The Top 5 Bouldering Shoes
Bouldering shoes are an absolute essential for any climber. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or an experienced climber, you’re going to find yourself investing in at least one pair. Of course, your needs and preferences may change over time and you may find that you need to upgrade as you progress, but regardless of your level of climbing, you’re going to want to make sure that the pair of bouldering shoes you choose at any given time are right for you in the given moment. This will help to ensure that your bouldering shoes are comfortable and it can help you save money in the long run, as you won’t have to replace them so frequently. To help you find the right pair of bouldering shoes for your needs, let’s take a moment to run over the basics and compare some of the best options on the market.
Finding the Right Pair of Bouldering Shoes
Now, finding the right pair of bouldering shoes for your needs is easier said than done. After all, one shoe doesn’t fit all. What one person will vouch to be the best bouldering shoe on the market may not meet everyone’s tastes. The type of shoe you end up investing in should reflect the style of climbing that you are going to be engaging with the most. Of course, if you’re looking for good quality bouldering shoes, you’re probably going to head straight to some of the best selling names on the market. After all, they’re probably best selling for a reason. But you do want to make sure that you’re not just buying into a brand name or an aesthetic. This is where reviews come in extremely important. They’ll help you to determine which bouldering shoes are best for your personal needs and whether others with similar ability levels and styles of climbing to you have found particular brands and styles to be what they’re looking for. For the moment, let’s take a look at five of the most popular bouldering shoes you can currently get your hands on!
For those of you in a hurry, our choice for the Best Bouldering Shoes are the La Sportiva Tarantulace.
Best Bouldering Shoes
If you’re an intermediate climber looking for a good, all-round pair of bouldering shoes, the La Sportiva Tarantulace may well be the perfect fit for your wants and needs. This shoe has been specifically designed to combine comfort and technical performance to ensure that you actually get to enjoy your climb! The shoe has great support thanks to its synthetic leather overlay lacing harness and the laces themselves benefit from fast lacing design. This allows you to make use of a quick-pull lacing technique, which helps the shoe to fit your foot better and which also saves you time when getting ready for your big climb. The unlined leather upper is flexible and soft. The breathable tongue also allows heat to escape, meaning that you won’t find yourself in the predicament where sweat makes your feet slip within the shoe – this is extremely important for stability!
- FAST LACING SYSTEM - Quick-pull lacing harness allows for precise regulation of inner volumes; Wrapping the foot snugly for excellent support, fit, and comfort
- ALL-AROUND PERFORMANCE - Designed to help intermediate climbers smear, hook, and edge like pros; The aggressive rubber heel rand, sticky FriXion RS rubber soles, and low-asymmetry RN45 build let climbers find purchase on edges with great sensitivity and without pain or cramping
- CLIMB IN COMFORT - From the gym to the crags, the classic unlined leather upper is soft and comfortable; Lined tongue controls moisture and enhances breathability; Synthetic leather overlay adds just the right level of support
- BUILT TO LAST - This indoor/outdoor climbing shoe is constructed from high quality materials; 1.8mm LaspoFlex at the midsole and 5mm FriXion RS at the sole make the TarantuLace as stable as it is durable
- TIPS FOR BUYING - Rock climbing shoes are designed to fit differently than other footwear; Be sure to reference the La Sportiva size chart in the product images for more accurate sizing; The fit should be tight, but not painful, and without pressure points
2. Evolv Shaman
Shaman bouldering shoes hold a kind of legacy to their name. However, the new Evolv Shaman simplifies their design, incorporating more comfort and control and bringing particularly good repute to the Chris Sharma Signature series they belong to. The fit is improved and designers have worked more rubber toe hooking into the front, meaning you’ll be able to better grip into footholes. The inset strap has also been redesigned, which means you’ll be able to better engage with improved medial toe scumming. It may be best to bear in mind that sizing can run a little small with these shoes. You might want to pick up a pair that are a half size or so bigger than your usual size. Ensure you can exchange for another size if the first pair you order aren’t quite right.
- Improved fit
- Added toe rubber for toe hooking
- Inset front strap for better medial side toe scumming
These bouldering shoes are designed with entry level and beginner climbers in mind. Their lace entry allows for fit adjustability, so you should be fine picking up your usual size and then tightening or loosening to a perfect fit with the help of the laces. They may feel a little tight on the first few wears, but they simply need breaking in. Buying a size up isn’t necessarily recommended. They may feel better at first, but they are prone to stretching and become too big. They’re extremely breathable thanks to a synthetic upper, which can prove perfect for those of us climbing in hotter locations. The sole has a medium flex, which means you should feel supported without having to sacrifice any sensitivity – you’ll still be able to feel the rocks and foot holes beneath your feet.
- Upper Material: synthetic
- Closure: lace
- Midsole: medium flex
- Rubber: NeoFriction (4.3mm)
- Last: flat
4. Butora Acro
If you’re a little more experienced and you’re into steep climbing and bouldering, the Butora Acro bouldering shoes are likely to better meet your needs than other options. They’re specifically designed with steep climbing in mind and consequently have an aggressively downcabered design. The heel has high tension, which brings all of the power in the foot to the front toe, allowing you to engage with superior edging. There’s also a large, sticky rubber toe patch, which gives better grip in foot holds that can live up to even the most complex of climbing situations.
- Upper Material: German split-leather, [tongue] nylon mesh, silicone sponge
- Closure: hook-and-loop
- Midsole: 3D injection molded
- Rubber: butyl Butora F5
- Profile: downturned
The Mad Rock Drifter looks significantly different to many other bouldering shoes. But don’t let this distract you from the fact that it provides great value in comparison to other shoes of the same price bracket. This is a great option for beginners who are looking to try climbing, but don’t want to fork out all too much on their first pair of bouldering shoes. Sizing can be a little difficult to get right in these, so like the Evolv Shaman, it’s a good idea to purchase them from a seller or supplier who’s happy to exchange them if you don’t find the perfect fit first time round.
- Upper Material: leather
- Closure: hook-and-loop
- Rubber: Science Friction 3.0, [rand] Science Friction R2
- Last: slip lasted
- Profile: flat
What Are Bouldering Shoes?
Bouldering shoes go by various different names, so it’s not all too surprising if you haven’t heard the term before. They are perhaps more commonly referred to in a casual way as “climbing shoes”. If you engage with climbing, you’ll know that a good pair of shoes for the activity are relatively difficult to come by. Sure, you might be able to fare well in a standard pair of walking boots or hiking shoes for the base of climbs up hills and mountains. But as you begin to progress upwards, you’ll find that the terrain gets a little more difficult to manage. You’re going to need much better grip in order to prevent slipping and falling – this is absolutely essential. After all, you can’t risk twisting an ankle or becoming injured when you’re part way up a climb – you’ll have to postpone your climb and it’ll prove extremely difficult, uncomfortable, and perhaps even painful to make your way back down. You may even find yourself out of climbing for a while, as you may need to take extended time off to recover from the incident. You are also going to need more flexibility than the average shoe will be able to offer you. Flexibility gives you the best control possible over what can be relatively dangerous terrain. Areas that people choose to climb in can often have craggy surfaces and good flexibility will allow you grip and freedom to move around properly.
Why Is It So Important to Have a Good Pair of Bouldering Shoes?
When it comes down to it, a good pair of bouldering shoes or rock climbing shoes are going to be one of the most important pieces of climbing equipment that you can invest in, not only for the sake of excelling in your hobby, but (more importantly) also for the sake of your personal health and safety while engaging with your hobby. In terms of excelling, a good pair of bouldering shoes will enable you to move more quickly, making faster progress. They will allow you to access smaller or tighter footholds, meaning you can tackle more difficult climbs and traverse more challenging areas. When it comes to health and safety, they’ll offer you more support, better grips, and higher levels of flexibility. You also want something that fits well and isn’t going to rub. Blisters can make or break a climb – determining whether your experience is a pleasant or unpleasant one. The quality of your bouldering shoes is also essential in terms of longevity. You don’t want to fork out for a piece of footwear that’s only going to last you a couple of climbs. You want something that you will be able to wear time and time again. Something that can handle the elements and still serve you well!
How To Fit And Choose Climbing Shoes
Here is a YouTube video talking about what to look for when trying out bouldering shoes:
Who would’ve known there would be so much to bear in mind when it comes to finding the perfect pair of bouldering shoes to suit your needs! But hopefully, the above information will help you to know what you’re looking for in your bouldering shoes and what options on the market could cater best to your needs!
If you enjoyed this article, you may appreciate some of our other climbing gear collections. Be sure to check out our hangboard review, climbing pants review, climbing cam review, and bouldering crash pad review.