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

Here are our tips for choosing the right climbing shoe!

All you need to know about climbing shoes!

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The sole

The essential element found in the sole is rubber. It's both a contact surface (and therefore a grip surface) and a stiffener.
So it's the real centerpiece of the liner. Today, generally speaking, all manufacturers supply quality rubber. Many use Vibram rubber, the benchmark for maximum grip.


The greater the camber, the more technical the boot.
In use, on overhangs and boulders, the liner is cambered and supple to enable you to push on holds and work with grip or flat on volumes.
Rigid climbing shoes, on the other hand, are ideal for beginners or for slab climbing, enabling you to load up on small holds with less strain on your feet and calves.



The heel

Here's a delicate point: you have to make sure that your heel doesn't move in any situation. When you push on the toe, you should feel a tension that stiffens the whole by pulling on the heel. You should also check that the heel doesn't come up too high, so as not to shear your malleoli. This sensation is not necessarily very pleasant. If this is the case, it's probably because your shoe size is too big.


There are different tightening systems. Scratches, laces and ballerinas.

Scratch fasteners
Atout ? easier to put on and take off.
Advantage? they offer the greatest precision.
Often the most difficult to put on if you want to maintain the same precision as the other two tightening methods.

The point

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

Choosing a shoe according to foot morphology

The sole of your foot is the first aspect to consider when choosing your climbing shoe, to ensure the best possible grip.
There are 3 different foot shapes:

This information will help you find your ideal shoe shape. From a comfort point of view, a straight liner is best suited to Greek feet, while an asymmetrical liner is best suited to Egyptian and Roman feet.

Two types of bootie share the market. Those with the tip on the big thumb, and others centered on the second toe. So it goes without saying to choose a pair that matches your morphology: Greek, Egyptian or Roman foot.

This morphological factor will enable you to make an initial selection from among the models on offer.

Advice from the product expert:

Nathanaël - climbing expert
Choosing the right climbing shoe is often difficult... Laces, velcro, one, two or three sizes smaller? To begin with, you need to define your general climbing style: indoor, crag, bouldering, etc. Once you've done that, you need to know the shape of your foot, i.e. its morphology. This will enable you to choose a liner that's tight but not painful. Your foot needs to fill the liner properly, so that you can exploit both precision and climbing strength.

Choosing the right liner for your climbing style?

Depending on the surface you climb on most often, it's important to choose the model best suited to your climbing style. There are many different types of climbing: bouldering, cliff climbing, long routes and indoor climbing.

For cliff climbing

The most important thing for cliff climbing is to identify the profile you climb most regularly. Indeed, for a given rating, the holds will not be at all the same on a vertical wall as on a large overhang.

For climbing overhanging walls or surfaces with good grip, it's advisable to opt for shoes with a softer sole. Characterized by greater flexibility and sensitivity, they are ideal for guaranteeing more precise holds, but are particularly suited to 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 booties with a more rigid, comfortable sole, suitable for prolonged use and capable of supporting the climber's weight 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 of course it all depends on your level and, above all, on the sites and styles you visit. On granitic sites, where there are plenty of rulers before you reach the final flats, a very rigid climbing shoe is highly recommended, whereas on sandstone sites, where the holds are generally rounder, a softer shoe will enable you to descend lower on your heels and thus gain more grip to better match the roundness of the sandstone.

Indoor climbing

Surgically precise shoes are not necessarily essential for indoor climbing. On the other hand, if you occasionally want to get out of your favorite climbing gym for a breath of fresh air, then opt for booties that offer greater versatility and match your outdoor desires.

Choosing your bootie according to your level

It's true that, depending on your level, your needs in terms of sensation or even your playground will vary. The expectations of a beginner are not the same as those of an expert.

Here are a few recommendations:

For beginners, opt for a shoe with maximum comfort.

To determine the ideal shoe size, it's essential not to have your foot in the shoe. Choose a flat or moderately arched shoe, perfectly suited 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 climbers opt for versatility!

To refine your sensations and perfect your movements, the boot should be a little tighter. If you feel uncomfortable in a boot whose shape is too restrictive for your foot, choose a more classic boot with less asymmetry and arching. Note that a less technical boot in the right size is better than a more technical boot that's too big. You risk losing precision and power. Choose La Sportiva's KUBO climbing shoe, for example.

For more experienced climbers opt for more technical shoes.

In general, expert climbers know what they want: velcro or laces, rigid or flexible...
Over time, you'll get to know your needs and the sensations you're looking for better, because you'll have learned what kind of climber you are.
Your questions will then be much more focused on the pure technicality of the shoes. All that's left is to find your shoe size and find out how the liner moves in use.

Our selection of technical shoes:

How can I be sure of my shoe size?

As small as possible, before it hurts too much.

Don't lose sight of the fact that, when you try on a pair, your feet will swell in the evening or when it's hot. But the only real requirement is that your foot doesn't float in them. There's no need to buy too small either. Note also that not all brands of climbing shoes fit the same way. For some, you'll need to take your city shoe size, and for others three or four sizes smaller.

In general, it's best to select a shoe that's :

  • Not too tightIf you choose a shoe with a rigid sole. The rigidity of the sole will guarantee optimum support.
  • Smaller and more form-fitting, if you choose a liner with a softer sole, to achieve sufficient foot rigidity.

Remember that a well-fitting liner doesn't leave the toes fully extended, but completely envelops the foot without leaving any gaps, resulting in a normal feeling of compression, but one that shouldn't be painful.

Good to know
There are models on the market specially designed for the female world which, compared to men's slippers, are generally characterized by a softer structure that makes them capable of softening under lighter weight. It should be noted, however, that the technical solutions employed in no way rule out the possibility of these products being used by the male gender.


  • Your foot morphology: the width of the ball of the foot is the first element to take into account.
  • Your use: your choice will vary according to the type of wall and whether you use them more or less intensively. Your choice will depend on the thickness of the sole, and the different degrees of rigidity and flexibility.
  • Your level: your climbing level will also help you. Beginners are advised to use stiffer models, which will help them practice and evolve.

Now get off on the right foot.

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