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The 10 best climbing shoes to buy in the UK

Picture of a climbing shoe

The best climbing shoes make climbing easier than ever, allowing you to position your feet in ways that are not possible with conventional footwear. If you love rock climbing, bouldering, abseiling, and similar activities, then you cannot go wrong with a good pair of climbing shoes. Of course, climbing shoes are different to normal footwear, so it is not always obvious what to look for when you are buying. To help with this, we have created a buying guide that covers all the information you need to know to find the best pair of climbing shoes for your needs.

What are climbing shoes?

Climbing shoes are a type of footwear designed for climbing activities like rock climbing, bouldering and abseiling. They are lightweight, close-fitting, and have almost no padding, allowing the wearer to better manipulate their feet into appropriate positions for grabbing onto rocks as they climb. Not to be confused with hiking or walking shoes, climbing shoes are only suitable for climbing activities, being too thin and lacking adequate protection for prolonged walking. They are usually adorned at the base of a climb and removed after completion.

Why should you buy a good climbing shoe?

Similar to a quality climbing harness, the best climbing shoes are an essential piece of climbing gear that do offer many advantages when rock climbing. The footwear is designed to be as close-fitting as possible, allowing the wearer to utilise various types of footholds with greater ease, making it essential for anyone climbing more advanced locations involving challenging footholds.

How to choose the right climbing shoe in 2024?

Another picture of a climbing shoe

First-time buyers may not know what to look for in climbing shoes, so here are some things to consider when buying the best climbing shoes:

  • Closure: There are various closures used on climbing shoes, any of which may be preferable. For example, a lace-up closure is versatile, allowing you to adjust the fit when your feet become more swollen later in the day, as you can simply loosen the laces as needed. Straps are more convenient as they can be quickly removed between climbs, so are popular for gym climbs. Slip-ons have a low profile and are great for training and honing your foothold techniques.
  • Material: Various materials are used for climbing shoes, usually being leather or a type of synthetic, the former being regarded for its durability, versatility, and low maintenance. Leather is comfortable and will stretch as your feet swell, although this is reduced when using lined over unlined shoes. Synthetics are cheaper and don’t use any animal products so are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, although they don’t offer much give.
  • Fit: You will know your shoe size but this doesn’t guarantee the right fit for your climbing shoes. Instead, you should know what a comfortable fit should be for climbing shoes, which includes no dead space between the shoe and your toes, as anything too flimsy won’t get a proper grip and feel uncomfortable. Toes should be either flat or slightly curved without feeling uncomfortable, and the heel should have a tight fit without pushing against your Achilles.

What is the best kind of climbing shoe in the UK?

Here are some of the best-selling climbing shoes available to buy:

  • Beginner’s Climbing Shoes: Also called flat-lasted, these shoes are designed with comfort in mind, being flatter than the more advanced shoes. This allows the wearer to feel comfortable enough to find their footing without contorting their feet into unnatural positions, hence its suitability for beginners.
  • Intermediate Climbing Shoes: These all-round climbing shoes have more of a downward turn at the toes than beginner shoes, forcing the feet into a position that is better suited for foot grip. The soles are usually stickier too, allowing for improved grip, so they are recommended for more advanced climbers.
  • Performance Climbing Shoes: These shoes have the most pronounced downward turn, meaning the sole is much more bent than any other type. This offers maximum tension around the heel, which when combined with the shape of your toes provides some of the best foot grip possible. They can be uncomfortable so are best suited for experienced climbers on more advanced routes.

Top 10 list of climbing shoes in the UK (2024)

The bestseller list compares brands and their climbing shoes. Which climbing shoe is the best?
Best choice TOP 1
Image of La Sportiva 30J623205 climbing shoe
La Sportiva Men's Tarantula Climbing Shoes, Space Blue Maple,…
  • Half sole: LaSpoFlex 1.8mm
  • Lining: Rear absent, anterior Pacific (anti-deforming insert)
  • Outside: Leather in tubular construction
Image of MILLET MIG1350 climbing shoe
MILLET Men's Easy Up Climbing Shoe, Saphir, 9 UK
  • Department name: Men s
  • Content: 1x pair of Easy Up Millet adult climbing shoes, Size: UK 9 / EUR 43 1/3,…
  • Wrap-around sock tongue offering an ideal compromise between comfort, durability…
Offer TOP 3
Image of ZHENSI 65677218-BLACK-27CM climbing shoe
ZHENSI Climbing Shoes Men Women Beginners Professional Rock Climbing…
  • Anti-slip: The breathable and soft microfiber upper fully wraps the high-traction…
  • Arched Sole: The arch is not high and the more symmetrical shoe shape is more user-friendly…
  • Ergonomic Sesign: Fits the heel, self-adhesive closure, strong adhesion, moderate…
Image of Saltic  climbing shoe
Enigma Black Bouldering Rock Climbing Shoe - Size 10
  • MADE IN EUROPE - The Enigma Black climbing shoe is manufactured by hand in the Czech…
  • QUICK FIT CLOSURE - Twin velcro straps provide a comfortable yet supportive fit
  • DOWNTURNED PROFILE - Moderately downturned for technical climbing on small hold…
Image of Black Diamond BD570106 climbing shoe
Black Diamond Momentum- Wmn's Climbing Shoes Womens Climbing…
  • Soft-flex midsole for added sensitivity and all day comfort
  • 4.3mm Proprietary molded rubber is built for durability and molded for optimal comfort,…
  • Engineered Knit Technology upper provides exceptional breathability and comfort
Image of La Sportiva 30K624624 climbing shoe
La Sportiva Tarantula Climbing Shoes EU 38
  • Topaz
Image of Saltic  climbing shoe
Avax Bouldering Rock Climbing Shoe - Size 10 Green
  • MADE IN EUROPE - The Avax climbing shoe is manufactured by hand in the Czech Re…
  • SYNTHETIC UPPER - Provides out-the-box performance with no loss of shape over t…
  • DOWNTURNED PROFILE - Aggressive downturn for technical climbing on small holds
Image of Boreal 11409-WEISS-UK 6 climbing shoe
Boreal Women's Silex Climbing Shoes, White, UK6
Image of Snugeasy  climbing shoe
Hike Footwear Barefoot Shoes Womens Mens Minimalist Wide Toe Zero…
  • BEST CHOICE The lace-up mesh aqua shoes can be used for a variety of activities such…
  • 3D Circulation Breathable System With its ability to circulate air through the barefoot…
  • Anti-slip Sole Professional non-slip rubber sole with unique pattern design increases…
TOP 10
Image of Topwolve  climbing shoe
Topwolve Hiking Boots Mens Womens Waterproof Walking Shoes Outdoor…
  • Suitable OccasionsLace-up ankle boots is best choice for hiking, trekking, city walking,…
  • Protective StructureThe toe cap of the boots with protective structure enhance the…
  • Slip ResistanceThe sole is made of lightweight rubber, which has a strong grip.The…
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