The Best Bouldering Shoes In 2021 [For Beginners & Intermediates]

David Welch
Written by
Last update:

Bouldering is a rock climbing sport which takes place on shorter walls, without the use of ropes or harnesses. It’s a great way to maintain muscle endurance and improve finger strength while enjoying a fun workout.

But this also requires the right kind of footwear to be safe and comfortable for bouldering.

Here are some great suggestions for the best bouldering shoes for beginners and intermediates in 2021.

NameCategoryProduct
Scarpa Men's Helix Climbing ShoeBest OverallScarpa Men's Helix Climbing Shoe
Mad Rock Men's Flash 2.0 Climbing ShoeBudget PickMad Rock Men's Flash 2.0 Climbing Shoe
Scarpa Boostic Climbing ShoeUpgrade PickScarpa Boostic Climbing Shoe

1. Scarpa Men's Helix Climbing Shoe

Our rating: 9 / 10

Scarpa Men's Helix Climbing Shoe

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Comfortable
  • Great rubber
  • They mold to your feet, making them feel part of your foot
  • Great support
  • Huge grip
  • Some of the best climbers you can get for a reasonable price
  • A necessity if you want to have fun climbing for any length of time

There is a reason that Scarpa is the leader in top-end climbing shoes. This shoe will give you everything that you would expect from a high-end shoe, and this shoe is very, very high-end. It has great rubber which holds on to any surface for dear life. With the rubber that this shoe has you will never slip even if you are on glass.

All of the claimed advantages of this shoe, from the amazing fit, excellent rubber and hand-stitched upper are all accurate. This is a brilliant shoe and a shoe that will stay with you for a very long time.

2. La Sportiva Men's TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

La Sportiva Men's TarantuLace Performance Rock Climbing Shoe

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Ideal for bouldering
  • Maximum comfort and flexibility
  • Great support

Elmers Super Glue is a premium climbing shoe, which is firm, yet comfortable. This shoe has great features and is built very well.

The TarantuLace climbing shoe is lightweight, making it a great choice for both bouldering and indoor climbing. With plenty of support from the sole of the shoe, it offers plenty of support for your foot.

Elmer’s Super Glue climbing shoes come in both men’s and women’s sizes. There are a total of six different colors that you can choose from, so it’s easy to match with pieces of your climbing outfit.

3. Scarpa Boostic Climbing Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

Scarpa Boostic Climbing Shoe

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Climbs Like a Spider
  • Incredible Comfort And Fit
  • Provides Excellent Grip
  • Has A Sticky Edging
  • Has a good rubber for the soles

Cons:

  • The toe is quite small
  • Doesn’t work well on rough rock
  • A somewhat smaller fit
  • Not for those who have wide feet

This is a great shoe for experienced climbers and beginners alike. The Scarpa BOOTIC is a rather new shoe in the market but has gained more traction in recent months for sure. We can safely say this is one of the best beginner climbing shoes around.

This shoe is light and provides an excellent balance between comfort and performance. Whether you are a beginner or an intermediate rock climber, this may be just the right shoe for you.

That said, it did climb nicely. It seemed to fit well and conform to my foot like a glove.

4. Five Ten Men's Anasazi Moccasym Climbing Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

Five Ten Men's Anasazi Moccasym Climbing Shoe

Check Price on Amazon

Rock climbing has grown in popularity in recent years, particularly aspiring athletes looking for a way to test their bodies and minds. Bouldering is a great way to test your climbing skills at an intermediate level, requiring much less equipment and gear than other forms of climbing.

Taking your first steps into rock climbing can be daunting, but the right shoe can help ease the transition. The Five Ten Men’s Anasazi Moccasym Climbing Shoe is designed for precision and versatility and offers a nice combination of comfort and support.

The Anasazi Moccasym is a lace-close shoe shaped like a regular shoe, but with a much sturdier build and rubber sole. It has a wider toe box than other shoes in this price range, helping compensate for the fact that your feet are likely to swell during the longer climbs.

5. SCARPA Origin Climbing Shoe-U

Our rating: 8 / 10

SCARPA Origin Climbing Shoe-U

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Excellent fit and support
  • A better grip on the ankle and toes
  • Excellent stitching and construction
  • The sole is not too rigid or delicate

When you have a good pair of climbing shoes, your whole body will feel the difference. With the SCARPA Origin Climbing Shoe, you can take control of your performance with a more sensitive foot feel. This shoe has an incredible ability to react to the smallest movements. It improves mobility and precision when climbing. With the SCARPA Origin Climbing Shoe, you will feel a better grip on your foot while you are climbing, leading to a much more secure feeling.

The design of this shoe help with climbing. It comes with a synthetic upper and a thinner heel design. Also, the laces are flat and snug which helps prevent slippage. There are toe boxes that match your feet and a heel counter for extra support and comfort.

6. La Sportiva Nago Climbing Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

La Sportiva Nago Climbing Shoe

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • The Nago has a 4 mm mid sole height which makes it very cushioned for the sole
  • Synthetic leather
  • Versatile shoe that can be used for a variety of climbing styles
  • Great price
  • Can be used for both indoor and outdoor climbing
  • Great for those who are over 5.5 feet and lighter than 240 pounds
  • Has a very comfortable fit
  • Varied heel cup
  • Has a circular shape
  • Lace design prevents the shoe from slipping off

Cons:

  • Its size is a little bit small
  • This product comes with a bit heavy

The ideal climbing shoe should be firmly attached to your foot with no slipping, this product provides with that type.

7. Five Ten Women's Blackwing Climbing Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

Five Ten Women's Blackwing Climbing Shoe

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Sporty touchevle leather upper
  • Synthetic perforated footbed
  • Mesh lining
  • Padded tongue
  • Quick entry strap
  • Durable rubber sole

Cons:

  • May run small, order up if you're a half-size
  • Heel is a bit high

8. Evolv Women's Shaman LV-W

Our rating: 5 / 10

Evolv Women's Shaman LV-W

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • The best budget buy
  • Good for beginners and intermediate climbers
  • Comes in a range of colors
  • High-quality leather uppers

The Evolv Shaman LV-W can easily be labeled as one of the best budget buy shoe around for women climbers.

The Shaman doesn’t come in a large variety of colors for its price range, but don’t let that stop you from buying this shoe.

The Evolv is durable, offers great grip and is comfortable. This shoe will last in the roped environment, and will even work in the bouldering and gym environment.

9. La Sportiva Solution Shoe

Our rating: 5 / 10

La Sportiva Solution Shoe

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Great grip and sticky rubber
  • Stiff enough for edging
  • Comfortable enough for hours of climbing
  • 7.5 out of 10 on the comfort scale
  • Good for climbing gym and outdoor climbing
  • The soles are thin enough for edging but not too thin so as to compromise the rubber's stickiness
  • The mid-sole is not too soft to compromise the edging performance.
  • No break-in period is needed
  • Generous sizing lets you go down a size for a better fit

Cons:

  • Little break-in period required
  • Extra wide shoes have poor performance on the toe
  • Heel is a bit narrow

Bouldering Shoes are a footwear essential when you climb. If you are new to climbing, you should look at the top bouldering shoes to purchase a pair. For climbing, the best bouldering shoes should have these features:

You should be able to climb quickly with the help of sticky rubber.

The inside of your bouldering shoes should be comfortable to help keep you sustained for a longer duration.

10. Mad Rock Men's Flash 2.0 Climbing Shoe

Our rating: 5 / 10

Mad Rock Men's Flash 2.0 Climbing Shoe

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Recommended by climbing trainers
  • Made of a high quality leather
  • Made of a high quality leather
  • Has hand made uppers
  • Good for climbers who prefer wider feet
  • Has an outstanding value

Cons:

  • Recommended by climbing trainers
  • This shoe can become uncomfortable during time
  • Can become uncomfortable during extended wear

With its classic split toe design, this climbing shoe has excellent flex and is very comfortable. It is a very well designed shoe that is worth every penny. It is a well-loved shoe among professional and hobbyist climbers. It is a fantastic shoe at a super affordable price, and is great for both beginners and intermediate climbers.

11. Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe

Our rating: 3 / 10

Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • High-performance product
  • This shoe is comfortable to wear

This men's climbing shoe is designed to give you a high-performance edge. If you're a beginner, you'll be happy to know that it is extremely comfortable to wear.

The Defy shoe comes with a synthetic leather upper, as well as a molded heel built around a durable midsole. These features make this the ideal climbing shoe for those who want comfort as well as performance. This is the kind of shoe that you could wear all day long.

Another good thing about the Defy shoe is that it comes with an aggressive shape and a downturned last, so you will get great support and really good power when you are climbing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best shoes for bouldering?

The best bouldering shoe for beginners and intermediates must have a low-profile and soft, sticky sole to help improve balance and grip while climbing. The most popular shoe models include:

La Sportiva Solutions:

One of the most popular and inexpensive pairs of beginner and intermediate bouldering shoes, the Solutions are known for their sleek design, ideal range of motion, and sticky sole.

The Solutions are quite affordable compared to other shoes, making them great for novice climbers who may not be willing to spend too much money yet. But it’ll also matter a lot less if the shoe gets dirty or stained since they’re also very affordable and easy to replace.

What are the best rock climbing shoes for beginners?

For those who just started, any of the shoes in this list can be considered the best. They are all made from the same top-notch materials but the price might set you back a bit. The most important thing is not to buy something you can’t afford unless you have a strong budget.

Something similar will do if you can’t afford one of the top five products listed here.

When should I buy aggressive climbing shoes?

The decision to buy an aggressive shoe really depends on your level of climbing. If you’re just getting started, you don’t need aggressive shoes because you aren’t likely to boulder much and you may not be able to handle the added difficulty. If you’re climbing at an intermediate level this is a great time to buy because you’ll get increased benefit with the added difficulty. And if you’re at an advanced level, it’s time to start looking at aggressive shoes; now you’re ready and it will make an impact.

How can a beginner get better at bouldering?

If you are truly a beginner, you may need to practice some basic footwork and body positioning. However, as you continue to practice, the essential skill is to get stronger for crimpy problem areas. A great way to do that is by practicing in a gym or hiring a quality trainer.

The important thing to do is to gain a foundation in strength training. This can be accomplished with a variety of methods, such as a good spinning class or frequent pump movement workouts. You can also just use bouldering tools to help you gain a foundation of strength.

Conclusion

We've researched and tested a number of the most popular options, to help you find the best bouldering shoes for your indoor or outdoor climbing. We looked at the quality of material, determination to stay snug on your feet when you need them to, toughness and overall grip in tricky climbing areas and the social-proof of a seller that has over 50,000 positive reviews for their climbing products. At the end of the day, our top recommendation is the La Sportiva Synthesis Outdoor Climbing Shoe. Our runner-up is the La Sportiva Tarantulace Climbing Shoes.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Scarpa Men's Helix Climbing ShoeBest OverallScarpa Men's Helix Climbing Shoe
Mad Rock Men's Flash 2.0 Climbing ShoeBudget PickMad Rock Men's Flash 2.0 Climbing Shoe
Scarpa Boostic Climbing ShoeUpgrade PickScarpa Boostic Climbing Shoe