10 Best Bouldering Shoes For Beginners: Review & Buying Guide

As with every discipline of rock climbing, climbing shoes play an integral role in bouldering. They are designed based on a climber’s climbing experience, design, and comfort in mind.

These shoes can make a bouldering experience exceptionally thrilling and disastrous as a result. Bouldering shoes have to be given due consideration.

In light of that, Climbing Apex presents the best bouldering shoe for beginners. Here is everything you need to know.

Bouldering Shoes For Beginners

There are varieties of bouldering shoes for beginners right now in the market, but your first pair of bouldering shoes is what we will dive into in this article.

Note: We scored these bouldering shoes for beginners based on sensitivity, comfort, and design.

10. Mythos Lace-up

La Sportiva Mythos

One of La Sportiva’s oldest models of climbing shoes, this climbing shoe debuted in 2013, but still ranks as one of the beginners’ best choices. The Mythos Lace-Up features the neutral model of climbing shoes and round-shaped, with short toes, making it a good fit for crack climbing.

The delicate leather and its low inclined angle make the Mythos lace-up a fair choice for bouldering. Often regarded as a shoe for women, while women generally adorn it, the La Sportiva is all-inclusive regarding gender.

Climbers can wear this shoe for extended climbing sessions as it’s comfortable. Size, however, may present issues overtime as it stretches. 

9. Scarpa Instinct VS

Scarpa Men's Instinct VS

Of climbing slippers were perfect for any rock climbing discipline, bouldering will be the ideal fit. The Scarpa Instinct VS boasts of a 3mm vibram® xs edge rubber sole, which provides firmness on holds.

Scarpa Instinct VS sole stands out as a significant reason why it made our top 10 list. The sole with the shoe’s aggressively downward inclined angle, makes it an ideal choice for bouldering, as specific techniques such as edging, can easily be carried out.

Its sensitivity on climber’s legs makes it a top choice for beginner climbers as they can engage in long climbing sessions without the shoe’s discomfort. The Velcro closure system further supports the comfort argument, as climbers can quickly put on and off the shoe.

Scarpa put beginner climbers into consideration when designing the Instinct VS, as driven by the full heel cup coverage, which significantly reduces heel slips, a common challenge faced by beginner climbers.

While the shoe is ideal and the right choice for a beginner, the aggressive downward design can present a challenge, but with time climbers get used to it.

8. La Sportiva Men’s Miura VS

La Sportiva Men's Miura VS

Specifically designed for men, the Miura brand debuted in 2004, and since then, it has emerged as a powerhouse in rock climbing shoes. The shoe that received the Rock and Ice Best In Gear award is a high-performance shoe, an excellent choice for pocket climbing and bouldering.

It’s 1mm Laspoflex midsole provides reliable support, further strengthened by its 4mm vibram® X’s rubber sole. The thickness of the rubber sole and material used in producing the sole provides a firm grip on holds and makes technical gripping very easy.

Around the top of the shoe lies a sentex fabric lining, which gives a soft touch to the leg’s ankle. Made from leather, makes the shoe adjust to climber’s feet.

However, the shoe costs as low as $120 and as expensive as $321. This shoe may be costly for a beginner climbing shoe. 

7. Evolv Elektra Women Climbing Shoe

Evolv Elektra / Bouldering Shoes For Beginners

One of the most popular climbing shoe among women, the Evolve Elektra got a design upgrade in 2014, which further boosted its performance. The synthetic shoe is renowned for its perfect balance and its high performance.

For a shoe that costs as low as $40 on Amazon and boasts high performance, the Evolving Elektra is a rarity. No wonder it’s popular.

Rather than the downturn shape, most bouldering shoe features, the Elektra has a level shape and a variable thickness rand, which translates to thicker elastic at weak spots such as the toes.

The lack of a downturned angle makes slipping into pockets difficult, hence one reason why climber may seek fairer options. But in all, the Evolving Elektra is a terrific shoe in a market where value high performance translates to cut-throat price.

6. La Sportiva Tarantulace Woman Climbing Shoe

With Evolv’s Elektra setting the bar high in high performance climbing shoe at a considerably low price, La Sportiva matched the Elektra ingenuity with an All-performance shoe for women.

The Tarantulace boasts of sticky FriXion RS rubber soles, which provides a solid grip on holds, and also makes edging a less rigorous task.

Durability is one of the factors that makes this shoe a top seller, as proven by its 1.8mm LaspoFlex midsole. The leather underlining ensures comfort, no matter the angle climbers approach the bouldering route.

In all, the Tarantulace is a shoe that fits well, but the only downside is the noticeable stretch that occurs after some time.

5. Scarpa Men’s Force V Climbing Shoe

Scarpa Men's Force V

Among the vast multitude of climbing shoes often recommended for beginner climbers, the Scarpa Men’s Force V is a standout. Often used by beginner and intermediate climbers, the Force V has a Vibram XS rubber sole, which provides strong grips on routes.

Scarla would like to convince you that Force V is a high performance. She strikes a balance between comfort and performance. The force V is indeed an All-performance shoe as revealed by its mildly soft midsole and moderately downturn.

Behind the sole lies a bi-tensioned Rand, that keeps the shoe in good shape. Scarpa was also magnanimous enough to provide a lower volume female version.

4. Mad Rock Drifter

Mad Rock Drifter

New to the rock climbing gear market, Mad Rock, compared to famous brands such as Late Sportiva, Evolv, and Scarpa, is grossly inexperienced, but the Drifyer shows they mean business.

The quality of the Drifter isn’t surprising as a passionate climber owns mad Rock, but usually, it takes experience for this level of quality to be achieved.

With its asymmetrical shape, the Drifter is recommended for beginner climbers as it bears a close similarity to several of the rental shoes available at climbing gyms. Its science Friction 3.0 rubber sole is mildly stiff but provides enough friction for a firm grip.

At the midsole lies 1.8mm polyester, which provides comfort. Ideally, a suitable choice for beginner climbers, but as their skills improve and the difficulty of their routes increases, the shoe will have to be replaced.

3. Evolv Kronos/Kira

Evolv Kronos

Most climbing shoes for beginners are designed with climbing routes within the scope of beginner climbers. The Evolv Kronos/Kira is an exception to that norm. Suitable for terrains reserved for intermediate climbers, the Kronos/Kira is a technical shoe that prioritizes performance.

It features a Variable Thickness Rand (VTR) at pressure points in the foot’s heel and hot spots. The VTR, coupled with its 4.2 mm TRAX high friction rubber, provides traction and durability.

Its performance is further improved by its 4.2mm rubber outsole and 1.2mm rubber midsole. Its asymmetrical last makes it ideal for edging, thus perfect for bouldering.

2. La Sportiva Tarantula Men’s Low Top

La Sportiva Men's Low top Shoes

This shoe’s feel leaves no doubt in the minds of beginner climbers that it was explicitly designed to meet their needs. From the sole to the shape to the midsole, the Tarantula Men’s Low Top prioritizes climbers improvement.

The sticky FriXion sole provides just the right amount of friction for solid grip on plastic holds and rocks, making it ideal for outdoor bouldering. Its low asymmetrical shapes make edging precise, thus making balancing on even the smallest hold stable.

Available in velcro and laced up models for both genders, the superb construction and thick runner of the tarantula makes it a top choice.

1. Scarpa Arpia

SCARPA Arpia

Most brands often place so much importance on comfort when designing beginner climbing shoes, but the terrains of most routes aren’t comfortable.

Hence, the ultra-aggressive design of the Arpia, which combined durability, traction, and the harsh reality of the authentic feel of a standard climbing shoe, makes it our top choice.

With its asymmetrical shape, the downturned shoe, which bears no difference to most beginner shoe, provides support and precision for tricky techniques such as edging.

The midsole construction further gives credibility to the argument that the Arpia is built for balance, a fundamental aspect of climbing beginner climbers struggle to master.

With the quality of bouldering shoes for beginners in mind, climbing shoes suitable for any discipline of rock climbing in mind, the best beginner climbing shoes from the best brands in the game would have sat at the top spot on our list, but the bold step taken by Italian rock climbing gear manufacturer, Scarpa, in the design of the Scarpa Arpia makes it our top choice.

Conclusion

These are our top 10 picks on bouldering shoes for beginners. We hope you enjoyed this article. Also, see our rock climbing shoes for beginners. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.