Gear Talk: Climbing Shoes for Every Occasion

When it comes to crushing, climbing shoes are a girls’ best friend.  It can make the difference between sending and slipping.  In our Women’s Bouldering Clinics, we’re often asked: what kind of climbing shoe should I get?

That depends – what kind of climber are you, and what type of routes are you planning to get on?


We’ve compiled a list of our Top 5 climbing shoes for every occasion – whether it’s gym climbing, outdoor bouldering, trad climbing, or sport climbing, We’ve also included our favorite all-round shoe for those who are looking for a multi-purpose solution that fits their budget and needs!






Gym Climbing

We swear by our La Sportiva Testarossas; thanks to their down-turned profile, they’re our secret (expensive) weapon when it comes to edging and flawless footwork.  Full disclosure:  their aggressive shape means that they’re not the most comfortable shoe, but if you’re looking to slip into something that will deliver peak performance, these are it!




For beginner climbers, we recommend La Sportiva’s Katanas, which are a lot less aggressive than the Testarossas, but are a heck of a lot better performance-wise than your average gym climbing shoe rental. Admittedly, I’m biased because these were my first pair of climbing shoes, and I wore them to death in the gym and eventually outdoors.








Outdoor Bouldering/Single-Pitch Sport Climbing

We love La Sportiva’s Miura VS like we love our Manolo Blahnik strappy sandals – these should be a staple in every Bouldering Babes’ shoe closet for their versatility, sleek style, and overall performance. They’re easy to slip on and off, which make them ideal for both indoor and outdoor climbing.  But don’t let their cuteness fool you; this is an aggressive shoe with a down-turned profile for the intermediate+ climber.






Trad Climbing/Multi-Pitch Sport Climbing

We were lucky enough to test drive a pair of Evolv Rockstars when they first launched in late 2009, and it was love at first sight.  We were smitten with their hot pink design,  and their flat profile provides a comfortable fit while giving impressive traction on all types of rock – from limestone to sandstone to granite – making them optimal for multi-pitch trad and bolted routes.


All-Round Climbing

Our Anasazis by Five Ten fit the bill for the best all-around climbing shoe for beginners and experts alike – whether you’re sending indoors or outside.  With a low to moderate downturn, these are best for sport climbing and bouldering, but we’ve also taken them for a spin on multi-pitch trad climbs and were satisfied.  Note that the LV specializes in narrower feet for foot-hugging support.

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