climb those boulders in the countryside. You have decided to make climbing as your favorite hobby. It’s time to buy your first pair of climbing shoes. There are many things to consider before you make the final purchase.
- If you are buying from an online store, it is worth looking out for the return policy. Keep in mind that you are buying climbing shoes, so you have to make sure they fit you well.
- When buying from the local store, just make sure they allow you to test them. Most local stores have a test climbing wall where you can check your newly bought climbing shoes.
Sizing and Comfortability
Whenever you go out and buy a pair of shoes, you always check out how well they fit. In the case of climbing shoes, it is fair to go for a size less than your regular foot size. Climbing shoe manufacturers also provide a sizing guide to help you find the right size for you. Another thing worth mentioning at this point is the “Volume.” Volume means how big or wide your foot is. Women have low LV than men.
Comfortability is another factor you have to consider while buying climbing shoes. It is something that entirely depends upon the type of material used in making those shoes. So it depends upon you to find out what suits you the best. You don’t want to feel uncomfortable while climbing those walls.
We advise you to understand the “Fit” before you buy your first shoes for bouldering. Just try looking out for the precise and comfortable fit. Always buy shoes with a shape that perfectly fits your feet.
Stiffness is a crucial factor to observe whenever you buy a new pair of climbing shoes. All of your body weight is shifted upon your toes while you are doing a climb. Your boots must stay rigid to give you extra leverage.
If you are a beginner, you need a pair of shoes which are made up of good stuff. Leather and materials used in climbing shoes may vary from brand to brand. Synthetics and natural leather are used in the manufacturing of climbing shoes. Many companies use “Knit,” a synthetic that is breathable and stretchable. It is though slightly stretchable but does not stretches out during break-in.
Leather is mostly used in making climbing shoes. If you are buying leather shoes, make sure you leave a bit of space for the stretch.
Thickness of Rubber
Thickness is significant when it comes to new pair of bouldering shoes. Harder rubber helps in maintaining the grip of sharp or small edges. We recommend new climbers to buy shoes that are a bit thicker. Harder rubber means a longer life cycle of the boots.
Many climbing shoes come with 4mm standard sole. A 4mm sole keeps the right balance between sensitivity and durability, while a 5mm thick rubber offers stiffness but is less sensitive. However, 5mm soles are more durable, which means longer life of the shoes.
Velcro Straps and Laces on Climbing Shoes
Straps and laces are the two essential things that allow you to customize your newly bought climbing shoes. Laces allow you to adjust the shoes according to your preference. In a hotter climate, you can set them loose to give a breathing space to your feet.
Straps can help in adjusting the comfortability of the shoes. You can set them loose or tight up to a level you feel comfortable. A good thing about the velcro strap climbing shoes is that they can be taken on and off quickly. However, when you put them on, the upper material must follow the pattern of overlapping, or else it may cause problems.
Best Beginner Climbing Shoes for Bouldering 2020
Its time to get deep into our list and reveal you the best from the rock climbing industry
La Sportiva Finale – The Best Rock Climbing Shoe for Beginners
La Sportiva has always been on the top of the list when it comes to climbing shoes. The Italian manufacturer “La Sportiva” is famous for producing top of the line mountaineering boots since World War 2.
The Finale is the best traditional-looking climbing shoe with simple lace closure and unlined leather. Simple looking Finale is the lethal combination of performance, durability, and versatility.
The Finale is designed especially for the new climbers. The Finale fits a bit tighter than its other siblings. It is a good pair of shoes for someone practicing on edges and slabs.
It has a 5mm thick rubber than will surely last for a more extended period. Many people have found Finale comfortable with the steeper climbs. The Finale maintains a great balance between the comfortability and stiffness.
One thing worth mentioning here is the versatility of the Finale. It works perfectly on all climb lengths and terrains. It is found to be perfectly compatible with crack climbing, and it is something you don’t expect in a beginner level climbing shoe though crack climbing is something not recommended for a newbie.
La Sportiva Tarantulace – Most Comfortable Climber Shoes
La Sportiva Tarantulace is the sibling of La Sportiva Finale. As the name suggests, the lace-up system adds value to this climbing shoe meant for beginners. The reason La Sportiva has added the lace-up system on this pair is to allow the climbers the freedom to customize them.
The lined upper side feels super light as if you are climbing in your street shoes. Though it is not the top-performing climbing shoe, it still sits well on different terrains. There are two reasons for which we have included Tarantulace in our list of best beginner climbing shoes, and that is accessibility and performance. You, as a beginner, will love them while you are on a rough climb.
Black Diamond is one of the favorite brands of new climbers. It has earned a lot of hype among the best rock climbing shoes for beginners. It is something new yet appealing to put in your feet for climbing. It is a simple, comfortable, flat, and low budget climbing pair with decent performance.
Momentum shoes are from “Knit,” the synthetic we have discussed earlier in this guide. The material on Momentum is more breathable. It looks similar to your street trainers like Nike and Adidas in style. It is a deadly combination of style, performance, and comfort.
The performance of Momentum it pretty solid on face climbs and overhangs. However, it struggles a little while climbing roofs and slabs. For a beginner, these cons won’t matter a lot.
Momentum is available in lace and strap version. It is also available for kids in a smaller size. Energy is a stylish looking climbing shoe for beginners.
Mad Rock Drifter – Budget and Performance Rock Climbing Shoes
Mad Rock Drifter is the most competent and affordable climbing shoe in the market for newbies. Drifter is one of the most comfortable and sensitive shoes for all terrains. It is something we highly recommend for the new climbers to try on.
It works great when climbing slabs and edges. Although it doesn’t outperform the top-level shoes in the industry, it still has a decent score. It is cheaper, but it holds excellent performance.
Drifter is a velcro strap type shoe that falls in an all-rounder category of climbing shoes. It is more versatile when compared to other low budget climbing shoes in the market. People praise Drifter for being the right starter shoe for climbing.
Evolv Skyhawk and Nighthawk – Climbing Shoes for Low Volume
Skyhawk is the bouldering shoes (Low Volume) specifically designed for women. The Skyhawk comes with the leather upper side and 4.2mm thick rubber for extra comfort and durability. It is a flat profile shoe with an extra level of stiffness to climb on boulders.
The boots come in a lace-up version so that newbies can adjust them according to the level of comfortability. Skyhawk shoes are made up of anti-microbial material, which keeps your feet and the boots odorless on more prolonged use.
Mad Rock Flash – Top Climbing Shoes for Hanging
Crazy Rock Flash is an old beginner level climbing shoe. It is still one of the most bough shoes due to their performance and accessibility. Despite being the least comfortable bouldering shoe, it even made on our list. You might be thinking, why the hell we have included this, though it isn’t suitable?
The answer lies in the performance. It has outperformed many other bouldering shoes on steep terrains. The reason Flash being less comfortable might be the aggressive shape. However, the dynamic form makes toeing a lot easier on steep grounds. On top of that, Flash has a very sticky rubber, which is a very factor to consider buying them.
However, this isn’t the best shoe for all beginners. If you are practising on slabs, you will struggle. However, if you are hanging down a cliff or cave, you will love them.
Evolv Defy – Highly Recommended for Beginners
Evolv Defy is a classic looking velcro-closure bouldering shoes for beginners. There was a time when newbies loved to buy these shoes with their eyes closed. Evolv Defy is the most affordable rock climbing shoes with high-end performance.
It has a stiff sole, which helps in lifting off the weight from calves. It is not made for cliffs but can withstand slabs pretty easily. We have found its performance somewhat similar to the Mad Rock Drifter.
The pair comes with a synthetic rubber top and two different straps for extra relief to your feet. An excellent choice if you are new to climbing and on a tight budget. Lastly, one of the best beginner climbing shoes for bouldering to gift someone.
Scarpa Origin – Award-Winning Climbing Shoes For Beginners
Scarpa is an award-winning climbing shoe for new climbers. It features a 5mm thick rubber that will last for a more extended period of practicing climbing. Scarpa is designed, keeping in mind the comfort and fit. The dual straps allow you to adjust the shoes according to your size.
The Origin feels super comfortable with a leather upper top and padded tongue. However, Origins does have some cons that come along with it. The 5mm thick rubber handles glassy on some terrains. Therefore, beginners have to be super cautious while wearing these boots.
Also Checkout Climbing Shoes for Kids
Below are some of the best beginner climbing shoes for bouldering and rock climbing that we found the most effective.
- La Sportiva Finale
- La Sportiva Tarantulace
- Mad Rock Flash
- Black Diaomong Momentum