How to Choose your First Climbing Shoes for Bouldering

By Travis Johnson
Aug. 13, 2020

When I was a kid and used to climb nearby cliffs with my friends. Yeah, we did that with our normal sneakers in those old days. As we didn’t have access to the internet, and the internet didn’t have any relevant information for choosing your ideal climbing shoes as a beginner, it was quite hard.

Now, as we do have access to the internet and reviews of different bouldering shoes, Things get more complicated if you have landed on a page with tons of bouldering shoes placed in front of your eyes. So how will you find your first pair of shoes to set for your next adventure? While choosing shoes for rock climbing. You can learn more them here https://sportsnotch.com/best-beginner-climbing-shoes/
Comfortability
New bouldering shoes have a tight feel to them if you wear them for the first time. However, the stiffness of the bouldering shoes plays a great role in the world of rock climbing.
Comfortability in the world of bouldering means that your midsole must provide you with enough strength. Look out for the midsole with a flat design; this will give you enough strength for climbing indoor or out in the wild.
Many brands like black diamonds make comfortable bouldering shoes for beginners. Beginners must always out for stiffer or flatter shoes if they are into the crack or wall climbing.
Snug Fit
Your ideal climbing shoes must be snug fit; this doesn’t mean that they should squeeze your toes. Take this in the sense of a firm handshake. If you are buying shoes from your nearby sports shop, then it is better to try them on the practice wall to check out the level of comfort.
What is the best fit for new climbers?
For newbies, it is always important to prefer comfortability over anything else. As your feet are not used too with the stiffness of new shoes, you might need to learn wearing them first.
Once your new climbing shoe break-in, you will feel comfortable wearing them for long hours. Once you feel comfortable enough with the pressure on your toes, you can then move on to advanced climbing shoes.
For beginners, it is quite hard to wear climbing shoes for a long time. Therefore, comfortable or snug fit bouldering shoes are a great option to get used to.
Tips to Find the Best Bouldering Shoes
  • It would help if you tried the new pair of shoes at the end of the day, this is when your feet are larger, and you can quickly put them on.
  • Make sure the shoes that you are buying are snug fit; there shouldn’t be any gap around your toes and or under the arch.
  • Avoid short shoes at all costs, as these will create problems later on once they pass through the break-in stage.
  • Different brands manufacture bouldering shoes, and each has their size charts.
  • Take your time and try on a different pair of climbing shoes in your local store. The best one sits comfortably on your feet by all means.

Material

Climbing shoes usually adjust with the shape of your feet. However, some materials stretch more than others.

Leather:

These will stretch the most, and you might observe them becoming baggy over time. However, the climbing shoes with leather upper are more breathable as compared to other materials.

Lined & Synthetic Leather:

This kind of material stretches least as compared to the original leather. The shoes with synthetic leather usually maintain their unique shape. Synthetic material like rubber does not stretch that much, but its lifetime is short as compared to the lined leather.

The shape of Climbing Shoes

The shape of a bouldering shoe decided the level of comfortability that you might expect from them.

Neutral

These are the flat shoes that have the most part in contact with the ground. These shoes are perfect for beginners as they can practice cracks, lower-angle slabs, and pitch routes.

Moderate

These are the shoes molded in a curved shape to adjust your weight on your toes while climbing. These are used by expert climbers and work in places where you can only fit in your toes. Mostly, moderate shape climbing shoes are meant for vertical climbs and steep boulders.

Aggressive

Aggressive shoes come with downwards-toe and hooked shape to center your weight over the big toe. This shape allows you more advantage to climb up on steep or overhanging cliffs. Aggressive shoes are best for practicing at the gym walls or climbing the cliffs.

Beginners should stay away from the aggressive style of bouldering shoes as they are not that much comfortable.

Laces VS Velcro Climbing Shoes

For beginners, climbing shoes with laces are comfortable as you can adjust them according to your comfort. These are versatile, and you can fit them easily by tightening the laces.

. Velcro shoes are more comfortable to put on and off if you are moving from one boulder to another. They offer excellent balance in style, comfort, and performance.

Thickness & Softness of Rubber

Softness and thickness of rubber play a significant role when it comes to choosing your first pair of bouldering shoes. Softer rubber is suitable for smearing on slabs. On the other hand, the harder rubber is ideal for small holds or edges.

Softer rubber is not that much durable as compared to the hard rubber.

The thickness of the rubber decided the level of sensitivity and stiffness of your shoes. For beginners, I always recommend rubber with 4mm or above thickness.

Thick rubber will last longer as compared to the thin rubber.

This gives more time to the beginners to practice climbing and save money for aggressive climbing shoes.