Outdoor Rock Climbing : Pick the Right Rock Climbing Shoes


So we’re going to go over some shoes you might
want for rock climbing. These are all technical shoes over here. But you’ve got these which
are called approach shoes which you’re not going to use for the technical rock climbing.
But they’re good if the approach, the hike up to the climb is steep or slick. Often these
will actually have sticky rubber like the rest of the shoes we’re going to go over and
they’re basically just light hiking shoes you can use to just get where you’re going
more safely. So in the climbing world, there’s three basic types of shoes. The first one
here is lace up shoes. Now with any climbing shoe, you’ve got the sole of the shoe is with
sticky rubber which is rubber that’s been formulated to have a higher friction coefficient
on the rock. Which basically means, it’s going to stick to rock better than your average
shoe sole. So the thing with the lace ups is that when you put your foot in, you can
dial up the fit. You can dial in the fit. You can tie them as tight or as loose as you
want and in general with climbing shoes, you want them tighter than any other shoe you’re
ever going to wear. You want to think of them like a second skin. So if you’re just starting
out, lace up shoes are a good idea. Because even if you get them too big the first time,
you can always lace them up tighter and they’ll work in the long run. Now we can move over
to a kind of a step up in performance often is the Velcro shoe. For those of us too lazy
to untie our shoes after every climb, these are a great compromise. Often they’re a lot
more aggressive. Which means they’re turned in. When you put your toe in the shoe, it’s
going to curl up in there and you’re going to be able to toe down on rock a lot better.
You’re going to be able to, it gives you a much more concentrated power point to stand
on the rock. Same with the lace up shoes, the Velcro shoes can be tightened or loosened.
Not quite as customizable, but often you get them tight enough that you almost don’t need
to Velcro them at all anyway. Now often the ultimate in performance is the slipper. People
get these so tight that it’s extremely difficult to get them on your foot. The nice thing about
these is there’s no tying. There’s nothing to come undone. Once they’re on, they’re on.
So these are just like the other ones. They’re often very aggressive. Some shoes you’ll see
with actually come out of the box like this and you can imagine what that does to your
foot. But it’s great for performance and these are great shoes. I’ll often use them for indoor
climbing or for bouldering, which is lower climbing without a rope. All these shoes will
work. If you are just starting out though, I do just recommend the lace up shoes because
in the long run, those are going to be the easiest and the most versatile.

5 Comments

  • thanks mate :))

  • beginner. Thanks for info. I am trying to decide on a shoe.

  • Good one. Helped me. Thanks

  • I recently purchased a pair and was unable to try them on barefoot in the store. In the store they wer uncomfortably tight, but I figured w/o socks the'd be good width wise I can sinch them pretty tight, but I'm not all of the way into the toe box. Any tips/tricks to imrpove the fit? should I just climb with socks?

  • Dont buy shoes unless they allow you to test them barefoot!!!! And yell at them on your way out of the store!

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