The best climbing shoes for beginners

The best climbing shoes for beginners

Table of Contents

The best climbing shoes for beginners

Rock climbing is an exhilarating activity that combines physical challenge with mental focus. As you embark on this journey, having the right gear is essential, and climbing shoes are arguably the most crucial. The first gear you’ll need to own as you progress is a pair of climbing shoes. For your first pair, it is important to choose one with the right fit that suits you. Never choose based on colours or designs, looking fashionable is not the important thing.

This guide delves into the world of climbing shoes for beginners, helping you navigate the different types, and features to consider, and ultimately, find the perfect pair to propel you towards climbing mastery.

Why Upgrading from Rentals?

Rental shoes, while convenient, often lack the sensitivity and support needed for proper climbing technique. They might be a one-size-fits-all option, compromising comfort and performance. Investing in your own shoes offers several advantages:

  1. Improved Performance: Climbing shoes are designed to be snug, providing a close fit that allows you to feel even the tiniest footholds. This translates to better edging (standing on your toes) and smearing (using friction on angled surfaces).
  2. Enhanced Comfort: Climbing shoes are built with comfort in mind, especially for beginners. They offer better support and conform to the shape of your foot, reducing fatigue and allowing you to climb for longer durations.
  3. Increased Confidence: Owning a well-fitting pair of shoes fosters a sense of ownership and control in your climbing experience. You’ll feel more connected to the wall and tackle routes with newfound confidence.

Types of Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes come in a variety of shapes and styles, each catering to different climbing disciplines and skill levels. Here’s a breakdown of the two main categories for beginners:

Neutral Shoes: Ideal for beginners, neutral shoes prioritize comfort and support. They have a flat profile and a relatively straight last (the mould the shoe is built on) that mimics the natural shape of your foot. This promotes good footwork technique and allows for long climbing sessions without excessive strain.

Downward-turned Shoes: As climbers progress, they might graduate to downturned shoes. These shoes have a curved last that forces your foot into a more aggressive position. This allows for better edging on small footholds but comes at the expense of comfort, especially for beginners.

Features to Consider for Beginners

Closure System:

  1. Laces: Offer the most precise fit adjustment but can be time-consuming to put on and take off.
    Velcro Straps: Provide a fast and convenient way to adjust the fit, making them ideal for beginners.
  2. Leather: Offers a comfortable fit that conforms to your foot shape but requires a break-in period and may stretch over time.
  3. Synthetic: Dries faster and requires less maintenance, but may not be as comfortable as leather.
    Stiffness: The stiffness of the sole determines how much your shoe bends. Stiffer soles offer better support for edging, while softer soles provide more flexibility for smearing. A medium-stiffness sole is a good compromise for beginners.

Top Beginner Shoe Recommendations:

Now that you’re equipped with the essential knowledge, let’s explore some of the latest and greatest beginner shoe models from leading brands:

La Sportiva

Tarantula: A highly regarded shoe for beginners, the La Sportiva Tarantula offers a comfortable, neutral last with a synthetic upper that requires minimal break-in. The medium-stiff sole provides good support for edging while allowing for some flexibility for smearing. The Velcro closure system ensures a quick and easy fit, making it a popular choice for new climbers.

La Sportiva Tarantula Climbing Shoe


Force V: The Scarpa Force V is another excellent option for beginners. This shoe boasts a comfortable, neutral last with a synthetic upper that conforms well to your foot shape. The Vibram XS Grip rubber provides exceptional grip on a variety of surfaces, while the dual-strap closure system allows for precise adjustability.

Scarpa Force V Climbing Shoe

Five Ten

Kirigami: This versatile shoe from Five Ten is a great choice for beginners. It features a neutral last with a comfortable synthetic upper and a medium-stiff sole. The Stealth® C4 rubber provides excellent grip for edging and smearing, making it a well-rounded option for gym and outdoor climbing.

Five Ten Kirigami Climbing Shoe


Mundaka: The Mundaka from Tenaya is a great beginner shoe that prioritizes comfort and support. It features a neutral last with a soft, synthetic upper that requires minimal break-in. The Vibram® XS Grip 2 rubber provides exceptional grip, while the Velcro closure system ensures a secure and adjustable fit.

Tenaya Mundaka Climbing Shoe

Related Article

Climbing Shoes – Everything you need to know

Share with Climbers


Leave a Reply