Choosing Your First Bouldering Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide

Feeling swamped with the enormous selection of bouldering shoes on offer? I completely understand. This is precisely why I decided to dive deeply into the complex universe of climbing shoes through thorough investigation.

This invaluable guide simplifies your decision-making process by carefully dissecting each factor, from understanding various types to finding a perfect fit. Ready for some rock-solid advice?.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the different types of climbing shoes, such as flat vs. downturned and stiff vs. soft, can help beginners choose the right bouldering shoe that matches their climbing style and terrain preferences.
  • Closure systems like lace-up, Velcro, or slip-on are important factors to consider when selecting bouldering shoes for a secure fit and ease of use during climbs.
  • Some top picks for beginner climbers include Black Diamond Momentum, Butora Endeavor, Evolv Defy, Five Ten Niad Moccasym, and La Sportiva Mythos Eco – each offering unique features and suitability for indoor or outdoor climbing.

Understanding Different Types of Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes come in different types, including flat shoes vs. downturned shoes, stiff shoes vs. soft shoes, asymmetrical shoes, and various closure systems.

Flat Shoes vs. Downturned Shoes

Diving into the world of climbing shoes, it’s crucial to understand the difference between flat shoes and downturned ones. Flat shoes generally offer more comfort; they’re ideal for less steep terrain and longer climbs where you appreciate a relaxed fit.

On the other hand, downturned or ‘aggressive’ shoes shine in steeper terrains like overhangs where precise footwork is critical. The curved shape forces your heel down and toes forward, providing maximum power to your big toe for better grip on tiny footholds or edges.

However, this might compromise comfort initially as you get used to them due to their snug fit. As beginners starting out in bouldering — an indoor sport that demands technicality on small holds rather than endurance — having a pair of moderately downturned shoe could optimize your performance while retaining reasonable comfort so that you can focus on refining techniques rather than fretting about sore feet.

Stiff Shoes vs. Soft Shoes

When it comes to choosing your first bouldering shoes, one important factor to consider is whether you prefer stiff shoes or soft shoes. Stiff climbing shoes provide more support and stability for edging on small footholds, making them ideal for vertical or slab climbs.

They are also useful for climbers with stronger feet and a preference for technical footwork. On the other hand, soft climbing shoes offer better sensitivity and flexibility, allowing you to feel the rock better and smear on friction-based holds.

They are great for overhanging routes or climbs that require precise foot placement.

Ultimately, the choice between stiff and soft shoes depends on your personal preference and climbing style. Some climbers may find that a mix of both types works best for different situations.

It’s worth trying on various pairs of each type to see which feels most comfortable and suits your climbing needs.

Asymmetrical Shoes

As a beginner rock climber, you may come across the term “asymmetrical shoes” when researching bouldering footwear. These shoes are designed with a curved shape that is meant to enhance your climbing performance.

The asymmetry of these shoes allows for a more aggressive toe position, which can provide better precision and grip on small holds.

One important thing to note about asymmetrical shoes is that they tend to be more specialized and suited for experienced climbers tackling challenging routes. For beginners, it’s generally recommended to start with flatter or neutral shoes before transitioning to asymmetrical ones.

This will allow you to develop your foot strength and technique without sacrificing comfort.

However, if you feel ready to step up your climbing game and have already gained some experience, trying out an asymmetrical shoe could be worth considering. Just keep in mind that their aggressively downturned shape may take some time getting used to.

Closure Systems

When it comes to choosing the right bouldering shoes, one important factor to consider is the closure system. The closure system determines how the shoes stay on your feet while providing a secure fit.

There are three common types of closure systems: lace-up, Velcro, and slip-on. Lace-up shoes offer a customizable fit but require more time and effort to put on and take off. Velcro closures provide convenience and quick adjustments, making them popular among beginners.

Slip-on shoes have an elastic opening that allows for easy slipping on and off without any closures. It’s important to try different closure systems to find out which one suits your preferences and feels most comfortable during climbs.

Best Bouldering Shoes for Beginners

Looking for the best bouldering shoes for beginners? Check out our top picks to find the perfect pair that will enhance your climbing experience.

Black Diamond Momentum

When it comes to choosing your first bouldering shoes, the Black Diamond Momentum is a fantastic option for beginner climbers. These shoes are designed with comfort and versatility in mind, making them perfect for indoor bouldering sessions.

The flat shape provides a neutral foot position, which allows for all-day wear without discomfort. The closure system features two Velcro straps that make it easy to put on and take off the shoes, while also providing a secure fit.

With durable rubber soles offering excellent grip on various surfaces, you can trust that these shoes will provide the traction you need as you learn the ropes of bouldering. As an added bonus, they come at an affordable price point, making them an ideal choice for those just starting their climbing journey.

Butora Endeavor

Butora Endeavor is a top choice for beginner boulderers looking for reliable and comfortable climbing shoes. These shoes are designed with an emphasis on versatility, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor climbing.

With their flat profile and neutral shape, Butora Endeavor provides a balanced combination of comfort and performance, allowing climbers to focus on improving their technique without sacrificing support.

The high-quality construction ensures durability, so you can expect these shoes to last through many climbing sessions. Moreover, Butora offers a wide range of sizes to accommodate different foot shapes, ensuring a snug yet comfortable fit.

Evolv Defy

The Evolv Defy is a fantastic option for beginner climbers looking for a comfortable and dependable bouldering shoe. These shoes are known for their all-around performance, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor climbing.

The synthetic upper material ensures durability while providing breathability to keep your feet cool during long sessions on the wall. With a slight downturned shape, the Evolv Defy offers enough power and precision without being too aggressive or uncomfortable for beginners.

The hook-and-loop closure system makes them easy to put on and take off, adding convenience to your climbing experience. Whether you’re tackling steep overhangs or learning basic techniques, the Evolv Defy will provide you with the support and grip needed to progress in your climbing journey.

Five Ten Niad Moccasym

I remember when I was choosing my first bouldering shoes, the Five Ten Niad Moccasym caught my attention. These shoes are known for their versatility and comfort, making them a great choice for beginners like us.

The Niad Moccasym features a slip-on design with an elastic closure system that ensures a snug fit without any laces to worry about. They have a flat profile which provides good stability on small holds and edges, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor climbing.

With sticky rubber soles, you can trust the grip these shoes offer on various surfaces. Plus, they’re made from durable materials that can withstand regular use and abuse. Overall, the Five Ten Niad Moccasym is definitely worth considering as your first pair of bouldering shoes.

La Sportiva Mythos Eco

One of the top picks for beginner bouldering shoes is the La Sportiva Mythos Eco. These shoes are perfect for those just starting out in rock climbing because of their all-around versatility and comfort.

The Mythos Eco features a flat profile, making them ideal for climbers who prefer a more neutral fit. They also have a soft sole that provides excellent sensitivity on different types of boulders.

What makes the La Sportiva Mythos Eco stand out is its eco-friendly construction. These shoes are made with recycled materials, making them an environmentally responsible choice. It’s great to know that you can enjoy your passion for climbing while minimizing your environmental footprint at the same time.

The Mythos Eco is designed with lace-up closure systems, allowing you to adjust the fit according to your preference. This ensures that you can find the right balance between snugness and comfort as you tackle various routes and challenges.

When it comes to sizing considerations, it’s recommended to go down one size from your street shoe size as these shoes tend to stretch over time due to their leather upper. However, make sure not to compromise on proper foot support and feel when choosing the right size.

Choosing the Right Fit and Size

When it comes to choosing the right fit and size for your bouldering shoes, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. From understanding how climbing shoes should feel on your feet to sizing considerations and the importance of rubber stickiness, finding the perfect fit is essential for optimal performance.

But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with all the tips and tricks you need to know. Keep reading to learn more!

How climbing shoes should feel

When it comes to climbing shoes, one of the most important factors to consider is how they should feel on your feet. As a beginner climber, you want your shoes to be snug and tight-fitting but not painfully tight.

They should feel like a second skin, providing a close connection between your foot and the rock. It’s crucial to find a balance between comfort and performance.

A properly fitting climbing shoe will offer support and stability for both indoor bouldering and outdoor climbs. You shouldn’t feel any excessive pressure points or pain that could distract you from focusing on your moves.

The shoe should conform closely to the shape of your foot, especially around the arches and toes.

Remember that some climbing shoes may require a break-in period for them to mold better to the shape of your feet over time. Additionally, keep in mind that different brands or models may fit differently due to variations in design or materials used.

Sizing considerations

Finding the right size for your bouldering shoes is crucial for comfort and performance. Here are some sizing considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Measure Your Feet: Start by measuring the length and width of both feet. Use a tape measure or ruler and compare the measurements to the shoe manufacturer’s sizing chart.
  2. Snug Fit: Bouldering shoes should fit snugly without any excess space or gaps. Your toes should be close to the front of the shoe, but not painfully cramped.
  3. Toe Curling: When trying on climbing shoes, your toes should have a slight curl, similar to how they would when gripping holds on a climbing wall. This ensures maximum sensitivity and control while climbing.
  4. No Hotspots: Make sure there are no hotspots or pressure points inside the shoe that could cause discomfort or pain during climbs.
  5. Minimal Stretching: Keep in mind that different climbing shoe materials stretch differently over time. Synthetic materials tend to stretch less than leather ones, so consider this when selecting your size.
  6. Brand Specifics: Each climbing shoe brand may have its own sizing system, so it’s essential to try on different brands and styles to find what fits best for your feet.
  7. Consider Sock Thickness: If you plan to wear socks with your climbing shoes, take into account the thickness of those socks when choosing your size.

Stretching of climbing shoes

If you’ve ever wondered about stretching climbing shoes, you’re not alone. As climbers, we all want our shoes to fit like a glove and enhance our performance on the rock. Stretching your climbing shoes can help achieve that perfect fit by molding them to the contours of your feet over time.

When it comes to stretching climbing shoes, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

Firstly, it’s important to know that not all climbing shoe materials stretch the same way. Leather shoes tend to stretch more than synthetic ones. This means that if you have a leather pair of bouldering shoes, they will likely mold and stretch more with wear compared to their synthetic counterparts.

Secondly, be mindful of the fact that different brands and models have varying levels of stretchiness. Some may offer minimal stretching capabilities while others can significantly change their shape over time.

Lastly, how you go about stretching your climbing shoes matters too. One common method is wearing your new pair around the house or during short climbs until they gradually conform to your feet’s shape.

Another option is using shoe stretchers specifically designed for climbing footwear.

Importance of rubber stickiness

Rubber stickiness is a crucial factor to consider when choosing your first bouldering shoes. The rubber on the sole of climbing shoes provides essential traction, allowing you to grip onto different types of rock surfaces with confidence.

This stickiness ensures that your feet stay securely planted and prevents slipping, especially when attempting challenging moves or climbing overhangs. High-quality rubber with excellent stickiness will enhance your overall climbing experience by increasing stability and control on the wall.

So, when selecting your first pair of bouldering shoes, be sure to prioritize finding ones with sticky rubber soles for optimal performance during your climbs.


In conclusion, choosing the right bouldering shoes is crucial for any beginner rock climber. By understanding the different types of climbing shoes, considering fit and size, and reviewing the top-rated options for beginners, you can make an informed decision that enhances your climbing experience.

So lace up those shoes, hit the walls, and enjoy your thrilling journey into the world of bouldering!


1. What factors should I consider when choosing my first bouldering shoes?

When choosing your first pair of bouldering shoes, it’s important to consider factors such as fit, type of closure system (lace-up or Velcro), shoe material, shoe stiffness and downturn, and intended use (indoor or outdoor climbing).

2. How should bouldering shoes fit?

Bouldering shoes should fit snugly but not painfully tight. They should provide a secure feel with no extra space around the toes or heel. It’s essential to try on different sizes and brands to find the one that offers the best balance between comfort and performance.

3. Are there specific types of bouldering shoes for beginners?

Yes, there are bouldering shoes designed specifically for beginners. These shoes usually have a more neutral shape, moderate stiffness, and less aggressive downturn compared to advanced-level models. They prioritize comfort and versatility while still providing enough grip and support for entry-level climbers.

4. Can I use regular athletic shoes instead of specialized bouldering shoes?

While you can technically climb in regular athletic

Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

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