How to Pick Your First Pair of Climbing Shoes

So, you've got your first taste of climbing and realized you'd never go back? The desire to climb can be hard to quench, but purchasing your own shoes is an excellent first investment that will allow you easier access to climbing plus will likely improve the way you climb. The wide, many varieties of climbing shoes can make this decision feel super intimidating, so to help guide you towards the climbing shoe that will be best for you, we will outline a few of the different appearances and features of climbing shoes and explain what each tends to be best for.

When searching for climbing shoes, you're likely to encounter a variety of shapes. Some may look flat, while others appear extremely downturned and pointed at the toes. These varying shapes indicate the style of a climbing shoe, each of which offers advantages for different levels and types of climbing. Climbing shoe styles are typically categorized by aggression level, identified as either neutral, moderate, or aggressive.

Before looking at shoes, it can be helpful to consider what type(s) of climbing you plan to do and how often. If you are a new climber progressing quickly or already climbing more difficult grades, a moderately aggressive shoe may be helpful for you sooner rather than later. If you're taking it slow and steady, a neutral shoe may offer a longer life and practicality range as you explore what type of climbing you prefer and increase your skill level.