Choosing Your Indoor Rock Climbing Shoes

If you enjoy spending your free time in an indoor rock climbing gym, you’ll need to know exactly what the best type of indoor rock climbing shoes are for you personally. The main types are neutral, moderate and aggressive, with features like laces, straps, linings and rubber directly affecting the performance of your shoes. Here is everything you need to know in order to kill the next challenge at your local bouldering gym!

Indoor Rock Climbing Shoes

Type of shoes

When you take up indoor rock climbing as a hobby, you not only have to decide which rock climbing gym is perfect for you; your shoes are equally as important! 

Neutral

This style of rock climbing shoes provide all-day comfort, thick rubber soles for good support, and are somewhat flat, which makes them perfect for sliding into the cracks that other types of shoes would prove difficult.

Moderate

Going with a moderate shoe entails several unique factors, such as their slightly downturned shape, which puts your feet into a more powerful position than neutral shoes would, assisting in more challenging routes. However, they aren’t quite as performance-oriented like aggressive shoes are, and they aren’t nearly as comfortable as neutral shoes.

Aggressive

The Aggressive rock climbing shoes might be the least comfortable of the styles, but they give the ultimate performance! You can take on some of the biggest rock climbing challenges with ease with the Aggressive approach, since they are more attentive to grip and feel of the shoe.

Shoe Features 

There are three types of closures for indoor rock climbing footwear: lace-up, strap, and slip-on. Each type has different positives and negatives about them.

Lace-up

Pros

  • Most versatile

  • Can loosen laces when your feet get hot or swollen

Cons

  • Not best for difficult pitches and/or climbs

Strap

Pros

  • Easier removal for convenience

  • Great for bouldering and gym climbing

Cons

  • Might not be the most comfortable

Slip-on

Pros

  • Greatest sensitivity of all the shoes

  • Best for training

  • Lower profile, making them easier to slot into thinner cracks

Cons

  • Not recommended for extremely challenging climbs

Materials

Unlined Leather

Pros

  • Stretch to full size

Cons

  • All-leather shoes tend to bleed the shoe colors onto your foot

Lined Leather

Pros

  • Lined leather is likely to stretch less than unlined leather

Cons

  • Some shoemakers only line the toe area to keep costs down and reduce stretch where it occurs more often

Synthetic Materials

Pros

  • Don’t stretch much

  • Soften slightly after multiple uses

  • Some materials are more breathable than the leather

Cons

  • Non-perforated synthetic materials have very little give

Wrap Up

With all of this being said, there are still a few more specific details you should consider before buying shoes to go to a rock climbing gym, but these are the basics that you need to know! Before heading out to your favorite Denver rock climbing gym, you should make sure that your chosen shoe has hit all the needed marks with your preferences. Your perfect shoes are out there-- you just have to find them!