by Kevin

April 14, 2021

Most Comfortable Climbing Shoes

It's inevitable! At some point during your adventure, you will realize you need reliable climbing shoes. Even though climbing shoes come in various sizes and shapes, choosing the most comfortable climbing shoes is vital for your adventure.

So how exactly do you find the most comfortable pair? Fear not! Here is a comprehensive guide on the market's comfiest shoes, followed by a detailed buying guide. 

Let's get started!

List of the 4 Most Comfortable Climbing Shoes

#1 La Sportiva Finale: Most comfortable beginner climbing shoes

There are numerous reasons why the La Sportiva Finale is the most common beginner-level shoe. The first reason is that they are cheap. While they are compromising, they are not ideal for bouldering or overhang terrains.

Anyway, if you're a professional or need different shoes for precise situations, likely, you are not considering these. The Finale shoes have a reputation for being comfortable, and when we tested them, they did not disappoint.

They never came off our feet during the entire climbing experience. For beginners, comfort is everything; and the La Sportiva Finale offers just that. The lace-ups can be tightened or loosened depending on your preferences, and they are pretty easy to wear and take off. 

Their simple profile also makes them easy to walk around with. When it comes to sizing, La sportive shoes are typically big; therefore, you should size them down by one or half size from your street shoe size. Besides, the unlined leather hugs the feet just right and stretches minimally.

Indeed, you will not be disappointed with these shoes' build quality since they look like they will last forever. After testing them, we found that the La Sportiva Finale are durable shoes with a lifespan of approximately three years, according to customer reviews. 

Pros:

  • They are durable and will last a long time;
  • Ideal for beginners and intermediate level climbers;
  • Affordable;
  • Versatile.

Cons:

  • Not suitable for bouldering.

#2 La Sportiva Katana: Most comfortable for performance

While these shoes might not be as fancy as the ones on the market currently, the La Sportiva Katanas will definitely impress you in terms of performance. Their edging ability is unmatched, meaning you can finally go through those tiny edges confidently and maneuver steeper terrains faster. 

What's more, when properly sized, these shoes are perfect for crack climbs, where jamming your foot is essential. However, the marginal toe patch and absence of rubber on its heel means that these high-performing shoes are not ideal for overhang bouldering and modern climbing.

The Katanas feature the Vibram XS Edge rubber, which is perfect. This rubber is typically incorporated to balance control and sensitivity, which is vital in producing a balanced shoe. 

Additionally, the heel is dedicated to getting the job done, and the shape is specifically designed with a comfortable fit, meaning no dead space once you wear it. La Sportiva Katana is perfect for expert climbers looking for high-performing shoes. While it is expensive, you will not regret your decision to buy them. Read our full review about La Sportiva Katana Lace climbing shoes.

Pros:

  • Impressive edging ability;
  • Ideal for steep terrains and crack climbs;
  • Suitable for expert climbers;
  • The rubber balances sensitivity and control, translating to comfort.

Cons:

  • Expensive.

#3 Scarpa Arpia: Most Comfortable Bouldering Shoe

The Scarpa Arpia has a moderate asymmetric and mildly aggressive downturned last. Even though this offers better accuracy and control than most beginner climbing shoes, it does not provide the compression found in more specialized climbing shoes.

The Scarpa Arpia offers a magnificent combination of comfort and performance that is ideal for middle-level climbers. In addition to the versatile last, Scarpa has incorporated a V-tension randing mechanism that offers the much-needed power for climbing without sacrificing comfort. 

The thick midsole is precisely designed for offering the necessary support for climbing on tiny edges and maintaining flexibility when maneuvering steeper terrain. On the upper part, these shoes have a smooth and fitting micro-suede that also features a highly soft lining. This blend sets up the ideal interior comfort that very few shoes can match. 

Arpia has the Vibram XS Grip2 rubber, which is well-known to be perfect on rock and plastic. After testing the Arpia climbing shoes, we found them suitable for intermediate-level climbers who cannot deal with high-performance shoes' overwhelming fit. 

Furthermore, they are incredibly versatile since they can be utilized for all kinds of plastic-pulling. Also, you can use this climbing shoes for other outdoor climbing activities such as bouldering

The heel provides medium-volume snug, which was perfect for our testers' feet, and the soft inner lining did an excellent job of reducing any hot spots that sometimes happen when wearing new shoes. 

Pros:

  • The shape and downturn offer precision and control;
  • The smooth lining minimizes hot spots in the shoes;
  • Highly versatile - ideal for various outdoor activities like climbing and bouldering;
  • Vibram XS Grip2 rubber makes it perfect on plastic and rocks.

Cons:

  • Deal for intermediate climbers only.

#4 Scarpa Vapor V: Most Comfortable Women's Climbing Shoes

Typically, climbers do not associate climbing shoes with comfort. However, once you try out these ones, you will see things differently. The Scarpa Vapor V does not need you to choose a smaller size from your street shoe size. This is incredible since the process of fitting is less complicated. 

They feature an upper, synthetic, Velcro closure as well as a sticky Vibram XS rubber sole. The moderate downturn ensures you do not have sore feet after a long adventure. While they are very comfortable, they are also costly. With more aggressive shoes, you typically get an enhanced feel of the rock, which is the case with the Scarpa Vapor V

The toe box is almost flat, featuring a bi-tension randing which positions your heel in a manner that does not move your toes forward but the whole foot. The Flexan mid-sole is highly versatile, and it also contributes to comfort. 

Moreover, the thin rubber means it does not last long, though the durability is sacrificed for you to feel the rock while climbing. Our testers found these shoes to provide reasonable grip levels. 

Overall, the Vapor V are an extremely comfortable pair of shoes. They make you feel confident as you do what you love most; climbing. Additionally, they are pretty breathable; therefore, if you sweat a lot when climbing, these are the perfect fit for you. 

Pros:

  • Quite breathable;
  • Relatively sensitive - you can feel the rocks as you climb;
  • Comfortable; they are the most comfortable climbing shoes for women that we've tested;
  • A moderate downturn reduces the chances of having sore feet.

Cons:

  • Thin rubber sacrifices durability.

Most Comfortable Climbing Shoes Buying Guide

Why should you wear comfortable climbing shoes?

You should wear comfortable climbing shoes because it is essential for you to be comfortable as you continue your adventure. Gone are the days when you needed to sacrifice comfort for sensitivity. As you have seen, you can buy aggressive, sensitive, yet comfortable climbing shoes.

People frequently purchase shoes with all the convenient features, though they will not fit their foot's shape. For this reason, you find individuals downsizing for the perfect snug or deal with sore feet for a few months after purchase.

Fortunately, it is possible to get impressive results from comfortable climbing shoes. Nowadays, manufacturers are producing plenty of options for different climbing types, styles, and foot shapes. Ensure you try out the shoes before purchasing them. 

What else makes climbing shoes comfortable?

There are a few things to look for that will make your climbing shoes more comfortable. Typically, unlined leather climbing shoes are comfier than rubber-coated ones.

Why? Because they are flexible enough to match the shape of your feet. When going for long climbs, wear stiffer shoes. On the other hand, softer shoes are suitable for overhangs and bouldering. 

Most Comfortable Climbing Shoes

How to make climbing shoes more comfortable?

So you already have a pair of climbing shoes, but how do you make them more comfortable? You do not need to buy a new pair; there are several things you can do to make them more comfortable. If this is what you're looking to do, the options are not that many. 

The best way to make them comfier is to use them more frequently. By using them regularly, the climbing shoes will break in, soften, and possibly stretch. However, this will mostly work for new shoes. 

If the pair of climbing shoes you bought is somewhat tight, check the material it is made of. If they are made using synthetic material, they will not stretch as much. On the other hand, if they are made using leather, they will undoubtedly stretch as you use them. 

There are some other ways to improve the stretching of the rock climbing shoes, though if you have been using them for some time now, they might have stretched out completely. If you simply feel uncomfortable and this has nothing to do with tightness, you should try wearing socks while wearing the climbing shoes.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, the most comfortable climbing shoes. The La Sportiva Finale are our top pick since they are durable and highly versatile. It's no wonder they have such a good reputation. 

They are comfortable, thanks to the lace-ups, which you can adjust according to your preferences, and their simple design. Lastly, they are affordable, and you don't need to use up all your savings to buy a pair. 

Our #1 Product Recommendation in the Most Comfortable Climbing Shoes 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 

Kevin

Kevin loves bouldering. Mainly because he can practice it alone without considering other people. Although he rediscovered this hobby in the last three years, the boulders turned out to be his most visited landmarks.

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