Most people imagine climbing as a sport involving a rope and harness, or at least very big rock faces. However, bouldering involves none of those things. First off, you’re mostly climbing rocks less than 20 ft. tall. Secondly, bouldering will have you constantly hopping from rock to rock looking for prime climbs. And as you climb harder and harder problems, you’ll start to notice the rock will get steeper and more overhung. But, for whatever reason you’re drawn to bouldering, whether it’s a fear of very tall heights or a strange attraction to boulders, it’s okay, we don’t judge. We actually think bouldering is great, all the way up there on our list of “Activities Better Than Running”. But, you’ve got to have great shoes to meet the demands of bouldering, which is why we’ll be talking about the 10 best bouldering shoes available right now.

The 10 Best Bouldering Shoes Right Now


While searching for the best bouldering shoes, we essentially looked for two things: aggressively downturned with a velcro closure system. Combined, these two elements create the perfect bouldering shoes for steep and overhung terrain while being suitable for the quick nature of bouldering.


The Magical Formula for Bouldering Shoes - The 10 Best Bouldering Shoes - Athlete Audit

It’s a simple equation, really.

Downturned shoes focus all the power on your big toe so you can edge on a dime while also being able to grab steep rock like a falcon’s claw. This is especially great for bouldering since the natural shape of most boulders will often have you starting on angled rock. And a velcro closure system is great for quick and easy on and off as bouldering will have you taking frequent breaks. Simply slip into your shoes, lock down the straps, send your problem, and slip out of them just as fast and into your approach shoes (or sandals or whatever). What could be easier?

And although slip-ons are also good for bouldering, most aren’t aggressive and if they are, oftentimes the shape doesn’t last as long. They also don’t offer as much security as velcro, but that shouldn’t deter you from wearing slippers. But, for all intents and purposes, velcro is the undisputed champ for bouldering. Thanks George de Mestral for making our lives easier!

So, now that you know the magic formula to the perfect bouldering shoes, you can go ahead and find out what the best bouldering shoes on the market are. In our opinion, it all boils down to four brands: Evolv, La Sportiva, Scarpa, and Tenaya. What’s your pick?


Click on the gallery below to find out what the best bouldering shoes are.