When you begin bouldering, you can find it quite a minimalistic sport. In terms of equipment requirements, it’s like climbing for beginners and offers all the excitement without all of the risks.
You have the feeling of being wild and strong, and you’re always in motion, although you don’t need to carry as much baggage around with you. Many individuals ask if they need climbing shoes when they take up bouldering.
Although you don’t need specific climbing shoes to get going, you do need suitable footwear. Your feet are one of those areas that require a lot of grip.
Here you can read these reviews of the best climbing shoes for beginners to help you get on your way.
- Why You Need a Good Bouldering Shoe
- Top Bouldering Shoe Reviews
- Bouldering Shoes Buying guide
- Final Verdict
Why You Need a Good Bouldering Shoe
You can find climbing shoes in many styles and many budgets. While there are makes such as La Sportiva tarantulace, Evolv defy, Mad Rock Drifter and Five Ten Anasazi, and Scarpa Origin, these are for the more experienced climbers.
What you do need are shoes that are tight-fitting to avoid slippage. You will find better performance on the smaller holds, although loose shoes are more comfortable.
The secret is sticky rubber, which needs to be soft to avoid slipping, though this can wear faster. Firmer soles offer enhanced smearing and also last longer.
First, you will need shoes that offer all the features yet don’t cost the earth. You will find your first set doesn’t last too long because your footwork may not be the best. (Read Where To Go Camping: Best Camping in USA)
Beginner’s shoes tend to be quite stiff and with plenty of rubber with a flat sole. While not performance-oriented, they are comfortable until you become accustomed to the fit.
Here are some of the beginner climbing shoe options you can find for gym climbing. Following our reviews of best beginner climbing shoes, you can find the beginner s guide about what you need to know about buying the right pair of climbing shoes.
Top Bouldering Shoe Reviews
1. Vibram Men’s V-Alpha Black Hiking Shoe
The Vibram Men’s V-Alpha Black Hiking Shoe is unlike many others you will find, and although designed for hiking, it is a fantastic option for bouldering.
Coming from one of the largest names is shoe sole manufacturers, you will find you have something special. You find the Vibram XS grip and Vibram XS edge, technology used on La Sportiva Tarantulance, La Sportiva Finale, La Sportiva Tarantula, and Scarpa models.
The soles are thin enough to be comfortable yet hard enough not to hurt your feet on the hardest of surfaces or smallest boulders when climbing. You also find you have less strain on your feet as climb because you use your feet in a natural manner.
The uppers are 100% textile with a mix of polyester and wool, so they are comfortable and durable. The lace-ups are easy to adjust, so you can go for a more relaxed fit between climbs and a tighter fit during a climb.
- Toes are spaced rather than cramped
- Fantastic grip
- Easy to adjust
- Can be worn outside of climbing
- Toes may be too long for some people
- May not offer the tightest fit for some climbers
With a guide price of around $90, you get a lot of durable shoe for your money. You can even wash these in the machine and air dry to bring them back to all their glory. You get the best in comfort and performance, and for a first-time shoe, you will find these last a long time while climbing and bouldering.
2. Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe
One of Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe’s best features for men and women is trying to make sure your comfort isn’t compromised.
They offer lots of ankle support with a moderate profile. You have a padded collar and heel cup with breathable mesh technology to maintain constant foot temperatures.
The Climb X is made explicitly for technical climbing, thanks to their slightly down-turned shape to help you position your feet in a secure position with a better grip.
Also, they come with a tacky thin rubber sole for better gripping chances. The uppers are high-grade leather so that they can withstand plenty of knocks and bangs. Also, all the seams are double stitched.
- Comfortable to be worn for extended periods
- Easily adjustable Velcro closure straps
- Sticky rubber sole for better grip
- Hemp foot-bed to avoid foot odor
- Thin sole can wear quickly
- Sizing isn’t accurate – order from 0.5 to 1.5 sizes larger than street shoes
- Not as comfortable as others
Coming in with a guide price of just under $60, you won’t find these as the best beginner climbing shoes because you may struggle to get the right fit.
However, with the right sizing, they are a decent beginner shoe if that is all you are after.
3. Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoe
The Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoe is a great pair of climbing shoes for the novice or beginner climber.
They feature a thick sole with a neutral design so you can wear them for a more extended period.
The Black Diamond bouldering shoe is made from synthetic materials, so they are less prone to expand and deform during use. You also get lots of upper durability and breathability.
The beginner shoes come with a sturdy rubber sole to provide comfort and lots of grip and support.
While you can adjust the tightness with Velcro straps, these tend to offer a relaxed fitting, and they let your feet lie flat inside the shoe.
- Offer thick soles for support
- Medium to stiff mid-sole offers foot support to the foot arch
- Can be worn for extended periods
- Good foot sizing
- Rubber sole isn’t the most durable
- Heel section can fold inward over time
With a beginning guide price of around $85, these shoes present a decent option and can be found in many gear reviews as a decent pair of beginner shoes.
They offer easy fastening with the Velcro, and smaller sizes can be a women s version once they work out the right size.
4. Black Diamond Mens Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes
The Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes offer an alternative to the velcro option for climbers who like more control over their comfort.
The Momentum Lace is combined with innovative technologies with a classic, flat-last design. You find the ideal entry-level shoe, which comes with an upper fabric of the synthetic Engineered Knit Technology.
You find stretch and support where it’s needed and where it matters, along with lots of breathabilities.
The Momentum’s rubber sole is unique as it is molded with inspiration taken from the way they make their climbing carabiner climbing gear.
Designed for extended periods of bouldering or gym sessions, you will find the soft-flex mid-sole offers you lots of sensitivity along with the and lace-up adjustability, making it the perfect entry-level climbing shoe.
- Superior top breathability from engineered knit technology
- Thick rubber sole for added support
- Lace closer add another level of adjustability and comfort
- Shoes run narrow and better suited as a women s version
- Uppers can stretch over time
With a guide starting at around $70, these shoes offer an affordable option that doesn’t break the bank. You have lots of adjustability for a first pair, so you won’t feel your feet sliding inside.
5. Climb X Gear Icon Rock Climbing Shoe Knit
The Climb X Icon Climbing Shoe features the X-factor sticky climbing rubber for the soles. This is high quality, durable, and presents you with lots of grip on slippery surfaces.
Besides, the sticky rubber is thick enough to provide you with stiffer and controlled movements on multi-pitch routes.
You will find the Climb X Icon comes with a neoprene tongue to help secure your foot as you tighten the Velcro fastenings.
The tongue will also help your feet breathe, to allow you to wear these for extended periods. Hemp is also used in the foot-bed to help reduce odor.
One of the Climb X standout features is the synthetic leather, and thus it has a low stretch profile to secure your foot in place.
- Hemp foot-bed reduces sweat and eliminates odor
- Leather synthetic top aids air circulation
- Sole offers sticky rubber for grip
- Velcro closure helps adjustability
- Colors may run from leather after a few months
- No women sizes
- May need a half size or full size up compared to street shoes
With a rough price tag price of a little under $50, these do present an affordable pair of shoes with a snug fit. It can be a stiff shoe that is ideal for crack climbing, yet the durability may not withstand such an aggressive shoe use.
Bouldering Shoes Buying guide
Some people reckon it’s not worth a basic beginner pair of climbing shoes and head right to the high-end with the likes of the following:
- La Sportiva Tarantulace, La Sportiva Tarantula
- Scarpa Instinct, Scarpa Helix, Scarpa Origin
- Evolv Elektra, Frixion RS, Mad Rock Drifter
This means you can tackle more challenging routes. However, you may need to try a shoe before you commit to the higher-priced versions.
Here’s what you need to look at when buying:
Climbing shoes should be tight:
Until you are used to a tight toe box, you may find a beginner climbing shoe more comfortable. Add to this, after wear; the heel cup can become loose.
Your feet have to adjust:
Velcro shoes may not have the luxury of continual adjustment. If they are loose, you can’t do much. Hence the reason for laces. Also, one that is too tight can put you off through discomfort.
Rubber on climbing shoes will wear quickly. Most are made for grip and not longevity. When new to climbing, you’ll put your feet where they shouldn’t and wear rubber faster.
Beginner shoes offer more rubber to counteract this, particularly around the toe area. Shoes such as Evolv will provide less as you know where your feet ought to be.
It is easy to hurt or injure your feet when not used to climbing, and climbing in cramped shoes can make this happen faster and more often. You do need comfort as well as reliability.
Not many shoes offer dual-purpose, yet some such as the Five Fingers can be used outside of climbing if it isn’t for you.
Climbing shoe size will depend on the brand (Evolv may offer different to La Sportiva). However, a rule of thumb is to try half to a full size smaller than street footwear sizes. You will see the volume mentioned, and the less volume, it will be the best women wear these.
Sensitivity is what you feel as you climb. Rights reserved sole manufacturers know how to offer high sensitivity.
During testing, it was soon clear which the best and most favored of the bouldering shoes was going to be. With the highest degree of durability and sensitivity, even way beyond the Five Ten, Evolv Defy, and the Mad Rock of Scarpa Origin.
The best beginner climbing shoe on test was the Vibram Men’s V-Alpha Black Hiking Shoe. They offer the best sole for grip and sensitivity, and if used outside of bouldering, you can use them for walking or just for casual.
Besides, they offer sufficient tightness not to slip without discomfort, and they are easy to maintain. You will find the price perfectly placed for this high end performing yet affordable shoe.
These are likely to be the best rock-climbing shoes for beginners in many reviews.
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