Climbing shoes come in three styles: neutral, moderate and aggressive suited for different types of climbs. Neutral styles are best for beginners since they tend to be more comfortable for extended wear. They have supportive soles and let your toes lie flat, offering a relaxed fit that’s ideal for slotting into cracks. Meanwhile, a moderate style is recognizable by its slightly down-turned shape, which allows your foot to grip small ledges. It also has a stickier and thinner rubber sole for better traction. Aggressive styles have an even more severely down-turned toe box, offering plenty of heel tension and optimal positioning for toes during the most challenging climbs. Ahead, we rounded up the best women’s climbing shoes in each category, all designed to deliver on comfort and performance. Notably, they feature synthetic uppers to prevent them from losing their shape over time.
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1. Scarpa Origin Climbing Shoes
This shoe feature a women-specific, flat-lasted construction with relaxed randing for all-day comfort. Sticky yet durable Vision rubber soles assure reliable traction for edging.
Pros: A dual power-strap closure allows for easy adjustments. Plush suede uppers with soft padding mold to the shape of your foot. An innovative heel system helps evenly distribute tension away from the heel and increase the fit of the heel. These come in two colorways.
Cons: They might run small.
2. Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe
These have an asymmetry, flat profile for optimized comfort, sensitive half-length midsoles and grippy rubber outsoles for precise edging on both mellow and more advanced climbs.
Pros: The synthetic suede upper resists stretching and dries quickly. Anti-odor mesh linings manage moisture inside. Toe rands of varying thicknesses enhance durability in high-wear zones. A dual strap closure system and breathable padded tongue lock feet in comfortably. They also come in two colorways.
Cons: These also may tend to run small.
3. Five Ten Blackwing Climbing Shoes
The synthetic upper construction of these shoes offers flexible, durable comfort. A padded tongues relieve pressure on the tops of feet and features soft microfiber fleece linings that wick away sweat.
Pros: A snug fit with a narrower heel and two hook-and-loop straps provide a secure, adjustable fit. Aggressively turned-down toes put your feet in a strong position for overhangs. Medium-stiff midsoles lend support. Stealth HF rubber outsoles grip nearly every surface and provide good edging.
Cons: They only come in this hot pink color.
4. La Sportiva Oxygym Climbing Shoes
Three layers of machine-washable fabric on the upper and a moisture-wicking AirTex Silver lining keep these shoes smelling fresh. Meanwhile, a slip-lasted construction takes away a bit of the stiffness.
Pros: The flat profile with low asymmetry enhances comfort. The patented hook-and-loop closure system gives you two points of adjustment for a custom fit. LaspoFlex midsoles with an EVA heel insert deliver torsional rigidity and shock absorption. Rubber soles offer traction on rock and plastic.
Cons: These may feel too narrow for some.
5. Tenaya Tanta Rock Climbing Shoe
This pair is equipped with a synthetic microfiber upper that reduces stretching and slightly down-turned toes suited for more technical climbs.
Pros: Without sacrificing performance, M4 technology delivers a four micro-layer insole with a comfortable heel cup and roomier toe box for new climbers. Moderately stiff multi-layer stretch midsoles and rubber outsoles offer support for smearing, edging and heel hooks. Cotton linings let feet breathe and feature an anti-odor treatment.
Cons: These also may run on the small side.
6. Mad Rock Lotus Climbing Shoes
Featuring an aggressive downturn and tight slipper-style design, these shoes are ideal for extra-steep sport climbs and boulder encounters. Ultra-sticky Science Friction 3.0 rubber soles offer exceptional grip.
Pros: An anti-stretch synthetic upper, polycarbonate Arch Flex system and a single hook-and-loop strap provide a super-snug, sensitive fit. The top of the shoe features a rubber toe patch to help with tricky overhangs. The heel is ridged to help you nail tenuous heel hooks.
Cons: These may be too narrow for some.
7. Butora Endeavor Crimson Climbing Shoes
These are designed with a soft suede upper, split mesh tongue with Poron memory foam and an organically grown hemp lining that helps control stretch and odor. Triple fork webbing creates a custom fit.
Pros: They’re available in a wide-fit crimson version (as seen here) and a lavender tight-fit option. 3D injection-molded ABS midsoles offer precision edging and torsion rigidity. A moisture-wicking split-leather footbed aids in comfort and performance. NEO Fuse sticky rubber outsoles provide good traction.
Cons: They also run small.