As you begin to master your rock climbing skills, you are ready to explore advanced techniques and trickier terrain. With the ever changing and evolving circumstances, so do your gear needs. Thus, it is during this time when you will need to upgrade to a pair of intermediate climbing shoes.

The best intermediate climbing shoes help you to easily transition into the next stage. Your intermediate climbing shoes will bring about that unique athletic edge. You get to explore exceptional and advanced performance out on the field as whilst enjoying the ample comfort to your feet.

With each of the 10 best intermediate climbing shoes in 2021 that are listed below, one thing is for sure. You will delight in both power and comfort during your climb. And in case you struggle to choose, the outlined feature guide will lead you to the perfect choice. So enjoy the ride!

How To Choose Intermediate Climbing Shoes – Buying Guide



The best intermediate rock climbing shoes should be comfortable.  Intermediate climbing shoes are a bridge between beginners climbing shoes and advanced climbing shoes. Intermediate climbers have already gotten a hang of the sport but are not advanced enough to master technical and trickier climbing, thus, comfort is still an important feature for them. 

When you are choosing your climbing shoes, you want them to be flat or with a slight downturn design. A typical downturn design will leave you uncomfortable and put you at risk of an accident. Furthermore, you also want a medium-stiff midsole to support your climbing. This is because a flexible one puts you at a closer contact to the surface, thus, risking injuries and falling as you don’t have the skills to navigate them yet.

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You also want your climbing shoes to be built with improved performance. Several common features help to improve the performance of the best intermediate rock climbing shoes. These include high friction rubber soles, front toe area rand designs, medium-stiff midsole designs, breathable and minimal flex leather fabrication, just to name a few.

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A downturned shape t our shoes offers a curved, downward pointing design that points towards your toes. This design is meant to provide a more aggressive performance whilst giving you a tight-fitting finish. A good quality intermediate climbing shoe will have a slight downturn. This shape offers enough functionality and performance for an intermediate climber. Yet, it is not too downturned that it limits comfort. 


An ideal climbing shoe will offer you a foot-hugging and snug fit. You don’t want your heels to slip out and at the same time, you don’t want the toes to be too curled that they are in pain. As an intermediate and trad climber, the fit of your shoes will focus more on the comfort side. Yet, when you start navigating steeper and trickier routes, a more aggressive pair with a tighter fit will be needed.

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Closure System

Climbing shoes feature different closure systems. The most common include the classic lace up, hook and loop as well as velcro strap. The two latter options are much easier to handle. Yet, if you are looking for a more secure hold with improved adjustability, the lace up closure system is a better choice.


Your rock climbing shoes will come with two types of soles namely the midsole and outsole. The midsole is normally built with molded plastic such as polypropylene. When you are choosing the best intermediate rock climbing shoes, a medium-stiff to stiff midsole is ideal. A rubber outsole on the other end is favored due to its naturally grippy quality and high durability. You want the outsoles to boast superior grip.


Leather makes an excellent upper material for your climbing shoes. The flexibility of leather makes it great because over time, it natural molds into the shape of your feet. Leather is also built with improved durability and ruggedness, thus, offering great protection in the outdoor. However, leather can be a little thick thus, reducing breathability. Thus, to achieve this quality, especially for summer climbing shoes, unlined leather is a better option.


The best intermediate rock climbing shoes should not be too flexible or too stiff.  You also want your shoes to be easy to break in so you don’t feel any pain during climbing. Yet, because you are not at an advanced level, you also want some level of protection. So medium-stiff shoes are a way to go.

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A good pair of climbing shoes should be lightweight. You don’t want your gear weighing you down mid-climb. However, you also don’t want the shoes to be too light that their quality is compromised. Typically, your climbing shoes shouldn’t weigh more than 2 lbs.



Q: What Is The Best Climbing Shoe Rubber?


The best climbing shoe rubber includes the patent Vibram XS, La Sportiva FriXion XS edge and the Stealth C4. These climbing shoe rubbers are molded advanced technology to help improve their performance during climbing. Their most prized feature is their improved and superior grip on any surface.

Q: What Shoes Do Professional Climbers Wear?


Professional climbers wear shoes that help to enhance their climbing performance. Typically, shoes for professional climbers tend to have a downturn and aggressive profile. The best climbing shoes for professional climbers should enhance grip and edging power. Professional climber shoes are rarely comfortable.

Q: What Makes A Good Climbing Shoe?


A good climbing shoe should provide a good grip. Typically, soft and sticky rubber outsoles are favored because their grip is greater. However, this also increases the risk of abrasions. Thus, if you are an advanced climber then a softer and stickier outsole is ideal. But if you are a beginner to an intermediate climber, a thicker sole to protect your learning feet is better. 

Q: When Should I Upgrade?


You should upgrade your climbing shoes after you have reached a more advanced climbing level, for example, if you are using beginner shoes, have trained and climbed to between5.9 to 5.11, then it is time to upgrade. The duration normally varies, some people may only take 6 months with frequent climbing whilst others may take up to a year or two.

Q: What Are Intermediate Climbing Shoes?


Intermediate climbing shoes are designed for moderate climbing. These types of shoes are designed for bouldering, edging and hooking. Typically, they feature a flat to a slight downturn shape. Their midsole design is also medium stiff. They are built with a balance between comfort and performance.

Globo Surf Overview

The intermediate climbing shoes reviews outline how useful they are. With rock climbing being such a versatile sport, intermediate shoes play quite a role through your stages of climbing and as well as through different climbing techniques. During bouldering, edging and hooking techniques, intermediate shoes are really handy. Their buying guide above offers a vivid guideline on what to look for when you are choosing the best intermediate climbing shoes to invest in. And the list of the 10 best intermediate climbing shoes above is a perfect place to begin your search.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!