Any self-respecting climber knows that the liner is a product to be chosen very carefully and much more than a harness. The liner should be like a second skin over your foot to get maximum sensation. There are many questions when buying a climbing shoe. Even more so when it's your first purchase! What should you consider to make the right choice? What shape? Which rubber? What is the best shoe for my practice? ....

Here are our tips for choosing the right climbing shoe!

Everything you need to know about climbing shoes!

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The sole

The essential element found in the sole is the rubber. It is both a contact surface (thus adherence with the foot holds) and an element of rigidity of the shoe.
It is therefore the real centerpiece of the liner. Today, in general, all manufacturers provide a quality rubber. Many use Vibram rubber which is a reference for maximum grip.
Below you will find a sampling of products made with Vibram rubber soles:

The arch

The higher the camber, the more technical the shoe.
In use, on overhangs and in bouldering, the shoe is arched and flexible to allow you to push on holds and to work in grip or flat on volumes.
Stiff climbing shoes are perfect for beginners or for slab climbing, to load on small holds with less foot and calf fatigue.



The heel

Here is a delicate point: you must make sure that your heel does not move in any situation. When you push on the toe, you should feel a tension that stiffens the whole by pulling on the heel. It is also necessary to check that it does not go up too high so as not to come to shear you malleoli. This sensation is not necessarily very pleasant. If you encounter this case, it is certainly because you took a size too large.


There are different tightening systems. Namely, the scratchs, the laces, and the ballerinas.

Atout ? more convenient to put on or remove.
Advantage ? they offer the most precision
Often the most difficult to put on if you want to keep the same precision as the other two tightening methods

The tip

It is essential to take into account the morphology of your feet when choosing your climbing shoe.
A thin toe will give you precision but lose comfort.

Choosing your shoe according to the morphology of your foot

The sole of your foot is the first aspect to take into consideration for your climbing shoe in order to obtain the best possible grip.
There are 3 different foot shapes:

This information will help you decide on your ideal shoe shape. From a comfort point of view, a straight shoe will be more suitable for a Greek foot, while an asymmetrical one will be more suitable for Egyptian and Roman feet.

Two types of slippers share the market. Those with the tip on the big thumb, and others centered on the second toe. It goes without saying that you should choose a pair that corresponds to your morphology: Greek, Egyptian or Roman foot.

This morphological factor will allow you to make a first selection among the proposed models.

Advice from the product expert:

Nathanaël - climbing expert
Choosing a climbing shoe is often difficult... Laces, velcro, taking one, two or three sizes smaller? To begin with, you need to define what your general climbing practice will be: indoor, crag, bouldering, etc. Once this is done, you must know the shape of your foot, that is to say its morphology. This way, you will be able to choose a shoe that is tight but not painful. Your foot must fill the liner well in order to exploit the precision and strength of climbing.

Choosing a liner according to your practice?

Depending on the type of surface you climb on most often, it is important to choose the model that is best suited to your practice. There are different types of climbing: bouldering, cliffs, long routes, or indoor climbing.

For the cliff

The most important thing for the cliff is to isolate the profile on which you climb the most regularly. Indeed, for a given rating, the holds will not be at all the same on a vertical wall or on a big overhang.

To climb overhanging walls or surfaces with a good grip it is advisable to choose shoes with a softer sole. With their greater flexibility and sensitivity, they are ideal for ensuring more precise holds, but they are especially suitable for more experienced climbers whose feet are already used to supporting the weight of the body on a minimal part of it.

For climbing long, vertical routes or routes with small, sharp points of support, we recommend shoes with a more rigid and comfortable sole, suitable for prolonged use and capable of supporting the weight of the climber even on very small supports.

Overhanging walls or surfaces with good grip Long vertical routes or routes with small, sharp points of support

For bouldering

All models are suitable for bouldering, but it all depends on your level and especially on the sites and styles you visit. On a granitic site, where there are a lot of rulers before you reach the final flats, a very rigid climbing shoe is strongly recommended, whereas on sandstone sites, where the holds are generally rounder, a softer shoe will allow you to go down lower on your heels and thus gain more grip to better fit the roundness of the sandstone.

For indoor climbing

To climb indoors, having surgically precise shoes is not necessarily mandatory. However, if you want to get out of your favorite gym from time to time to get some fresh air, then opt for a shoe that will offer more versatility and suit your outdoor desires.

Choosing your shoe according to your level

It's true that depending on your level, your needs in terms of sensation or even your playing field, vary. The expectations between a beginner and an expert will not be the same.

Here are some recommendations:

For beginners, opt for a shoe with maximum comfort.

To know the ideal size, it is absolutely necessary not to have your foot in the shoe. Choose a flat or medium-cambered shoe, perfectly adapted to good holds on boulders and easy routes. Choose for example the Reflex V climbing shoe from Scarpa or the Tarantula from La Sportiva.

For intermediate levels opt for versatility!

To refine your sensations and perfect your movements, the shoe should be a little tighter. If you feel uncomfortable in a shoe that is too tight for your foot, choose a more classic shoe with less asymmetry and arching. Note that it is better to have a less technical shoe in the right size than a more technical shoe that is too big. You risk losing precision and power. For example, choose the KUBO climbing shoe from La Sportiva.

For the more experienced opt for more technical shoes.

In general, the expert climber knows what he wants: velcro or laces, rigid or soft...
Indeed, with time, you will know better your needs and the sensations you are looking for since you will have learned what kind of climber you are.
Your questions will then be much more focused on the pure technicality of the shoes. All you have to do is find your size and find out how the shoe moves when you use it.

Our selection of technical shoes:

How can I be sure of my size?

As small as possible before it hurts too much.

Keep in mind that when you try on a pair, your feet will swell in the evening or when it is hot. But the only real requirement is that your foot not float in the shoes. No need to take too small either. Also note that not all brands of climbing shoes fit the same way. For some, you will have to take your city size and for others three or four sizes smaller.

It is generally recommended to select a shoe that is

  • Not too tightIf you choose a shoe with a rigid sole. The rigidity of the sole will guarantee optimal support.
  • Smaller and tighter, in case you choose a liner with a softer sole, in order to obtain sufficient foot rigidity.

Remember that a well-fitting liner does not leave the toes fully extended and completely envelops the foot without leaving a gap, resulting in a normal feeling of compression, but which should not be painful.

Good to know
There are models on the market specifically designed for the female world that, compared to the men's slippers, are generally characterized by a softer structure that makes them able to soften under a lighter weight. However, it should be noted that the technical solutions used do not exclude the possibility of using these products for men.


  • The morphology of your foot: the width of the sole of the foot is the first element to take into account
  • Your practice: your choice will vary according to the type of wall and the more or less intensive use. You will have to make your choice according to the thickness of the sole, the different degrees of rigidity and flexibility.
  • Your level: your climbing level will also help you. Indeed, we recommend that a beginner use stiffer models that will help with practice and evolution.

Now get started on the right foot.

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