How We Tested Climbing Shoes

By:
Thomas Greene
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday

Our fingers took a beating during the testing of these shoes. From Vegas to Squamish, on everything from coastal limestone to soaring Sierra granite, we put these shoes through the paces to determine which were the best. We comparatively evaluated the shoes based on design, materials, and function according to our established criteria.

We put these shoes on experienced mountain guides and climbers who have been at it for many years. We took them on pitches of rock climbing of every sort: sport, trad, and bouldering. As climbers and guides, the single most important thing we wear are the shoes on our feet. How well your shoes perform, and how comfortable they are can make or break an experience, so getting the right fit and performance is crucial.

We assessed these shoes primarily on how well they climbed and how they treated our feet on a single pitch and after a full day of climbing. We evaluated critical aspects of their performance such as how they edge, smear, and their sensitivity, in addition to the durability, comfort, and versatility of the shoes. While testing of this nature is inherently subjective, our side-by-side assessment enables us to be unusually diligent in collecting information and in ranking appropriately.

Shoe testing on granite in the Alabama Hills  CA.
Shoe testing on granite in the Alabama Hills, CA.
 

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    Unbiased.