5 Best Vegan Climbing Shoes Reviewed In 2023
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Shopping for climbing shoes is absolutely easy if you know what you are looking for. Unfortunately, it becomes extremely difficult if you are going to narrow your search to vegan friendly shoes. I have a few friends who bought shoes thinking that they were vegan friendly only to find out that they had animal extracts. I have spent a few months trying to find 100% vegan shoes and it was absolutely hectic. All in all, I managed to find at least 5 vegan climbing shoes that might amaze you. In addition, I will give you a few factors to consider as you shop for vegan-friendly climbing shoes.
The 5 Best Vegan Climbing Shoes In 2023:
Reviews Of The Best Vegan Climbing Shoes
1. Tenaya Tarifa Climbing Shoe
Tenaya Tarifa is the most ideal choice for people who are looking for a vegan shoe that can tackle technical faces. It’s one of those shoes that does not have any animal extracts. Advanced climbers may find this to be one of the best climbing shoes because of its incredible edging prowess and its high levels of sensitivity. Let’s see why most vegan climbers love these shoes.
If you are looking for a shoe that edges so well, then you might want to look at the Tenaya Tarifa. During my testing process, I honestly didn’t expect such a soft shoe to perform well in terms of edging. Its edging prowess can be attributed to the Tenaya’s RB Range X technology which makes climbing in these shoes easier and more intuitive.
This pair of shoes comes with a narrow pointed toe that makes it ideal for small pockets. With this pair of shoes, you can easily pull yourself on steep pockets.
In terms of sensitivity, the Tarifas is definitely at the top. You can manage to feel all the rock features that you are stepping on. This is definitely a great shoe for cragging and limestone sport climbing.
If you are a climber with narrow feet, you will obviously love climbing in these shoes. Their narrow design makes these shoes very comfortable especially when smearing and edging.
This great pair of shoes have a soft cotton-lined tongue which is designed to evenly distribute pressure on the top of your feet even when you pull your shoelaces tight. Moreover, the heel is well designed to ensure that you won’t experience any kind of Achilles pain.
- Great vegan climbing shoe for narrow feet
- Incredible sensitivity and edging prowess
- Has a soft padded upper
- Quick lacing system
- Not great for crack climbing
2. Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe
If you are looking for a great vegan climbing shoe for beginners, the Evolv Defy should be your best bet. This awesome shoe can perform almost all climbing functions extremely well, only that it is not that good for edging. On the flip side, I don’t think you will need a performance-oriented sho especially if you are a beginner. You will be good to go with a comfortable shoe. Anyway, let’s jump straight to the factors that make the Evolv Defy one of the best vegan climbing shoes.
As you would expect of any beginner climbing shoe, the Evolv Defy is a comfy shoe. It comes with a flat profile sole and toe box for added comfort when climbing all day. Unlike Advanced climbing shoes, you don’t have to take off the Evolv Defy when you are not climbing. This can be explained by the fact that these shoes are comfortable and do not have any pressure points.
Honestly, I didn’t notice any durability issues when testing the Evolv Defy. These shoes have been well designed to withstand harsh treatment. You can use them for all your climbing sessions without experiencing any tears. Of course, this is only possible when you pick the right size.
As I stated earlier, the Evolv Defy is a beginner specific shoe and should not be slated for lack of performance. Apart from its poor edging and precision capabilities, the Evolv Defy deserves some props for its prowess in smearing and crack climbing. This shoe has a very sensitive and sticky sole to ensure that your feet can hold on tiny rock features.
- Great shoes for beginners
- Impressive smearing and crack climbing capabilities
- It is durable
- It is very comfortable
- Sturdy and sticky velcro straps
- It smells really bad if not taken off
- Not designed for edging
3. La Sportiva Oxygym Vegan Climbing Shoe
La Sportiva is definitely one of the best and most popular brands in the climbing sport. Most of their products are top notch and most climbers like to associate with them. The Oxygym is definitely one of the most stylish gym climbing shoes around. Most importantly, this shoe does not have any animal extracts thus making them vegan friendly. If you are looking for a shoe that is 100% machine washable, look no further than the La Sportiva Oxygym. At least you won’t have to worry about stinking feet if you decide to go with the Oxygym. Anyway, below are some of the attributes that are worth mentioning.
The La Sportiva Oxygym is a shoe that is designed with the needs of beginners in mind. This means that you will definitely enjoy climbing and hiking in these flat profile shoes. Besides, these shoes feature a more neutral shape to eliminate any chances of pain or discomfort. The Oxygym is absolutely a great shoe for long climbing sessions at the gym. Besides, its flat and rigid sole reduces the effort needed to support your body on small edges.
Just by looking at the outside appearance of the La Sportiva Oxygym, you will notice that it is perfectly designed for climbing during hot days. For starters, the shoe has three layers with the top one being extremely breathable. The bottom layer is basically an AirTex Silver Lining that keeps your feet dry.
I am pretty sure you will love the 2 hooks and loop velcro closure system which makes it easy to take off your shoes in between the sessions.
As you well know, most beginner climbing shoes are popular for having thick soles. The La Sportiva is no different as it comes with a 5mm FriXion RS rubber thus making it extremely durable.
The only issue about its thick sole is the fact that it doesn’t have good edging capabilities. You should definitely look elsewhere if you want a sensitive shoe.
- Exceptional value for money
- Extremely durable and comfortable
- Looks great
- Has a neutral shape and flat profile
- Unique ability to eliminate odor
- Poor edging and smearing abilities
4. Five Ten Team VXI Climbing Shoe
In case you didn’t like our top three vegan climbing shoes, you might want to check out the Five Ten Team VXI climbing shoe. You all know that the Five Ten has been one of the leading brands in outdoor sports. All their shoes are designed to offer you a great experience. I absolutely love these vegan shoes simply because of their soft, lightweight and sticky nature. Honestly, these shoes are a game changer when it comes to technical climbs. Below are the attributes that make this shoe great:
High quality rubber
The Five Tens climbing shoes are notoriously known for their sticky rubber soles. This particular model comes with the Mi6 stealth rubber and it’s considered to be elastic and gummy-like. There is no doubt that this sole makes the VXI a great shoe for smearing on smooth surfaces. I was even surprised that this rubber can stick absolutely well on glass surfaces.
Apart from its stellar performance, the rubber sole does not tear easily. It is durable enough to last you a few years.
The VXI performs really well during technical climbing; this can be attributed to the aggressive downturned shape of the shoe. Despite its downturned toe, this climbing shoe performs really well in terms of smearing. Not every shoe that has a downturned toe can smear nicely, however, the VXI can do it comfortably because it’s stretchy and soft.
The VXIs excel at heel and toe hooking especially because of its rubber wrapped uppers. Besides, the heel area is just as sticky as the rubber sole. With this pair of shoes, you can do all types of smear scummy hooking.
The VXI is definitely one of those performance oriented shoes that do not compromise with comfort levels. The shoe is absolutely comfortable for climbers who suffer from corns. You can tolerate this shoe during long climbing sessions. As long as you choose the perfect size, you will enjoy wearing these shoes.
- They are highly sensitive and great for smearing
- They’re are designed to excel on overhanging terrain
- Comes with a very sticky rubber
- Great for heel and toe hooking
- Not suitable for precision footwork and vertical edging
5. Mad Rock Redline Vegan Climbing Shoe
The Mad Rock Redline is yet another awesome climbing shoe for vegans. Although it happens to be our last pick, I can tell you for sure that it is a well designed climbing shoe. Despite its fancy look, as a beginner, you should not be tempted to choose this pair of kicks as it might be too aggressive for you. This shoe is specifically designed for beginners and intermediate climbers. Below are some of the few features you might like about the Mad Rock Redline.
Despite having an aggressive downturn, this pair of shoes is very comfortable for advanced climbers. This is evident from the fact that the upper side is perforated to allow for air circulation. Besides, the shoes come with an Arch Flex system that gives you a comfortable and glove-like fit.
When it comes to performance, the Mad Rock Redline is definitely on another level. This aggressive shoe will make technical climbs look absolutely easy. The shoe boasts of a concave sole that allows climbers to use their feet to grab on holds especially when doing overhangs. The Mad Rock Redline is absolutely great when it comes to tackling steep boulders. This explains why its aggressive design focusses power on the toe area.
- Great for steep climbing, overhanging routes and technical climbs
- It’s very sensitive
- It’s breathable and comfortable
- Too aggressive for beginners
Now that you know which brands make good vegan climbing shoes, the ball is now on your court. All the shoes in this roundup make great vegan shoes for climbers. All you have to do is choose the one that suits your climbing needs. You can rent some of these models at the gym so that you know which one is good for you.
Factors To Consider When Shopping For Vegan Climbing Shoes
Climbing Shoe Type
Climbing shoes are subdivided into three main categories; there are beginner, intermediate and aggressive shoes. Beginner Shoes tend to be flat and comfortable while the other categories have a downturned shape and thin sole.
The other important factor you ought to consider is the closure system. Would you prefer a lacing system, slipper system or velcro closure system? Velcro and slippers are absolutely great if you are looking for aggressive shoes; you may want to take off your shoes more often if your shoes are aggressive. Beginners can go with a lacing closure system as they won’t have to remove the shoes as often.
If you are leaning towards vegan climbing shoes, then you have to be careful to ensure that everything on your shoes is 100% vegan friendly.
A good vegan climbing shoe should be made with synthetic materials and should not have any animal extracts whatsoever.
Unless you are planning to sacrifice comfort for performance, it is always good to choose a shoe that fits snugly without causing any pain. Always go for breathable and soft shoes so as to have a nice climbing experience.
The other important aspect is the nature of the rubber sole. Do you prefer a flat or concave sole? Do you like your sole thick or thin? Once you have answered these two questions, you will be in a better position to choose the best vegan climbing shoe.