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Best All-Around Rock Climbing Shoes For Newbie Climbers

By Amiee Maxwell | Permalink | 0 comments | September 24th, 2010

After trying out rock climbing in the gym and top roping a few times outside, you’ve decided you like the sport and are now ready to invest in your first pair of climbing shoes.

While most seasoned climbers have an entire closet full of climbing shoes, a beginner climber is going to need a good pair of all-around shoes to get started.  Eventually as you progress and get experience climbing, you are going to want different shoes for different styles of climbing and even different types of rock.  For now, a good comfortable all-around shoe should suit you well.

The best all-around rock climbing shoes work well both in the gym and outside on the rock. Best for beginner to intermediate climbers, these shoes grip the rock well and have a stiff sole so you can experiment with all types of climbing.  If you are new to climbing you should fit the shoe so that the tip of your longest toe is just slightly touching the end of the shoe.  Unlike aggressive bouldering or sport shoes, all-around shoes should not fit painfully tight.

Getting the right sized climbing shoe can be a quite difficult task. It is important to note that climbing shoes made from leather will stretch out and the fit you have right out of the box will not be the fit you have a month down the road.  Most people find a shoe that fits the shape of their foot well and then purchase a half size smaller.

Best advice I can give is to try on a lot of different shoes. Rock climbing shoes vary just like any other shoe so it is a good idea to just try a bunch of them on and find the one that conforms to the natural shape of your foot the best.

I am partial to Evlov shoes, since they are made from synthetic materials they fit comfortably right out of the box and they don’t stretch out like leather shoes.  Here is some of the best all-around rock climbing shoes from a variety of brands:

Mad Rock Phoenix Climbing Shoe

The Mad Rock Phoenix Climbing Shoe in one of the best-selling all-around shoes of all time. The Phoenix features Mad Rock’s Science Friction rubber that offers superb friction with lasting durability. The rubber is super sticky so you will get incredibly edging powers with these shoes as long as you get a good fit. With lacing all the way to the toes, the Phoenix are easy to adjust and the unlined ultrasuede uppers conform to your feet for superior comfort.

Five Ten Coyote Lace-Up

The Five Ten Coyote Lace-Up are great for sport and trad routes and climbing in the gym. The Coyote is designed more for comfort than performance so they aren’t intended for aggressive sport routes and killer boulder problems. A breathable leather upper conforms to your foot and thick rubber soles grip the rock solidly for all-around performance. At 85 bucks a pop, the Coyotes are at the lower end of the climbing shoe spectrum. Size down a half size, they will stretch out.

Evolv Elektra Women’s Climbing Shoe

The Evolv Elektra Women’s Climbing Shoe is ideal for gym climbing, bouldering, and light sport climbing. With a narrower toe box, lower volume, and specially designed heel, the Elektra is designed to conform to a woman’s unique foot shape.  Evolv shoes are made from synthetic materials so they don’t stretch out like climbing shoes made from leather.  Only downfall is that they don’t breathe as well as shoes made from natural materials.

La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoe

The La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoe is high performance all-around shoe best suited for crack climbing but performs well at the gym and at the sport crag. These shoes have a fairly soft edge so they are not your best choice if you intend to progress quickly to aggressive bouldering and sport climbs.  Highly recognized as one of the most comfortable shoes out there, the Mythos soft leather molds to the contours of your foot for excellent performance. The $130 price tag scares off some newbie climbers, but these babies are built to last.

Pair a Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Harness Package with your new shoes and you have everything you need to get climbing, except of course for an experienced partner to show you the ropes.  Also see our recommendations for the Best Climbing Harness for Beginner Climbers.



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