What to look for when buying climbing shoes?

For beginners, the search for the right climbing shoe is the proverbial book with seven seals.


What should you look for when buying? What size is the right one? Should be really unforgiving tight climbing shoes and have to do it really really hurt? And what’s with this “bias” to? And then the choice of Velcro and lace-ups… * Phew


We want to try to shed some light in the dark for you.

Let’s start with the different properties of climbing shoes:


The shutter

Based on the CAP there are three different types:

The shoes with laces have the advantage that you can fix it right exactly, however the arrival and undressing a total slightly longer. Specifically, this is somewhat impractical in bouldering.

Quicker at the Velcroschuhen (Velcro = Velcro). A disadvantage, however, is that the hook and loop closures in some cases slightly faster break down.

The third variant are slippers. They have no closure at all (or only an additional Velcro strips) and basically like socks. Therefore, they need to fit really perfectly and are extremely tight – especially at the beginning. They are therefore rather unsuitable for beginners.


The material

There are mostly from plastic or leather shoes. Both have their advantages and disadvantages (as always). Leather widens slightly stronger than plastic, but also better adapts to the foot. Plastic is somewhat stable, can also cause increased smelling.


The preload and the downturn

When climbing it comes often to concentrate the power in the foot on the toes. You make it either, builds up a voltage (tension) on the heel of the sole or so forms the sole, the force front running together in the big toe. These soles have this characteristic curve (downturn). If you want to know more about bias and downturn, we have written a detailed article. You can find him here.


As a general rule, a shoe builds up more voltage the more aggressive he is. Aggressive shoes you need either in the overhang, or if you have to get on very small Trittern. And in general you can say that the aggressive a shoe is, he is even more uncomfortable. If the kicking of your climbing routes or Boulder so not yet in the roof hang and are also still not soo tiny, you can treat your feet quietly more comfortable shoes.


Flat shoes are better for beginners and more convenient than those with pretension or downturn

Plastic plate

There are shoes, an extra plate is incorporated in its sole. You spread the load over a larger area and makes it easier to stand. However a large part of feeling lost as a result. Soft shoes (without the plate), however, cling to the kicks and literally stick to the rock. With some experience you can feel already occur, whether the foot holds. However, as standing is also slightly exhausting.


The Panel distributes the weight and makes it easier to stand, but that comes at the cost of feeling



Would you climb initially only on the rope, the heel plays a minor role. He plays a role, namely the “hooks” for bouldering for certain movements. This means it is not with the toe on the kick, but stuck with the heel. This kind of trains is however rarely necessary for lighter bouldering. Regardless of whether you now bouldering or want to climb – important is that the shoe also with prolonged use pushes back in the Achilles tendon. This is on the one hand by the selected size of the shoe off, but also from the model. Trial and error is the motto here.


A closely seated heel is especially important for the “Hooken” bouldering.

So much for the theory. But how to find the perfect shoe now?


Opt for a shoe

The most important issues when purchasing a shoe are first of all:


Claim: Should be rather easy (beginners or long multi-pitch routes) the shoe or aggressive closely (very small kicks, overhangs)?

Preload: You climb demanding roofs (with bias) or more in the vertical or slightly overhanging (without or low bias)?

Heel: Is the shoe to the bouldering? Rather narrow heel.

The right size

Then, it is because finding the right size. There are a few clues that can help you choose:


La Sportiva is extremely large and widens like a. Who is regular size 38, can begin here safely at 36.5 or even 36. When Scarpa still 1.5 to 2 sizes can be removed. Evolv and five ten are already very normal street shoe size.


La Sportiva:-1.5 to 2.0

Scarpa:-1 to 2.0

Evolv, five ten: shoe size is approximately normal

Roman, Egyptian, Roman

Looking for the suitable shoe you should keep in mind that not every climber has the same shape of the foot. There are three forms of foot: the big toe which is called longest is the an “Egyptian” foot shape, the “show toe” is the largest, is “Greek” feet and if both are rather equal, that is properly “Roman”. May be certain models or manufacturers does not fit you just. In these cases, it makes more sense to try out a completely different shoe, instead of different sizes.

Many manufacturers have provided their shoes now reichhaltinge information on their home pages. On the side of red chili or rock pillars you will find for example a very detailed info of which shoe best to any form of the barrel fits.

What look for when buying climbing shoes-1

Trying to

It is the most important thing when trying on climbing shoes that you take sufficient time. You should watch pain in the Achilles heel and toes while wearing. Stand several times on edge (stairs, stepping) – only with the tip, even slightly sideways. Also something to walk around – do you feel pain? Or are you somewhere very much air? Climbing shoes are not from House of course in the true sense “comfortably” – but you should be half passed out not when trying on in pain.

What look for when buying climbing shoes-2

Although the most climbing shoes increase something else, but at the beginning, it makes no sense to buy especially tight shoes. Take care, by the way when trying: feet wide throughout the day to up to half a shoe size – which shoes should so be tried on the time of day, which usually also climb going (so most of the time in the evening).


Take your time, pay attention to the correct time of day

Step on small steps, walk around with the shoes. Watch out for pain and air inside the shoe