“The Katana is undoubtedly one of La Sportiva’s many classic shoes due to its combination of all-day comfort and technical prowess, while the Otaki’s aggressive attitude tackles some of the toughest climbs out there. But where do you turn when you need a comfier shoe to climb long, tough routes like the last few pitches on Moonlight Buttress or basically every sport climb in Greece and Spain? The Men’s Kataki Climbing Shoe balances the Katana’s comfort with the Otaki’s aggression so you can jam into tight cracks, project overhangs, and spend a day at the boulder fields without ever taking the shoe off. It features La Sportiva’s tried-and-true P3 construction for long-lasting aggression, and the new S-Heel optimizes the fit so you can heel hook everything. The Vibram XS Edge sole has a stiffer feel than the Otaki, and it lasts a lot longer for climbers on a budget―which is basically every dedicated climber out there.” — Backcountry
“You could spend the rest of your life at overhung crags ticking projects off with a lot of help from the Five Ten Men’s Hiangle Climbing Shoe. The Hiangle might be the comfiest shoe in Five Ten’s aggressive lineup and is designed to keep your foot comfy as you hang-dog, suss out beta, and go for redpoints. This shoe is also the stiffest option thanks to its thick Stealth C4 rubber sole that assures long-lasting traction for gripping anything from plastic jugs to limestone edges. ” — BC
“La Sportiva calls the Genius Climbing Shoe its highest performing shoe for boulderers, sport climbers, and overhanging aficionados. The Genius gains its high performance through a No-Edge technology rubber overlay over the toe, which grips on edges and make-believe footholds like they were ledges. This remarkable technology lets you place your feet quicker and more efficiently, without having to readjust because No-Edge feels that good on the first step. The Genius also features La Sportiva’s mind-bending P3 technology that made the Solution one of the most popular shoes today. P3 uses a Permanent Power Platform to maintain the Genius’ aggressive downturn for life. Like the Testarossa, the Genius’ heel is surprisingly soft, stretchy, and sensitive for a proper fit as well as solid heel-hooking.” — BC
“The Butora Sensa Climbing Shoe has all the flexibility and comfort of a slipper, but with a downturned shape and incredibly responsive feel. Butora employed softer rubber at the midfoot to allow your foot to move and flex naturally, which increases comfort, especially on longer climbs, and added a toe cap midsole to prevent your toe from pushing past the front edge of the shoe when you’re really toeing down. The heel cup is slightly rounded, with a cap for better power and durability, while the toe features softer rubber to maintain flexibility without compromising grip.
Perhaps the most unique feature of the Sensa is the upper. It’s constructed from a synthetic woven knit material that is Butora’s solution to the premature wear that you normally see in elastic-upper slippers. This upper is incredibly breathable, and holds its shape over time because it’s woven as opposed to die cut.” — BC
“Climbers already thought So Ill’s Street Climbing Shoe was pure gold for competitions. Well, So Ill decided to make a literal gold version to celebrate the worldwide contest that finally recognizes climbing as a competitive sport. The 2020 Gold Climbing Shoe is just as aggressive, downturned, and sensitive as the Street to give you the advantage when it comes time for you to beat the competition. Its Dark Matter rubber comes from So Ill’s UnParallel Rubber family, which the Navy Seals use for reliable traction during covert missions, and its non-marking convenience ensures long-lasting durability. The synthetic upper has a padded tongue for comfort, and since it doesn’t stretch much, So Ill recommends sizing the shoe similarly to your regular street shoe.” — BC
“Winner of Climbing Magazine’s Best in Class award, the Scarpa Instinct VS Climbing Shoe is designed for performance. With its curved, asymmetrical last and softer construction, this all-around shoe handles a variety of styles. Its rubber toe patch provides maximum toe hooking power while the thin sole delivers enhanced flexibility and sensitivity so you can confidently take on more challenging projects.” — BC
“The Oxi QC Climbing Shoe is one of Ocun’s more versatile pairs of climbing kicks, made for anything from moderate gym routes to challenging boulders. It has a highly asymmetric downturn designed for precision on small footholds, steep overhangs, and technical terrain. The CAT 1.5 sole has a softer feel than Ocun’s other rubbers to provide better traction on slippery stones and greasy plastic, and despite its soft nature, the midsole maintains moderate stiffness for a long-lasting performance. Ocun made the upper out of microfiber for durability that doesn’t stretch much, and the insole is smooth leather to compliments the shoe’s easy, hook-and-loop entrance.” — BC
“Chris Sharma’s classic Shaman takes on a new name this year: Kai Lightner. This Limited Edition Kai Lightner Signature Shaman Climbing Shoe is Evolv’s engineered shoe for agile and versatile climbers and is equipped with extra rubber for more toe-hooking and heel-hooking. The Shamans have a synthetic upper so it will maintain its shape and size long into use. The moderate downturn will keep you on fierce routes, and the hook-and-loop closure will keep these shoes on your feet while you’re pulling that over-the-head heel-hook you need to top out.” — BC
“It’s hard to listen to your friends teaching you how to gym climb when your feet feel scrunched worse than a ballerina’s. Black Diamond’s Momentum Climbing Shoe balances comfort with performance so you can learn how to climb comfortably. Most climbing shoes opt for leather or synthetic leather uppers to keep durable throughout your rocky adventures. Black Diamond, on the other hand, made this shoe’s upper out of a unique knit that enhances breathability without hindering overall durability. This enhanced breathability also decreases the foul smells that standard leather climbing shoes excrete in your car, closet, or wherever you store your climbing shoes. Since this isn’t a leather or synthetic leather climbing shoe, the Momentum shouldn’t stretch as much as usual climbing shoes, and if this is your first pair of climbing shoes, you might want to consider getting this pair in your street shoe size even though your friends are telling you to size down. The NeoFriction rubber sole is also unique in that it’s molded—as opposed to the usual cutting from one sheet of rubber—to the shoe in order to increase longevity and ensure traction on greasy, plastic footholds.” —BC
“The Five Ten Dragon Climbing Shoe has likely seen more cutting-edge first ascents than any shoe ever made and has earned its place as the go-to choice for many of the world’s most talented rock climbers. The downturned Stealth HF rubber outsole provides the power and sensitivity for some of the worst footholds imaginable, and the lace closure provides a second-skin fit. Its aggressive profile ensures the utmost precision whether you’re climbing overhungs or extremely technical climbs. Five Ten made the upper out of microfiber to minimize stretching for seasons of use.” — BC
“When the angle kicks back and the moves get hard, trust the Scarpa Instinct VS Climbing Shoe to see you through to the chains. The aggressive downturn and sensitive midsole allow you to toe-in on edges and solution pockets while the innovative Bi-Tension system provides maximum power in the big toe without excess pain. Scarpa built the sole with Vibram’s XS Edge at the toe for better precision, and a softer XS Grip 2 at the heel for a secure fit. The microsuede upper has rubber encased over the foot to reduce stretch and increase toe-hooking performance. Plus, the single hook-and-loop strap makes on and off a breeze.” — BC
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