Choose from Three Options
- $12 for a one-day rock-climbing pass for two ($24 value)
- $24 for a one-day rock-climbing pass for four ($48 value)
- $18 for three one-day rock-climbing passes for one ($36 value)
Climbing Shoes: Finding Your First Pair of Hooves
Good climbing shoes can make the difference between a great day on the rocks and sore soles. Consider some of the factors that go into choosing a pair of no-slip slippers.
The right rock-climbing shoes, like the worst rock-climbing partners, never stop gripping your feet. They’re usually lightweight, form fitting, and snug, with rubber soles meant to stick to even the smallest footholds. From this basic formula, shoe designs vary greatly based on climbers’ specific goals and styles.
If you’re a beginner, don’t over think the decision. To start, rent shoes from a gym to get an idea of what size you’ll need. Start with your normal shoe size and slowly try on pairs of decreasing dimensions, climbing for at least a few minutes before switching to another size. Pay attention to how your toes feel inside the shoes—they should be close, but not crushed, and comfortable enough to support your weight while climbing. Your heels should remain firmly within the shoe without any sliding or popping out.
The kind of climbing you like to do can also help you choose your shoes. Traditional, or “trad,” shoes tend to be flatter, stiffer, and more comfortable, designed to tackle a wide array of foot fodder, from featureless slabs to craggy cracks. Trad shoes are often the go-to choice of climbers with long ascents. Because of this, many are made with leather, which will stretch as your feet swell, and often use laces for the most exact fit.
If you have more fun bouldering, climbing lower to the ground where ropes aren’t required, you might consider adopting a more aggressive shoe. Though low-altitude, bouldering problems are often more technical than roped climbs. Because of this, bouldering shoes have specially angled toe boxes and soles to give climbers more power and better weight distribution off of the point of their big toes. These shoes are designed to handle highly technical maneuvers but not for all-day comfort. As a result, they tend to be made of synthetic materials that don’t stretch much and are easier to slip on and off than trad shoes, often using velcro straps or full slip-on construction instead of laces.