A few years ago, women specific climbing shoes were hard to find. Most women had to settle with unisex or men climbing shoes. Nowadays, things have changed, and industry players have been coming up with shoes that are specifically designed for women. This shows that more and more women are joining the climbing community and therefore they can’t be ignored.
QUICK ANSWER – The Best Women’s Climbing Shoes
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Today there are so many women’s climbing shoes that have penetrated the market. This means you will have to struggle when trying to find the most suitable footwear for your climbing adventures. It is for this reason that I decided to curate an article about the best women’s climbing shoes in the market. Besides, I have also come up with a detailed guide to help you when choosing your first pair of shoes. I hope that this write up will enlighten you on everything about women’s climbing shoes.
COMPARISON TABLE – Womens Climbing Shoes
- La Sportiva KATAKI Womens Climbing Shoe
Climb Gear Hub Rating
- Closure : Lace up
- Material : Synthetic
- La Sportiva Womens Solution Performance Rock Climbing Shoe
Climb Gear Hub Rating
- Closure : Velcro
- Material : Leather/Lorica
5 Best Climbing Shoes For Women
Having searched relentlessly for the best climbing shoes for women, it took us several tests to finally come up with a list of the best. On top of the list was La Sportiva Kataki, a shoe that features a sock-like tongue and speed lacing system similar to that of the Katana. It has a narrow frame making it ideal for narrow-footed women.
The manufacturer claims that the Sportiva Kataki is ideal for steep climbing, however; we found them to be more useful in crack climbing especially when scaling technical granite rocks. This Kataki will floor the La Sportiva TC Pros and Katanas any day when it comes to technical edging and crack skills. In addition to this, the Kataki is equipped with a precision lacing system that ensures you won’t get blisters on your toes.
Although the shoe was a perfect fit, it wasn’t as comfortable as the Katana. They were a little bit uncomfortable, especially on long multi-pitch climbs. It was also uncomfortable during the first few days when breaking in but after successfully breaking the shoe was a nice fit.
La Sportiva Kataki is your go-to climbing shoe for technical climbs and granite. These shoes are designed with a P3 platform for optimal toe support, which allows you to stand even on tiny edges.
The La Sportiva Kataki offer all-round performance, and in areas like comfort where it falls short, it more than makes up for the short fall in edging and crack climbing. The shoe is designed to be a climbing work horse especially on edges, slabs and technical granite rocks and it doesn’t disappoint.
Are you looking for high performance, exceptional grip and comfort? Look no further, for the Anasazi LV is all that and more. It’s one of the comfiest women’s climbing shoes on the market. It outperforms most of its peers on vertical terrain precision and edging.
It has a narrow and significantly longer toe box as well as a higher arch and lower heel cup. This combination makes it ideal for women with slender feet. It also features well-padded tongue flaps for improved adjustability to fit different foot widths.
The Anasazi LV doesn’t disappoint when it crack climbing. We had a few doubts concerning its durability but surprisingly it held up well, and the only part that showed signs of wear were the laces.
It also has sufficient padding on top and rubber on the sides which comes in handy when attempting a vertical climb with wider cracks.
The Anasazi shoes scores highly in the sensitivity metric. We tested them on various surfaces, and it was interesting to note that they stuck to virtually any surface.
The manufacturer opted to use Five Ten C4 Stealth rubber which is known for its adhesive properties. When sized right the shoe fits comfortably but in case you picked a smaller fit, it stretches over time to fit your feet comfortably.
With such impressive sensitivity, it comes as no surprise that the Anasazi is the ideal edging shoe. It features sticky rubber that covers most parts making it suitable for edging. The problem we experienced was the lack of adequate support in the midsole.
The construction and design of this shoe may not be revolutionary, but its performance is. The rubber sole wears out quickly and will need regular resoling if the shoe is subjected to frequent use. Overall, the shoes performs quite well for its price.
We were a little bit skeptical when La Sportiva redesigned the Solution women’s climbing shoes, it wasn’t until we tried the shoe that we realized that the redesign was actually an improvement. There were a few changes in features and performance, but they retained the aggressive shape of the previous model.
The Sportiva Solution features a synthetic stretchy tongue and a unique lock harness that allows for adjustable fastening. Due to its aggressive shape, it takes time to break in, and it might be uncomfortable for the first few days. Its shape feels weird on your feet, but after few days of frequent use, it moulds to the shape of your foot.
The Sportiva Solution is a speciality shoe that gives you the extra boost you need for your upcoming projects. However, it performs poorly when used in crack climbing. Its all-round performance is way below its peers. The Sportiva Solution is ideal for beginners and moderate multi-pitch climbs.
Its fit is too aggressive that it would be too uncomfortable for crack climbing.
Like earlier mentioned, the Sportiva Solution lack that all-round performance exhibited in most climbing shoes for women. When it comes to edging, the solution also disappoints as it doesn’t have a stiff midsole which is necessary for standing on miniscule footholds.
It has a comfortable design and aggressive shape making it ideal for steep climbing. The downside of using these shoes is that they are designed for a specific terrain and thus they don’t offer that all-round performance necessary for crack climbing.
The Mad Rock Lotus was impressive to look at and even more impressive to wear. The shoes fit like they made for us, they fit perfectly. The shoes feature a padded tongue and a Velcro closure that is easily adjustable.
The rubber took a little bit more time to wear in but when it eventually did, the Lotus offered the best sensitivity and precision footwork we had seen in a long time. We tried testing the Lotus on granite slabs to test their stability on small footholds, and it didn’t disappoint. The only problem we experienced is that the midsole lacked sufficient support.
Before ordering this shoe, be sure to check the size, we experienced some problems with the fitting even though we ordered the same size we order for all shoes. Preferably, buy a size up as the shoes tend to run very small.
Over time the shoes will stretch out, but they will still be tight if you picked the wrong size. When we tried a size up, the shoes fit perfectly, and they were incredibly comfortable. The shoes are designed to conform to the user’s feet thus taking the shape of their feet without leaving gaps, especially in the arched and heels.
The lotus was not designed for crack climbing, you will not only be uncomfortable in these shoes, but you also risk damaging or wearing them out.
The Lotus is ideal for bouldering and gym. They are aggressive and have a sticky rubber which makes them suitable for steep climbing.
5. Evolv Kira
The Evolv Kira is one of the most basic climbing shoes, and it has a tremendous all-round performance. It features an asymmetrical toe box and a relatively flat shape which makes it ideal for beginners and intermediates.
While doing our research, we found that there were a few complaints about the size, with most saying that the shoe didn’t fit as advertised. The shoe runs small, and the best fit was 2-3 sizes up.
Keep that in mind when shopping online. Once you get the right size, the shoe should fit perfectly. Although the Kira has an all-round performance, its design focuses more on comfort than performance.
Overall, the Kira is very comfortable, however; we experienced a few issues with the heel. It wasn’t exactly the right fit and thus affected the comfort of the Evolv Kira.
The Kira is fairly sensitive, but it requires a little bit of time for the rubber to wear in. It has an above average sensitivity which makes it the perfect shoe for transitioning from a less aggressive model to a more aggressive shoe.
The Evolv Kira has an ergonomic design that comprises of a flat shape that is suitable for crack climbing. The flexibility on this shoe is impressive, it can be twisted, torqued and slotted into cracks with little or no difficulty.
If there is an aspect that Evolv Kira fails to impress, it’s edging. It lacks stiffness in the midsole and has a square toe box which further reduces its edging capabilities. The shoe performs better on low-angle terrain and slabs.
The Kira shoe is very basic yet fairly technical. According to the manufacturer, it’s ideal for multi-patch climbing and gym climbing. Aside from the problem with sizing and edging, the Kira outperformed its peers in all other aspects.
Types Of Climbing Shoes
Just like most outdoor sports shoes, climbing shoes come in different types. You have to know the various types before you even think of proceeding to shop for a pair. The type of climbing that you are going to participate in should determine the type of shoe you should go for. Let’s jump straight to the various types so that you get familiar with what I am saying.
As the name suggests, aggressive shoes are those that come with a bent sole. These shoes can be worn when climbing steep terrain and during bouldering. The bend on both ends of the shoe makes it great in terms of performance and sensitivity. These shoes have a high price tag and are specifically designed for professional climbers. The only issue with aggressive shoes is that you cannot wear them for long durations because they are not so comfortable.
If you are looking for shoes that you can wear all day, then traditional climbing shoes might be your best bet. These shoes are great for crack climbing because of their fitter toe and symmetrical design. Traditional shoes come with a slight downturn in order to enhance precision during technical climbs. When purchasing these shoes, make sure you go with a bigger size for the sake of comfort. Traditional shoes are great for climbing a multi-pitch route.
As you well know, every climber has to start from scratch when learning how to climb boulders and cracks. Manufacturers will always come up with beginner-specific shoes that will help rookies to advance to technical stuff. In most cases, beginner climbing shoes come with a thick sole and a flat profile. Unlike other types of shoes, this category concentrates more on comfort than performance . The good thing about beginner shoes is that they are affordable.
These are multi-purpose shoes, and they can be used on almost any type of climbing. You can go with All-round shoes if you don’t want to spend money in two or three pairs of climbing shoes. Besides, these shoes are great to have because sometimes you have no idea of the kind of climbing you might get involved with. With an All-round climbing shoe, you are assured of comfort, sensitivity and performance.
Factors To Consider When Shopping For Climbing Shoes
If you really want to be a pro when it comes to selecting the best women’s climbing shoes, then you have to consider all the following factors. These factors always come in handy when you have two or more shoes to choose from.
The reason why climbers don’t wear sneakers or street shoes is that they lack sensitivity. Climbing-specific shoes have different levels of sensitivity, and it is up to you to choose the one that suits you. Shoes with high sensitivity are great because you can feel the surface of the rock and various rock features pretty well. The La Sportiva Kataki is the best women’s climbing shoe in terms of sensitivity. With this shoe, you can climb almost any type of rock and make delicate moves. Beginners do not have to worry about sensitivity until they advance to the next level.
Comfort is one of the key factors that should influence your decision when buying climbing shoes. Of course, everyone would want to maneuver those huge rocks and boulders in very comfortable shoes. Unfortunately, not all climbing shoes are able to provide enough comfort. In fact, most of the shoes that are worn by experts sacrifice comfort for the sake of performance. You will get a few that offer both comfort and sensitivity, but you will have to fork out some extra cash. As I mentioned earlier, comfort is only guaranteed in beginner shoes.
Nature Of Sole
The nature of the sole should also help you make an informed decision. Climbing shoes have different sole thickness and shapes. Beginners are always advised to go with stiff and thick soles because they offer massive support. In case you are looking for a shoe that offers sensitivity, you should go with a thin, flexible and curved rubber sole.
Women’s climbing shoes have high price tags as Compared to men’s shoes. You have to consider your budget while shopping for a new climbing shoe. Do not overspend on shoes if you are new to the game. Just choose a cheap shoe because you will probably use it for a few months before you dispose of it. All in all, shoes with high price tags will always offer a lot in terms of durability and performance.
Types Of Closure Systems
The fina important feature to consider is the type of closure system used. Depending on your preferences, you can choose to go with laces, Velcro or slippers. Each one of these systems has its pros and cons, so it is upon you to go with what you are comfortable with.
Now that you have the five best climbing shoes for women at your disposal, it is extremely easy to pick the one that suits your style. Make sure you share this roundup article with your climbing friends as they might find it to be extremely helpful.
Other Climbing Gear
Don’t forget to check out our other great reviews for climbing gear such as: Climbing Shoes for Beginners | Climbing shoes for intermediates | Ropes for climbing | Climbing Shorts | Wide Feet Climbing Shoes