Complete Climbing Shoe Guide
Climbing shoes are one of the most essential pieces of equipment for any climber. They help climbers to maintain grip and control over the rock or wall, making it easier to climb safely and efficiently. However, with so many different types of climbing shoes available, it can be challenging to choose the right pair for your needs. In this article, we will discuss the different types of climbing shoes and their unique features.
Neutral Climbing Shoes
Neutral climbing shoes are the most versatile type of climbing shoe. They are designed to provide all-around performance, making them ideal for climbers of all skill levels. Neutral shoes have a flat sole and moderate stiffness, making them comfortable and suitable for long climbs. They also have moderate tension on the rubber, which provides a good balance between sensitivity and support. A neutral climbing shoe is the best choice for beginners. Pictured: La Sportiva Turantulace
Aggressive Climbing Shoes
Aggressive climbing shoes are designed for climbers who tackle steep or overhanging terrain. They have a downturned toe and a curved sole, which allows the climber to place their weight on the front of the shoe and use their toes to grip the rock. This design provides excellent precision and power, making it easier to tackle challenging routes. Pictured: La Sportiva Cobra 4.99
Crack Climbing Shoes
Crack climbing shoes are designed for climbers who tackle routes with wide cracks. These shoes have a flat sole and a wider toe box than other types of climbing shoes, allowing the climber to insert their toes into the crack and use them to grip the sides of the crack. They also have a stiffer midsole and a thicker rubber outsole, which provides support and protection against the rough rock, excellent precision, and power, making it easier to tackle challenging routes. Pictured: La Sportiva TC Pros
Approach shoes are designed for climbers who need to hike or scramble to reach the climbing route. These shoes have a more substantial sole and a more significant amount of cushioning than other types of climbing shoes. They also have a sticky rubber outsole, which provides excellent traction on rocky terrain. Approach shoes are comfortable for all-day wear and are ideal for climbers who need to cover long distances before they start climbing. Pictured: La Sportiva TX4
Sizing Your Shoe
Getting the right fitting climbing shoe is crucial for any climber. A poorly fitting shoe can cause discomfort, pain, and even injury, while a well-fitted shoe can provide comfort, support, and excellent performance. When choosing climbing shoes, it is essential to consider the shape of your foot, the type of climbing you will be doing, and your experience level. It’s also essential to try on different sizes and styles of shoes to find the right fit. Climbing shoes should fit snugly but not be too tight or uncomfortable. A well-fitting shoe will allow your toes to lay flat or slightly curled, and your heel should not slip out of the shoe when you are climbing. With the right fitting climbing shoe, you can climb safely, efficiently, and comfortably.
Caring For Your Climbing Shoes
Caring for your climbing shoes is essential to maintain their performance and longevity. One of the essential steps to take when caring for your climbing shoes is to avoid walking around in them, especially when you are at an outdoor climb. Walking in your climbing shoes can cause excessive wear and tear on the rubber sole, reducing the shoe’s grip and effectiveness. It’s also important to work on your footwork to avoid scuffing or dragging your feet, which can cause unnecessary wear and tear. Additionally, periodically resoling your climbing shoes can help extend their lifespan and maintain their performance. Resoling involves replacing the worn-out rubber sole with a new one, which can improve the shoe’s grip and provide a better fit. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your climbing shoes are well-cared for and perform optimally when you need them most. Learn more about when to resole your climbing shoes here.
In conclusion, there are many different types of climbing shoes available, each designed to meet the unique needs of climbers. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber, choosing the right pair of shoes is essential for your safety and performance on the rock. So, take the time to try on different types of climbing shoes and find the one that feels comfortable and suits your climbing style. Learn more about all climbing equipment here.