by Roger

May 19, 2021

Best Crack Climbing Shoes

Crack climbing is a different climbing style that needs the climber to jam their feet in small cracks and edge accurately. But which are the best crack climbing shoes, and what do you need to look for when buying crack climbing-specific shoes?

Here we will review the best crack climbing shoes to facilitate you through your adventure and make sure you achieve your climbing goals. 

Let's get started!

List of the 10 Best Crack Climbing Shoes

#1 Black Diamond Aspect Climbing Shoe

Out of the numerous pairs of climbing shoes that we tested, the Black Diamond Aspect was the best crack climbing shoe overall. It has a rigid and flat sole which offers the ideal platform for maneuvering small edges whereas offering enough support for constant foot jams.

On the other hand, the Aspect has a low-top construction which is not common in trad climbing shoes. For this reason, this footwear will not protect your ankles from off-width cracks.

However, there is a high possibility of not having Achilles pain when multi-pitch climbing. With all these handy features combined with an affordable price, we found the Aspect to be of ultimate great value. 

What we liked:

  • Ideal for edging;
  • Affordable;
  • Superb for crack climbing.

What we didn't like:

  • Breaking in can be painful.

#2 La Sportiva TC Pro

This is a climbing shoe designed for multiple purposes, such as crack and wall climbing. La Sportiva TC Pro have a neutral profile and are well-known for their unique edging ability. They usually come with a high top added to shield the ankle of the climber when jamming through wider cracks.

Besides, the laces allow for optimum adjustability. They are specifically designed to face all kinds of surfaces, including small footholds, cracks, and slabs. For this reason, they are reliable all-around shoes. As a result, they have an excellent reputation and are loved by most climbers.

What we liked:

  • Ideal for crack climbing;
  • Great all-around shoe;
  • High top shields the ankles.

What we didn't like:

  • A bit expensive, but worth it! 

#3 Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym

Five ten has a reputation for producing high-quality products such as shoes and the tacky, versatile, and soft C4 rubber. Designed with a flat last and spacious toe box, the Moccasym is an excellent crack climbing shoe. 

This shoe's construction makes it ideal for moderate face climbing as well. Besides, it is perfect for climbers with wide feet. If you find some of the shoes in this review to be a bit uncomfortable, you can try these out. 

They feature a huge rand covering the toes and the front part of the foot and ample padding for maximum comfort. These climbing shoes usually stretch minimally, but for best fit, you might want to choose one that's a bit beneath your average shoe size.

What we liked:

  • Easy to wear and take off;
  • Narrow profile;
  • Comfy.

What we didn't like:

  • Does not excel at edging.

#4 La Sportiva Mythos Climbing ShoŠµ

The Mythos is among the best La Sportiva crack climbing shoes. This is a narrow, classic climbing shoe that features laces as closures, which gives the climber plenty of adjustability options than a slipper-style climbing shoe. The uppers are made of leather with a smooth interior lining for maximum comfort. 

These climbing shoes are designed to compete with the Five Ten Moccasym. Overall the Mythos is an attractive and impressively capable crack climbing shoe. These are available in men's and women's models. Also, this footwear is eco-friendly and well-constructed footwear. 

What we liked:

  • Comfy;
  • Ideal for crack climbing;
  • Laces allow for adjustability.

What we didn't like:

  • Not ideal for edging.

#5 Five Ten Anasazi Lace

The shape and construction of the 5.10 Anasazi lace are ideal for most climbing styles. The lacing system features a bit of rigidity and adjustability. In addition, the heel is better than the previous version, which was a much-needed upgrade. 

The heel cup has a better fit, which makes it ideal for heel hooking. The uppers are lined using synthetic Cowdura, which allows for minimal stretch and prevents overstretching. However, the pink color might not be the go-to color for some men, which could be a shortcoming. 

What we liked:

  • Excels at edging;
  • Comfortable;
  • Good at smearing.

What we didn't like:

  • It takes a long to wear and take off.

#6 SCARPA Maestro Mid Climbing Shoes

Scarpa Maestro Mid is a highly supportive climbing shoe built to meet all the needs of trad and crack climbers. Besides, it is comfortable enough for all-day use. It is somewhat similar to the La Sportiva TC Pro, but a few construction and performance differences tell them apart.

We put this climbing shoe by Scarpa to the test and found it to be highly comfortable. Also, its edging and crack climbing abilities were impressive. However, the precision on minor features was not as good.

What we liked:

  • Supportive enough for crack climbing and edging;
  • It does not need breaking in;
  • Comes in men's and women's version, giving you various options in terms of fit.

What we didn't like:

  • Unimpressive precision on small edges.

#7 La Sportiva KATAKI Climbing Shoe

These climbing shoes are an upgrade to the high-performance La Sportiva Katana climbing shoes. It has a similar speed lacing mechanism and comfort as the Katana. Besides, it offers a glove-like fit and the same S-heel as the La Sportiva Skwama

On the other hand, it is somewhat narrow and more symmetrical compared to the Katana, making it the perfect option for climbers with narrow feet. Our testers were fascinated by the crack climbing and edging abilities this shoe has to offer, but it was not as comfy for multi-pitch climbing. Therefore, this shoe is ideal for crack climbing and single pitch climbing, where performance is a priority. 

What we liked:

  • Comfy for crack climbing;
  • The low-volume build is ideal for narrow cracks;
  • Excels at edging.

What we didn't like:

  • Uncomfortable heel cup.

#8 Evolv Rave Climbing Shoe

Evolv Rave is among Evolv's best shoes for crack climbing, with the best one being the Evolv Moccasym. They have incorporated a few different features that have led to a climbing shoe with a low-volume build and narrow profile. What's more, our testers loved how comfortable they are.

If you love the Moccasyms and you can't quite get the right fit, you can try out Evolv Rave. They offer almost the same performance as the Moccasyms. Overall, this is a reliable, performance, and comfortable crack climbing shoe.

What we liked:

  • Ideal for crack climbing;
  • Narrow fit;
  • Comfortable.

What we didn't like:

  • Not reliable for edging.

#9 Evolv The General Climbing Shoe

Evolv the General climbing shoe was launched in 2017. It is specifically designed to be a crack climbing shoe that's also comfortable enough for all-day trad climbing. It's as well perfect for long multi-pitch adventures and granite walls. 

This climbing shoe is designed in the same way as the Butora Alturas and TC Pros, considering it can climb big granite walls as impressively as it can crack climb. Unlike most of its competition, the General is relatively downturned for better edging and is marketed to have close to no break-in time. 

Also, it is the ideal crack climbing shoe if you're on a budget, and it has a wide build, making it ideal for climbers with wider feet. The thick Trax XE rubber compound makes it highly durable, ensuring it lasts you a long time. 

What we liked:

  • Impressively padded;
  • The thick 4.2mm rubber guarantees durability;
  • Ideal for climbers with wider feet.

What we didn't like:

  • Burly toe box. 

#10 La Sportiva Katana Lace

This is a climbing shoe that most climbers love, and with good reason. It is designed to be an all-around climbing shoe excelling at all rock climbing fields. When we first saw it, the Katana lace did not look like a reliable shoe for crack climbing, but after testing it, we realized it works pretty well in all sizes of cracks. 

If you do not wish to give up toeing and edging ability for comfort during crack climbing or don't want to buy numerous shoes for different purposes, the La Sportiva Katana Lace is the way to go. While it might not perform as well as crack climbing-specific footwear, it will serve you for long, and it is a fine shoe that will offer you decent performance. 

What we liked:

  • Snug fit;
  • All-around climbing shoe;
  • Excels at edging and toeing.

What we didn't like:

  • It takes time to wear and take off.

What to Consider when Purchasing Crack Climbing Shoes 

Now that you have read about the best crack climbing shoes, it's time we delve into the buying guide.

Like most products in the market, buying crack climbing shoes might be challenging, considering the number of intimidating products being manufactured every day. Nevertheless, we have gathered a few variables to consider before making a purchase. 

1. Crack Climbing Shoes Versatility 

The most significant consideration when buying a crack climbing shoe is versatility. Do you want a crack climbing-specific shoe or an all-around climbing shoe? Crack climbing dedicated shoes are typically not ideal for overhang boulders or sport climbing. 

Though all-around climbing shoes might not have some particular features required for crack climbing, they do have a few handy features, like high-top ankle shielding and padded toes.

Furthermore, slip-on or lace-up climbing shoes are usually better than those with Velcro straps at jamming into thin cracks and not getting damaged. Essentially, your crack climbing footwear should have a loose fit and not a snug one like rock climbing shoes. 

2. Crack Climbing Shoes Fit 

A decent fit is ideal for all styles of climbing. Even though you might not want crack climbing shoes to be extremely fit, you will also not want them to be too buggy, so it is critical that your shoe fits you well. Typically, these shoes should have a bit more space in the toe box, considering they are less aggressive and more symmetrical. 

If you go for a crack climbing shoe that features a high-top for ankle protection, make sure that it is comfy, especially around the ankle, since if it digs in, it will hurt you. 

Best Crack Climbing Shoes

Usually, crack climbing is uncomfortable; therefore, it would be best to choose a comfy shoe to reduce the discomfort of jamming your feet in thin cracks. In addition, some footwear features additional padding to shield your toes which is handy in increasing comfort as you do what you love. 

If you frequently go for crack climbing, you are as well doing multi-pitch climbing, so you also need shoes that are comfortable enough for all-day use. Search for breathable shoes since they will keep your feet dry. Moreover, look for climbing shoes that can stretch in case your feet swell. 

3. Crack Climbing Shoes Durability 

As with all shoes, you need one that will last a long time. When it comes to crack climbing shoes, you need them to have the ability to endure abuse because continuously jamming your shoes inside cracks will undoubtedly damage them.

Therefore, climbing shoes with rubber all over will be handy. Also, lace-up shoes typically handle crack climbing better than shoes with Velcro straps, which can be damaged effortlessly and cannot be swapped like laces. 

Crack Climbing Shoes Features Explained 

1. Closure

The closure is the means through which you take the shoes on or off and how to adjust them accordingly. The major types of closing mechanisms are slipper-style, laces, and Velcro straps. 

2. Upper

Climbing shoes are typically constructed from leather and synthetic materials, and this fabric is the part known as the upper. It is usually padded, lined, or unlined.

3. Outsole 

This is the bottom portion of the shoe, which is usually made of rubber. The kind of rubber utilized depends on the brand and purpose of the shoe. 

4. Last 

A climbing shoe is constructed on a model referred to as a last. Board-lasted climbing shoes are rigid and more comfortable and supportive, while their slip-lasted counterparts are more sensitive because they are softer. 

5. Downturn 

Downturn is usually how much the climbing shoe curves down around the toes. This normally ranges from aggressive to neutral.

Climbing shoes with a reduced downturn are comfier, though a higher downturn translates to better performance, precisely on vertical terrain. Normally, crack climbers go for a neutral downturn which allows them to fit in the cracks effortlessly. 

Conclusion

Crack climbing requires accurate jamming and edging into the crack. For this reason, the best shoes for crack climbing for us were the Black Diamond Aspect. They offered unmatched performance and comfort.

Even though our testers took some time to break into them, they were definitely worth the wait. The stiff and flat sole offered a suitable platform for handling minor edges while providing sufficient support for continuous foot jams. Hopefully, our guide has helped you find the best crack climbing shoes.

Our #1 Product Recommendation in the Best Crack Climbing Shoes Category

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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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