Best Trad Climbing Shoes: The Top 5 of 2019
|Top Pick: La Sportiva TC Pro|
|Pro Favorite: Five Ten Anasazi Lace-up Pink|
|Best Value: Scarpa Techno X|
|Best for Wide Feet: Evolv Astroman|
|All-Around Pick: La Sportiva Miura|
They must withhold the wear and tear of cracks and edge on dime-sized footholds. They must also be comfortable enough for extended wear. Pick the wrong shoe for trad climbing and your feet will take a major beating. Pick the right shoe and you’ll be much safer.
Trad climbing falls can be dangerous, so, understandably, you’d probably like to minimize the chances of that happening. For that reason, here are the best trad climbing shoes on the market today.
These five top options are all designed with trad climbing in mind, and they will help you maneuver the cracks and rock features you’re likely to come across on a trad route. Get whichever one suits you and keep crushing safely!
Top Pick: La Sportiva TC Pro
The TC Pro is widely considered to be the best trad climbing shoe on the market today, and we agree.
It was developed by La Sportiva in collaboration with one of world’s current greats, Tommy Caldwell. And don’t think Tommy just designed this shoe to make money while wearing something else himself: he climbed the Dawn Wall in TC Pros.
These shoes are amazing at edging and crack climbing. They are supportive and comfortable which makes them great for multi-pitch climbs (as you might have guessed).
Check out our full review of the TC Pro if you’d like to know more.
Get your pair one size below your street shoe size (in US sizes).
Pro Favorite: Five Ten Anasazi Lace-up Pink
This shoe is endorsed by some of the best trad climbers in the world.
Also, to mention the Dawn Wall again, Kevin Jorgeson climbed on it in the (now discontinued) sister version of this shoe — The Anasazi Lace-up Blanco.
The shoe itself is a nice lace-up which makes it ideal for cracks. It’s great at smearing and is a solid all-around option for vertical crack and face climbing.
The Anasazi Lace-up Pink is so beloved by crack and trad climbers that, when Five Ten tried to discontinue it permanently, the company ended up bringing it back due to the outcry from customers.
Get your pair either the same size as your street shoe size for a comfort fit or half a size below it for a performance fit (in US Men’s sizes).
Best Value: Scarpa Techno X
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The Techno X is not only great for trad climbing, but face climbing as well. The flat sole makes the shoe comfortable enough for multi-pitch wear, and the Vibram XS Edge rubber makes it great at edging. The narrow and low toe box fits into cracks with ease.
Coming in at a decent retail price, and sporting a surprising degree of durability, this is our pick as the best value trad climbing shoe.
Like the Anasazi Lace-up Pink, for a comfort fit get the same size as your street shoe size. For a performance fit, size down half a size (in US sizes).
Best for Wide Feet: Evolv Astroman
March 2019 Update: The Evolv Astroman has been discontinued. As of this writing it can still be found in limited sizes at some online retailers.
Are high top climbing shoes coming back in vogue? The Astroman is Evolv’s high top shoe and, in that regard, has a lot of design similarities to the TC Pro. One important difference is that Evolv shoes tend to run wider, so the Astroman is our pick as the best trad climbing shoe for wide feet.
The Astroman is the most durable trad shoe on the list since its rubber is thicker. However, as you’d expect, it is the least sensitive. If you prefer the added protection of thicker rubber, you’ll like how this shoe feels.
Following the trend of shoes made of synthetic leather, get the same size as your street shoe size for a comfort fit or half a size below it for a performance fit.
All-Around Pick: La Sportiva Miura
The Miura is not thought of exclusively as a trad climbing shoe, with good reason. It does everything well and is often called the quintessential “quiver of one” climbing shoe. Buy a pair of Miuras and they will work for every style of climbing. Adam Ondra sport climbs in them. Alex Honnold boulders and free solos in them.
You can do all of those things plus trad climb in them (Check out this guy climbing an 8a+ trad route in Miuras). If you’re looking climbing shoe that works well for other styles in addition to trad climbing, the Miura is the best option out there. There’s a reason it has been on the market for over a decade.
Get your pair 1-1.5 sizes below your street shoe size (in US sizes). And, if you’d like to learn more about it, check out our full review of the Miura.
Best Women’s Trad Climbing Shoes
The above shoes are all men’s or unisex versions. Here are their women’s versions:
- Scarpa Techno X Women’s
- La Sportiva Miura Women’s
- Unisex shoes: La Sportiva TC Pro, Five Ten Anasazi Lace-up Pink, and Evolv Astroman
How to Choose the Best Trad Climbing Shoes for Your Needs
Here are some tips to help you pick the right trad shoe from the list above. Make sure the pair you purchase has the following attributes.
Velcro straps can come undone when jammed into cracks and, of all the places I don’t want my shoes to come off, in the middle of a trad route is at the top of the list. All shoes designed for trad climbing will have laces for that reason (or be slip-ons). Climbing shoe laces are durable and capable of withstanding lots of friction against the rock. If you don’t like laces, however, you can always wear a slip-on climbing shoe, such as the Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym.
You want the ability to jam your feet into as many size cracks as possible. When you curl your toes, the height of your toe box increases and makes it hard to jam your feet into skinny cracks. Therefore, you need a pair of shoes that lets your toes lie flat. Your toes might curl slightly in the Miura, but, if sized correctly, they will lie flat in every other shoe mentioned above. Flat toes will also make the shoe comfortable to wear which is good for multi-pitch routes.
Jamming your feet into cracks can be painful if your shoes don’t have thick rubber. On the other hand, overly thick rubber will make it hard for you to twist and torque the shoe once it is inside the crack. Trad shoes need to have a balance between these two extremes. You want the rubber to be thick enough to protect your feet and thin enough to be pliable when you need it to be. All the above shoes are in that middle ground in terms of sturdiness.