If you look back far enough in climbing's fascinating history, you will realize that in the 20th century, high top climbing shoes were the most preferred climbing shoes. With the new low-cut designs flooding the market, these ankle support climbing shoes have become less popular.
Finding a decent pair of high-top climbing shoes currently is difficult, which is why we have tested and reviewed the five best high top climbing shoes in the market. Here they are.
List of the 5 Best High Top Climbing Shoes
#1 La Sportiva TC Pro
This all-around trad climbing shoe is the best high-top we tested. It has a unique blend of comfort and support for climbing and can still do the specific footwork needed for a technical route. The TC Pro usually performs well in edges, cracks, and vertical faces, when most weight is focused towards your feet most of the time.
On the other hand, we tested it for steep climbing, heel and toe hooking and pockets, and found it did not perform well. This is because it has an insensitive and stiff rubber. This high-top climbing shoe is somewhat flat and features a stiff 4mm Vibram XS Edge rubber.
It lets your foot remain in its usual position. Additionally, it is relatively downturned and has a flat toe box. These features, combined with the medium asymmetry, allowed us to jam cracks effortlessly without giving up precision and power for edging. These are one of the best rock climbing shoes for cracks.
#2 Evolv The General
In terms of performance, we found this high-top climbing shoe to perform well in almost everything. From the unwavering comfort, impressive climbing performance, and incredible durability, Evolv The General is a great all-around climbing shoe.
However, breaking in these climbing shoes will take a long time. Nonetheless, climbers will be amazed by what this climbing shoe has to offer. Purposely designed for comfort and protection, the Evolv The General has a smooth and padded tongue and features a soft synthetic leather lining with additional padding on the toe box and ankles.
These features have been blended with a relatively downturned toe for extra support and precision when edging. The downside with all the extra padding and shielding is a bulky and thick toe, making it difficult to jam on thin seams and cracks. However, it does perform well on wider cracks.
We found Evolv The General to be more of an all-around shoe than a crack climbing dedicated shoe. With excellent edging, plenty of padding, and somewhat camber, this Evolv piece is perfect for long routes that don't need thin jamming though the support and edging are necessary.
#3 Butora Altura
The Butora Altura high-top climbing shoe's build is simply amazing. Seamlessly made, the high quality of this climbing shoe is quite apparent, and they will survive years of abuse, and you can resole them multiple times. When it comes to performance, the Alturas are not technically oriented but have a stiff sole.
This is perfect for lessening foot fatigue on long routes. The rubber is one of their exclusive blend, which performs impressively, but it requires a bit of patience to break in.
The Alturas have a wide and regular fit, which means they are comfortable to climb with all day long. The exceptional blend of a rigid sole, high and low volume fit options, and a thin toe make this shoe perfect for the beginner crack climber.
At some point, crack climbing can be painful for beginners, and these high-top climbing shoes provide a decent fit, thus reducing foot pain and exhaustion that can sacrifice the fun of crack climbing.
#4 Madrock Haywire Climbing Shoes
Upon testing the Haywire, we found that this shoe's potential to amaze us was off the charts. With its awesome surface grip, impressive lightness, and glove-like fit, this high-top climbing shoe will certainly mesmerize you.
However, this high-top wonder might not please some climbers since it features a rather fragile construction. Overall, this bouldering high-top climbing shoe is yet another brilliant piece from Madrock. If you're searching for a sturdier shoe, it would be best if you looked at the La sportive TC Pro, Evolv the General, and Butora Altura.
This climbing shoe features an exclusive outsole for efficient surface traction. The rubber's thickness, precisely on the high-wear parts, is 5mm. It is entirely made using a top-quality rubber compound.
This is an extremely downturned climbing shoe making it ideal for single-pitch climbers. They also perform well in sport climbs and bouldering. It can scale overhangs and vertical faces. Besides, you can utilize it indoors on walls.
#5 Scarpa Women's Maestro Mid Climbing Shoes
Scarpa Women's Maestro flat-lasted climbing shoe designed for comfort. Regardless of the manufacturer claiming that it is a flat-lasted shoe, we found it to have a slight downturn. Similar to most climbing shoes engineered for comfort, this high-top climbing shoe has reduced asymmetry.
It has plenty of protection in the ankle region which is handy in penetrating wide cracks. The Maestro's outsole is the Vibram 4mm XS edge. This is a thick rubber that is purposely incorporated for long-term durability and edging.
The 1.4 mm midsole makes the shoe rather stiff, though it is not as rigid as the TC Pro. The upper is made of somewhat smooth Eco leather, which goes through an environmentally friendly manufacturing process than customary leathers.
This climbing shoe is designed to protect and support your feet while handling the different faces and cracks present in customary climbing terrains. When using it, it felt supportive and adequately padded for fist and hand cracks. What's more, the average height cut offered excellent shielding for our testers' ankles.
When it comes to slabs, the Maestro flexed well, and its spacious toe box, medium-rigidity build, and full-length rand provided a reliable platform. Lastly, this high-top climbing shoe was very comfy and still maintains adequate rigidity and support to keep our testers' feet comfortable during long adventures.
Where to use high-top climbing shoes
While high-top climbing shoes may be out of fashion, they are very versatile and handy during most climbing expeditions. But, where should you use them?
High-top climbing shoes are typically utilized for crack and trad climbing. This is because you will require jamming your foot inside cracks for these climbing adventures, and these shoes are exceptionally good at this.
Since they are designed for these two purposes, the best options have laces, a low-profile toe box, and a stiff or semi-stiff rubber. The main difference between these shoes and low-cut climbing shoes is the ankle flaps present on the high-tops.
Our top pick is the La Sportiva TC Pro since it is incredibly durable. Additionally, it is an all-around climbing shoe that offers protection for your ankles.
With it, you can jam cracks effortlessly without giving up precision and power for edging. Well, there you have it, the five best high-top climbing shoes.
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