How to Choose the Best Climbing Shoes?

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.

Shoe closures

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.

Sole material

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.

Final verdict

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.


How to Choose a Climbing Tent?

There are hundreds of camping tents out there to buy. While camping in the woods might work with most tents, the same cannot be said when camping in the mountains. Here, you need the best climbing tent must be lightweight and easy to carry. Remember, you will have to carry your tent with you through the tiring climbs. However, if you need to camp on the roadside, then you can carry a bigger and heavy tent.

Things to Consider When Choosing Climbing Tent

Choosing the ideal climbing tent requires a keen consideration of several factors.  Below, we discuss some of the important considerations when choosing a climbing tent. They include the following:


The weight of the climbing tent is a crucial consideration to make. This is the case, especially when choosing a backpacking tent. Since you will carry the tent on your back most of the time, it needs to be lightweight and compact. Climbing steep rocks with a heavy tent on your back is never ideal. Make sure you consider your needs and choose the lightest tent possible.

Most climbers tend to overestimate the needs and end up carrying heavy tents for no reason. Be real and honest with your needs. Does the tent weight include the straps, stakes and guy lines? Tent companies have different ways of measuring weight. Make sure you consider this and choose appropriately.


The tent dimensions are quite important when choosing a climbing tent. Again, there is no one-size-fits-all tent size. You need to consider your primary objectively and choose a tent size accordingly. If you mainly car camp, then consider getting a bigger size tent. For mountaineers, a narrow platform tent designed is the best. This one can easily set up on slopes and ridges with ease.

The tent dimension usually comes down to your camping area and how you get there. Besides, you also need to check the head clearance with your height. While short tents do better in whistling alpine winds, they might not be comfortable for tall persons. You need a tent that allows you to sit properly without bending.

Tent seasonality

Tents are designed for use in different seasons of the year. We have the 3-season tents, 3-4 season tents, and 4 season tents. The three-season tent is by far the most common. It works best in temperate conditions of summer, spring, and fall. A three-season tent usually features a mesh panel for excellent air ventilation. This tent protects you from bugs, rain, and light snow. It also provides you with excellent privacy.

A 3-4 season tent is designed for extended use during the late fall. The tent offers a balanced warmth-retention, ventilation, and strength. The tent features fewer mesh poles than a 3-season tent.

Lastly, we have the 4-season tent which withstands heavy snowfalls and strong winds. These are the best mountaineering tents are work in any season. They are designed to stand firm in the harshest weather conditions.  The construction of a 4-season tent features heavy poles and strong fabric materials. They feature rain flies and mesh panels that extend well to offer excellent coverage.

Single wall or double-wall

Single wall tents are the best for climbers since they are lightweight and easy to carry. Moreover, these tents are easy to setup. They are also quieter and produce less noise even in cases of strong winds. Single wall tents offer excellent shelter in winter.

Double-wall tents usually feature removable flies. They work with ease and allow for easy temperature control. They are also cheaper than single-wall tents but tent to be a little heavier to carry.

Tent doors

You also need to consider the door entrance and choose accordingly. For family-size tents, consider tents with multiple door entrances. Multiple doors prevent members from climbing over each other when taking bathroom breaks at night. The doors should feature strong YKK zippers that are pretty easy to open. It is also good to choose doors that open with minimal noise. These are ideal allowing one to get out without disturbing other sleeping members.


These are extension or awnings that help shelter muddy or dirt boots from rain. They vestibules offer extra storage space for the backpack while keeping it safe from rain and direct sunlight. Vestibules make part of a rainfly but are sometimes add-on items that one can buy separately.

Interior loops and storage pockets

 You can also consider interior storage pockets and loops. A good example is a lantern loop where you can safely hang the lantern. Such loops and pockets are crucial at keeping small items off the tent floor. This ensures you have enough floor space for sleeping.

Final verdict

There are just so many things one needs to consider when choosing a climbing tent. However, what works for somebody might not work for you. Make sure you take into consideration your need, place of camping and choose a matching tent. For an in-depth review about everything related to camping tent, ABC-Of-RockClimbing have a great article that you might want to check out!

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Improve Your Technique

My approach to teaching climbing technique is very simple, based upon WhatHow and When  to move. Whatever climbing is to you I am confident it will help you improve. By moving with less energy, making grip when needed and knowing when to move, climbing becomes a curious rather than baffling activity. Climbing is an exhilarating all body challenge that can take you to some great places, but when you start off, even if you’ve climbed before, it can be quite confusing.

Have you ever been baffled as to what to do next on a climb? 

Even then when you have worked out what to do – do you still find you can’t do it, can’t work out how to do it?… even though you might feel strong?

The uncompromising experience of pioneering dangerous climbs, sometimes with no prior knowledge, has taught me about confidence and coordination but you can learn from that in a safe environment. Using low power drills, carefully devised for you to understand what I have learnt about mental coordination of movement, a tried and tested method can unlock this for you.   I can teach you to recognize when a move will work.

I enjoy sharing my knowledge with people, especially when they learn vertically – in a moment – the expression of surprise a move has worked dawning on their faces mid way through a move they never thought they would do. It is not a once in awhile occurrence. Tongue in cheek, I call it Declumsification.

If you wish to book any of my classes, indoors or out, please get in touch.


What some people have said about Johnny…

“Johnny Dawes is already a legend in British climbing. In 1986, he was responsible for perhaps the most inspired new route in the sport’s recent history, a climb called Indian Face on the Welsh crag Clogwyn d’ur Arddu. A fall from its hardest move would most likely be fatal. But Dawes is much more than a risk-taker; his rich imagination for climbing has left outstanding new routes all over the country, not least on the gritstone edges of Derbyshire where his bold and fluid style pushed the barriers of the possible beyond the imagination of almost all his contemporaries. He is an artist really, with a warrior spirit”
Ed Douglas, Writer and journalist

“Each generation produces a handful of visionaries, people who can see beyond the possible. Whether he likes it or not, Johnny is climbing’s visionary. William Blake with sticky boots.”
Simon Beaufoy, Academy Award winning screenwriter of 127 Hours, The Full Monty, and Slumdog Millionaire

“I’ve been fortunate to climb with some of the best climbers of the last 30 years, Fawcett, Moon, Moffat, McClure, but only when climbing with Johnny have I been baffled and bemused. To watch him climb in his prime was something special, so special that some dismissed it as an oddity, don’t be fooled, the term great is rarely bestowed on anyone in climbing but Johnny is one of the greats.”