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How to Buy Rock Climbing Shoes

Guide

Sport Climbing

Sport climbing can involve everything from technical slabs to brutally steep overhangs. As such, a rock climbing shoe that will be best suited to all-around sport climbing will have a flat to moderately downturned profile shape, a balance of stiffness and sensitivity, and will fit snugly.

Trad Climbing

The best climbing shoe for traditional climbing will depend on the specific type of routes you plan to climb. Desert crack climbers often prefer a sensitive slipper with a narrow shape to fit cracks, while big-wall and multi-pitch climbers often prefer a shoe with a flatter and more natural shape and more comfort for all-day use.

Bouldering

The hardest moves in rock climbing happen at the boulders. Because of the focus on technical difficulty, a bouldering shoe often has an aggressive downturned shape, high asymmetric curvature, a sensitive feel, and are sized tight for enhanced performance.