- 7 Best Climbing Shoes For Narrow Feet
- How to choose the best climbing shoes for narrow feet
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final words
Rock climbing isn’t for the faint of heart. Whether you’re bouldering, free soloing, or aid climbing, accuracy is the name of the game. That starts with the right choice of footwear to give your soles topnotch traction as you brave slippery and steep rock formations. In this post, I reviewed seven of the best climbing shoes for narrow feet to give an added edge outdoors.
Climbing shoes don’t turn you into a tacky Spiderman, but they will surely elevate your safety. Typical outdoor or rubber shoes won’t do if you’re serious about climbing. You need a pair that’s made for the level you’re planning to reach.
Below are seven of the best pairs of climbing shoes I’ve shortlisted from the market. See which one fits your adventures best!
7 Best Climbing Shoes For Narrow Feet
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: La Sportiva TarantuLace Rock Climbing Shoes
Product Name: La Sportiva TarantuLace Rock Climbing Shoes
Product Description: When it comes to the best climbing shoes for narrow feet, you’ll never go wrong with the La Sportiva TarantuLace. This is my go-to pair for challenging climbs, thanks to its aggressive heel and fast-lacing system. Moreover, these climbing shoes have sticky 5 mm FriXion RS rubber soles with a low-asymmetry RN45 design. This translates to topnotch sensitivity when dealing with narrow edges without foot pain. Aside from that, the La Sportiva TarantuLace Rock Climbing Shoes have a 1.8 mm LaspoFlex midsole for unbeatable stability and control. The tongue of these shoes is also lined to absorb moisture and keep your feet comfy. The rest of the upper is unlined, which gives way to the stretch factor.
Offer price: $$$
Size and Fit
Value for Money
Take note that this has a synthetic leather overlay, which can stretch for half to one full size. It’s important to keep this in mind, so you’ll get the right fit on your purchase.
Overall, these climbing shoes have a rugged design made to endure the toughest climbs. I love the fit since it remains snug even on narrow feet. And since this is a lace-up pair, those with wider trotters will enjoy a fair amount of play on the fit.
Aggressive design for the toughest climbs
Rugged heel, toe, and sole design
It’s challenging to find the right size due to the stretch factor of the leather material.
Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoes
If you’re a beginner looking for a neutral pair, the Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoes are my top pick. This has a center-cut leather material paired with a rubber outsole.
Inside, these shoes have organic hemp footbeds that keep your feet dry and odor-free. I also like the double-stitch construction as well as padded heel and collar for added comfort.
The Climb X Rave shoes also have a polypropylene midsole for just the right stiffness. There’s also a mesh tongue that adds breathability to the shoes.
Moreover, this has reinforcements toward the big toe, which gives your feet better control. It also wraps around the feet comfortably. This is possible thanks to the thickened upper that’s wear-resistant and lasts longer than other neutral climbing shoes.
Overall, the Climb X Rave is a good choice for indoor climbing. I tested this on outdoor use and held it up pretty well. But since the soles are thin, expect wear and tear if you’re going to bring this on sharp rocks and other uneven terrains.
Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes
The Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes have an upper fabric material sporting the brand’s Engineered Knit Technology. This provides stretch just when you need it, keeping the shoe snug and tight-fitting for the best control on your climb.
Moreover, there’s a microfiber liner inside that absorbs moisture to keep your feet comfortable. Its neutral style provides all-day comfort for beginner climbers.
Aside from that, the Black Diamond Momentum has a soft flex midsole as well as a 4.3 mm rubber outsole that delivers topnotch performance. This is aside from the hemp footbed that prevents moisture and odor buildup.
Compared to its predecessor version, the Momentum Climbing Shoes have an updated heel geometry that delivers consistent tension. This prevents the shoe from getting loose as you work your way on cracks and slabs.
This has a hook and loop enclosure for on-the-go adjustments. As much as it delivers convenience, such a design isn’t advantageous for advanced climbs.
Overall, the Black Diamond Momentum is an excellent option for beginners with narrow feet. Still, some users suggest getting one size up if you want a snug fit.
La Sportiva Tarantula Low-Top Climbing Shoes
Another La Sportiva pair I recommend is the Tarantula Low-Top Climbing Shoes. This has a lace-up closure with Velcro straps.
Moreover, these are multi-functional climbing shoes for walls and other beginner routes. It has suede leather upper with a slip-lasted design.
When it comes to the soles, this has a 1.8 mm LaSpoFlex midsole and a 4 mm FriXion outsole. Both offer the right flex and comfort for easy climbs.
There’s also a deformation insert for added support on your feet. For those who have sweaty feet, the antiperspirant padded tongue will provide relief. There are also multiple pull tabs that make the shoes easy to put on and off.
Unlike the TarantuLace model reviewed above, this Tarantula pair isn’t very rugged. It works well as a tacky climbing shoe and an everyday wear pair.
However, some buyers warn that these climbing shoes run big. If you have narrow and short feet, it’s best to get a pair one size down.
Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoes
The Mad Rock Drifter Climbing Shoes has a neutral style like the La Sportiva Tarantula pair. It’s made of 100% leather with a rubber sole for the best durability.
This has a 1.8 mm polyester midsole and a hook and loop closure for easy wearing. It has a 3 mm rubber rand and outsole with excellent tackiness when dealing with slippery rocks and surfaces.
Moreover, this is a slip-lasted pair of climbing shoes ideal for beginners and easy routes. It’s slightly asymmetric, but the design is flat for comfort.
Also, this has a split neoprene tongue that wicks moisture and avoids odor buildup. It’s also easy to put on and off, unlike lace-up types.
Aside from that, the Mad Rock Drifter has a 3D molded heel with an EVA cushion. It’s sticky, just like the rest of the outsole. Overall, these climbing shoes have a medium stiffness, ideal for all-around use, and easy climbing routes.
However, some buyers complain that the Mad Rock Drifter runs a bit small, so consider sizing up for the right fit.
MILLET Men’s Easy Up Climbing Shoes
When it comes to comfort, the MILLET Men’s Easy Up Climbing Shoes are a good option. This has a straight shape and a pointed toe design for a fluid fit and users with narrow feet.
Aside from that, this has a polycotton upper paired with a hemp lining to prevent the formation of foul odor. I also like the 4.5 mm 4PointsGripDurable rubber sole that provides topnotch tackiness on slippery surfaces.
Moreover, these climbing shoes have a durable Velcro closure for easy wearing. However, make sure that you get the right size to prevent the straps from digging into your feet.
Also, the MILLET Easy Up Climbing Shoes offer precision to beginner climbers. There’s a streamlined toebox in the shoe that prevents your toes from getting squashed on narrow edges. It’s a no-frills pair of climbing shoes that will get the job done.
Scarpa Instinct VS Climbing Shoes
If you’re looking for another aggressive shoe recommendation, I highly suggest the Scarpa Instinct VS. This has an all-leather construction with excellent traction for avid climbers.
Moreover, these Scarpa shoes have a microsuede and leather upper. It’s paired with a 3.5 mm Vibram XS Edge outsole and a 1 mm Flexan midsole. On the other hand, these shoes are fitted with a 2 mm Vibram XS Grip heel.
The Scarpa Instinct is a workhorse when it comes to long and challenging climbs. It has an asymmetric design and a moderately downturned profile that can put up with abuse. On top of that, these climbing shoes have Bi-Tension active rand for better toe power.
Another thing I like about the Scarpa Instinct is the floating power strap that provides the best fit. It’s very handy for those with narrow feet and buyers who are worried about the size.
Overall, these are reliable climbing shoes. However, buyers should know that this all-leather pair needs ample break-in time. You have to give it time to break in before taking it for an actual climb.
How to choose the best climbing shoes for narrow feet
There are hundreds of climbing shoes in the market, so you have to be meticulous with your choice. If you’re buying your first pair, you must consider the following points:
✔️Climbing shoe type
First-time buyers should know that climbing shoes are available in three profiles: neutral, moderate, and aggressive. This refers to the downturn of the soles, which varies based on the climbing level you’re planning to go to.
Here’s a quick rundown of these three types:
- Neutral. Neutral climbing shoes are the most comfortable of the three. It has a flatter sole with a very minimal point or scrunch. Such a design makes it less tough against the climber’s toes. However, this design is suitable only for beginners who are going for easier climbs.
- Moderate. The moderate downturn is more pointed and scrunched than neutral but not as intimidating as the aggressive type. It has the right sole curve that’s still comfy to wear for experienced climbers.
- Aggressive. For climbers who are going for the toughest climbs and trails, an aggressive pair of shoes is necessary. This has a dramatic downturn and pointed toe design that focuses the force on the big toe to achieve accurate foot placement.
Basically, difficult and challenging climbs require aggressive shoes. But if you don’t have the budget to purchase multiple pairs, you can opt for moderate climbing shoes to enjoy the best of both worlds.
✔️Size and fit
As with any footwear, the fit of your climbing shoes matters a lot. You should get a pair that remains comfortable and snug, especially if you have narrow feet.
It’s best to check the individual sizing charts of the brand as each one has a different take on standard fits. For example, a size 37 on one brand will not have the same fit as a size 37 shoe in another.
Take note that climbing shoe sizing isn’t similar to street shoe sizes. Boulderers need the narrowest shoes, while alpine climbers require the widest pair. Meanwhile, sports climbers usually fall in between the two.
Also, if you’re opting for leather-lined climbing shoes, you should know that they will stretch after the break-in process. My La Sportiva pair widened by half a size after breaking it in for two weeks.
Overall, the key to finding the perfect fit is trying a few climbing shoes. It took me three purchases to finally nail the right fit I want for my narrow feet.
Climbing shoe stiffness is a matter of personal preference, in my opinion. Usually, beginners will opt for stiffer shoes since it provides better support with the addition of a plastic midsole. This will prevent foot fatigue by compensating for the weakness of your feet.
On the other hand, seasoned climbers often choose softer shoes since it allows their toes and soles to flex naturally. It gives them precise foot placement during challenging climbs.
As you get stronger with more climbs, you can slowly transition to softer climbing shoes.
A shoe ‘last’ pertains to the shoemaker’s mold or model used to create the shoe itself. The last dictates the instep volume and height as well as the toe profile.
The following are the most common lasts used on climbing shoes:
- Downturned. This last is also called cambered due to the downward bend of the sole. You can find downturn shapes on moderate to aggressive climbing shoes. Aside from its curve, downturned shoes also have asymmetric soles perfect for difficult routes.
- Asymmetric. With an asymmetric last, the longest point of the shoe is channeled on the big toe. The purpose of this design is to give climbers better power when climbing steep edges.
- Slip-lasted. Many climbing shoes are slip-lasted, which means it doesn’t have an insole. It uses a decently stiff midsole right on top of the outsole.
- Board-lasted. This is stiffer than slip-lasted climbing shoes but more comfortable to wear. You can even use this as everyday wear even if you’re not climbing. However, the catch is that board-lasted climbing shoes have less sensitivity than slip-lasted pairs.
Straight. Lastly, straight climbing shoes have a flat last intended for comfort and a relaxed fit. These are neutral and made for long days of climbing.
Once you’ve decided about the style, the next most important thing to consider is the material of the climbing shoes.
Most climbing shoes are made of either leather, lined leather, suede, or synthetic fabric.
Leather or suede climbing shoes are popular options since it provides a nice stretch. However, climbers need to break in these shoes first for a long period.
Take note that if you’re aiming for a leather climbing shoe, expect it to be super snug on the first day. Over time, it will stretch and fit your feet just fine.
If you don’t want excessive stretch, you can opt for leather with a synthetic lining. The lining controls the stretch of the leather. So from stretching up to one full size, an added lining can cut it by half.
Next, you should check the material of the soles. For climbing shoes, the outsole material is very important since it has to grip the rocks properly.
Rubber is the common option since it has excellent tackiness and can be molded into different shapes and patterns.
If you need better support for your foot, firmer rubber soles are good picks. On the other hand, you should opt for stickier soles if you need an added grip on rock slabs. The downside of sticky rubber soles is it tends to last shorter than most.
Aside from that, the thickness of the outsole is also crucial. Thick outsoles of around 4 mm to 5.5 mm are great for edging and foot support. However, this is at the expense of sensitivity.
If you need accurate footing, a thinner outsole of around 3 mm to 4 mm might be a good choice for you.
✔️Enclosure and fastening
Climbing shoes need to stick to your feet at all times. This is why you should be very particular when it comes to fastening options. Basically, you can choose from Velcro, lace-up, or slip-on.
- Lace-up. Lace-up climbing shoes offer versatility since you can adjust the feet easily, especially if you have narrow feet.
- Velcro. This fastening is convenient, but it sacrifices versatility when it comes to fit. The Velcro material will also add a bulk on top of the shoe, which can make foot jams painful.
- Slip-on. Slip-on climbing shoes are the most convenient, but it also has the least level of adjustability. It’s comfy, though, but not a good pick for challenging climbs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you really need special shoes for rock climbing?
A: Rock climbing is a complicated and difficult sport. It’s important to wear special shoes to have the best traction and protection for your feet. While you can always climb with just about any shoe, the comfort, safety, and overall performance will vary.
Q: Should you wear socks with rock climbing shoes?
A: The answer to whether you should wear socks on rock climbing shoes or not depends on your preference. Many climbers find it more comfortable wearing thin socks underneath. Meanwhile, there are also some climbers who prefer keeping the shoes in contact with their skin.
Q: Should your toes be curled in climbing shoes?
A: It depends on the type of rock climbing you’re going to do. Bouldering requires a pair of shoes where your toes touch the front and has a slight curl on the toes. Meanwhile, crack climbing requires a pair of shoes where your toes are flat but fit enough to touch the edge.
Q: How can I make climbing shoes more comfortable?
A: If you find your climbing shoes a bit uncomfortable, it will help to wear thin socks underneath them. You can also wrap your feet with cling wrap. You also have to break in your new climbing shoes before using them on an actual climb. This process can be painful, but it’s necessary for your feet to be comfortable.
Q: How long does it take to break in climbing shoes?
A: It may take two to three weeks to break in a new pair of climbing shoes. In general, you should use it for about 10 climbing sessions for the soles to mold on your feet well. This process is critical, especially if you’re planning to use the shoes for a challenging and long climb.
The best climbing shoes for narrow feet is added protection on your outdoor adventures. It will provide traction on your feet while keeping them safe against bumps and scuffs. You just have to get the right size, material, feature, and design that matches your needs.