Climbing is one of the most thrilling sports that can be practiced all year round due to the indoor and outdoor locations. But if you’re a beginner climber, you can’t rely only on innate skill. You will also need a pair of the best beginner climbing shoes to help you keep a strong foothold.
Many beginners are eager to start heading higher up, but before you can begin your journey, you’ll need to take the time to find a quality pair of rock climbing shoes for beginners. A pair of top-rated climbing shoes for beginners will provide you with the stability and foundation you need to get started. But when you’re ready to stop renting and invest in your pair of shoes, you may feel a little lost in your search.
We have dedicated the time to make this list exhaustive, and have included a comprehensive buying guide so that you can spend less time shopping and more time on the wall. With our guide, you’ll have everything you need to find a quality pair of beginner climbing shoes.
How To Choose A Pair Of Beginner Climbing Shoes – Buying Guide
The best beginner climbing shoes will be made with a high-quality material because it provides your feet with more support and protection, while also being more comfortable. But the two most common types of materials used in the construction of a beginner climbing shoe are either leather or synthetic.
Leather rock climbing shoes for beginners will often stretch over time, which means that they become looser and more comfortable. The leather can also conform to your foot shape over time, which means that they often provide a customized feel to the climber. Leather is also more durable than synthetics, and can easily protect your foot from accidents.
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Synthetic materials are the opposite of leather and they will generally not stretch. This means that you don’t have to worry as much about sizing because they won’t change, but they can be more uncomfortable. You will need to find the correct size from the beginning, or your feet won’t fit inside the shoe. Synthetic material is also sometimes not as breathable, which is uncomfortable for some climbers.
Finally, some climbing shoes for beginners are made of a combination of leather and synthetic materials. This means that you can have the best qualities of both materials in a hybrid shoe that has an excellent performance.
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Many women’s and men’s beginner climbing shoes will feature a Velcro closure because it is easier to use. The Velcro straps can be pulled snug across your foot and make it faster to put on or take off your shoes. However, some bouldering shoes for beginners use laces to secure the shoes instead of Velcro. Laces are sturdy and they are just as secure as leather, but they often provide more personalized adjustability to the climber. Due to the laces running the length of the shoe, the climber can customize the shoe’s fit more precisely, which makes it more comfortable.
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Ultimately, it will be up to the climber to decide which closure system they wish to use when they climb. Both systems are secure, but one provides speed and the other customization. Beginner climbing shoe reviews may help you make your choice as reviewers will often comment on the comfort of the closure system.
The best climbing shoes for beginners will have a snug fit, which often means that they will feel tight on your foot. But finding the correct size can be difficult because the shoes shouldn’t be so tight that they are uncomfortable or cause pain.
You should keep in mind that climbing shoes for beginners are often sized smaller to accommodate a tight fit, which is important. Beginner climbing shoe reviews and the brand-provided size chart should help you find the best fit.
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The sole needs to be strong, but also slightly flexible. This will ensure that your foot has the stability and support it needs but is not restricted in its movement. The best beginner climbing shoe will also have a sole that provides you with a strong grip. Most soles have a thickness that can determine the sensitivity and durability of the design.
A 5mm sole is the thickest and would be more durable with less sensitivity. A 4mm sole balances the thickness with sensitivity as a decent compromise. A 3mm sole would have a lot of sensitivity but less protection, which makes it better for indoor use only.
Your beginner climbing shoes should always be comfortable once you have broken them in on the rocks. Top-rated climbing shoes for beginners will use expertly placed padding to make the shoes more comfortable as you climb. You should look for trad, sport climbing, and bouldering shoes for beginners that have lightly padded soles, ankles, and heels to make your climb more comfortable.
When you’re spending your time on the rock, you need your footwear to be durable. Rock climbing shoes for beginners should always be constructed to be extra durable so that you can climb on a natural or artificial rock for months and months without replacing your shoes. Durability will be enhanced by the construction and materials used in the design. Beginner climbing shoe reviews can help you determine the durability of a design and whether they are a solid investment.
For beginners, you need more stiffness instead of flexibility because your foot needs more stability in the ligaments and muscles. While you don’t want your shoe to be completely stiff, you don’t want it to be so flexible that you lack support in the heel, arch, or toe. Instead, look for stiffer midsoles, which are better for edging.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
Women’s and men’s beginner climbing shoes should be able to be used indoors or outdoors, but you should consider the design and its features to determine which climbing situations are best. Indoor shoes can be more comfortable because you are in a controlled environment. But if you are climbing outdoors, you should choose durability over comfort so that your feet are properly protected.
Men’s vs. Women’s
While all climbing shoes for beginners look similar, they aren’t. The best climbing shoes for beginners will be designed differently for men and women. Men’s beginner climbing shoes are often wider to accommodate larger feet. Meanwhile, women’s beginner climbing shoes are generally narrower to accommodate smaller foot sizes.
Q: Do You Wear Socks With Climbing Shoes?
Your choice. Most climbers prefer to not use socks because they feel better without a barrier between their shoes and their feet. It can also reduce the amount of foot slippage. However, some climbers choose to wear socks to help control odor and absorb sweat, or on especially cold days or climbs where performance isn’t as much of a concern.
Q: How Should Climbing Shoes Fit?
Tight. Rock climbing shoes for beginners need to be snug to ensure maximum contact with the rock, but they should still be comfortable. However, with a proper tight fit, you’ll be able to better manage how you climb and balance the weight of extra gear on bigger climbs.
Q: Do Climbing Shoes Make A Difference?
Yes. Without climbing shoes, your feet do not have the support, protection, or grip they need to safely climb. The best beginner climbing shoes will provide crucial support to your feet and also protect them from injuries.
Q: When Is The Time To Choose More Advanced Shoes?
Once beginners have learned and mastered the basics of rock climbing, they can consider looking for more advanced shoes. However, it can take a good chunk of time because your feet need to build up strength. Beginner climbing shoes have more stiffness, which helps you develop the muscles you need to climb. Also, many pros still use beginner-style climbing shoes for more moderate routes or big wall climbs, where they will be climbing for hours upon hours, reserving the more technical shoes for techier climbs.
Q: Should A Beginner Buy New Or Used Shoes?
Rock climbing shoes can be purchased new or used. While used shoes can help you reduce the cost of your investment, it can mean that you sacrifice comfort. The best climbing shoes for beginners will eventually conform to your feet. A pair of lightly used shoes may suit your needs, but if you feel uncomfortable you should consider purchasing new shoes.
Q: How To Clean And Care For Climbing Shoes?
When you’re climbing there may be debris on the rocks that can make your shoes dirty. You should be able to gently hand wash your shoes and allow them to fully dry. But if you ever doubt your techniques, you can also check the brand and find specific care instructions online or in a user manual provided with your purchase.
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Rock climbing has a lot of health benefits and is quite fun, so, understandably, there are constantly beginners who are looking to get started in this exciting sport.
But before you can take off, you’ll need to support your feet with quality gear, and a pair of top-rated climbing shoes for beginners is the best place to start. With the best beginner climbing shoes, beginners will quickly fall in love with the sport and advance their skills to become pro climbers.
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Do you own a pair of the rock climbing shoes that made it onto our list? Let us know which beginner rock climbing shoes your favorite are in the comments section below.