Rock climbing is quite challenging and requires the best climbing gear. One of the most important climbing gear just like your climbing ropes is a pair of climbing shoes. The shoes you choose for your climbing adventures can greatly influence the experience. Climbing shoes bring your feet against the rock. Choose the wrong shoe and you will have a day to forget.
There are several reasons why climbing shoes are different from other shoes. These shoes must offer excellent feet support, allow good flexibility and hold to the ground preventing slipping off. This is why choosing a climbing shoe should be done carefully.
It is hard to find a perfect shoe for everyone. However, the selected shoe must at least have features that support mountain climbing. To choose the best rated climbing shoes, you need to consider the following factors:
Factors to consider when choosing the best climbing shoes
Determine the type of climbing you’re into
You first need to determine the type of climbing you do most of the time. Are you into alpine mountain climbing? We have different types of climbing which include sports climbing, bouldering alpine climbing, trad, etc.
Different sets of rocks require different types of shoes for a firm grip when climbing. For example, alpine climbers require shoes with all-day comfort. On the other hand, boulderers or sports climbers require tight-fitting shoes to easily pull off between climbs.
Upper shoe construction
The best climbing shoes need to feature a breathable upper material. There are usually three materials used in the construction of climbing shoes. These include the lined leather, unlined leather, and synthetic leather. The materials come with pros and cons and one must choose one that best serves their needs.
Unlined leather is the most breathable and easily conforms to the shape of your feet. It is less stinky and stretches the most. However, it is not the most comfortable and dyes from the leather will stain the feet on the first few uses. Lined leather, on the other hand, is more comfortable than unlined leather. However, it is less breathable and might stink a little when worn for long. Lastly, we have synthetic leather which is extremely durable but least breathable.
Make sure you get a perfect upper material that offers an excellent balance between breathability, stretching, comfort, and durability.
The shoe closures are another decent consideration to make. There are three closures to consider namely the Velcro, lace-up and slipper. Velcro closures are among the best since they are easy to put on and take off. Lace-up closures are also great because of the customized comfort. Slipper closures are also easy to take off and make a perfect choice for sport climbers.
For alpine climbers, lace-up closures are the best since they fit snugly and will not come off.
The next consideration to make is the sole material since this is what comes into contact with the surface. You will realize that most climbing shoes feature a rubber sole material. Sticky rubber is considered the best sole material since it offers a firm grip to the ground. The rubber provides excellent friction with the rock preventing slipping.
In addition, you also need to consider the rubber thickness since it affects how you climb. A thinner rubber sole of 3-4mm is considered the best. This is because the sole allows for excellent feet sensitivity and flexibility. However, thinner rubber can wear out pretty quickly. They are perfect for short climbs.
On the other hand, thicker rubber sole provides more support making it a perfect choice for long routes. It ensures the feet do not get fatigued pretty fast.
The right fit
Choosing the right fit for climbing shoes is probably the most important consideration to make. The selected shoe must be of the right size fitting snugly. Don’t go for shoes that are too tight or too loose. You don’t want to suffer from blisters on your first day outdoors. Loose-fitting shoes are also dangerous since they can come off halfway through the climb.
The shoes need to fit properly without considering the closures. You need the toe touching the front of the shoe but not curved. While the shoes might feel a little tight on the side, the front and back must fit properly. Make sure you try the shoes a few days before the eventual adventure day. This helps the shoes adjust and have the feet used to them.
This is where the upper material choice comes into play. Synthetic material will not stretch at all so make sure the shoe fits right away. Unlined leather will stretch the most hence a tight-fitting shoe can stretch after wearing a few times.
In conclusion, climbing shoes just like any other high quality climbing gear, are a big investment that can make or break your climbing adventure. Make sure you choose carefully and narrow down your choices to what best works for you. The best climbing shoes must fit snugly, offer ample feet support, and air circulation.