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

For any climber, the choice of gear is a crucial thing. No matter if you are a beginner, intermediate, or pro, you will need to pick the best climbing shoe as per your skill level and the kind of climbing you enjoy.

Any intermediate climber would want to ensure that they purchase the best footwear that matches your skill level. Intermediate shoes come in a wide range of styles, prices, and fits. The best intermediate climbing shoe would be the ones that are snug, secure, but still comfortable when you wear them.

When shoes require more complex skills like intermediate climbing, you need the best shoes to tackle the game. Climbing goes with grades, from beginners to intermediate and then to pro. The more complex the grade, the more careful you need to be while selecting your shoes.

An ideal intermediate climbing shoe would be made of high-grade materials. They would be either made of leather upper or a Vibram XS Edge sole. Even the toe box should be well suitable for your needs.

The best intermediate climbing shoes are a perfect combination of comfort, versatility, and performance that an intermediate climber needs. These shoes will allow you to edge and hook your way to the next level without the intense pain of the highest-performing shoes.

We provide you with the list of the top ten best intermediate climbing shoes that excel in comfort, breathability, and snugness.

Top 10 Best Intermediate Climbing Shoes 2023

1. La Sportiva Men’s Low Top Climbing Shoes

La Sportiva Men's Climbing Shoes, Unisex-Adult, Tarantula, Green/Grey, 8

This is the super comfortable, all-around climbing shoe for the one searching for multipurpose shoes. It is the best shoe for the crack climbing period. The upper is leather and can suit beginners, intermediates as well as pros.

It has a hook-and-loop closure that promises easy and comfortable fit and efficient usability. This makes this model easily adjustable, enabling wrapping that provides excellent comfort and support.

It is round-shaped and has a high volume for a climber’s set that makes it aggressive enough to be used when needed without mangling one’s feet.

This model has a Laspflex midsole of 1.8mm, positioned to provide complete cushioning and is a good shock absorber. It prevents your shoe from damaging even if used for a long period of time.

It is well equipped with a highly adaptable closure system that enables it to fit multiple foot shapes and sizes. This adds to the agility of this model. This model is purely designed for men.

Supposedly, it is one of the best intermediate climbing shoes that offer an amazing and comfortable climbing experience.

2. La Sportiva Tarantula Women’s Climbing Shoe

La Sportiva Women's Tarantula Rock Climbing Shoe, Coral, 41

This shoe is easy to use and offers great comfort and hold. It is easy to get in and off this shoe in a flash. They are designed only for women and weigh nearly about 7.84 ounces. This climbing shoe performs extremely well while gyming in addition to climbing.

Rock climbing is not an easy task. You must need a firm grip and a strong finish so that your shoe does not get ripped. Therefore, your shoe must be made of some good quality materials.

Tarantula for women is made up of leather in the upper part, and the unlined upper is excellent for moisture management and feels super comfortable on your foot all day long. It has hook-and-loop kind of straps to properly grasp your feet inside the shoe. This also ensures a snug fit.

The shape looks round, and it has a higher volume for a climber’s feet, not looking to mangle their feet but yet aggressive enough to use when needed.

This model has a Laspflex midsole of around 1.8 mm in order to provide proper cushioning and is a good absorber. It makes the shoe stiffer and heavier. It uses Fixon RS rubber adhesive to hold the parts together for a longer period of time, even after hard use.

It has a highly adaptable closure system that adapts to multiple foot sizes and shapes, which makes this model a versatile one. It has the agility which lets it stay put for a good amount of time.

With all the supporting and comforting features, Tarantula for women is one of the best intermediate climbing shoes. It offers you an all-around comfortable and cozy feel in your feet.

3. La Sportiva Women’s Climbing Shoes

La Sportiva Women's Tarantulace Rock Climbing Shoes, Grey/Hibiscus, 38

These shoes are designed especially for women. They possess a fast lacing system that is well equipped with a quick-pull lacing harness that allows precise regulations of inner volumes. It is designed for wrapping the foot snuggly for excellent fit, comfort, and support.

This model has a lined tongue which is capable of controlling moisture and enhancing breathability. The versatility of this model is increased due to its great performance in all fields, may it be gym or crags.

The upper is made of classic unlined leather and is soft and comfortable. Not only intermediate climbers but beginners can also use it to smear, edge, and hook, like pros. The climbers are able to find purchase on the edges with great sensitivity and without any pain due to its low-symmetry RN45 build, aggressive rubber heel rand, and sticky FriXion RS rubber soles.

It is made of premium quality materials like Laspoflex in the midsole to provide solid support even after years of use. The FriXion RS rubber makes the La Sportiva women’s collection more stable and durable.

This model is one of the best intermediate climbing shoes that offers you a smooth grip and a firm hold. It also promises great comfort and agility while you are out climbing a rock.

4. Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe

Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe 2018 (9.5, Red)

Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe is a great all-around comfortable model that is precise enough for your next gym session. Its usability does not stop at the gym level; rather, it is an excellent model for beginners searching for good climbing shoes.

It features a double stitch construction for easy usability and adjustability. The padded collar and heel are aggressive enough to provide you excellent fit and comfort. The polypropylene midsole and one-piece binding offer protection to your shoe for a longer period of time.

You can size up for a comfortable fit or size down for more aggressive performance. But it is a known fact that climbing shoes are supposed to fit very tight, and you must ensure that your toes should be touching the end of your shoe at a minimum.

It is one of the best performing footwear lines when it comes to climbing shoes. It promises you great fit, comfort, and support.

5. Five Ten Gambit VCS

Five Ten Gambit VCS Mens Climbing Shoes, (Semi Solar Slime, Black, Clear Grey), Size 7

The Gambit VCS from Five Ten blends easy comfort and technical precision, making this model a reliable climbing shoe. It is designed for comfort on long routes, trad climbing, slab climbing, and gym climbing.

They are ideal for rock climbers belonging to beginner to intermediate levels. The upper leather with minimal stretch provides it a stiff texture and strong grasp. It is embedded with a hook-and-loop closure for easy adjustability. This also makes Gambit VCS easy to use.

It has a perforated ariaprene tongue. This keeps your feet cool and provides you with a soothing experience if you are amidst some tough rock climbing. It has a rounded toe box for a snug fit and breathable cotton lining.

These shoes are molded with a thermoplastic midsole for effective stiffness and unbeatable grip. The outsole is constructed of Stealth C4 4.2mm rubber that combines friction and durability in order to give an incredible all-around performance on any surface.

Five Ten’s Gambit VCS model is one of the best climbing shoes for intermediates available in the market that offers you a completely all-around comfortable experience.

6. Black Diamond Mens Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes

Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe - Men's Ash 9.5

Black Diamond has been a leader and innovator in climbing gear for decades but more recently made its debut in the world of climbing shoes.

Black Diamond Mens Momentum is a flat, entry-level model similar to the Scarpa Origin and Evolv Defy. However, there exist a few important differences that make this model a commendable choice for the gym. The Engineered Knit Technology upper of this model provides exceptional breathability and comfort.

This stretchy knit upper breathes well in sweaty indoor environments to avoid a foul smell, and the presence of Neo Fuse rubber makes this model a durable choice for high-volume gym climbing. It is not only built for durability but also molded for optimal consistency and performance.

With the addition of vegan Momentum, Black Diamond now has something for everyone.

Alas, the design of the Velcro closure of Black Diamond’s Momentum model is substandard.

Further, the flat last may not be the best option, as you might be in search of a slightly downturned shoe like the Endeavor. Also, the medium flex midsole provides add-on support without sacrificing sensitivity.

It is one of the best intermediate climbing shoes available at an affordable price by providing you the world’s best comfortable and enjoyable climbing journey.

7. Scarpa Men’s Veloce Climbing Shoes

SCARPA Veloce Climbing Shoe - Men's Black/Yellow 11.5-12 US/45.5 EU

As an intermediate climber, this is the best choice of shoes you can make. SCARPA Men’s Veloce Climbing shoes are the best intermediate climbing shoes. It is high-performance footwear for hiking, mountaineering, climbing, trail running, and many other outdoor sports.

The versatility of this model increases due to the slight downturn and asymmetrical fit, and bitensional randing. It prevents slingshot randing, which means the rand connects beneath the toes and pulls back to the heel structure rather than jamming the toes forward.

The bi-tension active randing provides the ultimate in toe power. It is designed in such a way that it includes the ideal level of tension for a good fit. This, in turn, increases the sensitivity and also provides enough padding and support to climb without causing any pain or discomfort.

The synthetic build makes this shoe durable. The straps feature a dual power closure that can be customized for proper fitting and provide the ideal amount of snugness. This shows that there is great room for adjustability.

This model features a slit style rubber sole, making this climbing shoe more flexible for greater control and sensitivity. It allows you to feel the ground you are stepping on. The flexible soft sole provides a good grip and is ideal for steep overhangs and high grades, as these regions require a lot of sensitivity and a great amount of agility.

The slight downturn provides support and strength to the vertical toes and allows climbers to claw tiny holds. It also enables a comfortable drop, making this model an ideal one for intermediate climbers.

This shoe has the Microsuede upper, and the midsole is made out of Flexan of width 1mm for extra comfort and sensitivity. All these key attributes of this shoe make it one of the most trending and popular intermediate climbing shoes.

8. Climb X Gear Red Point Climbing Shoe 2019

Climb X Red Point NLV Women's Climbing Shoe 2019 (Women's 8/ Men's 6.5, Red)

Climb X Gear is an all-around performance shoe that is not just limited to any one style of climb, rock, or angle. It has a fabric-and-leather upper for smooth adjustability and a comfortable fit. It stretches from its actual size and promises a snug fit.

The Red Point comes engineered with a contoured arch that provides a vacuum-tight fit to your feet. This leaves no dead spaces in the shoe so that your toe touches the end of your shoe as climbing shoes are supposed to have a tight fit. This feature also helps in increasing the performance of your shoe.

It also features a padded ankle cuff and a sticky 3D molded heel cup to maintain comfort and grip. This also provides you great control and prevents your feet from feeling any kind of pain or discomfort.

This model also involves an odorless organic hemp footbed. It allows breathability and avoids any kind of foul smell if the shoes are worn for a longer time. The organic hemp keeps your foot safe from any kind of infections that can be caused due to excessive sweats.

It has a dual velcro feature that enables easy usability. You can get in and off this shoe within a flash of time. This enhances the adjustability and grip of your shoe and also gives your feet an overall excellent fit, comfort, and support.

It is a great companion for all your climbing activities, and its features make it one of the best intermediate climbing shoes.

9. Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoe

Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoe - Men's Ash 11.5

Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes were built with ultimate comfort in mind. They excel in performance. Momentum is the best entry-level climbing shoe for all-day comfort at the gym or crag.

It features a great engineered knit technology for exceptional breathability. This prevents your shoes from developing any foul smell if they have been used for a long time. It also involves innovative proprietary molded rubber.

The engineered knit technology construction uses an engineered knit upper, which provides great comfort and a snug fit. This model is designed to provide the right amount of stretch in addition to the right amount of support. The engineered knit technology sits comfortably against the skin and moves as you do.

The fabric conforms to the foot’s shape to provide a perfect fit that minimizes the in-shoe slippage. This helps in keeping up to the level of precise fitting that is required for a climbing shoe.

The knit upper also ensures breathability by allowing cool air to circulate within the shoe on hot and humid days. Additionally, this also cools your feet and makes them feel relaxed. Completing the upper are two velcro straps placed in opposite directions to ensure added midfoot support.

Black Diamond Momentum Climbing shoes are made of soft flex midsole. This midsole is built to ensure all-day comfort and a stiff finish. This low-profile midsole is minimal to reduce weight whilst still providing an abundance of comfort and cushioning.

Soft Flex midsole combines both underfoot cushioning and sensitivity to present before you a perfect midsole for intermediate climbers. Sensitivity is a very important factor in climbing as it allows you to feel the surface beneath you before you commit to climbing on them.

The 4.3 mm durable rubber outsole is built for durability and molded for optimal consistency and performance. This stiff rubber is effective on terrain where small crevices and edging is the topmost priority. The rigid nature of the outsole supports you during any climb by adapting to the ground below you and bearing your weight.

Black Diamond Momentum Climbing shoes are undoubtedly one of the best intermediate climbing shoes available in the market.

10. Knixmax Women’s Hiking Shoes

Knixmax Women's Hiking Shoes Lightweight Non-Slip Climbing Trekking Sneakers for Woman Camping Backpacking Shoe Wine Red Size 8 US/EU 39

Knixmax Women’s hiking shoes are breathable, comfortable, and lightweight and are ideal for climbing, trekking, hiking, gyming, and even long walking.

The model has a Suede leather upper and a soft, breathable lining for extreme comfort. It keeps your feet dry and fresh. The breathability prevents the shoe from developing any kind of foul smell if worn for a longer time.

It features a non-slip outsole. This outsole promises maximum traction in mixed terrain regions and also extended durability. Knixmax Hiking Shoes combines a deep, aggressive lug pattern with a stiff gum rubber outsole.

This model consists of cushioned insoles and a roomy toe box. They are light in weight and consist of two separate removable insoles for dual fit. The roomy toe box is broad enough to accommodate even wider feet. It also offers a quick lace mechanism. It consists of minimalistic and strong lace for one-pull tightening.

Knixmax Women’s Hiking shoes are an ideal choice of climbing shoes for intermediate climbers.

Factors To Look Out For In The Best Intermediate Climbing Shoe

Whenever you are climbing, you want to ensure that you have got the right shoes on your feet. There are a few features that you should certainly look out for before investing in your new footwear.

Intermediate climbing shoes are available in a variety of shapes, styles, materials, and textures. You must always opt for the option that fits you properly and feels comfortable on your feet. All these features might not be visible outwardly. You must ensure that you inspect, try, and test before buying any climbing shoe.

If your shoe doesn’t feel comfortable, you would certainly not enjoy climbing. You must lookout for the below listed vital features before making your choice. This list might help you to limit your options and choose from the best ones.

1. Closure

There are three main options when it comes to closures. The first option is to go for a strap closure, which basically features a velcro that keeps the strap tight and closed securely. The second option that you have is a laced system. Certain manufactures go ahead with a quick lace system that tends to work very well and can ensure that your feet always stay snugly and securely inside the footwear.

Slipper type footwears are the third main option made available to you when it comes to types of closures. There will be elastic built into the shoe so that it stays tight around the foot.The slipper type footwear do not have any bulky laces or straps which is one of their main advantages over other types of shoes. They have an extremely low profile to ensure that your feet fits inside the smallest of gaps or cracks.

2. Material and Lining

Different shoes are made of different materials and linings. It is observed that leather and natural materials on the upper will stretch to a fair amount, generally half the size. On the other hand, synthetic materials stretch less even though they tend to absorb swear smells more.

Some shoes are also made of modern synthetic knit that offers a very breathable and fairy stretch. However, they don’t stretch much in the long term.

If a shoe is lined, it means that it has an extra layer within it to keep the shape the same and prevent the shoe from stretching too much.

Therefore, it is better to look for the material and lining that you think would give you a comfortable fit and firm support.

3. Outsole

Rubber is standard for an outsole. The thicker the sole, the stiffer the shoe, and you will get more support. However, this comes at the cost of control.

Observations state that harder rubbers work better on small edges, whereas softer rubbers work better for smearing. The harder the rubber, the longer it lasts.

4. Sizing, Fit And Sensitivity

Fitting is the most important factor that must be taken into account while buying the best intermediate climbing shoe. There are different shapes of feet, length, heel sizes, shapes, and with this, there come different levels of comfort.

Climbing shoe sizes differ with respect to brands. But, one thumb rule you must always apply, is to go for 0.5 to 1 Euro size lesser than your street size.

There are certain shoes that have lower volumes. Generally, women’s shoes have a lower volume, and they are slimmer and have a smaller heel fit. If you think that your feet might fit well in different gender sizes, there is no harm in keeping the options open.

Sensitivity is defined on the basis of thickness and the type of material used. It is how comfortable you find these things while you are up there climbing. It is always suggested that you try and test the footwear before buying it. If your shoes don’t fit well, you won’t be able to enjoy climbing.

Best Intermediate Climbing Shoes – Conclusion

Any intermediate climber needs to make the best choice of shoes for themselves. If by any chance, you happen to buy the wrong pair, you not only run the risk of causing yourself foot pain but also end up finding yourself unable to climb with your full potential.

The choice between a neutral, moderate, or aggressive shoe is totally dependent on your needs. The only point to be focused here is whichever you choose, the footwear must be made from high-grade materials. Certain people find leather upper as a signature of excellent quality, whilst others might think of synthetic materials to be more reliable and comfortable.

A high-grade rubber sole is a prime requirement because for a climbing shoe grip is as important as breathability and durability. A Vibram XS sole makes edging a lot more easy, hence, it could be certainly one of the best options.

You must look out for options that are versatile and agile and promise excellent comfort and support. Be very particular about the fact that your footwear fits you well. But on the same side, ensure that it is not too tight.

If you’re perceptive, you might have picked up on the commonalities between these shoes. They are all both high-performing and relatively comfortable. As an intermediate climber, that is exactly what you want to look for in your next pair of climbing shoes.

As long as you pick a shoe that ticks all these boxes, you are good to go ahead with your option. It would undoubtedly be the best intermediate climbing shoe that perfectly fits your needs and preferences.

The above given list of top ten shoes is to make your choice easier so that you can pick the best among the lot.

Make the right choice and have a fun and comfortable climbing experience!

FAQs on Intermediate Climbing Shoes

Q1. How Tight Should Climbing Footwear Be?

Although your climbing footwear must be tight, it shouldn’t cause you pain. The tighter the fit, the better it would be. It should be tight enough to avoid any dead spaces within the shoe.

Q2. Can I Buy A Climbing Shoe For Wide Or Narrow Feet?

It is surely possible to find a footwear that will comfortably fit people with either narrow feet or wide feet. The best thing to do is checking the sizing of the footwear before purchasing it.

Q3. How Should Climbing Shoes Fit?

Your climbing shoe must have a snug and comfortable fit. It should not have any dead spaces between the shoe and your toe. It should be slightly tight to provide great control and grip. It should have a snug fit throughout your feet.

Q4. Is A Downturn A Necessary Factor For Intermediate Climbing Shoes?

Comfort, performance, and downturn are undoubtedly considered important features in an intermediate climbing shoe. This provides your shoe a bit of aggressiveness, which is a must for rock climbing.

Q5. Are Intermediate Climbing Shoes Pocket Friendly?

Intermediate shoes come in a variety of ranges and prices. However, the majority of them will suit your wallet and are not heavily priced.