Our Search for The Best Beginner Climbing Shoes

lace-up rock climbing shoes

What makes a climbing shoe good for beginners?

Beginner rock climbers should be looking for a good, basic pair of shoes, not necessarily ones that are focused on advancing your climbing powers.

Here are some helpful things to think about as you’re shopping for the best beginner rock climbing shoes:


Rock climbing shoes are notoriously uncomfortable, especially when you start hearing about downsizing and aggressive toes.

As a beginner though, you should be more concerned about finding a pair that you can wear for long periods of time, so that you can climb a lot and not have to worry about your feet hurting.

The longer you climb, the more used to wearing climbing shoes you will become. You get used to balancing on smaller and smaller holds as you progress, and your feet will become ready for the more advanced shoes. A comfortable shoe is pretty important as a beginner, or else you may end up quitting do to the unbearable foot pressure.


Most of the time, beginners just want the cheapest shoe that gets them their own pair for climbing, without having to invest a lot of money into the sport that they haven’t quite figured out yet.

If you’re just starting out in rock climbing, you likely won’t see understand or need the benefits that the more engineered and more expensive shoes provide.


Hey, just because you’re new to climbing, doesn’t mean a good looking shoe isn’t just as important as the functionality it provides.

Durable Toes

Most beginner rock climbers haven’t mastered the art of flawless footwork yet. If you’re trying hard to get up the wall, you may be banging and scratching your feet, which can cause the rubber to eventually peel and rub off.

Your first pair of climbing shoes will probably end up with destroyed toes. The better you get, the longer the toes will last though, hopefully as your technique improves.

Method of closure

Climbing shoes come in lace-up, velcro, and even slipper-style. It is mostly a matter of preference, although some people will tell you that you can get a better fit with laces. As a beginner, the method that your shoes closes is entirely a matter of personal preference.

Top Picks for Beginner Rock Climbing Shoes

Let’s take a look at the most popular climbing shoes for beginners. They are all very similar, and it will usually come down to fit or simply personal preference.

Don’t worry too much about your first pair of climbing shoes. By the time they’ve worn out, you’ll have formed much more of you own opinions on likes and dislikes to choose your next pair.

The Scarpa Origin is a very comfortable beginner’s shoe with a lot of padding and a flat profile. These shoes are very stiff with good thick rubber for support as you learn to climb. They will stretch after a while, so even if you get a tight fit, they will still be comfortable, and will loosen up over time. Priced on the low end of climbing shoes, this makes them some of the most affordable climbing shoes for beginners.

The Evolv Defy shoes are popular with beginners and intermediate climbers alike. They are extremely comfortable, have great sensitivity and flexibility. It’s not important to worry about downsizing when you get a pair, since they don’t stretch very much and they won’t eventually become too loose.

The Five Ten Moccasym shoes are great shoes that fit like a slipper, and they come pretty close to feeling like one too in terms of comfort. If you are currently working on more advanced moves like heel-hooking, they might not be the best for you, but they do work well for learning certain techniques you will come across with pockets and edging. These shoes will last you long enough until you’re ready to advance to a higher performance shoe. They do stretch quite a bit, so you may want to get a tighter fit in the beginning.

Best Women’s Beginner Rock Climbing Shoes

A lot of the climbing shoes are actually considered unisex shoes, although some are designed more specifically for men. There are some that are designed more specifically for women too.

Sometimes men with smaller feet may prefer the fit of women’s version, and women with wider feet may prefer the fit of the men’s version.

It really doesn’t matter too much, but it’s worth taking a look at the specific women’s models too.

The Scarpa Helix climbing shoes are very light, supportive, and comfortable. They are well suited for beginners and they have some great features that you will continue to like as you get into more advanced techniques. The soles are medium stiff, so it’s a good balance of support and sensitivity. Sizing runs small, so no need to downsize.

The Evolv Elektra are a great looking and great feeling shoe with a comfortable fit and a soft midsole. They are great beginner shoes and also great all-around shoes suitable for edging and smearing. Stretching is not much of an issue as they are synthetic material.

The Five Ten Rogue VCS are comfortable, affordable, and breathable shoes that are great for beginners. They are a medium stiffness, and have nice sticky rubber. They are leather so they will tend to stretch quite a bit as you wear them in.

Leave a Reply