October 4, 2022

The Best Soft Climbing Shoes (We’ve Found 5 Epic Pairs)

by Jullie

You can look for ideal use, lining, durability, material, and downturn when looking for the best soft climbing shoes.

We spend hours searching the internet and asking experts about the most suitable climbing shoes for most climbers.

We have compiled a list of the top five climbing shoes to enhance your skills.


Table of Contents
Best Soft Climbing Shoes
The 5 Best Soft Climbing Shoes

The 5 Best Soft Climbing Shoes

  • La Sportiva Cobra is better for indoor gym and speed climbing because of its average downturn.
  • La Sportive Skwama has an aggressive downtown. It is more suitable for bouldering.
  • Scarpa Drago is also suitable for bouldering due to the aggressive downturn.
  • You can get Scarpa Chimera for sports climbing and bouldering due to the aggressive downturn.
  • Scarpa Instinct VSR has a moderate downturn for technical face-climbing abilities.

All of these shoes are perfect for different types of athletes.

We cannot say one of them is better than the others on the list.

All of them are excellent because climbers have different preferences.

You can check their pros and cons to find the most suitable climbing shoes for your situation.

La Sportiva Skwama

La Sportiva Men's Skwama Rock Climbing Shoe, Black/Yellow, 42
12 Reviews
La Sportiva Men's Skwama Rock Climbing Shoe, Black/Yellow, 42
  • TECHNICAL FOR TOP PERFORMANCE - Patented S-Heel construction provides optimal heel hooking maneuverability and the perfect heel cup fit for use on any type of wall, whether sheer rock faces, slabs, or overhangs
  • ADVANCED EDGING - Designed to perform with sensitivity, flexibility, and precision on all surfaces; The P3 Patent System coupled with the new split-sole construction allows the sole to spread out when weight is applied, reducing edge deformation and strengthening holds
  • STICKY TOE BOX - The Skwama model has protective, ultra sticky rubber toe patches to protect against abrasion and form a grippy surface for toe hooks and scumming; Climbing becomes more fluid, instinctive and harmonious
La Sportiva Women's Skwama Climbing Shoe, Apple Green/Cobalt Blue, 36.5
15 Reviews
La Sportiva Women's Skwama Climbing Shoe, Apple Green/Cobalt Blue, 36.5
  • TECHNICAL FOR TOP PERFORMANCE - Patented S-Heel construction provides optimal heel hooking maneuverability and the perfect heel cup fit for use on any type of wall, whether sheer rock faces, slabs, or overhangs
  • ADVANCED EDGING - Designed to perform with sensitivity, flexibility, and precision on all surfaces; The P3 Patent System coupled with the new split-sole construction allows the sole to spread out when weight is applied, reducing edge deformation and strengthening holds
  • STICKY TOE BOX - The Skwama model has protective, ultra sticky rubber toe patches to protect against abrasion and form a grippy surface for toe hooks and scumming; Climbing becomes more fluid, instinctive and harmonious

Last update on 2022-12-08 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

  • Ideal Use – These are the best shoes for technical sports climbing and bouldering.
  • Downturn – You will get an aggressive downturn in these shoes to enhance performance.
  • Symmetry – You can wear them if you have irregular feet shape due to their asymmetrical shape.
  • Material – These are durable shoes due to their leather material.
  • Lining – It does not have lining like most other soft climbing shoes.

Pros

You can use the La Sportiva Skwama climbing shoes when you want comfort and sensitivity.

You can climb most climbing routes without stress on your feet when you use these shoes.

Most shoes with comfort do not have high sensitivity.

It is not the case with these climbing shoes.

Cons

You may suffer from size issues because these shoes tend to stretch more than other soft climbing shoes.

These are the most versatile shoes on this list because you can climb all types of walls with them. Stretching is a major issue with these shoes. It is better to get a smaller size as it will fit perfectly after stretching.

La Sportiva Cobra

La Sportiva Cobra
29 Reviews
La Sportiva Cobra
  • Precise tight leather climbing shoe
  • unisex
  • EU 34.5/EU 36/EU 40/EU 40.5/EU 41/EU 42/EU 42.5/EU 43/EU 43.5/EU 44/EU 44.5/EU 45

Last update on 2022-12-07 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

  • Ideal Use – These are perfect for speed climbing. You can use them for indoor climbing gyms.
  • Downturn – They have an average-level downturn feature to avoid making shoes more uncomfortable.
  • Symmetry – It is for traditional feet structure due to straight symmetry.
  • Material – Company has been using leather to make these shoes.
  • Lining – It is a soft climbing shoe without lining.

Pros

You will get excellent sensitivity with the La Sportiva Cobra climbing shoes.

A variety of shoe shapes is an excellent feature of these shoes.

You can use these shoes for a long time due to their high durability.

The soft shoe design allows you to use them on most climbing walls comfortably.

Cons

Most climbers do not find soft climbing shoes comfortable.

You will not get as much support from the Cobra model shoes.

All other climbing shoes on this list give better support.

After reading the customer reviews on the online portals, it is evident that La Sportiva Cobra will not give you a comfortable experience on the climbing walls. You will feel a lack of support sometimes with these shoes.

Scarpa Chimera

SCARPA Chimera Lace Rock Climbing Shoes for Sport Climbing and Bouldering - Specialized Performance for Sensitivity and Support - Black/Azure - 9.5-10
10 Reviews
SCARPA Chimera Lace Rock Climbing Shoes for Sport Climbing and Bouldering - Specialized Performance for Sensitivity and Support - Black/Azure - 9.5-10
  • Built For Sensitivity | Using a soft midsole and aggressive downturn, the Chimera excels on tricky boulder problems where footwork is the key to success.
  • Toe Power Insert | A 3D molded insert under the forefoot provides support, letting you toe down harder while simultaneously reducing foot fatigue.
  • Vibram XS Grip 2 Rubber | Ideal for any rock type and style, the XS Grip 2 rubber is both stiff and sticky, giving you the grip you need for steeper walls and overhanging boulders.

Last update on 2022-12-07 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

  • Ideal Use – You can use them for sport climbing and bouldering.
  • Downturn – It is not a comfortable shoe due to an aggressive downturn.
  • Symmetry – It can suit people with irregular feet shape due to the high level of asymmetry in these shoes.
  • Material – The company uses synthetic material in these shoes to enhance durability.
  • Lining – It does not have a lining.

Pros

You can get these shoes if you want a better wall grip.

The company used synthetic material to enhance the wall grip of these shoes.

These are the most sticky shoes on the list.

You can stand on small footholds with the help of these shoes.

Cons

Most customers reported these shoes could break when climbing a slab route because they do not show high durability when you only use the shoe edge for climbing.

You may get the best grip in these shoes, but the lack of durability of the edges can also cause accidents.

Scarpa Instinct VSR

SCARPA Women's Instinct VS Rock Climbing Shoes for Sport Climbing and Bouldering - Low-Volume, Women's Specific Fit - Black/Aqua - 9-9.5
27 Reviews
SCARPA Women's Instinct VS Rock Climbing Shoes for Sport Climbing and Bouldering - Low-Volume, Women's Specific Fit - Black/Aqua - 9-9.5
  • Stiff and Supportive | Slightly softer than the Instinct, the Instinct VS sports a thinner sole for added sensitivity, letting you feel the rock beneath your feet.
  • Toe Rubber | A large patch of rubber on top gives you maximum coverage for toe hooks and bat hangs.
  • Vibram XS Grip 2 Rubber | Ideal for any rock type and style, the XS Grip 2 rubber is both stiff and sticky, giving you the grip you need for steeper walls and overhanging boulders.
SCARPA Women's Instinct Lace Rock Climbing Shoes for Sport Climbing and Bouldering - Low-Volume, Women's Specific Fit - Black/Aqua - 8-8.5
2 Reviews
SCARPA Women's Instinct Lace Rock Climbing Shoes for Sport Climbing and Bouldering - Low-Volume, Women's Specific Fit - Black/Aqua - 8-8.5
  • Stiff and Supportive | As the most supportive shoe in the expansive Instinct family, the Instinct lace climbing shoe works hard, so your feet don’t have to.
  • Low-Profile Toe | The low-volume toe lets you utilize cracks and small pockets that might be too restrictive for other shoes, increasing your options when footholds are limited.
  • Vibram XS Grip 2 Rubber | Ideal for any rock type and style, the XS Grip 2 rubber is both stiff and sticky, giving you the grip you need for steeper walls and overhanging boulders.
SCARPA Instinct VSR Rock Climbing Shoes for Sport Climbing and Bouldering - Black/Azure - 6.5
36 Reviews
SCARPA Instinct VSR Rock Climbing Shoes for Sport Climbing and Bouldering - Black/Azure - 6.5
  • Less Stiff, Same Stick | As the younger sibling of the Instinct VS, the VSR is suited to lighter climbers who found the original model to be a bit too stiff.
  • Toe Rubber | A large patch of rubber on top gives you maximum coverage for toe hooks and bat hangs.
  • Vibram XS Grip 2 Rubber | Ideal for any rock type and style, the XS Grip 2 rubber is both stiff and sticky, giving you the grip you need for steeper walls and overhanging boulders.

Last update on 2022-12-07 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

  • Ideal Use – You can use them for technical face climbing, bouldering, and sport climbing.
  • Downturn – You will feel comfortable in these shoes due to a moderate downturn.
  • Symmetry – These shoes will fit your feet perfectly due to their asymmetrical shape.
  • Material – Company uses synthetic material to make these shoes.
  • Lining – You do not get a living on these shoes to enhance softness.

Pros

You may have to sacrifice comfort when you want soft shoes.

It is not the case with Scarpa Instinct VSR.

You can get high sensitivity and comfort in these shoes.

These shoes do not lose durability when you use them for edge climbing.

Cons

These shoes show more stretching when you wear them regularly.

It is unsuitable for people with small feet.

They may get a small size for them.

The shoes expand. It will make the shoe unfit.

You will get edging ability, comfort, and sensitivity with these shoes. It is rare to find a climbing shoe with as many features. You can manage the stretching by selecting a smaller size.

Scarpa Drago

SCARPA Drago Rock Climbing Shoes for Sport Climbing and Bouldering - Specialized Performance for Sensitivity - Yellow - 6-6.5
39 Reviews
SCARPA Drago Rock Climbing Shoes for Sport Climbing and Bouldering - Specialized Performance for Sensitivity - Yellow - 6-6.5
  • Built For Sensitivity | With a thin midsole and aggressive downturn, the Drago offers the sensitivity you need for steep sport climbs and technical boulders.
  • Synthetic Upper | Microfiber material throughout the shoe minimizes stretching, ensuring that your shoes fit perfectly for seasons on end.
  • Vibram XS Grip 2 Rubber | Ideal for any rock type and style, the XS Grip 2 rubber is both stiff and sticky, giving you the grip you need for steeper walls and overhanging boulders.

Last update on 2022-12-07 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

  • Ideal Use – You can use them for sport climbing on steep walls and bouldering.
  • Downturn – You can enhance your preference with an aggressive downturn.
  • Symmetry – These are highly unsymmetrical shoes.
  • Material – Company uses synthetic materials to make them.
  • Lining – There is no lining on these shoes like most other soft climbing shoe options.

Pros

These are the most suitable shoes for climbers needing sensitivity.

Some climbers think they have the same level of sensitivity as the barefoot with these shoes.

Climbers can feel the surface of the rock with these shoes.

Cons

Most customers have issues related to the durability of these shoes.

They do not last for a long time due to their softer material.

These are the best shoes with high sensitivity. You may have to spend more money because they wear quickly. Replacing these shoes often may require more money.

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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 

Jullie

Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

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