by Roger

April 16, 2021

Best Climbing Shoes for Gym

With everyone being busy with work, it has become tricky for people to find time to go outdoors to do what they love most-climbing. Therefore, as an alternative, they go to the gym. So, whether you're searching for a durable pair of climbing shoes or just comfy climbing shoes for gym climbing, here are the five best climbing shoes for gym. 

Each pair excels at a different kind of indoor climbing. Besides, to make it easier to know which one is ideal for you, we have reviewed every shoe according to the specific type of indoor climbing it excels at. Therefore, let's delve into the review.

List of the 7 Best Climbing Shoes for Gym

#1 Scarpa Drago

These climbing shoes are specifically designed for high performance in outdoor and indoor climbing sports. It is relatively soft. Therefore, sensitivity is among its best features, and you will definitely feel everything underneath your feet. 

The sensitivity and softness make Scarpa Drago perfect for indoor use since they mold, stick and smear to almost anything. As for outdoors, this shoe performs well on slabby and steep terrain, precisely on rough rocks like granite and sandstone. 

The Scarpa Drago has rubber everywhere, meaning it is ideal for a heel or toe hook. It is also impressive how it achieves this and still retains its sensitivity, all while maintaining minimal weight. Considering how soft they are, they don't offer a lot of support, which was evident once our testers tried them out on edgy terrain. 

That said, this shoe became one of our favorites for indoor and outdoor use fast. On the other hand, if you're picky about using them, it is good that you know they're more sensitive and soft, as against supportive and edgy. 

Pros:

  • Ideal for gym climbing;
  • Impressive sensitivity;
  • Excellent toe box;
  • Swift break-in.

Cons:

  • Minimal toe rand.

#2 La Sportiva Solution Rock Climbing Shoe

As you would expect, we cannot go far without reviewing shoes from La Sportiva. They do have a reputation for producing reliable, high-performance shoes. La Sportiva Solutions feature an aggressively downturned build since they have the P3 platform from La Sportiva.

This is handy in retaining the edging ability as well as the shape of the shoe. The spoon-dip build on the sole fits perfectly between your foot and toes. The Solution's heels are incredibly durable; the firm incorporated a Molded 3D heel, and our testers seemed to like it a lot.

This design works incredibly well and offers your foot a secure fit. The Vibram XS Grip2 rubber means it can stick on virtually anything, making them perfect for indoor bouldering. Read the complete review about the Solution climbing shoe.

Pros:

  • Amazing precision;
  • Secure fit;
  • Ideal for indoor bouldering;
  • Comfy 3D heel.

Cons:

  • Pricy.

#3 Scarpa Instinct Lace: Best Indoor Sport Climbing Shoe

Here is yet another shoe from Scarpa. The Instinct Lace is designed on similar last as other Instinct versions, and the only difference is the incorporation of laces. This generates incredible tension from the big toe to the midsole and the ankle, letting the climber get the most from small footholds. 

We felt that the heel could have been somewhat letting down. The manufacturer says it is a better version of the Instinct VS, where the Velcro straps guarantee decent support.

Scarpa Instinct Lace climbing shoes was rather clunky, and the heel felt somewhat heavy. However, this lace version is better. It is relatively wide with a distinct rubber strip positioned through the ankle's back and heel, which increases the shoe's volume. 

The Vibram XS Edge is marginally firmer and is incorporated in the Instinct Lace. It is purposely added to give the shoe a unique edging ability. Also, this climbing shoe is quite suitable for smearing. Overall, the Instinct Lace is perfect for intermediate sport climbing and bouldering.

Pros:

  • Impressive edging ability;
  • Sturdy rubber;
  • Ideal for sport climbing and bouldering;
  • Performs well in smearing.

Cons:

  • Expensive.

#4 Five Ten Hiangle: Best Budget Gym Climbing Shoe

Every gym route-setter changes the volumes now and then, presenting different challenges for the climbers. Moving from one volume to another or changing a toe hook to stand comfortably on edge means transitioning pressure between the shoe's interior and the sole.

Five Ten Hiangle's are handy in helping you move up that gym wall with balance. It is a high-performance shoe that will amaze you with its edging ability and price. 

These climbing shoes are perfect for beginner climbers. They have an aggressive downturn, medium asymmetry, and a rounded toe. All these contribute to these climbing shoes' incredible performance. They are the climbing shoes you should go for if you're on a budget. 

They are multi-purpose climbing shoes that are ideal for bouldering and gym walls with tricky angles. Overall, these are the shoes to go for if you're a climber who loves carrying multiple gears during your adventure. 

Pros:

  • Extremely sensitive;
  • Affordable;
  • Ideal for overhung and vertical bouldering;
  • Suitable for beginners.

Cons:

  • Awkward fit.

#5 La Sportiva Miura: Best Gym Climbing Shoe

The La Sportiva Miura has been doing its thing for 20 years now, and it's no surprise that it found its way to this review. The Miura's toe box is relatively spacious, giving the toes just enough space to move comfortably.

On the other hand, once you're done climbing, there could be some crumpling from the leather in the toe box. The heel features a low-volume design, and the rubber from the sole covers almost the whole shoe offering it a relatively diverse shape. While this is just a simple design, it is useful when you're on small edges. 

Depending on your foot's shape, some users may find the heel a bit uncomfortable. Notably, the Miura Cuts off on the heel's back, and some climbers may find it somewhat uncomfortable. 

Indeed the Miura is the best when it comes to smearing, climbing edges as well as pockets. Additionally, if you like gym climbing, then you should try these climbing shoes out. 

Pros:

  • Excellent at edging;
  • Low volume P3 platform;
  • Versatile;
  • Durable.

Cons:

  • The velcro should be more durable.

#6 Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe

Our pair of Evolve Defy revealed one truth; they are reliable shoes for beginner climbers. What's more, they are perfect for bouldering. These climbing shoes performed impressively in most climbing functions though they are a bit below average at edging. 

On the other hand, as a beginner climber, you will not require the best-performing shoes yet. It would help if you simply had a comfy shoe that allows you to have fun as you explore this sport. 

If you're a medium or professional-level climber, the Evolv Defy climbing shoes is an ideal second pair; to wear during the long routes where comfort is your priority. This shoe is also soft, meaning the toe box and sole are extremely sensitive. This makes them ideal for smearing, and anytime you need to feel the rocks beneath your feet. 

However, if you happen to smash your toes against the wall, you will feel every bit of the pain. Another thing to love about the Evolv Defy is that they are inexpensive. Overall, they are comfortable, high-performance, affordable shoes.

Pros:

  • Perfect for bouldering;
  • Inexpensive;
  • Comfortable;
  • Ideal for beginners.

Cons:

  • Outdoor performance is not as good.

#7 La Sportiva Oxygym Climbing Shoe

Clearly, La Sportiva took their time designing this shoe. It is well-designed for beginner climbers, which you can see clearly in the toe box. It is spacious and flat, making it suitable for smearing and poising in spacious footholds.

Due to this design, the Oxygym climbing shoes has a hard time on elusive foot positioning and overhangs. However, this is not a big problem for beginners. We were quite impressed by the Oxygym's heel. 

The shoe has plenty of sticky rubber, which gives you confidence in even the tiniest heel hooks. The sides and the bottom have circular indents, which adds to this climbing shoe's good looks and offers additional grip. 

This rubber of La Sportiva Oxygym climbing shoes is specifically designed for gym climbing, but they also perform well in the outdoors. The FriXion rubber extends to the shoe's back, giving you a lot of friction which is ideal for a heel hook. Also, this makes it suitable for beginners looking to get better at gym climbing. Read our full review about La Sportiva Oxygym climbing shoes.

Pros:

  • Washable;
  • Breathable;
  • Comfortable;
  • Decent grip.

Cons:

  • Not ideal for professional climbers. 

What to Look for When Buying Gym Climbing Shoes 

Typically, a soft shoe will do better in the gym, though several other variables make climbing shoes suitable for gym climbing, such as:

Breathability

This is essential, especially for gym climbing during the summer. If you go to a climbing gym during the summer, you will notice that they're usually hot.

Without the outdoor breeze, you will certainly sweat a lot. Therefore shoes that are specifically designed to let out some of that moisture and heat would be highly appreciated. 

Best Climbing Shoes for Gym

Ease of wearing and taking off

This is another great bonus for indoor climbing shoes. When gym climbing, you will have to take off your shoes several times, which is why it would be best if you bought ones with Velcro straps or slipper-style climbing shoes. 

Conclusion

Our top pick is the Scarpa Drago because it is a high-performance shoe ideal for outdoor and indoor climbing. For climbers who prefer softness and sensitivity over support and edginess, these are the shoes for you. 

Lastly, they are durable; we put them through a series of tests, and they performed well. 

Our #1 Product Recommendation in the Best Climbing Shoes for Gym Category

The rankings on rappellingequipment.com are curated to save you time by aggregating the best reviewed products from the most reputable companies. We may receive a commission if you buy something using a link on this page.

About the author 

Roger

Roger was born into a family of climbers. As the youngest of his siblings, he was also the most ardent climber of them. Small and agile, he practiced climbing all day. Today, Roger teaches children how to climb the large rock walls safely.

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