The Best Climbing Shoes For Women Review

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Women's Climbing Shoes lined up for reviewing.
Credit: McKenzie Long
We took the top women's climbing shoes and put them to a hands-onerrfeet-on test to find the very best. We found that not all climbing shoes are created equal. Some are better performance shoes, others are better all-day shoes and still others are better for beginners. Find out how the climbing shoes stacked up when compared side-by-side, and which we selected as the very best.

Read the full review below >

Review by: ⋅ Senior Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab

Top Ranked Climbing Shoes - Women's Displaying 1 - 5 of 9 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Name
La Sportiva Miura - Women's
La Sportiva Miura - Women's
Read the Review
Video video review
Five Ten Anasazi LV - Women's
Five Ten Anasazi LV - Women's
Read the Review
Video video review
La Sportiva Miura VS - Women's
La Sportiva Miura VS - Women's
Read the Review
La Sportiva Katana - Women's
La Sportiva Katana - Women's
Read the Review
Video video review
Five Ten Blackwing - Women's
Five Ten Blackwing - Women's
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award    Top Pick Award   
Street Price Varies $127 - $160
Compare at 8 sellers
$155
Compare at 5 sellers
$170
Compare at 7 sellers
Varies $119 - $150
Compare at 5 sellers
Varies $90 - $165
Compare at 4 sellers
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100% recommend it (2/2)
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Pros Padded heel, precise feel while climbing, great at edgingVery sticky rubber, comfortable and preciseAggressive, precise, good edging, padded tongue, easier to put on than Miuras.Molds to feet really well, precise in toeAggressive, sticky, and precise.
Cons ExpensiveFit made for very thin feetLooser fit around the ankle, seam inside rubs on big toe, expensive.Heel cup a little baggy on certain feetSized extra small, too much curve to the side, loose heel cup, expensive.
Best Uses Technical climbing, edgingAny kind of climbingSport climbing, bouldering, gym climbing.Sport climbing, all around climbingSport climbing, bouldering, gym climbing.
Date Reviewed Oct 02, 2010Oct 05, 2010Oct 26, 2010Oct 12, 2010Aug 10, 2011
Weighted Scores La Sportiva Miura - Women's Five Ten Anasazi LV - Women's La Sportiva Miura VS - Women's La Sportiva Katana - Women's Five Ten Blackwing - Women's
Edging - 30%
10
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10
10
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9
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9
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8
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9
Cracks - 20%
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8
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9
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8
10
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7
10
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6
Comfort - 20%
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9
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6
Smearing - 20%
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Ease Of Use - 10%
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6
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7
Product Specs La Sportiva Miura - Women's Five Ten Anasazi LV - Women's La Sportiva Miura VS - Women's La Sportiva Katana - Women's Five Ten Blackwing - Women's
velcro/lace/slipper Lace Velcro Velcro Velcro Velcro
Weight 8.22 oz 6.4 oz (size 9) 8.23 oz 7.87 oz 6.5 oz
Construction Slip lasted No slip heel, ï_Power Toeï_ Slip lasted Slip lasted
Upper leather Synthetic leather Lorica/leather Cordura 3-D Polytechnic
Lining Dentex Dentex, unlined underfoot pacific (forefoot) Dentex (back)
Sole Rubber 4 mm Vibram Xs Grip 2 Stealth C4 4 mm Vibram XS Grip 2 4 mm Vibram Xs Grip 2 Stealth Mystique
Price $140 $139.95 $155 $135 $145.00 - $160
Stickiness Pretty sticky Very sticky and solid Pretty sticky Sticky Sticky
Edging Really great at edging! This shoe is good at everything Good edging, downturned so really good at steep and pockety Pretty good at edging, better at smearing Edges well. Great for pockets. Very precise.
Cracks A bigger size makes these pretty good for toe jamming I sent one of my crack projects with this shoe Pretty good for technical cracks but not sustained toe jamming Not meant for cracks, but could do it Not so great for cracks because of the aggressive down turn
Comfort Padded Heel makes it fit and so comfy I think these feel great, only downside is tongue size Looser fit in the heel than the Muira. Tore a hole in my big toe Stretch to fit like a glove, which makes them pretty comfy Heel cup is loose and not very secure. Too much curve to the side, hurts my feet after a while

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review


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Comfort
Evaluating the comfort of a climbing shoe is pretty subjective, because climbing shoes aren't the kind of footwear you put on to lounge around in. We based our evaluation on how well the shoes hugged our feet, how long we could wear them, and on the extra features that make a climbing shoe bearable to wear. We found the Scarpa Thunder to have the most snug and form-hugging fit. The Evolv Elektras and the La Sportiva Mythos are both flat and slipper-like. The Miura has some bonus comfort features like a padded heel and a padded tongue which makes them very pleasant to wear. The 5.10 Sirens are the most breathable climbing shoe since the upper is made of mostly mesh- which gives them a different kind of comfort.

Stickiness
When looking at the stickiness of a climbing shoe, it can be measured in a continuum, where one end measures stickiness, and the other measures durability. The closer you get to sticky, the less durable the rubber and vice-versa. The Five-Ten Anasazi wins as the stickiest shoe with the Stealth C4 rubber. We could smear on almost anything with the Anasazis, so we dubbed these "The Sending Shoes." The Scarpa Thunders and all the La Sportiva shoes had the same kind of rubber, a Vibram XS Grip, and we found this rubber to be the second best. All these shoes stick just the way we want them to when we're climbing and the rubber seems to hold up a little longer than the C4. Moving on down the continuum, there are the Evolv Elektras with the TRAX XT-5 rubber. This shoe had the highest durability to stickiness factor, where the rubber held up really well, but it was still decently sticky while climbing. Lastly is the 5.10 Siren, with Onyxx rubber which we liked the least. It did seem like a very durable rubber, but we felt like my feet skated around a bit in these shoes, especially on delicate smears.

Durability
After looking at stickiness, it moves us right into looking at durability. After spending a good deal of money on some nice climbing shoes, it is a bummer to have them wear out quickly. Rubber can usually last longer the better your footwork is, so if you climb pretty you might get more out of the soles of your shoes. In terms of the uppers, we found all the shoes to be decently durable, but some stood out above others. The Scarpa Thunder has a really well made and durable upper. After miles of climbing and quite a bit of foot-jamming we finally wore a tiny hole in the leather on the front of the Miuras, but for the most part they held up well. We had a bug spray explosion in the car and it all went right into the Katanas. Even after something as nasty as that they are holding up well. The Sirens were the only shoe where we feel the upper lacks quality and durability. They are a stylish shoe, but to create the style there are many tiny seams along the sides. These seem like they can rip and loosen easily, especially if you use them crack climbing.

Precision/Sensitivity/Edging
The whole point of wearing a climbing shoe versus a sneaker or boot is that it gives your toes mores sensitivity so that you can feel the rock with them. We find that the more sensitive and precise the better, because then we can trust our feet more as we make delicate moves. The most precise shoes were the Miura and the Anasazi. The ones we found to be the least sensitive were the Thunder and the Siren because they had bulky toe boxes, which prevented a good feel of the rock underfoot.

Aggressiveness
The Miura VS and the Blackwing are the most down-turned, aggressive shoes in this review. They work best for technical overhanging climbs or bouldering. The lace-up Miuras, Katanas, Anasazis, and Thunders all have slight down-turns, so they are less aggressive than the Miura VS, but more aggressive than the Mythos. This makes all of those shoes versatile all-around shoes that could be used for just about any type of climbing. The Siren, Mythos, and Elektras are mostly flat, which makes a more comfortable all day shoe, beginner shoe, or shoe for the gym.

The Bottom Line
Editor's Choice Award
The Editors' Choice award goes to the La Sportiva Miura - Women's. We love this shoe it stands out above the rest in terms of performance and precision. This is our go-to shoe when climbing something hard where every move counts. The Miura also has added comfort features like the padded tongue and the padded heel which make this shoe more desirable to wear than others.

Best Buy Award
The Evolv Elektra gets the Best Buy award by a long shot because of its great quality and very inexpensive price. Especially if you are on a budget these shoes are comfortable, perform well and would last you quite a while. The rubber is durable and made even more so by the varying thickness in the high wear areas. For $89 this shoe goes a long way.

Top Picks
We recommend both the Five Ten Anasazi LV - Women's and the La Sportiva Katana - Women's because both shoes have a great fit and versatile, all-around performance.

Favorite Shoes For Each Applications
If you are just starting to climb: Evolv Elektra
Sport Climbing: La Sportiva Miura
Bouldering: Five Ten Blackwing - Women's
Multi-Pitch: La Sportiva Mythos - Women's
All Around: La Sportiva Katanas or 5.10 Anasazis

McKenzie Long
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