Once bitten by the active climbing bug, there is no turning back. Be it in the gym or outside, bouldering is an overly joyful experience. Simply put, this is a form of rock climbing done on small rocks or artificial rock walls referred to as boulders. What’s interesting is that there are no ropes or harnesses used.
Without ropes or harnesses, it is important that you utilize comfortable shoes that provide the much-needed grip. As a beginner, expect to be overwhelmed by the endless options of shoes available on the market.
Beginner bouldering shoes are generally flat with some downturn resembling a curved banana shape. Toes are also somehow rounded and slightly asymmetrical. They are also quite flashy but may lack the bells and whistles found on advanced models.
Factors to consider when buying a beginner bouldering shoe
As a beginner, you should check on the various aspects characterizing the best shoes. For instance, check on the fit of the shoe, shoe shapes available, the prices, and whether they are gender-specific or unisex. Bouldering shoes aren’t cheap, which is why getting the right pair is crucial.
That said, below is a roundup of our top 5 beginner climbing shoes you should check out.
1 La Spotiva Men’s TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe
An outstanding feature of rock climbing shoes that the La Spotiva Men’s TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe features are the outsoles. They are made from 5-millimeter FriXon RS rubber that provides exceptional friction and grip necessary for a safe rock climbing.
The leather design gives this shoe an all-around performance. Its design helps both beginner and intermediate climbers rock the boulders like pros. The aggressive rubber heel with low asymmetry build allows climbers to position on the edges with utmost sensitivity without any cramping or pain.
You will also like the fast lacing system featuring quick pull lacing harness for precise regulation of the shoes’ inner volume. The lace wraps the foot snugly providing excellent support, comfort, and fit.
La Spotiva Men’s TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe can be used both in the gym and on the crags, thanks to the unlined leather upper that is soft and comfortable. It effectively controls moisture and improves breathability.
- Built to last
- Fast lacing system
- Top-tier support
- Finding a proper size is challenging
2 Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe
The Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe is another exquisite, strong all-around bouldering shoe for value. It is pleasant and competent with a leather upper that settles to a nice fit. Its drifter is more sensitive compared to other beginner climbing shoes.
The shoe can be used in a wide array of terrains, from technical face climbing to slabs. Whereas it might not be the star performer, it is strong enough to meet a decent score. The real advantage of this shoe comes at its price. Besides being a cheap shoe, it is slightly a better performer compared to other models in its price range.
For a comfortable fit and tight grip, the Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe comes with two Velcro straps that run across its sturdy body. The entire shoe body is also taped with seam, thus suitable for all weather conditions.
- Leather make
- Rubber sole
- All-weather show
- Tight Velcro closure
- Slightly snug fit
3 Scarpa Men’s Helix Climbing Shoe
The Scarpa Men’s Helix Climbing Shoe is among the all-time classic popular bouldering shoes. This latest incarnation remains one of the most favorite shoes for beginners. It is available for both men and women in various size range and half-sizes.
Starting off, its suede upper makes the shoe slightly stretchable for assured comfort. The Flexan midsole is vital in providing ultrathin support necessary for beginner boulders. Like other Scarpa models, this shoe retains the original, classic flat profile randing with a relatively symmetrical footprint.
Comfort and refinement brought into this shoe are supported by the padded tongue and heel cup like other advanced products. Its lacing runs down towards the toe, improving on its adjustability and fit. The vibram XS edge rubber completes its comfortable snug fit.
- Adjustable lace-up system
- Grippy sole
- Can be resoled
- Can be upsized or downsized
- Not great for advanced outdoor bouldering
4 Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes
The Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes has its own fair repute on the market for good reasons. Climbing shoes from Black Diamond have a specific use in mind. This model lands on the entry-level category suitable for both indoor and outdoor climbing.
The shoe comes with a flat, flexible sole with soft, cushioned upper that ascertains all-day comfort and good breathability. Though not a high precision or high-performance shoe, the Momentum provides an assurance of a good beginner climbing experience. However, it is not recommended for use in steep terrains or repetitive crack climbing purposes.
Adding to its outstanding features is the 4.3 NeoFuse rubber sole for excellent aggressiveness and high performance gripping. Such durable rubber is a great selling point for any entry-level shoe like this one. The NeoFuse sole extends approximately one inch on all sides for additional durability, traction, and protection.
- Grippy and durable
- Breathable upper knit
- Available for both men, women, and kids
- Quite narrow
- Poorly constructed Velcro straps
5 Evolve Men’s Defy Climbing Shoe
The Evolve Men’s Defy Climbing Shoe is an unsophisticated model with a stiff and solid fit. Being among the new brands in the market, the shoe is a solid performer offering ultimate comfort with a predictable feel.
The shoe shines on slabs lessening the strains of your calves. It does, however, struggle on vertical terrain as the flat platform may need more work to maintain contact on roofs and overhangs.
The padded tongue is not only cozy but also supportive, providing a sure comfort. It is easy to stand on the stiff sole as it takes out some sensitivity.
- Synthetic sole
- Sizing issue
Finding the best beginner bouldering shoes is undoubtedly quite challenging. This is why beginners should take into consideration key features of bouldering shoes before making a purchase. The material make, closure system, sole of the shoe and fit are just but a few to mention. You should also purchase shoes from knowledgeable stores and check on various customer reviews before settling on a specific model. Happy bouldering!