April 10, 2021

Neutral vs. Moderate Climbing Shoes – The Ultimate Guide

by Roger

Neutral and moderate climbing shoes are both excellent for climbing. However, they both have their disadvantages and advantages. A good rock climbing shoe is the only thing standing between you and the rock. 

Wearing the wrong kind of shoes might slow you down. When buying rock climbing shoes, you need to put forward three considerations. 

The type of climbing shoe

Decide whether you want moderate or neutral climbing shoes. It all depends on the kind of climbing you intend to do. 

The climbing features

Features such as rubber and straps will affect how the shoe will perform.

The fit of the climbing shoe fit

For you to climb for long, you need to have the best climbing shoe fit. Climbing shoes should fit correctly. They should not be too big or too small for you.

Do I wear socks with climbing shoes

Depending on what a climber intends to do, there are different types of climbing shoes you can choose from. Well, herein, we will make a comparison of both neutral vs moderate climbing shoes. Choosing the right shoes is important because they will affect your climbing. 

Neutral vs Moderate Climbing Shoes

Wearing neutral climbing shoes allows your feet to lie flat inside the shoes, making you relaxed. Beginners tend to feel like the neutral shoes are usually comfortable. The neutral climbing shoes are best when you are rock climbing. 


  • Neutral climbing shoes allow a climber to feel comfortable when they are wearing them. 
  • The shoes offer a great deal of support because they have a stiff insole and a thick rubber sole. 
  • They are perfect when you are climbing through cracks because they are made in a flat design. In case you encounter a challenge while climbing, they will be suitable for you. 


  • Compared to other shoe types, neutral climbing shoes have thicker and stiffer soles. Other shoes have thin soles. This is the reason why neutral shoes are less sensitive than moderate ones.
  • If you are climbing rocks with an overhanging route, this shoe's design will make you feel uncomfortable. 
How small should be your rock climbing shoes

Distinctive Features of Neutral Climbing Shoes

Flat Profile

Flat shoe soles are among the most outstanding features of a neutral climbing shoe. This aspect provides a design that will allow your foot to stay in a natural placement even when you are climbing. 

The comfort and suitability that comes with neutral shoes are perfect for anyone who wants to climb or hopes to be a climber one day. When long routes are involved, neutral shoes will help climbers to stay comfortable. 


Neutral shoes have a variety of closures. There is Velcro to laces and slip-on to slipper. A lace allows you to tie a shoe to your preferred style for them to fit you properly. A slip-on offers an elastic upper that offers a snug fit. 

Velcro shoes offer adjustability and quick removal with the help of a hook and a loop. 


Some neutral climbing shoes have a stiff midsole, while others have a softer sole. More rigid shoes are best for beginners because they offer more support. 

On the other hand, a soft sole is suitable for a climber who wants to climb higher. You must understand your climbing style to be aware of the kind of shoes you need, whether it is one with a stiff sole or one that has a soft sole. 

Moderate Rock Climbing Shoes

Moderate climbing shoes have a camber shape that is suitable for technical climbing. These types of climbing shoes can handle cracks and overhung routes. 

How much are climbing shoes


  • The camber shape aids climbers' feet to feel more powerful and stable compared with neutral climbing shoes. When the feet of a climber are in a comfortable position, the climbing gets more manageable. 
  • The soles of moderate climbing shoes are thinner than neutral climbing shoes, giving you a better grip. 


  • Moderate climbing shoes don't perform as much as other climbing shoes. 
  • Some climbers don't find them as comfortable. 
  • They have thinner soles that wear out quickly. 


It all comes down to what you will need and the purpose of your climbing shoes. It will also depend on your style, taste, and comfortability. Neutral climbing shoes are suitable for beginners because they provide more comfort. 

There are disadvantages and advantages of using different climbing shoes. Choose the one that you feel is best for you.

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About the author 


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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