May 25, 2021

Best Trad Climbing Shoes

For effective trad climbing, your climbing shoes have to be able to meet trad-specific demands. They need to endure the wear of edges and cracks on small footholds. Also, your shoes must be comfy enough for all-day use. If you choose the wrong shoe, your feet will suffer. Moreover, trad climbing can be tricky, therefore be careful. 

Here are the best trad climbing shoes to guarantee comfort and decent performance. These ten trads climbing shoes are designed with comfort and support in mind. Besides, they will handle rocks and cracks effortlessly. 

Here they are.

List of the 10 Best Trad Climbing Shoes

#1 Scarpa Helix Climbing Shoe

This climbing shoe is a great beginner or intermediate all-day climbing shoes designed carefully and precisely for trad climbing by Scarpa brand. This is a flat climbing shoe, meaning all-day comfort. Nevertheless, this does give up strength and grip marginally if you are on an overhang or vertical terrain. 

The Helix is made using leather and has a lace-up closing mechanism. The leather stretches minimally during the break-in period so remember that when sizing it. The build of the Scarpa Helix is durable and will be the ideal companion for trad climbing for years. The Vibram sole is somewhat thicker than some climbing shoes when it comes to durability, which translates to more durability. 

On the other hand, the downside of this is that it gives up a bit of sensitivity. Typically this means that you won't feel the minor features beneath your feet. This also proves how good this climbing shoe can be for beginners who prefer less challenging routes. Besides, Scarpa Helix can also be a decent shoe for a guide who prioritizes comfort and climbs a less tricky route. 

What we liked:

  • Affordable;
  • Suede and leather translates to durability and comfort;
  • Versatile shoes for trad climbing, smearing, jamming, and edging.

What we didn't like:

  • Leather stretches when breaking in, which changes the shoe's fit. 

#2 La Sportiva TC Pro

The La Sportiva TC Pro is the best trad climbing shoe. There is a lot of hype around this technical climbing shoe, and a lot of climbers prefer them for trad climbing. But do they live up to their reputation? Our testers thought so, though the TC Pros do have their fair bit of shortcomings. 

This is the ideal shoe for trad climbing with poise and is perfect for almost any surface. Their edging ability is incredible, and they are a relatively supportive pair. The medium-stiff sole and impressive smearing ability were as well incredible. Nevertheless, La Sportiva TC Pro climbing shoes are quite expensive; thus, it might not be ideal for climbers on a budget.

What we liked:

  • Excels at edging;
  • Decent all-around shoe;
  • Ideal for crack climbing.

What we didn't like:

  • A bit expensive, but worth it! 

#3 Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym

Anasazi Moccasym, an excellent climbing shoe from Five Ten, is an unlined leather slipper climbing shoe with very tacky and soft rubber, handy when standing on minor holds. They are long-lasting and comfortable enough for all-day use, and you can climb outdoors and indoors with them. 

While Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym might not be highly versatile climbing shoes, they will surprise you with their performance if you use them for the right purpose. They are extremely sensitive, and the rubber is incredibly tacky. Besides, they are comfy and easy to wear and take off. 

What we liked:

  • Extremely sticky rubber;
  • The slipper-style build makes it easy to wear and take off;
  • Sensitive.

What we didn't like:

  • Not good at edging.

#4 La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoe

La Sportiva Mythos climbing shoes have been in the market for a long time and are still among the best-selling trad climbing shoes. They offer unmatched comfort and softness. The unlined leather is comfy initially, but when the weather gets hot, the shoe stretches, and your feet may begin swelling. 

La Sportiva Mythos are ideal for all-day trad climbing or simply a shoe you might want if you need all-day comfort during your adventure. Overall, it is a trad climbing shoe offering impressive edging ability and maximum comfort.

What we liked:

  • Ideal for crack climbing;
  • Snug fit;
  • Comfy.

What we didn't like:

  • Not particularly good at edging.

#5 Five Ten Anasazi Lace

Five Ten Anasazi Lace climbing shoes, also known as the "pink lace-ups," have been in the market for some time now, and over time they have built a good reputation for themselves for being reliable, all-around climbing shoes. The recent version of the pinks has plenty of new features, such as a better sole and heel and the infamous Stealth C4 rubber compound.

As a result, this climbing shoe performs as impressively on trad climbing as it does on vertical routes and technical footwork. In addition, they feature a medium-stiff sole, making them ideal all-around climbing shoes for gym or trad climbing. They pretty much outdid themselves in every type of climbing that we tested them for. 

Five Ten Anasazi Lace are soft enough for smearing and rigid enough for edging, and these two features blended with excellent toe jamming and an accurate big toe make them perfect all-around climbing shoes ideal for trad climbing. Besides, they are comfortable enough for all-day use. 

What we liked:

  • The rigid and flat sole is made using the tacky Stealth C4 rubber compound, meaning they handle vertical routes impressively;
  • The asymmetrical toe tip edges brilliantly;
  • The laces are highly adjustable.

What we didn't like:

  • Too rigid and flat for highly steep rock angles.

#6 Boreal Ballet Gold Climbing Shoe

The Boreal Ballet Gold was explicitly designed for climbing your way up to big walls, and they are a decent option for trad climbing. However, they are not really the climbing shoe that can be used for other styles of climbing. It features a high-top profile which means that your ankles will be protected when jamming your feet in cracks. 

The lining is made of canvas which is stitched up well on the upper to avoid stretching. For this reason, you should ensure you size them correctly. Additionally, Boreal Ballet Gold feature a complete insole; thus, you shouldn't downsize them too much from your average shoe size. Finally, the stiff FS-Quattro rubber on the outsole offers more than enough rigidity and support for all the technical trad adventures. 

What we liked:

  • Supportive;
  • Ideal for wall climbing;
  • High-top shields the ankles when crack climbing. 

What we didn't like:

  • Not versatile.

#7 BUTORA Unisex Mantra Climbing Shoe

Butora Mantra are excellent trad climbing shoes for extended pitches or vertical terrain. They offer a comfortable fit, but they were a bit stiff when straight out of the box since they have a complete midsole, and they took more than ten adventures to break in. 

Our testers wore the Butora Mantra rock climbing shoes for trad climbing and all types of terrain from granite to sandstone and said that the Neo Fuse outsole was amazingly good at edging and smearing.

However, you might want to avoid wearing these climbing shoes for technical heel hooking. But you can use them for edging and smearing. They also have impressive coverage for bigger cracks. If you are not familiar with smearing, read what is smearing in rock climbing.

What we liked:

  • Ideal for edging and smearing;
  • Comfy;
  • Good for jamming into thin cracks.

What we didn't like:

  • Take a long time to break-in.

#8 La Sportiva Miura

The La Sportiva Miura is among the best climbing shoes from La Sportiva. They have been in the market for over 20 years, and they can still compete with modern climbing shoes. They are ideal for bouldering, technical face and gym climbing, and overhang sport terrains.

However, this has not stopped them from excelling in other rock climbing disciplines such as trad climbing. La Sportiva Miura trad climbing shoes are highly versatile and is not explicitly designed for one purpose. Therefore, it is the perfect choice for climbers who deal with various fields of rock climbing. 

What we liked:

  • Durable;
  • Excels at edging;
  • Versatile.

What we didn't like:

  • Laces are somewhat fragile.

#9 Evolv The General Climbing Shoe

Evolv The General, is an exceptional trad climbing shoe since it is a bit more aggressive than most neutral rock climbing shoes and flat trad-dedicated footwear. In addition, the medium downturn offers you much more accuracy on minor edges, and the rigid sole, tensioned rand, and asymmetrical shape provide additional power to the toes.

The sole features a Trax rubber compound of different thicknesses to give additional durability in high wear regions. What's more, The General have a high-top construction that offers protection for your ankle and support when crack climbing. Also, the liner is made of cotton that stops stretching, and the padded insole ensures comfort on long multi-pitch adventures. 

What we liked:

  • Durable;
  • Excellent precision thanks to the medium downturn;
  • Supportive.

What we didn't like:

  • Thick toe box.

#10 La Sportiva Katana Lace

When we first looked at the Katana Lace climbing shoe, it didn't quite pique our interest. However, after testing this workhorse, it did not disappoint. Our testers found its edging ability to be unmatched, allowing for complete confidence on the minor edges and vertical terrain.

In addition, the somewhat downturned profile is handy for pulling and grabbing pockets. Again, when sized correctly, Katana Lace climbing shoes will be perfect for crack climbing where jamming your feet in thin cracks is necessary. While it is not as fancy as other shoes in this review, it will impress you with its performance. 

What we liked:

  • Excels at edging;
  • Versatile;
  • Ideal for crack climbing.

What we didn't like:

  • Takes time to take on and off.

What to Consider when Buying Trad Climbing Shoes 

Are you looking for a trad climbing shoe that will support and protect you while climbing and is comfortable enough for all-day use? The best trad climbing shoes are reliable, even though they are not ideal for other climbing styles, precisely bouldering and sport climbing. 

On the other hand, some climbing shoes are versatile enough to be handy in various routes. But they will not feature some trade-specific features like extra toe padding and high tops. 

In addition, you might not want to choose a shoe with Velcro strap closures since they can be tricky to fit in cracks and will be damaged. The lace-ups are a better option that the Velcro, although slip-on shoes could work too. So, what do you need to look for before buying trad climbing shoes? There are a few variables to consider, and they are as follows;

1. Trad Climbing Shoes Fit 

For any style of climbing, you need a fitting climbing shoe. However, for trad climbing, you don't need an extremely tight fit which is the case for rock climbing. Instead, it would help if you simply had a shoe that fits a bit snugly.

Trad climbing shoes are usually less aggressively downturned; thus, your toes should be able to move around. If you chose a trad climbing shoe that features a high top, ensure it doesn't dig into your ankle to avoid getting hurt. 

Best Trad Climbing Shoes

2. Trad Climbing Shoes Comfort 

The most comfortable trad climbing shoes should feature extra padding, which is handy when crack climbing. But, they are numerous trad climbing shoes that do not have this padding. 

If you plan to trad climb a lot, it would be best to choose a pair with padding to keep your feet comfortable. Moreover, you will be wearing these shoes for extended periods and all-day climbing; therefore, you need them to be breathable to avoid them being smelly and keep your feet from sweating a lot. 

3. Trad Climbing Shoes Durability 

If you are jamming your feet inside cracks, your shoes will get damaged eventually. However, trad climbing shoes featuring rubber throughout the rand can endure this abuse. 

Besides, laces are more reliable than Velcro straps, though some laces tend to be too long or not as durable and need to be replaced often. 

Trad Climbing Shoe Features Explained 

1. Closure 

This is how you wear or take off your shoe and adjust the fit. There are three types of closures; slip-on, lace-up, and Velcro straps. 

2. Upper 

This is the material that is featured on the top part of the shoe. Usually, it is synthetic or leather-made, and at times they feature padding or inner lining. 

3. Outsole 

This is the lower part of the climbing shoe that touches the surface. It is typically made using rubber. However, various brands feature different rubbers with different properties. 

4. Last 

The last is the model the climbing shoe is constructed around. Shoes designed on a slip-on last usually are softer, offering better sensitivity, while the board-lasted shoe is more rigid for more comfort and support. 

5. Rand 

Rand is the rubber that is featured around the toe region and extends across the shoe. 

6. Downturn

Downturn is the aggressiveness of how the footwear curves down around the toes. Flat climbing shoes are comfier, though more downturned shoes offer improved performance on vertical terrain.

Novices and trad climbers will want to begin with a moderate to a neutral downturn. Hopefully, this guide has helped you find the right trad climbing shoes for all-day comfort and performance.

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

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About the author 

Bernice

Bernice often jokes that she is better at climbing than walking. With avid parents of climbing, her first encounter with the high vertical rock walls was at the age of one. Her favorite style of climbing is bouldering.

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