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Best Gym Climbing Shoes 2023: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Gym climbing is a popular activity amongst all age groups. It brings an exciting thrill to the individual, making them ready for new challenges.

However, like any other skill, gym climbing requires a specific set of tools and equipment to help people master the craft. One such tool is a good quality climbing shoe. Climbing shoes are designed to meet the demands of indoor rock climbing.

They are often characterized for their tight fit and rubber soles. They help to provide support and grip to climbers, especially during the hardest challenges.

Finding the best gym climbing shoes can be quite confusing, as there are a plethora of options to choose from.

Therefore, to help you find the best pair for you, below are a few top models and factors to be thought about when purchasing the best indoor rock climbing shoes.

Top 6 Best Gym Climbing Shoes 2023

1. Climb X RaveX Strap

Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe 2018 (7, Red)

First up on our list of finding the best indoor rock climbing shoes is the Climb X RaveX Strap Performance Rock Climbing Shoe 2021. With a light-weight design, this pair of shoes is the perfect addition to your rock climbing gear set.

One of the unique features of this particular shoe is its acclaimed padding. Integrated with a soft cushioning for your foot, this shoe ensures that the climber is comfortable during this enticing adventure.

If you were to take a look at the shoe, you would notice that even the ankle is padded. This guarantees the climber the perfect grip. Plus, it ensures that the shoe doesn’t rub against their skin while climbing.

However, it is important to remember that as these shoes are well-padded, they tend to be a little smaller in size. Therefore, it is often advised to purchase a pair that is half a size bigger than your regular shoe size.

When purchasing the best gym climbing shoes, it is important to take into account the breathability of the shoe itself. The Climb X RaveX climbing shoes offer its users the benefit of breathability.

As an individual is climbing, they tend to feel stifled. In simpler terms, there is no moving space for their feet. Thus, these shoes are designed with a unique mesh composition that helps air to diffuse through the shoe. Due to this, they are the perfect fit for even the hardest climbs.

With the inclusion of the mesh, these shoes are easy to clean and maintain. All you have to do is throw them into your machine and watch the magic happen!

Furthermore, these shoes speak volumes about durability. Designed with an advanced 3-D butyl rubber exterior, these shoes provide the climber with a good grip, allowing them to reach greater heights.

Like a coin has two sides, the biggest concern with these shoes is the size. Due to the additional padding, the size is slightly smaller than your normal shoe size. Thus, it is recommended to purchase a size larger than your regular one.

Also, the straps of these shoes provide average durability. In simpler terms, they tend to lack tension and resistance. Therefore, if you are looking for a durable closure for your shoe, then these may not be an ideal fit for you.

2. La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace

La Sportiva Men's Tarantulace Rock Climbing Shoes, Black/Poppy, 44.5

If you are on the colossal journey to discover the best indoor climbing shoes, then you should check out a pair of the La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Performance rock climbing shoes. Extolled for their price, durability, and quality, these shoes are one of the favorites amongst professionals and amateurs.

Composed of a special leather body, these shoes are designed to provide the maximum grip and support to the climber. Besides, the inclusion of a leather harness boosts the strength provided to the user.

As breathability is quite an important factor when purchasing the best gym climbing shoes, these shoes are designed to conquer the problem of perspiration. Integrated with a thin tongue, this shoe is built to absorb any sweat or condensation after a heavy workout.

Plus, it helps keep the foul odors away, leaving behind a fresh, clean pair of shoes for their next climb.

Being an avid rock climber often requires a comfortable pair of shoes. Thus, the La Sportiva Men’s TarantuLace Performance shoes are renowned for their comfort. With a snug fit around the foot, users can experience the beauty of a pillow at their feet.

Furthermore, these shoes are built with a 5-millimeter heel to provide a strong foothold even on the roughest walls. Also, with the integration of a thicker sole, they are often recommended for regular usage.

Another esteemed feature of this particular pair of shoes is their flexibility. If you notice the overall shape of the shoe, you will most likely notice its asymmetrical shape. This unique shape helps to maneuver the wall easily and adapt to various obstacles through the entire climb.

However, these pairs of shoes do have their own set of flaws. One of the major disadvantages is the sizing of the shoe. As they are available in both US and UK sizes, it may tend to get confusing with the conversion. Hence, it becomes difficult to find the right fitting shoes.

Overall, these pairs of shoes tick all the boxes in terms of effective performance, robust build, and design, as well as comfort. If you are looking for the best gym climbing shoes for beginners, this is ideal for you.

3. Scarpa Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe

Scarpa Men's Instinct VS Climbing Shoe,Black,42.5 EU/9.5 M US

When speaking about the best gym climbing shoes, it is hard to miss the Scarpa Men’s Instinct VS Climbing Shoe on your shopping list. As a hallmark of the brand, these shoes are the epitome of premium quality shoes.

As an amalgamation of the Instinct Lace and Instinct Slipper, these shoes are contrived to render maximum support and grip for climbers.

When it comes to the sizing of the shoe, the Scarpa brand is renowned for its larger-cap toe region, as well as a lower rear and midsection. When you take a look at the shoe, you will notice that there is a wider arch for your feet, as well as a rounded heel.

One of the unique features of these shoes is their downturn profile. In terms of performance, the shoes are aggressive and are specifically built for taut edges and precipitous roofs.

Furthermore, these shoes are perfectly tailored to meet the needs and requirements of gym climbing athletes and aficionados. With a flawless hell and a compressed toe cap, the shoe aims at increasing the grip, especially on steep edges. Plus, they also guarantee individuals a secure fit, allowing for an easy climb.

With the integration of a thick rubber coating around the circumference of the shoe, climbers are ensured additional grip that is useful for smaller footholds.

Plus, the unique combination of black and orange elevates the appearance and aesthetic of the shoe. If you are looking for stylish gym climbing shoes to spice up your fitness routine, then these are the perfect choice for you.

Apart from the above features, this shoe is acclaimed for its unique velcro closure. This ensures that the shoe fits securely and is easy to take off and put on at regular intervals.

However, compared to other top competitors in the climbing shoe market, these shoes are slightly expensive.

Furthermore, as they are built with extra layers of rubber, it may take a while to get accustomed to the shoe and meet your comfort requirements.

Overall, these shoes are the perfect match for professional and expert rock climbers and athletes who are willing to go the extra mile to challenge themselves.

4. La Sportiva Katana Lace Climbing Shoe

La Sportiva Unisex Katana Lace Climbing Shoe, Yellow, 44.5 M EU

Another feather in the cap for the La Sportiva brand is its introduction of the La Sportiva Katana Lace Climbing Shoes. Eminent for their versatility, these shoes are a great match for all types of rock climbing walls ranging from tiny pockets of limestone to granite walls.

Acclaimed for their craftsmanship and superior quality, these shoes are the talk of the town for climbers to enhance their game.

One of the unique features of these shoes is the shape and downturn. With an asymmetrical shape, this offers users a proper foothold.

Furthermore, the rigid midsole ensures that they have maximum support, even while standing on narrow edges. With this rigidity and stiffness, climbers can feel energized even during long climbs.

When it comes to the heel and overall design of these shoes, it is important to recognize that they are snug and have very minimal space to move around. Due to this, there are very slight chances for the shoe to slip off.

However, the heel of the shoe does have one major flaw. On one side of the heel, you will notice a small patch of cloth. This results in an installation of a heel hook, which may lead to slipping off. This is most noticeable when heeling on smaller holds and surfaces.

Built with an advanced Vibram XS Edge 4-millimeter rubber circumference, these shoes are designed to regulate movement, sensitivity, and balance. Plus, the rubber is designed to be sticky, enhancing the climber’s grip and support.

Furthermore, these shoes make use of the platform system of La Sportiva shoes. With this system, a tensioned rod is wrapped around the foot and heel. This helps to maintain the overall shape of the shoe, as well as provide solid support to the climber.

However, the biggest concern of the La Sportiva shoes is sizing. As they run a half size shorter, it is recommended to purchase a size bigger than your normal shoe size.

On the whole, these shoes are not as stylish as the other aforementioned shoes. However, they are built to get the job done effectively and efficiently. If you are looking for a durable and versatile pair of shoes, then you should grab a pair of the Katana Lace Climbing Shoe.

5. Five Ten Shoes Men’s Gym Master- Scarlet

Five Ten Shoes Men's Gym Master - Scarlet/carbon/black - 9

Another impeccable shoe fit to be considered the best gym climbing shoes is the Five Ten Shoes Men’s Gym master in a combination of colors scarlet, carbon, and black. Designed to ensure swift and fast climbing, these shoes are a suitable choice for beginner climbers.

Composed of a Stealth C4 rubber exterior, these shoes guarantee climbers a firm and sturdy grip, especially on rough edges. In simpler terms, the shoe is built to conquer rocky terrains at ease without any hassles.

Plus, the Five Ten Men’s Gym Master shoes are designed with a special closure velcro system. With the integration of a double-strand closing system, climbers can tighten their shoe in the correct position. In short, it enhances the rigidity and grip of the climber so that they don’t lose their balance.

These shoes are also designed with an unlined leather upper to help frame the shoe in its required position.

However, the only drawback is that there are very few color options available, which may decrease the aesthetic of the shoe.

In a nutshell, the Five Ten Men’s Gym Master shoe is a comfortable yet effective pair of shoes renowned for its robust design and traction system. If you are looking for a shoe that can be used on rough walls, then these are the perfect fit for you.

6. La Sportiva Men’s Oxygym Climbing Shoe

La Sportiva Men's OXYGYM Climbing Shoe, Carbon/Sulphur, 44

Lastly, when searching for the best indoor rock climbing shoes, you should check out another remarkable product from the La Sportiva collection, i.e., La Sportiva Men’s OXYGYM climbing shoes. In its simplest form, these are the definition of comfort at its finest.

One of the prominent features that make this shoe a perfect fit for beginner climbers is its comfort. With a broader toe box and a rigid profile, this shoe provides movie climbers with maximum support and grip.

Further, the all-new lacing system that characterizes the shoes of La Sportiva aims at providing climbers with a correct yet comfortable fit.

These shoes are composed of a 5-millimeter FriXion RS rubber circumference yielding to its excellent durability. However, the only flaw with this is that it decreases the sensitivity of the shoe. Thus, as you climb rocks, you may feel the roughness beneath your feet.

In addition, the unique selling point of this shoe is its three-layer exterior. Designed to adhere to the breathability factor of gym climbing shoes, the OXYGYM shoes are made of three distinct layers.

The topmost layer aims at releasing the absorbed moisture droplets. The mid-layer consists of a microfiber cloth that aims at enhancing the overall construct of the shoe. Lastly, the bottom layer consists of an advanced Airtex Silver lining designed to keep your feet dry while at the same time reducing any foul odor. The main motive of this feature is to ensure maximum hygiene and cleanliness.

The broad toe box of this shoe is specifically designed to balance the climber on the wall. However, with this design, the shoe lacks a proper foot placement, which may hinder the overall experience.

Overall, these shoes are a great match for amateur beginners to help them reach greater heights without any trouble. If you are on the lookout for an affordable pair of gym climbing shoes, then these are an ideal choice for you.

Factors To Consider When Buying The Best Gym Climbing Shoes

Choosing the right footwear to meet the needs requirements of gym climbing may be quite confusing. Below are a few factors to ponder on when purchasing the best indoor rock climbing shoes.

1. Closure

Gym climbing shoes often tend to vary in terms of the type of closure they have. Typically, they can either be velcro, slipper or even use lace. Let us take a look at the pros and cons of each type of closing system of gym climbing shoes.

  • Velcro

The first type of closure for gym climbing shoes is velcro. This type of system is commonly found in shoes and are often preferred by many climbers.

Due to their ease of use, they are an ideal fit for gym climbing, as they can help relieve your feet during the climb.

However, the only flaw with the velcro system is fitting. They are comparatively less flexible than laces. Plus, it can also come in the way of hooking when climbing outdoors.

  • Slipper

Slippers were traditionally used in trad climbing. However, with the advent of modern technology, slippers are quite popular for bouldering as well as gym climbing.

These types of closing systems are often characterized by elastic bands. Due to this, they are highly regarded for their sensitivity. Besides, they are a fun way to spice up training sessions.

Overall, due to their low profile, they are considered to be a good fit for narrow pathways.

  • Lace

The last but not least category of closing systems of gym climbing shoes is the lace shoes. These are considered a versatile style of closure for shoes.

Plus, they are also preferred by many athletes as they can be adjusted easily as per the situations.

2. Downturn

After you have decided the type of closing system required for your shoe, your next priority is to focus on the downturn of the shoe. In the sports glossary, the term downturn refers to the last.

When speaking about the best gym climbing shoes, it is important to recognize that downturn ranges in three different types, i.e., flat, aggressive, and moderate. Each type has its own set of positives and negatives that will impact the final decision of purchasing the best indoor climbing shoes.

  • Flat Downturn

The first category of the downturn in climbing shoes is the flat or neutral downturn. These types of shoes are designed to offer individuals a relaxed and comfortable fit throughout the day.

As you place your foot into the shoe, you will notice that the shoe enables your toes to fall flat inside them. Acclaimed for their comfort and fit, they are often a recommended choice for amateur climbers.

Also, these types of shoes are eminent for their moderate stiffness and rubber soles. However, these soles result in decreased sensitivity and are not preferred for difficult obstacles.

  • Moderate Downturn

The next level in the hierarchy of the downturn of climbing shoes is the moderate downturn. These shoes are illustrious of their camber shape. Due to this, they are the perfect fit for technical climbing.

Some of the situations where these shoes are an ideal fit are long multi-pitch courses, crack climbs, etc.

The main advantage of these shoes is strength and durability. Compared to the flat type shoes, these shoes offer climbers a strong grip, making them an ideal choice for challenging courses.

However, they are less comfortable than flat shoes. In addition, the inclusion of the thick rubber soles makes the shoes prone to faster wear and tear, as compared to neutral shoes.

  • Aggressive Downturn

The last type of downturn in climbing shoes is aggressive shoes. These are often distinguished for their heel tension and downturned toe box. Another signature of these types of shoes is their asymmetrical shape.

Also, these shoes are eminent for a snug fit, making them an excellent option for single pitch climbs, as well as gym climbing.

On the contrary, these types of shoes are uncomfortable and are not fit to be used on a regular climbing basis.

3. Upper Composition

In a typical climbing shoe, the upper is that region alongside the sides and top of your foot. When searching for the best gym climbing shoes, you will come across two common upper materials, i.e., leather and synthetic.

However, it is important to note that leather uppers do tend to stretch, whereas synthetic ones don’t. Therefore, it is recommended to choose the material that meets your needs and requirements to make the most out of the shoe.

4. Durability

Another important factor to consider when buying the best gym climbing shoes is durability. You need to make sure that your shoes offer you maximum support, grip, and last longer. This way, you can make the most out of your pair of shoes.

5. Sizing

When purchasing the best indoor climbing shoes, it is important to take into account the actual size of the shoe. Each type of shoe varies in terms of size. For example, some shoes may be too narrow, whereas others may be too wide.

Some shoes may also be a size smaller than your regular shoe size. Therefore, it is often recommended to try out different sizes of the desired shoe and purchase the best one for you.

6. Breathability

Lastly, it is important to consider the breathability of the shoe itself. By having ample airflow, you can make sure your feet don’t sweat and are free from any odor. Therefore, when purchasing the best gym climbing shoes, always keep an eye out for meshes and vents within the shoe.

FAQs on Gym Climbing Shoes

Q1. Do You Need Special Shoes For Rock Climbing?

Many beginner climbers often wonder whether rock climbing shoes are really worth the money or not. The answer to that depends upon your interest level. If you are trying it out for the first time, then normal sneakers are a good option.

However, the difference between regular sneakers and gym climbing shoes is in the structure and design of the shoe. Gym climbing shoes are specifically designed to suit the requirements of the craft. For example, they help you to push off on the footholds to shift to the next foothold.

Plus, they are built to provide climbers with a tight casing yielding to better control. Many climbing institutes and gyms often allow individuals to rent a pair to get the feel of them and help them accustom to them.

However, if you wish to pursue indoor climbing regularly, it is worth the investment.

Q2. How Do You Break Into Your New Climbing Shoes?

After you have purchased your favorite pair of climbing shoes, the next step is to wear them and get accustomed to them. However, it is quite difficult and painful to break into a pair of new shoes.

Therefore, to help you reduce the pain, below are a few methods to break into your new climbing shoe.

The first method is the shower. In this method, you need to wear your new shoes, and immediately hop into the shower. You need to make sure that the entire shoe is drenched with water.

Next, while the shoes are still wet, try walking around your house. As you feel the shoes are drying, stuff them with newspaper. Before they dry completely, it is advised to climb in them and mold them to match your feet.

This process may take a few repetitions but will surely help you break into the shoes in a jiffy.

Another method is the ice bag. For this method, the first step is to unbox your new shoes and place them aside. Next, take two plastic bags, and fill them with water until your foot size. After, tie and seal the bags, and ensure that there is no spillage.

Once you have done this, the next step is to place them in your shoes and put your shoes in the freezer. Once they are completely frozen, allow them to thaw.

Despite being a slower process, this does require a few repeats to get your shoes on point.

Q3. What Are The Best Shoes For Rock Climbing?

If you are looking for the best gym climbing shoes, you can check out a few options mentioned above. Apart from the aforementioned shoes, you can try the Tenaya Iati, Lowa X-Boulder, Scarpa Maestro Mid Eco, or even the Scarpa Furia Air.

Best Gym Climbing Shoes – Conclusion

From the above discussion, it is quite evident that finding the best indoor rock climbing shoes can be quite difficult and time-consuming. However, by considering the above factors, you can find the right fit for your next big adventure.

Therefore, if you want to find a good quality pair of shoes, be sure to try some of the models mentioned above.