For beginners who need a little more performance in their life.
Stiff and aggressive, the Miura is a time-tested classic that can do it all.
A semi-aggressive shoe that is built for delicate vertical and technical routes.
It is common for climbers to have multiple pairs of climbing shoes, designed to tackle various terrains and climbing styles. Unfortunately, collecting climbing shoes is a pretty expensive hobby.
So, you are searching for that wonder shoe that can do it all? Something that can help you crush your bouldering project, send a gnarly sport route, and top out a tasty trad line? You are in safe hands here, we know the struggle when it comes to finding the best all round climbing shoes.
That said, I am going to be honest with you here.
Finding an all day climbing shoe that has the ability to crush hard on every type climbing terrain and style is a tall order. Why? Simply because climbing shoes are designed to perform best on specific types of terrain. The criteria we look for in a shoe to send overhung boulder problems in a gym is completely different to the requirements we need from a shoe used to send a technical multi-pitch.
Because of this, there will be a bit of give and take when it comes to finding the best all around climbing shoe for you. That said, uur top five all round climbing shoes, shown below, will give you an idea of some shoes that will work across a huge variety of climbing disciplines including bouldering, sport climbing and even a bit of trad climbing.
We have tested the shoes mentioned below on various types of terrain (both indoor and outdoor) to ensure our picks of the best all round climbing shoes will help you perform at your best, no matter what you are climbing.
La Sportiva Miura
It might not come as a surprise that we have voted the La Sportiva Miura as one of the best all around climbing shoes currently available. The Miura is a huge favorite among seasoned climbers and can be seen as the more aggressive (slightly softer) big brother of the Katana.
For climbers who only want to buy one shoe, this is is a strong contender. Aggressive enough for overhung routes, but neutral enough to deal with any vertical or slab route you throw at them. The narrow toe box also makes the shoe perfectly suited to dealing with even the smallest pockets, while the stiffer sole makes light work of any edging you will require.
The sole has a perfect balance between stiff and soft rubber which is created by the 4mm of Vibram XS rubber. Regularly seen in world climbing championships as well as a fan base including Adam Ondra and Alex Honnold. If it’s good enough for the pros you know these are a force to be reckoned with!
It doesn’t have a large toe patch, or a performance-orientated heel, so struggles with super-dynamic moves. This is also a stiff shoe, so isn’t exactly ideal of smearing your way up a gym volume.
Sizing: Like a lot of La Sportiva shoes, the Miuras run pretty big. If you have performance in mind, make sure to size 1-1.5 smaller than your average street shoe. If comfort is more important to you, try your normal shoe size, or 0.5 smaller for the perfect fit.
Five Ten NIAD VCS
The Anasazi line was Five Ten’s most popular all round climbing shoes and had been for over three decades. In 2021, the Anasazi line has received a next-generation upgrade, the NIAD (Nose In A Day) a modern reinvention of their popular shoe line.
Although Velcro climbing shoes tend not to perform well crack climbing, the NIAD VCS deserves a mention as it is a brilliant all round performer.
This updated version of the Five Ten classic has (almost) everything you could ask for in an all-round shoe. For a neutral shoe, it holds it own on the boulders, thanks to the new toe patch and heel cup. Suprsingly its also not bad for crack climbing, as the velcro straps have been moved further up the forefoot, giving you most space to slot your toes into hand cracks.
The medium/stiff profile gives the shoe a nice balance when it comes to edging and smearing, both of which are essential criteria for an all around climbing shoe. Of course, Five Ten’s legendary STEALTH rubber gives the shoe heaps of friction, both on rock and plastic.
Size: The synthetic uppers don’t stretch much, so make sure you size to fit. I wear my street shoe in these. Although they were tight at first, they loosened up slightly after the break in process.
For Women: While the Anasazi line was classed as a unisex shoe, the NIAD VCS come in both a high and low volume variation, with the latter most often better suited to women’s feet. This shoes is a top choice for the British superstar Shauna Coxsey throughout her competitive climbing career.
La Sportiva Katana
The Katana has been described by some as the ‘one shoe wonder’ and is certainly one of the most versatile shoes in the whole La Sportiva range, if not the entire climbing shoe market.
The internet is full of climbers raving about their Katanas, and it’s not hard to see why. Super comfortable, yet uncompromising performance are the two winning features of a great all round climbing shoe, both of which the Katana has in abundance.
A moderate last and low asymmetry allows these shoes to excel on trad and crack routes. They put on impressive show on some of our harder vertical bouldering projects, although they struggle on terrain that is past vertical.
The Katana uses 4mm of Vibram XS Edge rubber, so its a really durable climbing shoe. The shoe also uses La Sportiva’s P3 platform to ensure that they keep their shape throughout their life.
Sizing: The leather upper will stretch a bit once broken in, which is something you will always want to take into account when sizing up your shoes. However, we have found that the sizing to be true, so we recommend going for your normal shoe size, or half a size down if you really want to guarantee a snug fit.
For women: In 2018, La Sportiva released a whole bunch of their most popular lines in styles especially designed for women. The reason for this is because women’s feet tend to be lower volume (higher arches, less wide) than men’s feet. Find the Women’s Katana’s here.
Introduced in 2019, the Arpia has quickly built a reputation as one of Scarpa’s best all around climbing shoe.
While these shoes might not pack the same punch as the Scarpa Instinct line, these shoes are specifically designed for beginners who have outgrown their training wheels and are looking for something that puts more emphasis on performance, without completely forsaking comfort.
The shoes slight downturn helps out on overhanging boulders, while the stiff sole makes the shoe suited to edging and all day climbing. You will notice the split sole only covers ⅔ of the bottom, allowing the shoe to stay flexible for smearing, and becoming rigid when edging.
For women: There is also a women’s version of the Arpia. Apart from the colour, the main difference between the male and female shoe can be found in the heel, with the female version having a narrower, sculptured heel to provide a better fit for lover volume feet.
La Sportiva Finale
If you are looking for a good all round climbing shoe without breaking the bank, the Finale could be the shoe for you. Ideally suited to beginner and intermediate climbers, this shoe is a jack of all trades that can hold its own in the gym as well as the local crag.
The Finale’s moderate last and a stiff sole, makes it perfect for entry level bouldering and sport climbing, while still maintaining all day comfort. The low-volume toe box, paired with the lace-up closure system also makes it perfectly suited for slab and crack climbing.
The 5mm Virbam XS Edge rubber not only makes the shoe ideal for beginners and intermediate climbers but the high quality rubber also insures great friction no matter what surface you are climbing on.
Sizing: As the Finales are made from unlined leather, it’s worth remembering that they will stretch and fit to the shape of your foot after a few sessions. That said, if you have seen our full Finale review, you know that you won’t want to downsize much to get a good fit for these shoes. Start off with 0.5 size smaller than your average street shoe and take it from there.
For women: Again, La Sportiva brought out a women’s version of the Finale in 2018. Not only does it come in nice grey colour but it will also guarantee a better fit for those female climbers out there. Take a look at the women’s version here.
What makes a good all-round climbing shoe?
If none of our suggestions are taking your fancy why not try and find your own all day climbing shoe? Here are a few of the key things to look out for when hunting for the perfect do-it-all climbing shoe.
The rubber compound used on the sole is a key feature when looking for a multi-purpose climbing shoe. Savvy readers will notice almost all of our top 5 either support Vibram or Five Ten’s Stealth rubber. This is because both of these rubbers are tried and tested on various climbing surfaces including plastic in the gym, soft sandstone or shiny granite and have a proven track record of delivering a high level of performance on any surface.
Choosing a shoe with a moderate last or natural is another important feature. Sure, an aggressive last will work better for overhung routes and bouldering problems, but neutral climbing shoes are more comfortable and are also better suited to longer styles of climbing. When looking for an all round shoe, try pick a shoe that has a moderate last, to get the best from both worlds.
Closure systems is the final factor you will want to consider. It’s a known fact that velcro shoes won’t generally preform as well crack climbing as lace or slipper styles. You can see the article where we compared velcro and lace shoes here.