An in-depth look at the top climbing shoes of the year, for everything from rock hugging and sporting to multi-pitch traditions
We love climbing shoes, and we bet you do too. The good news for climbers is that there are more styles and quality designs to choose from than ever before. Whether you’re looking for an aggressive low-profile shoe for bouldering, a precision grind for long limestone routes, or a comfortable shoe for all-day granite climbing, we have our top pick for 2022. For more information, see the comparison chart and buying advice below. If you’re just starting out in the sport, check out our list of the best climbing shoes for beginners.
La Sportiva Samurai Knife Lace
Despite its price tag, the La Sportiva Katana Lace is a very popular shoe, and our testers only had to use a few balls to understand why. the Katana offers amazing edge grinding power and precision with a subtle downward lean design that doesn’t require you to give up comfort entirely. The narrow toe profile solidifies the shoe’s credentials for steep pocket pulls and thin crack climbs. Add to that the stiff and responsive feel of its Vibram XS Edge sole, and you have a shoe that is perfectly suited for almost any type of rope climbing. We’re also happy to report that we reiterate our praise for the recently updated Katana Lace version.
The Katana is also a narrower shoe, so people with wider feet should consider a similar design in a larger size. One possibility is the Scarpa Instinct Lace, which has a similar downturn and toe profile, but a wider midsole and heel. While there are arguably better shoes for high-end rock-hugging climbing, for everything else, Katana is ready to go.
Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoe
An oft-quoted piece of climbing wisdom is that the best climbers are the ones who have the most fun. A comfortable pair of shoes can help add to that fun factor. For beginners, it pays to wear a pair of shoes with a neutral fit and a soft toe, like the Black Diamond Momentum shoe. This design allows your toe socks to sit flat like in any other shoe – an easier transition for novice to climbing feet. This shoe still offers a tight fit and sticky rubber to provide grip while remaining comfortable and relaxed. The engineered knit upper on the shoe mimics your favorite running shoe: flexibility and room to breathe along with the security you need to perform.
Two hook-and-loop closures hold your feet in place while easily popping out when you’re resting or providing protection for your climbing partner. If you’re just getting started in the sport, or if you’re an intermediate climber looking for a more comfortable pair of climbing shoes for a day of flat routes at the crag or gym, these are less expensive and are the perfect entry-level shoe
The Mago is banana-shaped, with an extremely low arc, and designed for a specific purpose: gripping, hooking, sliding and sloping down steep slopes.
The latest version of the Mago was recently released in 2022, and we think it’s a major improvement. Designed by legendary craftsman Heinz Mariacher, the new Mago is a master of overhanging terrain.
We tested the Mago on the steep granite and sandstone of the Colorado Front Range, and it really showed its mark on the treacherous walls of Staunton State Park. the Mago’s aggressive asymmetry generates a lot of power in the big toe without sacrificing agility.
Right out of the box, we immediately noticed how comfortable the insole of this high-strength shoe was. Even at a size smaller than our street shoes, the Mago never caused cramping or “take these off now” pain. The microfiber interior is very soft and the stitching between the panels is very crisp.
The Mago’s real domain is steep terrain, but it also climbs well enough on technical verticals. The fiberglass shank in the midsole provides a bit of support, but we definitely don’t think of the Mago as a frayed edge shoe.
As for durability, the new Mago is more durable than its predecessor. Even with a worn outsole, we still got great edges and grip.
Best for beginners: Butora Endeavor
When you start climbing, you may hear people tell you that climbing shoes should be sized smaller than your normal shoe size and can be very uncomfortable. We’re here to tell you otherwise. If you’re more concerned about toe pain than technique, you’re not doing yourself any favors. So, as a beginner hiker, you should look for a comfortable, moderately priced and powerful pair of shoes. the Butora Endeavor will help you gain confidence on the wall as you learn to trust your feet on tiny foot points and volume.
These modest shoes have plush uppers and Velcro straps on the reverse side, so you can tighten them when you need to try hard. Plus, the reinforced heel is stiff enough to learn comfortably when you start hooking your heel. Unlike most hiking shoes, these also come in wide and narrow versions, so you can find the best fit for your feet.
Five Point Ten Anasazi Pro
The secret weapon to conquering the rocks is right here. the Anasazi Pro hiking shoe offers unparalleled and amazing performance. the Stealth outsole and toe patch provide excellent friction in volume, thus allowing you to move without restriction.
Over time, your feet start to get tired and moldy, so it’s vital that the hiking shoe has some form of ventilation to keep them fresh. This is exactly what Fifty Cent incorporated into the model. They have placed an unlined synthetic upper and a mesh tongue that provides much needed breathability during long climbs.
You can finally tackle climbing with peace of mind without worrying about those overwhelming thoughts that your feet tend to sweat.