As you begin to master your rock climbing skills, you are ready to explore advanced techniques and trickier terrain. Those neutral, mellow gym shoes you’ve been wearing won’t last forever. Eventually, compliments you’ll 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 that allows you to climb harder and longer. You get to explore exceptional and advanced performance out on the field whilst enjoying ample comfort for your feet.

With each of the 10 best intermediate climbing shoes in 2021 listed below, you can be sure you’re making a solid purchase. And in case you struggle to choose, the outlined feature guide below will lead you to the perfect choice.

How To Choose Intermediate Climbing Shoes – Buying Guide

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Comfort

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

When you are choosing your climbing shoes, you want them to be flat or with a slight downturn design. Furthermore, you also want a medium-stiff midsole to support your climbing, but the more comfortable you are on harder routes, the thinner your midsole can be, as it provides increased sensitivity to allow you to project harder climbs.

Related Review: Cheap Climbing Shoes

Performance

You also want your climbing shoes to be built with solid materials. Several common features help to improve the performance of the best intermediate rock climbing shoes. These include high friction rubber soles, leather or synthetic uppers, medium-stiff midsole designs, breathable and minimal flex leather fabrication, and more.

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Downturn

A more aggressive style of shoes offers a curved, downward-pointing design. This design is meant to provide increased performance on steep terrain and small holds and is particularly important for face climbing. A good quality intermediate climbing shoe will have a slight downturn. This shape offers enough functionality and performance for an intermediate climber. Just don’t get a super aggressive shoe, or you’ll end up wanting to take it off constantly at the crag. 

Fit

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 so curled that they are in pain. As an intermediate and trad climber, the fit of your shoes will focus more on the comfort side. That said, when you start navigating steeper and trickier routes, a more aggressive pair with a tighter fit will be needed.

Related Review: Trad Climbing Shoes

Closure System

Climbing shoes feature different closure systems. The most common include the classic lace-up, slip-on, and velcro strap. The two latter options are much easier to handle and take on and off. That said, if you’re looking for the tightest, most secure fit and you have the time to lace up your shoes, a lace-up closure system is a better choice.

Sole

Your rock climbing shoes will come with two types of soles, the midsole, and the 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 the stiff midsole is ideal, but if you’re looking for techier shoes for boulders or hard sport routes, you can go for a softer midsole. A rubber outsole on the other end is favored due to its naturally grippy quality and high durability. Try a variety of outsoles at your gym, perhaps, and see which shoe performs best.

Material

Leather makes an excellent upper material for your climbing shoes. The flexibility of leather makes it great because over time it naturally molds into the shape of your feet. Leather is also built with improved durability and ruggedness, offering great protection against rock abrasion. However, leather can be a little thick, which reduces breathability. Unlined leather is an excellent option to find good middle ground.

Stiffness 

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, but you also want shoes with some support so they’ll stay comfortable during long days on the wall.

Related Post: Break In Climbing Shoes

Weight

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 so light that their durability is compromised. Typically, your climbing shoes shouldn’t weigh more than two pounds.

FAQs

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Q: What Is The Best Climbing Shoe Rubber?

A: 

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 with advanced technology to help improve their performance during climbing. Their most prized feature is their improved and superior grip on a variety of surfaces.

Q: What Shoes Do Professional Climbers Wear?

A: 

Professional climbers wear shoes that enhance their grip on the rock. Typically, shoes for professional climbers tend to have a downturn and aggressive profile. The best climbing shoes for professional climbers should enhance overall grip on the rock, particularly and toe, and edging power.

Q: What Makes A Good Climbing Shoe?

A: 

A good climbing shoe should provide a good grip. Typically, soft and sticky rubber outsoles are favored because their grip is greater. However, you want to make sure your shoes are at least somewhat durable, or the shoe will degrade quite rapidly. So do your research and find a good shoe in the middle ground, as an intermediate climber.

Q: When Should I Upgrade?

A: 

You should upgrade your climbing shoes after you have reached a more advanced climbing level. For example, once you’re regularly sending 5.9 to 5.10 on the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS), it’s time to upgrade your shoes from the beginner level.

Q: What Are Intermediate Climbing Shoes?

A: 

Intermediate climbing shoes are designed for moderate climbing. These types of shoes are designed for bouldering, crack climbing, slabs, face routes, edging, and toe-hooking. Typically, they feature a flat to slightly downturned shape. Their midsole design is also medium stiff. They are built with a balance between comfort and performance.

Globo Surf Overview

The intermediate climbing shoe 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 routes, 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.

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Globo Surf
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!