April 21, 2021

Best Bouldering Shoes for Beginners

by Kevin

So, you've taken bouldering and rappelling recently, and you've found yourself coming for seconds and thirds. However, you may be asking yourself if you've got the right shoes for the task. You may be using rock climbing shoes or rental bouldering shoes, and they may be working fine.

However, if you want to master your bouldering and rappelling skills, you'll need bouldering shoes. Not only that, you'll need the best bouldering shoes for beginners. You'll need shoes that are uniquely designed to accommodate beginners with undiscovered climbing styles and minimal bouldering and rappelling expertise.

To master your rock climbing and rappelling skills and grow to be an expert in the sport, you'll need comfortable shoes uniquely designed for rock climbing that you can wear for long periods. There are several bouldering shoes currently in the market, making it quite hard to know which of these shoes may be good for you. And even when bouldering it's best to wear climbing shoes.

There are various bouldering shoe design characteristics that you could use when deciding the best bouldering shoes for beginners. You could go for either laced shoes or Velcro, flat or downturned, and either symmetrical or asymmetrical. In this guide, we'll assume that you are a beginner with minimum skill.

This implies that you've been boulder climbing for fewer than four months and that you've been at the gym more than a few times. Our bouldering shoes selection is meant to provide you with easy to use, comfortable, and durable climbing shoes that give the best performance and cost-effectiveness.

We hope that these shoes will boost your skills in the sport and enhance your skills. Let's dive right in and have a look at some of the best bouldering shoes for beginners.

Table of Contents

List of the 7 Best Bouldering Shoes for Beginners

#1 Best Bouldering Shoes for Beginners: Scarpa Arpia

There was an empty gap for beginners wanting to exert themselves but weren't quite ready for the downturned ultra-aggressive bouldering shoes. This is where Scarpa Arpia comes in. The Arpia features a slightly downturned outline with a slightly asymmetrical shape.

The shoe makes you feel more confident when edging on overhung or vertical terrain. With this shoe, you don't get to experience the extreme bunching of toes, and the moderate rand that goes behind the heel provides additional backing and adds extra accuracy to the big toe.

The Arpia rock climbing shoes also provides extra balance in the midsole. Its moderately agile construction adds additional support when standing on edges and is easy enough to smear. 

One doesn't have to sacrifice comfort when you choose these shoes. You could downsize them by a half to one whole size and ensure that they fit snuggly since they'll stretch a little as you use them.


  • Comfortable;
  • Additional support;
  • Extra balance to the midsole.


  • The sole is not soft enough to smear.

#2 Best Outdoors Bouldering Shoes: La Sportiva Miura

If you've graduated to doing your bouldering on the outside, then the La Sportiva Miura could be the best bouldering shoe for you since it has stiffer rubber. When bouldering on the outside, you'll encounter smaller and more intricate footholds, and you'll need a shoe that can handle such tiny points of contact.

The Miura's aggressive downturn helps you find your feet on boulders, which makes the shoe particularly aggressive on challenging boulders. The stiff rubber makes you more confident when facing small crystals and flakes on the boulder. The shoes come in both laced and velcro designs

However, the velcro design is a little more downturned, making it slightly better for bouldering. These shoes are easy to use, especially in the outdoors, making them some of the best for beginner outdoor bouldering enthusiasts. Read our entire review about La Sportiva Miura VS climbing shoes.


  • The shoe has a stiffer rubber sole great for outdoor bouldering;
  • The shoes are easy to use;
  • Great for beginners.


  • They are not ideal for climbers with wide feet.

#3 Best Indoor Bouldering Shoes: Scarpa Veloce

If your bouldering is exclusively limited to the indoors, then you'll need bouldering shoes with softer rubber soles. Shoes with softer rubber soles work pretty well in indoor bouldering since the holds are significantly larger and more rounded, and thus your foot has a more extensive surface area to increase their contact.

However, if you are a complete beginner, it would be best that you don't use these shoes just yet. You'll be better off using shoes with soles that are fairly more rigid to help you nurture your footwork and improve your technique.

If you've had more gym experience and are looking for something softer, then you could go for the Scarpa Veloce. The shoe is intended as a bouldering gymnasium workhorse. 

The solid pair of training shoes is excellent for novices and intermediates because of their semi-supportive design, and they can help you advance your abilities. These climbing shoes are excellent choice for gym bouldering.


  • Great for indoor bouldering;
  • Have a semi-supportive design;
  • Great for intermediates and experts.


  • The soles are too soft for beginners.

#4 La Sportiva Tarantula

La Sportiva Tarantula bouldering shoes has been tried, tested, and confirmed true beginner's bouldering shoe. If you've got a budget and are searching for a pair of bouldering shoes that can outlast your footwork, then you should go for the tarantula.

The pair of bouldering shoes are less costly and an excellent pick for shoes with moderate performance. Even though the shoe is designed for moderate performance, it still delivers good performance for beginners. The shoe's design features a flat and a medium-stiff finish that maximizes support on slabby and vertical terrain. 

The shoe's asymmetrical shape gives it an edge over other beginner shoes. The only problem with La Sportiva Tarantula bouldering shoes is its reduced sensitivity, a trade-off made for durability.

The tarantula, being fortified with a stiff rubber sole, has a reduced sensitivity making it hard for you to detect the variations between holds and small edges. The shoe comes in both velcro designs and lace-up.


  • Inexpensive;
  • Great for slabby and vertical terrains compared to other beginner bouldering shoes.


  • Reduced sensitivity.

#5 Evolv Kira/Kronos

The Evolv bouldering shoes come with designs for male and female bouldering enthusiasts: the Kronos and Kira. The shoes feel right at home, with climbers tackling easy to intermediate terrains. The shoe is marketed for high-end bouldering; however, we feel like it would also work great for beginners.

The Kronos and Kira are flat, mid-stiffed, and asymmetrical, a setup from Evolv Defy. It feels great and comfortable when smearing on slabby or vertical walls. They also work well on overhung and contemporary bouldering styles because of their plentiful toe patch and their snug heel.

They are made with Trax SAS rubber that's 4.2mm thick, which creates a stiffer sole. The shoes also come with variations of thickness in their rubber sole.

They are designed with thinner latex on the distinctive hot spots and pressure points; the toe has a thicker patch to increase the area's durability, which is an excellent bonus for climbers who go through their bouldering shoes' rubber quickly.


  • Great for high-end bouldering;
  • Comfortable;
  • Have a moderately stiff sole.


  • None!

#6 Mad Rock Drifter Bouldering Shoes

This inexpensive shoe has a basic construction, and if you're not sure where to begin and aren't ready to part with $130+ for Italian-made shoes, then the Mad Rock Drifter may be your next best option.

The shoe is slightly asymmetrical, and, for beginners, it won't feel very distinct from rental shoes. The shoe has a stiff midsole that'll offer you the necessary support; however, while it's slightly sensitive to tinnier edges, it isn't quite as sensitive as other shoes on this list.

You may wear them out, or you'll probably be out looking for an upgrade because they aren't that great, especially after you've broken into them. Mad Rock Drifter bouldering shoes are great for beginners and can support them through the initial part of the learning curve; however, you're better off switching them up for better bouldering shoes.


  • Inexpensive;
  • Great for beginners.


  • Slightly less sensitive compared to other beginner shoes.

#7 Scarpa Force V Bouldering Shoes

The Force V bouldering shoes have been around for some time now and with good reason. The bouldering shoe is the most preferred rock-climbing shoe by most beginners and intermediates because they are pretty effective in outdoor and indoor climbing expeditions.

They afford you all the support you may need and boost your confidence with their heightened sensitivity. The Force V shoes have a reasonable downturn with a standard, soft midsole that keeps performing whether you are on perpendicular or hanging terrain.

The Force V bouldering shoes have a Bi-tensioned rand, which wraps behind the heel, ensuring that they retain their shape after several use sessions. The feature also works to stabilize your heel, keeping the shoes secured to the foot. If you are considering spending more on your bouldering shoes, then these shoes are worth it.


  • Effective in indoor and outdoor bouldering;
  • Provide enough support for your foot and heel;
  • Heightened sensitivity.


  • None!

Best Bouldering Shoes Buying Guide

1) Are bouldering shoes diverse from rock climbing shoes?

Bouldering shoes are different from rock climbing shoes. They are specifically designed to tackle problems related to bouldering. The shoes are meant to make the experience easier, more fun, and safer.

The shoes are designed to provide you with traction, keep your foot flexible, and make you more comfortable, which will improve your focus. Not using bouldering shoes could make you strain your feet, lose focus, and probably even hurt yourself.

Best Bouldering Shoes for Beginners

2) Where to purchase bouldering shoes

You could buy your bouldering shoes in either of these two places: the local outdoor stores or online. Ideally, one would opt to buy their shoes online. However, this doesn't always work as planned.

Most often, outdoor stores don't have a selection such as that offered online, and the shoes are almost always too expensive. This is why most people prefer to make online purchases. Once you become more experienced climber, you may switch to more aggressive bouldering shoes, such as Ocun Ozone, Five Ten Dragon, or Five Ten Team.


Most people find inexpensive but durable bouldering shoes and hope that they don't wear them out. While this truth may hold some water, it is not always the right decision. Cheaper shoes can be less comfortable, and they may hinder your advancement.

If you are about a month into your climbing career, you're better off choosing the drifters and tarantulas. Your feet and wallet will be happy, and you'll be performing way better than when you'd have used rentals.

However, if you want to spend more and get the best bouldering shoes for beginners, you could go for something with a better balance between comfort and performance. 

Our #1 Product Recommendation in the Best Bouldering Shoes Category

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About the author 


Kevin loves bouldering. Mainly because he can practice it alone without considering other people. Although he rediscovered this hobby in the last three years, the boulders turned out to be his most visited landmarks.

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