Today, more people than ever pursue rock-climbing. Something that was considered a sport for men once upon a time, rock-climbing is rising in popularity among women as well! And when you choose to spend your weekend or vacay planning climbing, the most important essential that you can’t afford to overlook is a pair of the best women’s climbing shoes. Climbing shoes to rock-climbing are like surfboard to surfing and ski boards to skiing. When you wear these wonder shoes exclusively constructed for rock-climbing, you only get better at it and it doubles the fun.
However, you can’t just pick any random climbing shoes. Your climbing shoes should be well-fitted, comfortable, durable, among other things. While it might seem like an impossible task to find the perfect climbing shoes, it really is not. wWe’ve made it easier for you by carefully testing shoes meant for climbing cracks, steep terrains, delicate slabs to bring you the best. And with our list of the 13 best women’s climbing shoes from top brands that are loved by professional climbers and beginners alike, this task has been made extremely easy. So, read on and pick your shoes to make your rock-climbing experience a memorable one in the best ways.
In This Article
13 Best Women’s Climbing Shoes That Offer Support And Comfort
While arch support is a welcome feature in shoes, we all have unique feet and some are better off wearing minimalist shoes. The Joomra Women’s Barefoot Shoes are a breath of fresh air in a market that’s full of shoes that are made to offer too much support. These shoes have rubber outsoles that offer a good amount of balance of traction so you can explore unpredictable terrains without worrying about losing your grip or straining your feet. The removable insoles make for great support; however, without causing too much pressure. What makes these shoes extremely durable is their thick topline that hugs your feet and gives you a good fit while you run, walk, or perform exercises. With these minimalist shoes, you get maximum freedom of movement, almost like you’re walking barefoot!
- Come with circular lug patterns
- Removable insoles
- Thicker topline
- Lightweight and breathable
- Available in many colors
- May not be suitable for those who overpronate
A combination of leather and mesh, these Hiking Shoes For Women by Knixmax allow you to climb in style. The upper is made from suede leather and mesh which makes the shoes extremely breathable, lightweight, as well as flexible. The outsole is designed to be non-slip, which makes these women’s climbing shoes ideal for hiking, running, and trekking. The insoles are cushioned while offering you plenty of toe space, and this helps absorb impact and prevent your toes from hurting. The laces have a 1-pull tightening mechanism which saves you time and effort. With all the features that these shoes boast, these all-round Shoes are definitely a travel/ hiking essential that you cannot miss out on if you’re a hiking enthusiast.
- Padded collar and tongue
- Breathable and lightweight
- Supportive on the trail
- Extremely durable
- Mesh upper
- Water resistant
- May require high maintenance
Add a pop of color to your climbing and hiking adventures with the Oranginer Women’s Barefoot Shoes in green. But if green is not your color, don’t worry— you’ll find them in other colors as well. These barefoot-inspired shoes will give you the feeling of walking on air with their comfortable and flexible construction. The breathable feature also helps keep your feet away from damp conditions. These shoes are specifically well-suited for night-time trailing as they feature a style-reflective strip for added safety at nights. The wide toe box helps reduce sports injuries while the mesh upper provides good sensory feedback. These sport climbing shoes are a great choice if you would want to improve your running posture without compromising on comfort factor.
- Offers adequate support
- Non-slip design
- Reduces sports injuries
- Some may find them bulky.
One of the biggest hassles with shoes that come with lace is that you might have to constantly tie the laces or tighten the shoes. Skip all of that with this pair of fashionable yet comfortable climbing shoes by Speedo. Featuring surf knit upper, these shoes are engineered to give you maximum support while also offering breathability so that your feet keep dry at all times despite all the climbing. What makes these shoes a stand-out is their rubber EVA sole that are uniquely crafted to be hydrophobic, so you’ll never have to shy away from exploring wet and muddy terrains when it comes to that. The outsole is S-TRAC designed, which means it disperses water and thus offers high performance while housing your feet in comfort.
- Hydrophobic insole
- Offers enhanced traction
- Available in a variety of colors
- May run small
If you’ve decided to give rock climbing a try, these climbing shoes for beginner climbers can make falling in love with rock climbing effortless. These shoes flaunt a beautiful design which makes them functional yet aesthetically pleasing, with a premium leather upper that conforms to your feet and allows free movement. You get unparalleled grip with these shoes— all thanks to the Stealth C4 ultra-sticky rubber outsoles that can make climbing the rockiest of surfaces a cinch. These shoes also feature 2 hook-and-loop velcro straps to offer you secure closure as you take on adventures. What’s the best thing about these shoes? You can get them resoled when the soles seem to wear off!
- Ultra-sticky rubber outsoles
- Superlative grip
- The shoes can be resoled.
- The toe area may loosen over time.
The Millet Women’s Easy Up Climbing Shoes are ones that any climber would swear by owing to their versatility, no-nonsense grip, and durability. If you find yourself packing your backpack every now and then to hit the mountains, you need a pair of reliable and durable shoes like these. Soled with 4POINTS grip rubber— a special compound that Millet has been using for a while, you can expect even the steepest of climbs to feel relatively effortless. These rock-climbing women’s shoes also feature streamlined toe box that is squash-free to offer optimal comfort to your toes. When they’re dirty, make sure that you use cold water and a mild detergent to wash them and dry them naturally— and that’s how easy these steep climbing shoes are to maintain.
- Durable outsole
- Provide impressive grip
- Ergonomic, symmetric base
- May run small
Crafted for those who equally love rock-climbing and trail running, these versatile shoes offer amazing grip coupled with unmatched comfort. Made with their special Vibram soles, these high-performance outdoor climbing shoes are anti-fatigue, meaning you can climb rocky and muddy surfaces without exhausting your feet or heels. The synthetic breathable mesh fabric allows your feet to stay sweat-free when you’re climbing long hours. The cushioned insole is extremely soft, making it easy for your feet to adjust to the shoe, and the elastic insoles also offer a good amount of arch support to keep your feet rested comfortably. If you’re all about an active lifestyle and love sports, these comfortable shoes are definitely worth your investment.
- Offers optimal stability
- Anti-fatigue outsoles
- Comfortable toe cap
- Light and soft insole
- Not waterproof
As beginners, most of us would want to pick shoes that last us even as we approach advanced-level climbing. These durable climbing shoes for women are your best bet if that’s what you’re looking for. They’re made with unlined leather that helps the shoes mold to the shape of your feet to allow free movement. The synthetic overlay along with a lace closure system offers a good fit whether you choose to work out or climb. With MX-P 1.4 mm midsoles, what’s guaranteed is a rigid platform that makes climbing a lot easier. To add a finishing touch to this perfect pair of shoes by Evolv, there are 4.2 mm Trax SAS rubber outsoles that offer superior friction and add to its durability, making these lace-up climbing shoes a great choice for regular climbers.
- Can be resoled
- Mold to your feet
- Variable thickness rands
- Offer a good amount of friction
- Ideal for both beginners and experienced climbers
- Some may find it challenging to find the right size.
One of the best women’s climbing shoes, the La Sportiva Tarantula Women’s Climbing Shoes feature a characteristic asymmetrical shape that benefits beginners in pushing the grades at a faster pace. Suitable for all around climbing, these shoes have sticky FriXion rubber lining that are quite long lasting and conveniently stick to rock as well as plastic to give you an exceptional grip, which again is a welcome feature if you’re a beginner trying to get familiar with rock-climbing. Since the upper is made of unlined leather, your feet can move at all angles without feeling constrained. And to make these shoes easy to wear for almost anyone, they feature an adjustable closure system that is made to adapt to various foot types.
- Hook-and-loop closure for easy on-and-off
- Unlined leather upper for superior comfort
- Helps move in a quick pace
- May run a little wide
The Climb X Crush Women’s Climbing Shoes combines all the high-performance features of most Climb X shoes, thus bringing you the best. This pair of mountain climbing shoes features laces that allow you to adjust how tight the shoes fit so as to make sure they hug your feet while allowing proper movement. The high-quality leather upper is crafted to offer you the right amount of stretch. What’s more is that the fabric is also made to have gas permeability. These shoes come with front upper side edge protection— this means your feet will not roll when you release the pressure towards the front part of the shoe. Given all its features and snug fit, these are definitely the best rock-climbing shoes for women if you’re a beginner.
- Extremely comfortable
- Leather upper
- Offers great stretch
- Superlative gas permeability
- Great to wear for extended period
- May stain light-colored socks
One of the most aggressive climbing shoes, these Scarpa Women’s Climbing Shoes are thoughtfully-crafted to make rock-climbing a painless affair, maximizing the fun. With a flat last and a slight asymmetry, these shoes offer great comfort to the wearer while staying put on rocky surfaces— thanks to the vision rubber construction. They also feature narrow lasts that are specifically made to suit women’s feet. And the PAF heel system helps keep your heels well-rested. These shoes are handmade in Italy and come with a passive rand as this helps reduce the pressure on your feet, thus offering all-day comfort. And to make this a 10 on 10, the shoes have hook-and-loop closure that allows you to customize the fitting.
- Feature narrow last to fit women’s feet
- Thick rubber outsole
- Pressure-absorbing fit
- Passive rand for fatigue reduction
- May not be suitable for regular climbing
If you’re looking for optimum sensitivity without compromising on midsole support, the Black Diamond Women’s Momentum Lace Climbing Shoes won’t disappoint you. Featuring medium flex midsole, you get the right amount of support, but nothing that would seem like an over-do. The outsoles are made keeping in mind rough terrains— the 4.3 mm NeoFriction rubber adds to the durability of the shoes while making them high-performance climbing shoes for women. These shoes are well-suited for expert climbers as they are both neutral and come with a flat last to enable vertical climbing while keeping your feet comfortable. And to make them the best women’s climbing shoes, they feature women-specific lasts for a perfect fit.
- Women-specific last
- Ideal for vertical climbing
- Suitable for expert climbers
- Medium flex midsole for optimum support
- May run small in size
When it comes to trail running and climbing, rock climbing shoes for women from Vibram shoes are unbeatable contenders for all the right reasons when you target steep terrains. These impressive and practical climbing shoes feature a durable polyurethane midsole with some extra thickness for added support and comfort. They’re crafted for outstanding performance in all terrains, including the roughest and the toughest ones as they have rubber megagrip outsoles that keep you gripped to the surface. Made from a 50:50 wool to synthetic ratio, they’re extremely stretchable so as to fit your feet properly, giving you a good hold when you’re on the mountains.
- Offers good amount of support
- Slightly expensive
When you’re a beginner at rock-climbing or hiking, you need the best women’s climbing shoes so that you enjoy the sport and get a safe grip as you climb. Beginner climbing shoes, pretty much like the shoes that you wear on the daily, should be super comfortable and suitable for your feet. And to make sure the climbing shoes fit you perfectly and are easy to wear, here are a few factors you should keep in mind while shopping for women’s climbing shoes.
How To Choose Women’s Climbing Shoes?
One major deciding factor when you’re looking for a pair of women’s climbing shoes is fit. Unlike normal walking or running shoes, climbing shoes should offer you a tight fit because as you climb upwards, you will need to have a good grip, and that doesn’t happen when the shoes are not tight enough. While this might feel uncomfortable as you initially wear the shoes, you will soon get used to it.
When buying a pair of leather shoes for climbing, know that the material will stretch over time, and so it will get loose. Therefore, buy tight-fitting shoes so that they fit you well even as the leather stretches a little bit. However, that’s one thing you don’t have to think of when you’re buying synthetic shoes as they don’t stretch as much over time.
While this may seem contradictory to the fact that your climbing shoes are supposed to offer a tight fit, there are various other factors that decide how comfortable your pair of shoes will feel besides their fitting. When your climbing shoes feature a padded tongue and have cushioning in the heel cups, your climb will be relatively easier and effortless. However, make sure that there’s optimal padding and not too much padding because excessive padding may end up compromising on sensitivity, and this results in decreased performance.
Moisture wicking linings is yet another comfort-related feature that you should look for as your feet are going to get sweaty when you climb. Shoes that feature moisture wicking lining along with mesh upper means superior breathability, and this would help in air circulation so that your feet keep dry at all times.
If you’re a regular rock-climber, you would want to invest in a pair of climbing shoes that last. One feature that can easily indicate whether or not your shoes will last you several years is the thickness of the rubber soles. While thicker rubber soles endure wear and tear, thin rubber soles get thinner over time and may not offer the kind of grip you would need while climbing.
The word “upper” that’s generally used to describe one of the features of shoes basically means the upper part of the shoes. This is generally made out of mesh fabric as it tends to add breathability to the shoes to keep your feet sweat-free. You’ll also find shoes made with mesh and leather upper or mesh and synthetic upper, and they’re a good option too.
Closure basically refers to how you put on and take off your shoes. When we talk about climbing shoes, the most common type of closure is hook-and-loop type with Velcro lining. This type of closure is a preferred choice because it eliminates the hassle of dealing with laces, and in fact, laces can also prove to be dangerous when climbing.
Outsole is the bottom portion of the shoe that comes in contact with the ground. The best kind of outsoles for climbing shoes are those that are adequately thick, offer a good grip and friction, provide a good hold on rock and plastic surfaces, and come with grooves. Also, make sure that the rubber that goes into the construction of the outsole of your shoes is flexible enough so that it allows free movement at all angles.
Downturn refers to the degree of curve offered by the shoes around the toe area. While neutral shoes offer only slight downturn (which works for walking or running), climbing shoes generally come with aggressive downturn or basically are referred to as “downturned shoes”. This type of climbing shoe offers better performance and is more reliable in terms of offering a good amount of grip.
Rock-climbing is a great way to escape the mundaneness that routine brings. However, being 100% prepared with all the gears that you may need when you’re going on an adventure such as rock-climbing is imperative. And one such essential you need is a pair of the best women’s climbing shoes that make your experience a lot more exciting, enjoyable, and effortless. Our list of the best products has been created keeping in mind the important features that your climbing shoes must have. And so, confidently pick a pair from our list and embark on your rock-climbing adventure!
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
What are the best climbing shoes for beginners?
As a beginner who is new to climbing, you need shoes that come with a thick rubber outsole, especially around the toebox area so that you get the right amount of support as you climb and ease into the task of climbing. Such shoes also last you way longer, and in case they are resolable, you won’t have to resole them too soon. Some of the best women’s climbing shoes for beginners come from brands such as La Sportiva, Evolv, Scarpa, Climb X, among others.
Should you wear socks with climbing shoes?
While socks are completely optional when you wear your climbing shoes, wearing them is a common choice that most people make just to keep their feet comfortable as they climb. However, one thing to consider when you choose to wear socks with your climbing shoes is that climbing shoes perform exceptionally only when they offer a tighter-than-usual fit. When you buy a pair of tight-fitting climbing shoes, you might not have enough space to accommodate socks. So, what you can do is start with shoes that fit tightly as you wear socks as a beginner and then transition to wearing shoes without socks.
Should your toes be curled in climbing shoes?
Since climbing shoes are made to offer a tight fit and are supposed to fit tightly in order to give you the right kind of grip as you climb, they might naturally cause your toes to curl a little bit. When you buy neutral climbing shoes that are rather flat, your toes might only curl gently. However, if you pick a pair of aggressive shoes or massively downturned shoes, they may cause your toes to curl way more. While this may sound a little uncomfortable, climbers generally get used to this feature in shoes because downturned shoes significantly enhance your performance when climbing.
What are the best shoes for indoor rock climbing?
When you go for indoor rock climbing or bouldering, you don’t necessarily need climbing shoes. If you’re just giving this fun sport a try, you can confidently pick your pair of regular trainers and get started. However, if you decide to take it more seriously and transition to actual outdoor rock climbing eventually, you can invest in a pair of climbing shoes for beginners just to get comfortable in them before you explore the natural terrain. With that said, some of the best climbing shoes for indoor climbing are Five Ten Anasazi, La Sportiva Miura VS, and Evolv Defy.
Why are climbing shoes designed to fit tight?
You’ll always find professional climbers recommend buying shoes that are tight, especially so that your toes curl. This is because when climbing, you will be required to put a lot of pressure on your toes in order to have the right kind of grip going forward. When the toebox offers too much space, you may end up compromising on the grip and might require a lot more effort and energy. This is why, when buying climbing shoes, it is crucial that every part of the shoe fits closely around your feet.
How long do climbing shoes last?
How long your climbing shoes last depends to a great extent on the material that they’re made of, how thick the outsoles are, and how regularly you use them. To begin with, shoes made from thicker rubber outsoles last significantly longer. When you use your climbing shoes one or twice a week, you can expect them to last anywhere between 6 to 9 months. After about 9 months, you might need to go for resoling and toe rand work so that your shoes perform well.
Are climbing shoes machine-washable?
No, climbing shoes are not machine-washable. If you do try to wash them in your washing machine, it might change the shape of your shoes and the detergent might end up damaging the rubber soles.