When compared to face climbing, crack climbing is a very different discipline, so different footwear is required. It’s not as comfortable as it sounds, but shoes for climbing crack should be able to withstand repeatedly squeezing your toes between rocks. However, sturdy shoes with foam can make climbing cracks less painful and help you ascend the wall more easily. In order to climb every treacherous line in sight on your upcoming climbing expedition, the Adventure Junkies can assist you in selecting the best crack climbing shoes.
Based on their quality, comfort, adaptability, and cost, the following 9 best crack climbing shoes have been selected. Despite the fact that they are all intended for use in crack climbing, some are also excellent in other climbing techniques.
Take note of our advice, but keep in mind that the best shoe is the one that fits you well and feels comfortable.
9 Best Crack Climbing Shoes
No.1: La Sportiva Mens Tarantulace Rock Climbing Shoe:
The La Sportiva Tarantulace is a tough climber to beat if you’re just getting started. Few less expensive shoes offer the same level of excellence and adaptability. In contrast, more sophisticated shoes typically place your foot in a curled position, which can be uncomfortable and unnecessary when you’re just starting out in climbing. Additionally, more sophisticated shoes cost a lot more money. Spending that extra money is not advised until you have improved your footwork and can prevent your rubber from wearing out too quickly.
The Tarantulace is comfortable and accurate enough to be a useful tool while you’re honing your technique, even though it lacks the flawless design of the other award winners. However, serious climbers will likely be happier investing more money in a better-performing shoe. The Tarantulace is still a good option for amateur climbers or people just getting started in the sport. Additionally, it can be used almost anywhere, including bouldering and multi-pitch routes as well as the crag and the gym.
No.2: SCARPA Men’s Arpia Rock Climbing Shoes:
The Scarpa Drago is probably your favourite shoe if you enjoy feeling every divot and bump in the rock. The most sensitivity we’ve experienced in a shoe came from these luxurious, ultra-soft kicks. Due to the incredibly soft midsole, which enables your foot to flex and bend to make use of any type of foothold, the 3.5mm of the Vibram XS Grip2 seems hardly noticeable. Additionally, we appreciate the supple heel cup and extended rand for improved grip when attempting fancy, arm-saving footwork on precarious terrain. To achieve a good balance between comfort and performance, size down slightly because the unlined, micro-suede design should stretch a little.
Our wide-footed testers love the Drago, but some slim-footed climbers have complained about a poor fit. The perceived sloppiness caused the shoes to occasionally ooze off micro edges during pure edging, which is when this was most apparent. The Drago is a bad choice for crack climbing as well because of its exceptional sensitivity, which will only make this already painful style of climbing worse. Despite these drawbacks, we think this shoe provides the highest level of sensitivity. So if you want the confidence boost that comes from being able to actually feel the rock you’re standing on, get a pair.
No.3: Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoe:
The Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe is the ideal example of my earlier statement that appearances can be deceiving. By skipping over the more technical features of a typical Drifter shoe, this shoe easily keeps its rivals on their toes. One of the best crack climbing shoes available on the market thanks to its straightforward design and rigid features. The Mad Rock company made the shoe, which offers excellent value for the money.
By consistently releasing top-notch footwear over the years, Mad Rock quickly established itself as a contender in the shoe industry. This shoe, which has been produced for many years, is the ideal way to demonstrate that they have no plans to slow down any time soon. Because of the ergonomic design of the footwear, crack climbing is much safer and more comfortable, which makes it simpler for climbers to use foot techniques. It’s also one of the more affordable crack climbing shoes available, making it a great choice for beginning crack climbers.
No.4: La Sportiva Men’s TC Pro Climbing Shoe:
The La Sportiva Men’s TC Pro Climbing Shoe has all the support you could possibly need in a shoe for crack climbing. The shoe’s design has taken durability and adaptability into consideration. The attention to detail is incredible, and the laces make sure the shoes stay securely fastened. In its entirety, the shoe offers good value. The shoe’s drawback, though, is that there aren’t any different colour options, so if the colour isn’t your style, you might be a little let down. With the most adaptable material, it is strategically padded and made to fit into cracks. The climb is seamless because of the footwear’s additional ankle support. Because it perfectly synchronizes with every single sport technique, the shoe is a favourite among professionals.
The shoe’s ergonomic design makes it equally at ease for walking as it is for climbing. To produce footwear that is worth the hassle of the sport, it makes the best use of premium materials. The shoe runs small but also stretches and conforms to the shape of the wearer’s legs despite this.
No.5: Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe:
One of the most popular climbing shoes worldwide is the Evolv Defy ($89). Because of the sport’s recent growth, many active climbers are relatively new to it and spend the majority of their time indoors. The Defy provides all the necessities for a fair price but none of the specialised features that are unnecessary for beginners.
The neutral, flat sole of the Defy maintains the foot’s natural anatomical position. The shoes are also very comfortable to wear throughout a lengthy workout thanks to a soft antimicrobial liner and padded split tongue.
Long gym sessions won’t wear down the 4.2mm thick TRAX rubber outsole. For several months, we regularly used the Defy in the gym, and the soles are still functioning well and have plenty of rubber left. The Defy is the ideal shoe for this situation because it prioritises comfort and durability while helping you learn fundamental movements.
Although they serve as a reliable gym shoe for climbers of all skill levels, they were created especially for novice and intermediate climbers. They fall somewhere in the middle in terms of stiffness, sensitivity, suitability for edging, suitability for smearing, etc.
The Defy is capable of doing it all, but it isn’t an expert in anything. Although it will work for outdoor climbing, a gym is where it is most comfortable. Additionally, climbers with wider feet and lower volume feet tend to fit the Defy the best. The Defy will stretch very little and is vegan-friendly because it is made without leather.
No.6: SCARPA Men’s Arpia Rock Climbing Shoes:
In order to get to the next safe place while we are clipping bolts on the wall, we frequently start to concentrate too much on the next bolt and where our hands are going. However, we should continue to put as much weight on our feet as we can as we move toward the next bolt. Using your feet is a dream come true with the Scarpa Drago shoes.
The Scarpa Drago is a well-made shoe that fits snugly and has a very flexible, bendable midsole that makes it easy to use any type of foothold. You can actually look down while wearing the Scarpa Drago, see where your foot needs to go, and stick it without any hesitation.
The heel is well-designed, allowing for a sturdy and comfortable heel hook for climbers who like to keep their ankles above their ears. Additionally, this shoe is sturdy and will last for many years. Stretching can be a problem with many shoes, but the Drago will stretch a little less than others because of the additional rand (the thin rubber band around the sole).
If you like to clip bolts and push your grades, this is the shoe for you. So look no further than the Scarpa Drago if you need a shoe that can withstand the rocks and allow you to feel all the tiny footholds.
No.7: Butora Men’s Endeavor Rock Climbing Shoe:
There is nothing wrong with the shoes that Butora, a Korean company, has been producing for the past ten years, even though they don’t have the same reputation as some of the more established climbing brands. When it comes to an all-around beginner shoe, the Butora Endeavour is about as good as it gets.
These shoes are adaptable to fit both wide and narrow feet thanks to the Velcro straps that allow you to change the shoe’s width to fit your foot. The ability to customise fit results in a comfortable shoe—something that beginners frequently prioritize—and it also enables you to keep up a respectable level of performance on the rocks or gym walls.
The shoe also has a hemp lining, which is unusual for a climbing shoe and is mainly intended for indoor climbing, where people tend to perspire more.
The Butora Endeavour is the perfect entry-level shoe for climbers just starting out, especially those who like to switch it up between relatively easy outdoor climbing and gym climbing. Additionally, it is very reasonably priced.
No.8: Five Ten Men’s Anasazi VCS Rock Climbing Shoes:
The Five Ten Anasazi is a great all-purpose shoe and may even be the most adaptable. But its real assets are keeping a high level of comfort and offering sensitivity for the toes.
There is no denying that comfort is a crucial factor when on long climbs or multi-pitch routes, despite the fact that many new climbers believe it is important and many climbers who push grades may argue that it isn’t so much.
This is a shoe that provide both performance and all-day comfort for climbing instructors who spend long periods of time wearing a shoe, or for climbers who want to do long but relatively simple trad climbs.
The Velcro straps can move freely enough to comfortably secure most feet. Stealth rubber is used for durability and performance, and the sole is medium to stiff. These Five Ten shoes won’t let you down if you like to be cosy but still need to maintain a respectable level of performance.
No.9: Black Diamond Aspect Climbing Shoe:
A few years ago, Black Diamond entered the climbing shoe market with a bang. Since then, their shoes haven’t become as well-known as their cherished camming devices, but the Aspect is a model that might eventually succeed. It provides a strong edging platform with a stiff, neutral sole that is reminiscent of our preferred traditional shoe, the La Sportiva TC Pro. To prevent your feet from screaming during prolonged crack jamming, the Aspect also uses similar laces and a padded leather upper. We were also spared the typical claims about Achilles pain that we occasionally hear as a result of the high ankle height of other traditional shoes thanks to its low-top design.
The price is what really distinguishes the Aspect. It provides modest savings over the premium models at full retail, and it is frequently found on sale. But keep in mind that you might have to sacrifice some benefits in order to get these savings. Surprisingly uncomfortable, according to our testers, was how it felt initially. Additionally, it’s more of a specialised shoe, great for extended romps on less-than-vertical rock but inadequate for steep terrain.
Choosing the best crack climbing shoes; Buying Guide:
Not all climbing footwear is created equally. You must first and foremost match your shoe with your desired climbing style because some are made to be all-arounders, some for performance, and some for comfort. We briefly discuss a few of the climbing techniques that call for special considerations below.
Beginners: The only item you should think about purchasing as a beginner is a “all-rounder” shoe. These will enable you to climb in all climbing styles and on all types of rock, which is ideal for discovering which climbing styles you enjoy the most. Additionally, it’s best to wear a general shoe until your footwork improves because outdoor climbing does wear down shoes, especially the rubber around the big toe.
Bouldering: Bouldering calls for extreme performance while sacrificing comfort. Because you are on the rock for shorter periods of time while bouldering and can take off your shoes in between, comfort is less of a factor. Additionally, bouldering moves are frequently difficult, so proficiency is essential. When bouldering, ease of use is another factor to take into account. This likely means choosing Velcro straps or slippers over shoes with laces.
Big wall: Since you will be wearing your climbing shoes for extended periods of time, big wall climbing calls for a higher level of comfort. However, this must be balanced with performance, and the type of shoe that performs may vary depending on the climbing technique and rock type, such as slabs versus cracks. It will help you choose the appropriate shoe if you are aware of the climbing style you prefer.
Of course, a lot of climbers like to do different kinds of climbing, so they end up having a variety of shoes for various uses. If you have the money, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Even the best all-around climbing shoe can quickly become worn down, particularly on some types of granite.
Lace-up shoes: Lace-up shoes provide a more customised match to your foot with more possibilities to tighten or loosen specific points, assisting in achieving a comfort level with performance. On the other hand, they take longer to put on and take off, which isn’t a problem on long, all-day climbs but could be a hassle if you’re bouldering.
You’ll be able to put on and take off your shoes much faster with velcro straps than with laces thanks to their ease of use. With two or three Velcro straps helping to dial in the proper fit, you may not be able to “fine tune” the fit as well as you can with laces, but it’s still not too far off.
Slippers: Shoes that resemble slippers have elastic on the sides. Their benefit is that you can quickly put them on and take them off. They typically offer a less secure fit, which is their drawback.
Rubber: There are numerous varieties of rubber available, and different types are frequently used by different shoe brands. These rubbers have undergone an incredible amount of research to make sure they grip the rock as intended.
Don’t let the names and numbers attached to the material fool you; instead, focus on the rubber’s thickness (thicker rubber lasts longer) and’stickiness’ or softness. Rubber soles strike a balance between durability and performance; the softer they are, the faster they deteriorate.
Resoling shoes will result in decreased performance, but you can always do it if they wear out more quickly than you expect.
Sizing And Fitting Your Shoes
Sizing: When you are a beginner climber, this is one of the hardest things to determine. Your big toe should ideally be in contact with the end of your shoe, but you don’t want it to be compressed to the point of severe discomfort. Climbers are aware of this and take it into consideration when choosing their size, but novice climbers frequently choose a half or full size larger than they should because the shoe will initially feel more comfortable. Of course, as their climbing progresses and they are forced to use their feet more, they will discover that the larger shoe is detrimental to their performance.
Brand Dimensions: Additionally, sizes vary between brands. While some are the same size as regular shoes, others are smaller and force your feet into awkward positions.
Online returns: It can be challenging to purchase items online without trying them on first, but Amazon does accept returns as long as you haven’t worn them outside for a hike.
What Are the Best Climbing Shoes?
The shoes that best suit your needs as a climber are the best climbing shoes. The footwear on this list is all excellent, and we’ve included styles that work well for different types of climbing.
How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last?
Shoes made of heavier materials and thicker soles typically last longer than those made of softer, thinner materials. However, a pair of climbing shoes worn frequently will last anywhere from three months to two years. A climbing shoe’s sole typically deteriorates first, but a skilled resoler can replace it for about $60.
Are Climbing Shoes Comfortable?
Shoes for climbing can be very comfortable if they are fitted properly. Each climber has a distinct fit preference. Although elite climbers often benefit most from a tighter fit, wearing tight climbing shoes is not always necessary. We advise choosing comfort over an aggressive fit for novice and intermediate climbers.
A crack shoe should generally fit fairly comfortably. A good mark may be slightly larger than your street shoe size, depending on the brand. It’s critical that the shoe is at the right fit and not too tight. The shoe must have a small amount of “give” in order to bend and fit into cracks. Your feet and ankles will be unable to move freely if it is too tight, which will put you through unnecessary discomfort. When looking for your next pair of crack shoes, keep this in mind.