Should i invest in climbing shoes?


Original Post
Hannie Maie · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

I started bouldering about a month and a half ago. I've been using the rental shoes and was planning to invest in my own shoes. I thought it would be around $100 or less for a decent pair, but when i was searching for some I found out that a nice pair would be between $120-$200. Am I investing too early on? How much should i be investing into my first pair? And any recommendations?

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

You can get great climbing shoes for WAY less than what you're talking about spending. You should be able to find a good pair for somewhere from $50-$75 that will suit you fine. Try a lot on and then search for sales. eBay and here in the "for sale" section is also a great place for bargains. There's no single gear purchase that will improve your climbing more than a good pair of shoes. 

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Johnny Kipp · · St Albert Alberta · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 100

How often do you climb? If you're climbing twice a week, times 5$, you'll have your $120 shoes paid off in a few months.

I can tell you that if your happy with the used up rental gym shoes, you don't have to spend a ton to get better than that. Just make sure that whatever you do get has decent rubber and is comfortable for now. If they're too uncomfortable, you'll start to hate putting them on and chances are as a beginner you wouldn't be utilizing the full potential of an expensive pair of shoes anyhow.

Just my two cents.

Mathias · · Loveland, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 290

Do you always ask for the same make and model shoes at the gym? Do you have a preference at all?

If you've been bouldering for a month and a half, you already know you like it. So yes, you should buy some shoes.

Clare Angelora · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 30

My first pair of climbing shoes were some type of Mad Rock lace-up- I don't recommend them because they were really clunky.  My second pair were the Evolve Elektras which were a great entry level shoe that fit me perfectly. I believe I used to get them for $70-80 online which was worth it to me since I was climbing 3-4x a week.  I've been climbing for 7 years so now I spend in the low-mid $100 for climbing shoes. With experience I've learned what style of shoe I like and what I'm comfortable spending. I recommend to also do some research, google "best budget climbing shoe" or something like that.

I think when you're starting out, it doesn't necessarily matter what TYPE of shoe you get. Get the one that fits YOU the best and is within YOUR budget. 

bkozak · · Sterling, VA · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 70

I have bought 6 pairs of shoes and the most I have spent on one pair was $87.  As mentioned above, eBay has good deals, but Campsaver is the best.  They do free return shipping if the shoes don't fit and you need a different size.  They have really good prices too.  I highly recommend Evolv shoes as they are great quality and you can find them super cheap on Campsaver and on Evolvs website in their closeout section.  But word of advice, try some in in a store somewhere beforehand to get an understanding of their sizing.  I wear 10.5 sneakers and an 11.5 in Evolvs, if that gives you a clue.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

Yes you should get shoes. Try them on first so that you get a good fit. FIT IS KEY. Nice shoes are nice to have, but if you are not sure you're going to stick with climbing long enough to get the investment out of the shoes then I would recommend getting some Evolv shoes. They are good entry level shoes and better rubber than the super cheap La Sportiva Oxygym or Tarantulas. La Sportiva's better shoes have better rubber. The Evolv rubber is good. 

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
bkozak wrote:

I have bought 6 pairs of shoes and the most I have spent on one pair was $87.  As mentioned above, eBay has good deals, but Campsaver is the best.  They do free return shipping if the shoes don't fit and you need a different size.  They have really good prices too.  I highly recommend Evolv shoes as they are great quality and you can find them super cheap on Campsaver and on Evolvs website in their closeout section.  But word of advice, try some in in a store somewhere beforehand to get an understanding of their sizing.  I wear 10.5 sneakers and an 11.5 in Evolvs, if that gives you a clue.

This sizing note is right on. I also wear a 10-10.5 in street shoes and 11-11.5 in Evolvs. And I can attest that their shoes are great. And their customer service. Had a shoe start to delaminate after a few months and they gladly resoled the pair for free.

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 93

If you enjoy the sport, and know you are going to stick with it, then bite the bullet and buy some shoes.  Renting shoes stinks (sometimes literally).  

For your first pair of shoes there is no need to spend more than $100 either.  Most of the manufacturers make inexpensive beginner shoes.  Obviously they aren't going to perform as well as $160 shoes, but given that you only started climbing a month ago, you will wear out whatever shoe you buy before you will be climbing hard enough to need a better pair.  Also, beginner shoes tend to have more support, and a more comfortable shape than performance shoes.  This is important, because it will allow you to build up the strength in your feet and to develop good footwork.

There are killer deals on climbing shoes online, but you really need to buy your first pair at a store with knowledgeable staff where you can try on a bunch of shoes.  Fit/comfort is the most important thing, especially as a beginner, don't worry about things like brand, what type of rubber they use, or what kind of technology went into it.  All of the brands of climbing shoes are good, Mad Rock probably has the lowest quality, but even Mad Rocks are ok.  

Don't buy a shoe if you think you will have to break it in before you can comfortably walk around in them.  Some people will tell you to find a pair that fits the way you want it and then buy a size down from that in order to account for the shoe stretching out.  Don't do that for your first shoe.  Some shoes don't stretch at all, most shoes won't stretch in length, and even the most stretchy shoes won't stretch too much if they are sized comfortably.

Ken Graf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

It's worth buying the shoes just to be able to go barefoot in them. I've never used rental shoes with no socks, skeeves me out!

MP77 Phaneuf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 5
ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

My friend pair of shoes were in the 60-80$ range. They obviously aren't anywhere as good as the 160$ shoes I use today but they are probably a good place to start for your first pair.

Baba Fats · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Like everyone else said, it is definitely worth getting a pair.  You don't need, or even want, to get really expensive shoes until you've been climbing for a while, though.  Those higher end shoes tend to have thinner rubber which wears out faster (especially when you haven't developed good footwork technique).  Plus those expensive shoes are softer.  So until you strengthen your feet and toes, you want to have shoe that is more sturdy and can support your muscles as they grow.  

The benefits of having your own shoes are huge.  First, you can wear them barefoot.  Second, you get the break them in to form to the shape of your own foot.  Third,  rentals are used (obviously).  So the rubber is not in as great shape as a pair of new shoes.  When you get your own for the first time, you see how much easier standing on small hold is because the edge of the rubber is not worn down.  This will help push your farther faster as your probably wont be rolling off polished edges as often.  

If your gym sells shoes, try on as many pairs with flat lasts and harder rubber.  Find something that is comfortable.  You want your feet to fit snug, but not be painful.  Don't worry about downsizing or any of the rhetoric you'll hear from some climbers about how curled your toes should be to get the max performance.  For beginner shoes, you'll want your toes to be either flat but touching the front of the shoe, or very slightly bent (not curled).  Early on, let the stiffness of the sole support your weight.  After a while, your feet and toe muscles will be developed enough to starting putting more and more of your weight directly on your big toe.  

mark felber · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 28

The rental shoes I've used tended to be pretty beat up and well used, which is a pretty good reason to get your own shoes. Try them on before you buy them, it's hard to tell how a pair of shoes will fit from a website description. If that means paying a few extra bucks, pay the few extra bucks. There are probably online bargains to be had for <$100, but if you don't like the fit then the money you saved won't mean much. Moving into the $120 - $200 range usually means that you get a better made pair of shoes that can be resoled a few times before it needs to be replaced.

Ancent · · Reno, NV · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 42

All of my gym shoes were either hand-me-downs or bought for <~$50. There are great used shoes sold here, or depending where you live, find an outdoor consignment store. I just got a like-new pair for cheap last week.

or

https://www.backcountry.com/climbing-shoes?sort=%2Bprice   [this link should just show a sorted by price]

Just get a good cheap shoe. If you start climbing harder or outside, investing in a better more expensive shoe down the line will be worth it. Worst case, you'll eventually have two pairs, and having a cheap conformable beater pair is worthwhile if you stick with the sport.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply