Bouldering is not only a fun way to get fit but also a great way to relieve the stress of our everyday lives. Whether you want to start bouldering or have been doing it for a long time, wearing the right pair of climbing shoes is crucial. If not, you will end up with painful blisters and sores that will leave you in bed for days. The best bouldering shoes offer exceptional support in somewhat of a stiff sole. Downturned shapes are common in high-performance shoes, but they may not be ideal for everyone. So, we went through all kinds of aggressive and flat-shaped climbing shoes on Amazon and prepared a list of the best bouldering shoes that will support your feet with minimal pain.
Best Bouldering Shoes
La Sportiva Solution Performance Rock Climbing Shoe
Made to hook, grab, edge, and smear on different kinds of surfaces, the La Sportiva Solution is a cult-favorite among bouldering enthusiasts. These aggressive shoes are drastically downturned and the patented P3 power platform helps to retain the downturned shape. Whether you love overhanging sport routes or prefer gym climbing, these shoes offer exceptional support. The leather upper along with the adjustable Fast Lacing System delivers a proper fit to keep your whole body engaged while climbing.
Wrapped in sticky Vibram XS Grip 2 rubber, these shoes feature a molded 3D heel cup to offer excellent traction for different kinds of heel hook. However, the rubber outsole is too thick and reduces sensitivity. Because of this, you cannot feel rocks — which means if you’re a fan of technical heel hooks, it will get challenging in these shoes. Also, climbing shoes are not the most comfortable shoes in the world, and with a break-in period, the La Sportiva Solution can get quite uncomfortable quite fast. Just make sure you don’t wear them around for a long time.
- Sticky Vibram® XS Grip™ rubber
- Molded 3D deep heel cup
- Aggressive shoes with downturned shape
- Adjustable and snug fit
- Leather upper
- Great toe box
- High-performance shoe
- Sticks really well for toe hooks and crack climbs
- Spoon-dip design in the sole
- Suitable for hooking, smearing
- Easy hook and loop Fast Lacing System®
- P3® power platform retains downturned shape
- Suitable for high arches, wide feet
- Has a break-in period
- Shouldn’t be worn for an extended period of time
- The outsole is too thick and reduces sensitivity
Five Ten Anasazi Climbing Shoe
With a cutting-edge design, the Five Ten Anasazi is an ideal choice for both beginners and pros alike. It’s not the best edging shoe, but it sports a rubber toe patch that is great for heel hooking. While most bouldering shoes hurt to the point where you want to rip them apart and throw them off the very boulder you are climbing on, the Anasazi makes things a lot better. Not only does it hurt less to wear, the slightly stiff but sensitive midsole offers exceptional support.
As one of the most comfortable high-end shoes, the Five Ten Anasazi features the Stealth C4 rubber outsole that offers great grip. The ONYXX rubber is sticky and allows you to feel all the rocks and ledges underneath making it great for heel hooks. Further, the textile lining inside is soft and comfortable while the adjustable hook-and-loop velcro straps provide a snug fit. However, the straps are placed a bit weird and might hurt your feet while crack climbing. Wear these for multi-pitch routes, steep sport climbings, or bouldering at the gym — these shoes do not disappoint.
- Somewhat comfortable to wear
- Great for heel hooking, multi-pitch routes
- Slightly stiff midsole for support
- ONYXX sticky rubber sole
- Great sensitivity in the Stealth C4 rubber outsole
- Low to moderate downturned shape
- Slip-on design for easy wear
- Soft textile lining
- Synthetic upper with minimal stretch
- Molded Stealth Mi6 toe patch
- Hook and loop velcro straps for an adjustable fit
- Not suitable for edging
- Size tends to run smaller
The Mad Rock Flash 2018 is an affordable pair of rock climbing shoes if you don’t want to invest in high-end shoes just yet. Wear it as gym shoes or for climbing, they will take quite a beating. The soles constructed from signature Mad Rock formula rubber is stiff and works great for edging on footholds. Since these shoes don’t have a break-in period and boast of an understandably snug toe box, these shoes are comfortable right out of the box — well, comfortable as far as bouldering shoes go.
Made with a stiff sole without sacrificing sensitivity, these shoes offer exceptional all-round performance. The upper is made of modern stretch materials that maximize comfort. This edition of the Mad Rock Flash comes in an improved 3D heel cup that cradles the heel to flex and fit all foot shapes. Undoubtedly, these shoes are one of the best bouldering shoes for boulderers on a budget.
- Durable and affordable
- Makes great gym shoes
- Relatively more comfortable
- Does not have a break-in period
- Offers great edging on footholds
- Stiff soles with improved sensitivity
- Stretchy synthetic and leather upper
- Hard rubber sole for durability
- 1.4mm polycarbonate midsole
- Adjustable velcro straps
- 3D heel cup for stability
- Tends to run a little large
Known to blend comfort and performance without sacrifice, Tenaya shoes are a popular choice among beginners and experienced climbers alike. The aggressively downturned shape in Tenaya Iati offers an unbeatable performance on overhang routes, technical walls, and friction slabs. These shoes feature RBX technology that offers a superior fit and provides better control by keeping unwanted movements in check. With a blend of microfiber and leather in the upper and soft cotton liner, the Iati has a proper airflow to keep your feet from melting away. The Draxtor lacing system paired with velcro straps hug your feet snugly to provide an adjustable fit regardless of your foot shape.
- Deep heel cup
- Aggressively downturned toebox
- RBX technology for better control
- Soft and comfortable cotton liner
- 2D multi-layer Stretchtex insole
- Double midsole GI 1.8 & TST 150
- Vibram XS Grip rubber outsole
- Two-layer bellows with perforations on the tongue
- Microfiber and leather upper improves breathability
- Draxtor Lacing system and velcro straps for an adjustable fit
- Consider downsizing from your street shoe size
Boulderers and avid rock climbers swear by La Sportiva TC Pro for the superior performance it provides. These versatile trad shoes are designed to provide powerful technical edging. The mid-ankle construction and stiff soles make sure that these shoes live up to the ‘climb-anything-anywhere’ hype. This combination further offers protection in the ankles as well as superior support on technical terrains.
However, these La Sportiva shoes do not perform well when it comes to steep climbing and heel hooking. The proprietary P3 technology in 1.1mm LaspoFlex midsole is comfortable for bouldering shoes. Moreover, the leather upper in a flat last allows room for natural toe splay while the lacing system gives an adjustable fit. These shoes feature the Vibram XS Edge rubber outsole that is durable but also decreases sensitivity. To be fair, this is a fair compromise for one of the most supportive bouldering shoes.
- Comfortable for all-day wear
- 4mm Vibram XS Edge rubber
- Extra padding in the ankles and toes
- Suitable for edging, crack climbing, trad climbing
- PU foam and Airmesh on the tongue
- A lace-up closure system for a snug fit
- Slightly downturned shape in a flat last
- Roomy toe box for natural toe splay
- Leather upper that molds to your feet
- Offers great heel support, ankle protection
- Lateral rand perforations promote air-flow
- Patented P3® (Performance Power Platform) LaspoFlex midsole
- Not suitable for heel hooking
- Reduced sensitivity
The original Shaman was deemed as one of the best climbing shoes for indoor bouldering, and well, this edition does not disappoint either. These aggressive shoes are designed for complex routes and perform well on steep angles. Whether you are a fan of indoor climbing in the gym or love the adrenaline rush of crack climbing, the Evolv Shaman offers great support and comfort. Although these shoes cannot handle edging as well as other high-end shoes, the sharply downturned toe grab excels in pockets.
With a soft rubber sole, it reduces sensitivity — you can’t feel rocks on your feet as much as you’d have liked for edging. The toe feels blunt compared to other high-end shoes and that makes it hard to reach tiny spaces. However, these shoes are perfect for beginners who want to get started with bouldering. Evolv Shaman performs well in steep terrain and overhanging routes as well as bouldering that doesn’t require excessive technical edging.
- Great for steep climbing, pockets
- Hook-and-loop velcro straps
- Half-length love bump midsole
- Soft Trax rubber sole
- Improved, engineered fit
- Toe rubber for toe hooking
- Aggressively downturned shape
- Offers great comfort and support
- Inset front strap for better medial side toe scumming
- Runs about half-size small
- Not great for edging
Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoe
With engineered knit technology, the Balck Diamond Momentum climbing shoes are definitely more breathable than the standard climbing shoes with leather upper. These entry-level shoes have a flat last with high-quality NEOfuse rubber soles that are sticky as well as durable. Since these aren’t high-performance shoes with great precision, we do not recommend this for steep climbing. However, the Black Diamond Momentum is great for gym use, or multi-pitch routes.
Available in limited but beautiful color options, the Momentum features hook-and-loop velcro straps that offer an adjustable fit for different foot shapes. There’s a slight asymmetry in the toe box and the midsole is moderately flexible. Since the soles aren’t as stiff as it should be, these shoes are not a great option for slab climbing or edging.
- Flat lasted soles
- The toe box is slightly asymmetrical
- NEOfuse rubber outsole
- Great for gym and multi-pitch routes
- Breathable knit upper
- Velcro straps for an adjustable fit
- These shoes are affordable
- Moderately flexible midsole (not stiff enough)
- Not suitable for edging and slab climbing
With many awards on the rack, Butora Acro climbing shoes are of the best bouldering shoes you can find on Amazon. The downturned shape is stiff yet sensitive enough to feel rocks underneath for technical edging. As one of the stiffer shoes, these are great for toe hooks as well as heel hooks. The signature triple fork velcro closure system promises adjustability and they are easy to put on and take off.
Butora Acro is a high-performance pair of shoes that excels in steep climbing and bouldering. Wrapped in Butora NEO Fuse sticky rubber, this shoe helps in smearing as well. This further allows you to feel bumps and small edges even on slick terrains. Moreover, the high tension heel rands work to bring power to your big toe and
- Butora NEO fuse sticky rubber
- Great for toe hooks and heel hooks
- Suitable for edging, smearing
- Available in wide widths as well
- Signature triple fork velcro straps
- Easy to put on and take off
- Runs true to size, doesn’t stretch
- Suitable for steep climbing, bouldering
- Stiff shoes with great sensitivity
- Good for wide but low volume feet
- Custom blend ABS injected midsole
- May be uncomfortable for people with flat feet
La Sportiva Tarantulace Climbing Shoe
Even though La Sportiva Tarantulace comes at a relatively lower price tag, the durability and performance it provides are unquestionable! It sports a 5mm FriXion RS rubber sole that increases the durability of these shoes. This means, you not only get a sort of ‘premium’ shoes for under 100 bucks, but you also save money by not having to buy climbing shoes every month. Unlike its cousin La Sportiva Tarantula with velcro straps, this version comes with a lacing harness that hugs your foot snugly for an excellent fit.
A budget shoe like La Sportiva Tarantulace will not offer the same technical performance as high-end shoes. Nevertheless, the LaspoFlex midsole in a slightly downturned shape is moderately stiff and provides great sensitivity. Made primarily with unlined leather, these shoes are comfortable everywhere from the gym to crag. These shoes may feel a little tight initially, but the leather stretches out after a few wears. We wouldn’t recommend these shoes if you’re into technical edging or pockets. The Sportiva is great for beginners whose footwork isn’t perfect as technical moves can wear out other shoes quickly.
- 5mm FriXion RS rubber sole
- Durable and comfortable shoes
- Relatively cheaper than other bouldering shoes
- Lace-up closure for an adjustable and snug fit
- Slightly downturned shape for performance
- Made with unlined leather for comfort
- Works great for crack climbing
- Moderately stiff and sensitive LaspoFlex midsole
- Not great for technical edging or pockets
Things To Consider Before Buying Bouldering Shoes
Downturned shape vs Flat shoes
Flat shoes with stiff soles are good for beginners but at the same time, it can be a great option for advanced climbers. Shoes with flat soles offer a comfortable experience in multi-pitch routes or crack climbing.
Slightly downturned shoes offer good support and perform well in jamming into crack systems. These shoes are aggressive enough to perform in overhung climbs but are great for highly technical edging.
Aggressive or heavily downturned shoes may not be very comfortable to wear but they offer the best support. These shoes hook onto holds and you can pull at them with your feet easily. This keeps your whole body engaged on overhung routes.
Ultimately, the type of shoes you choose should depend on what your needs are and what type of climbing you are going to do.
Lacing system vs Velcro closure
If you are looking for no-nonsense shoes that won’t get in your way, get a pair with an adjustable velcro closure system. Commonly, aggressively downturned shoes feature velcro straps as the sharp downturned shape can make it pretty tight. So, an adjustable strap makes it relatively easier to put on and take off than the hassle of tying laces.
However, for unusual foot shapes, it’s better to get shoes that have a lacing system. This allows adjustability and a snug fit even if the shoes may not fit you initially.
Comfort vs Performance
When it comes to climbing shoes, there’s a debate for performance over comfort. Bouldering shoes are notorious for being uncomfortably tight. But, a tight fit will give you more support during technical footwork. Since bouldering is quite risky and one can get foot injuries pretty quickly, some say climbing shoes should give the best performance regardless of comfort. At the same time, some climbers prefer to wear comfortable shoes even if they have to compromise on the performance.
Climbing shoes are tight and you shouldn’t wear them for long hours. This may cause various other foot conditions like Morton’s neuroma, plantar fasciitis, bunions, etc. So, how do you choose the right shoes? It’s a fine line to walk, but if your shoes give you unbearable pain and blisters, stop wearing them even if they promise you the best performance.
Type of climbing
Climbing shoes are built differently for different types of climbing. Shoes meant for bouldering may not work the best for crack climbing, or vice versa. So, while shopping for climbing shoes, keep in mind what kind of climbing you are going to do in these shoes.
Climbing shoes are drastically different than most other types of shoes. If you wear any shoes off the rack and move forward to climb the rock, you will end up with pain. So, it’s important to keep all these things in mind while purchasing rock climbing shoes. We hope you find a suitable one on this list. Let us know what you think about our selection in the comments below!