Our Top Pick After 25 Hours of Reviewing and Testing:
High-quality shoe (contains high-quality rubber)
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The results are in!
We’re back from a full weekend of testing intermediate climbing shoes for comfort, grip, feel, and value for money.
We started with a dozen and cut that group in half to leave only the best 6 intermediate climbing shoes. Surprisingly, most are extremely affordable. You don’t need to drop hundreds to get a great shoe.
There are two key things you need to know about our results before buying…
One, my glutes are on FIRE!
And two, there’s a huge difference between beginner and intermediate shoes. You need to make sure you get the right fit, grip, and style for more challenging crags or they’ll wear out quickly – you could even put yourself at serious risk.
Ready to find the perfect climbing shoe? Here are our top 6 picks:
Best Intermediate Climbing Shoes In 2023
How do you shop for the best intermediate climbing shoes? To be honest with you, shopping for climbing shoes is not as easy as you might think. You have to know the features and attributes to look for in a shoe before spending your money on it. There are a lot of climbing shoes in the market, but not all are ideal for you. Some climbing shoes are reserved for beginners while others are designed to be used by experts. We have done the hard work for you by testing out all the climbing shoes we could get hold of and given you a breakdown on which ones you should buy.
1. La Sportiva Miura Climbing Shoe
La Sportiva Miura shoes for men and women are such an effective companion for intermediate climbers. These shoes are sensitive to grip on cracks and rough rocks, have effective friction experience on boulders, precise on edges and a very comfortable fit, in fact, one of the most popular intermediate climbing shoes due to their versatility and reliability. This is an excellent choice for climbing on terrain and steep surfaces due to the highly asymmetrical shape combined with a flatter last. La Sportiva Miura shoes have the following distinct features.
Fast Lacing System
The lacing system is tight and has a quick-pull harness. This will help you regulate the inner volume by wrapping the foot tight for excellent support, fit and comfort; however, you need to pick the right size to fully enjoy the effectiveness of its Fast Lacing System. The fit should be tight but not painful and without pressure points.
It embodies a grippy 4mm Vibram XS Edge rubber sole and a highly tensioned Slingshot Rand which transfers power to the toes for you to smear, hook and edge professionally.
Climb in Comfort
Although the leather upper is soft, it’s tough, classic and supportive. There is no doubt the Miura is the most appropriate shoe for crags and gym. The Dentex lining is moist-wicking, keeps feet dry and comfortable all day long.
Built to last
Its upper is 100% leather. It’s constructed from the industry’s leading materials for high performance and durability. The 1.1mm LaspoFlex forefoot midsole is lightweight and designed for maximum torsional rigidity.
2. Scarpa Vapor V (Men and Women) Climbing Shoe – BEST FOR STEEP TRAD CLIMBING
As an intermediate climber, this is the shoe you need. It is a high-performance footwear for climbing, hiking, mountaineering, trail running and other outdoor sports. It’s a precise versatile shoe with an asymmetrical and slightly downturn fit and Bitensional Randing. The rand connects beneath the toes and pulls backwards to the heel structure rather than jam the toes forward i.e. no slingshot randing. The Scarpa Vapor V is your comfortable shoe for any climbing adventures. Below are some of the key attributes of this shoe.
Bi-tension Active Randing
This provides the ultimate in toe power. It’s made with the ideal level of tension for a good fit that increases sensitivity and also provides enough padding and support to perform climbing without pain.
Dual Power Strap
The strap features a dual power closure so you can customize the fit for the ideal amount of snugness, meaning there is room for adjustability.
The slit style rubber sole makes this climbing shoe more flexible for greater control and sensitivity. You can feel the ground you are stepping on. The flexible soft sole is ideal for steep overhangs and high grad, requiring sensitivity and a great amount of agility.
This gives support and strength to the vertical toes and allows climbers to claw tiny holds. The downturn also enables a comfortable drop; ideal design for intermediate climbers.
Achilles friendly design
The Scarpa Vapor V shoe is made with lower tension on the Achilles tendon for a noticeable increase in comfort.
3. Five Ten Anasazi LV (Low volume) Climbing Shoe – BEST FOR SLAB SPORT CLIMBING
This is a cutting edge design of a woman’s climber. It’s a leader in performance and high friction footwear. It will make an excellent choice in rock climbing, downhill mountain bike racing, wingsuit flying to kayaking. Five Ten is a real footwear for the world’s most dangerous sports. The Five Ten Anasazi LV women’s specific climbing shoes are best for climbers with small or narrow feet that are looking for high performance and versatile shoe. The shoe has a low instep with a higher arch and has an extremely comfortable and narrow heel cup. Moreover, the rubber outsole is sticky and durable. Also, the synthetic upper is secure but will have some stretch over time as the shoe forms to your feet.
In general, the moderately downturned shoe with a medium midsole stiffness is sensitive enough for your toes to feel every crack and bump. Get yourself the right size of this shoe for effectiveness, comfort, and durability. It comes with the following features;
Stealth C4 Rubber
This high friction rubber is used on most Five Ten shoes due to its all-round performance and versatility. It gives your shoes the results that work in harmony with your expectations.
Lined Synthetic Cowdray upper
It reduces stretch for a good comfortable fit long enough. Synthetic shoes don’t stretch much; they soften up slightly with use. The Cowdray upper lining allows feet to breathe and wick away sweat giving your feet a healthy all-day feel.
Low- Volume Heel and Forefoot
This feature gives Five Ten Anasazi LV shoe a unique feel of comfort. The slightly downturned shape makes them good for technical climbing. What’s more? The shoes are all-purpose; they can handle slab routes, crack climbing, long multi-pitch climbs and slightly overhang sort routes.
4. Five Ten Hiangle Climbing Shoe
I have a personal experience with a 5.10 Rogues and they are very wonderful. For intermediate climbers, the aggressive ones are more ideal. They are a tight fit, stretch slightly and the toe expands width-wise to the shape of your feet nicely. This is ideal for wide feet. In overall the fit is good; they snug around the right parts. Five Ten Hiangle has a nice downturn that provides a decently comfortable feel for your overhang climbing. The rubber is also amazing.
Stealth C4 Rubber Outsole (4.2mm)
This is a high friction rubber that gives the Five Ten Hiangle its all-round performance and versatility. It allows your feet to stick well on bare edges, lock into smears and microscopic nubbins and cruise up technical terrain with confidence.
Unlined Leather Upper with Half Size-Stretch
Unlined leather is much breathable and conforms to the shape of your feet. This gives the 5.10 Hiangle a comfortable feel and more efficiency in climbing.
Stiff aggressive model
The downturned shape of this shoe will put your feet into a stronger, more powerful position than neutral shoes. It will help you climb more challenging routes and make more advanced moves like heel-hooking easier provided you have the right fit.
Stiff toe box
These shoes have an asymmetric shape that curves toward the big toe focusing power over the toe for precise placements on small holds. The downturned toes and heel tension puts your feet in a strong and powerful position to challenge those overhanging climbs.
5. Five ten Anasazi VCS Climbing Shoe
The Five Ten VCS is a great performance shoe for smearing and edging from what you are about to see. It excels at face climbing, crack climbing and is designed to tackle the vertical realm. It is comfortable and as a result ideal for multi-pitch routes. You can also boulder in it with success.
The Anasazi VCS shoes are also durable due to its tough Stealth Oryxx rubber. This makes it able to hold up for a long time. The rubber is both hard and sticky thus making it ideal for smearing and edging. Besides, it is made of synthetic leather that does not stretch easily lengthwise. It is a beautiful mixture of edging capability, durability and comfort. It doesn’t force you to sacrifice much comfort for performance – a decision most high-performance climbing shoes force you to make. If you are looking for a shoe for the game, this is a top choice. The Anasazi VCS is distinct in the following.
The Anasazi VCS holds an edge such that when you are wearing them, you feel like they could climb anything. It excels through friction in such a way that you can support yourself on small edges. It’s definitely a top pick for edging and sensitivity.
Though the rubber is a little soft for crack climbing and the Velcro closure can get in the way, the shoe is adapted for this terrain. The shoe is sufficiently rigid to withstand significant torqueing in jams and standing flat in cracks is also very comfortable.
The Oryxx rubber used on this shoe is not only very sticky but also allows you to feel virtually every feature in the rock. It is a tough shoe that does not rely on the climber’s foot for appropriate structure. It is an incredible performer on granite slab and face climbs where friction rules.
This is one of the most comfortable high-end shoes. A flat foot and slightly rounded toe makes the shoe comfortable and although this feature isn’t the best for climbers, it doesn’t compromise its performance at all.
6. Butora Acro Climbing Shoe
This shoe has an aggressive asymmetry. It tackles steep sport routes and technical boulder problems. The downturned shoe provides a slipper-like fit for a narrow foot. It is also ideal for wide feet due to its stretchy characteristics.
The upper part consists of soft synthetic and natural leather that ultimately ensures a comfortable and personalized fit. In keeping with the slipper concept, Butora Acro is outfitted with a triple hook, fork and loop strap that encourage convenience combined with functionality.
The high tensioned heel delivers power to the forefront of the foot or the front toe to provide premium edging and no matter the rock or terrain the large sticky toe patch assures steadfast and secure toe hooking for your confidence and enhanced climbing prowess. The Butora comes with the following features:
German Split Leather
The upper is made of German Split Leather Nylon mesh and Silicon sponge for moisture management.
This feature gives the shoe dominance on steep sport routes and technical boulder problems.
Butyl Butora F5 rubber
The sole type of rubber has sharp corners for toeing on minute crystals and side-stepping imaginary edges.
Padded tongue and hook on loop
The stretchy, padded mesh tongue combined with Butora’s unique triple fork hook and strap provides a slipper like fit for narrower footed rock warrior’s.
I have provided the top six best intermediate shoes for climbing for both narrow and wide feet. These shoes are also highly recommended by experienced climbers who have purchased and used them. Consider which features will be the most convenient for you before you purchase and you will have the best climbing experience.
How To Choose Intermediate Climbing Shoes
There are varieties of climbing shoes for you in the market today, and probably it’ll be difficult for you to pick the right product. If you are stuck on which one to get, here is some advice on what to look for before you make your decision.
You want your shoes to hold up to all that scraping, dragging and general wear and tear you’ll put them through. They should last long enough.
Your Preferred Closure Style
There is no specific closure style that is best suited for climbing. That means you should pick shoes with the closure style that you prefer. For climbing, you need a highly customizable fit to keep your shoes on for longer periods of time. The laces should also work well with you.
Climbing shoes can either have flat or downturned soles. The more aggressive the downturn the better the shoe for steep and overhang terrain. Pick your selection according to the terrain you’ll spend most of your time on. For an intermediate and advanced climber, pick the shoe with a more aggressive downturn. These shoes are effective in bouldering; they grip well over cracks, friction precision edges, and a comfortable fit. Consider the following shoes for the proper choice.