When it comes to rock climbing, having the right gear is essential. One of the most important pieces of equipment for any climber, beginner or experienced, is a good, well-fitting pair of climbing shoes. These specialized sticky rubber shoes are designed to provide the necessary grip, support, and precision to help you navigate tricky holds and make the most of your climbing experience.
As a beginner, it can be overwhelming to choose your first pair of climbing shoes. There are so many different options available, all with their own unique features. To help you narrow down your choices, here are some key things to consider when selecting the best climbing shoes for beginners:
The fit of your climbing shoes is crucial. You want a snug, comfortable fit that allows for good foot movement, but not so tight that it causes pain or discomfort. To find the right fit, try on several different sizes and brands to see what feels best. Keep in mind that climbing shoes tend to stretch over time, so it’s important to find a fit that feels good when you first put them on, rather than relying on them to stretch to your foot shape.
Beginners often make the mistake of choosing climbing shoes that are too stiff, which can make it difficult to feel the holds and adjust your foot placement. On the other hand, shoes that are too soft can lack support and stability, making it difficult to stand on small holds. Look for a shoe that strikes a balance between support and sensitivity.
Aggressive or Flat?
The shape of a climbing shoe is another important factor to consider. Some shoes have a more aggressive, downturned shape, which is great for advanced climbers who need to make precise foot placements on steep routes. However, for beginners, a more neutral or flat shape may be more comfortable and easier to use. However, if you desire to eventually climb overhanging bouldering routes, an aggressive downturned shoe will become a necessity. Plenty of learning can be done in a beginner pair of shoes, however.
There are several different closure systems available on climbing shoes, including lace-ups, slipper-style, and Velcro straps. Lace-ups offer the most customizable fit, but can be time-consuming to put on and take off. Velcro straps are quick and easy to use, but may not offer as precise a fit. Slipper-style shoes are the easiest to get on and off, but may not be as supportive as other types of shoes.
When you’re just starting out, it’s natural to want to save money on gear. However, it’s important to remember that climbing shoes are an investment, and it’s worth it to spend a little more on a pair that will last. Look for shoes that are made from high-quality materials and have sturdy construction. La Sportiva and Scarpa are two brands which are known for their quality and crasftmanship.
With these factors in mind, here are some great climbing shoe options for beginners:
- La Sportiva Tarantulace: This versatile shoe is a great choice for beginners. It has a flat, neutral shape and a comfortable fit, making it easy to wear for extended periods of time. The lace-up closure allows for a customizable fit, and the sticky rubber sole provides excellent grip on a variety of surfaces.
- Five Ten Niad: The Five Ten NIad is a classic climbing shoe that has been a favorite among climbers for years. It has a flat, neutral shape and a comfortable, slipper-style fit that’s easy to slip on and off, a great advantage when you’re wearing tight climbing shoes. The sticky rubber sole provides excellent grip, and the shoe is built to last, making it a great value.
- Scarpa Origin: The Origin is another great choice for beginners. It has a flat, neutral shape and a comfortable fit, making it one of the more popular beginner choices. These shoes are also often used for rental fleets in climbing gyms.
In order to maximizer the lifespan of your climbing shoes, a few simple tips should be followed. Avoid walking around in yhour climbing shoes too much, especially outside. User your shoes only for climbing, not for hiking or approaches. To minimize odor, climbing with a sock is recommended, although to achieve maximum control, you must climb without socks. Always let your climbing shoes dry out after a session, and try to avoid leaving sweaty shoes inside your bag – your friends won’t like you, nor will your shoes.
Climbing shoes doe wear out – when small holes start appearing in the toe rubber, it’s time for a resole. If you continue climbing on a shoe with a hole in it, most resolers will no longer replace the shoe – it becomes trash. So try and stop using the shoe before the hole appears, or at the very least before it gets too big.
In conclusion, choosing the right climbing shoes as a beginner can be a daunting task. There are so many different options available, all with their own unique features and benefits. In the end, the best climbing shoe for you is the one which fits, feels good, and is affordable. To find the best climbing shoes for you, consider the fit, support, shape, closure, and durability of the shoe. Some great all-around options for beginners include the La Sportiva Tarantulace, Five Ten Niad, and Scarpa Origin. All of these shoes offer a comfortable fit, good support and sensitivity, and a flat or neutral shape, making them easy to wear and suitable for a variety of climbing styles. Remember to try on several different sizes and brands to find the right fit for you, and don’t stress about the choice too much — most serious climbers quickly end up owning several pairs of shoes.