How to Choose Climbing Shoes

Like if this Guide is helpful
How to Choose Climbing Shoes

When people start serious rock climbing, it does not take long to realise that regular running shoes are just not good enough. Climbing shoes are essential for safe and effective climbing. Choose shoes suitable for the type of climbing that the person is doing, and the skill level of the climber. There are over 40 different styles of climbing shoe, so selecting the first pair may seem like a daunting process. However, knowledge of a few simple tips and some basic information is enough for buyers to find their perfect pair of climbing shoes.



When climbers start looking at climbing equipment, one of the first things they notice is the range of different uppers that climbing shoes include. There are three main types of upper: lined leather, unlined leather, and synthetic. These three types are very different from one another, so making the right choice is critical.


Upper Material


Lined Leather

Next-to-skin comfort

Moderately breathable

Slightly stretchy

Unlined Leather

Most stretchy

Less next-to-skin comfort

Most breathable

Conforms to foot shape


Does not stretch

Least breathable

Does not use animal materials



When choosing the right uppers, important considerations are comfort and fit. Most types of climbing shoe come with different upper options, and individual climbers should decide which one best meets their needs. It is important to choose uppers that provide good foot control to ensure safety during a climb.



There are three different types of climbing shoes closure: Velcro, lace-up, and slipper. The choice of closure depends on the type of climbing that individuals plan to do.

Slipper and Velcro shoes are easy to put on, but lace-up shoes provide a more customised fit. Slipper and Velcro closures are ideal for sport climbers, gym climbers, and boulderers because they are quick and easy to take off between climbs. Lace-up shoes are a better option for Alpine or traditional climbers who do not need to remove their shoes so often. When buying climbing shoes, it is also advisable to consider how easy the closure is to repair.



The shape of the shoe is important because it helps to ensure that climbers are able to feel where their feet are on the rock. For climbers who want a comfortable and relaxed fit, flat shoes are ideal. These work well with slabs and inclines that are not too steep. For those hoping to climb vertical face routes, a slightly downturned shoe is more suitable, as it allows the foot to grip thin ledges of rock. Those tackling overhangs, or rock faces that are more than vertical, should consider an aggressively downturned shoe that allows them to hook their toes or heels into the rock during the climb.


Shoe Rubber

The soles of climbing shoes are normally made of rubber, which gives them grip. Each type of rubber has its own characteristics. Vibram rubber works well in all weather conditions, gives the highest level of edging support, which is the ability to grip small ledges of rock with the edge of the shoe, and it is ideal for smooth rocks. Stealth rubber offers excellent grip, provides a high level of friction, and has good edging. Trax rubber has edging power and high friction balance. It works well in all temperatures, and allows climbers to tackle many different rock types.

Some types of rubber are thicker than others, and those buying their first pair of climbing shoes should look for soles made of thick rubber. This prevents foot fatigue, and provides greater support. Thin rubber is more sensitive, making it ideal for more difficult and treacherous climbs, because it allows climbers to feel the position of their foot.


How to Buy Climbing Shoes on eBay

Climbers can easily find their perfect shoe on eBay. Start by searching for relevant keywords such as 'climbing shoes', using the search bar at the top of every page. This search produces a general list of the different types of climbing shoe available. To narrow the search down, shoppers can add terms, such as 'Velcro climbing shoes', or 'leather climbing shoes'. They can then refine the results further by adding specifications such as price, size, colour, and item location. Climbers should always make sure that their shoes are a good fit, as poorly fitting shoes are dangerous during a climb.

Have something to share, create your own Guide... Write a Guide
Explore more Guides