Best Overall Climbing Shoes
La Sportiva Genius
Highest end performance shoe on the market
Excellent edging and sensitivity
Great comfort and pocket performance
From the folks that first brought you down-turned shoes, the La Sportiva Genius
is the product of multiple advancements in climbing shoe technology. More than just the evolution of the No Edge concept, the Genius borrows the best features from the La Sportiva arsenal for it's design. The Genius is perfectly ready for a projecting session right out of the box and will stay that way until you finally wear through the toe. Use this model for sport clipping, bouldering, and high-end traditional climbing, the Genius will not disappoint. Though three shoes (the Katana Lace, Genius, and Futura) all tied for the highest score in our test, we have decided to grant the highest honor to the innovative Genius. If you aren't ready to spend almost $200 on a pair of climbing shoes, then take a look at one of these other high performance models.
Best for Budget-Minded
Mad Rock Flash 2.0
Good general climbing shoe
Lots of heel/arch space
Only moderate performance
The folks at Mad Rock have accomplished their goal by creating an affordable, durable shoe that climbs well. The Mad Rock Flash
has the second lowest price of any shoe we reviewed, and is by far the superior performer of the two. Of the budget shoes we reviewed, this is the one we would consider when climbing at or near our grade. It has great versatility of use, being equally appropriate for gym and general outdoor climbing. The Flash is comfortable, and both easy to put on and take off.
Top Pick Award for All-Around Climbing and Bouldering
La Sportiva Katana Lace
Can be hard to find
The La Sportiva Katana Lace
is one of our favorite shoes from the field tests. It ranked near the top in all assessed categories. The Katana Lace came closer to doing everything well than any shoe we have ever used. We used it on welded tuff and other volcanic rock, on granite sport and trad climbs, on limestone, and on sandstone. This shoe performed solidly everywhere we took it. As a true all arounder, it didn't rank at the top of any category; instead, the Katana Lace wins this award for its incredible versatility. La Sportiva also carries the classic Katana Velcro
, but be aware of the varying differences between the Katana Lace and Velcro.
Top Pick Award for Multi-Pitch and Crack Climbing
La Sportiva TC Pro
Solid crack climbing
Good all-around shoe
Limited sport/bouldering use
The La Sportiva TC Pro
deserves attention for being a solid all-arounder that still excels as a multi-pitch trad climbing shoe. This shoe edges extremely well, letting you leave the crack systems behind and tackle some serious face climbing with confidence. When the climb brings you back to the cracks, the TC Pro handles them better than most. Not to mention this shoe provides some ankle protection because of the higher cuff. If you find yourself groveling up something wide, this shoe actually prevents you from getting ankle gobies.