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The Best Cheap Climbing Shoes

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If you’re looking for a new pair of budget climbing shoes, you’ve landed in the right place. Here are a few climbing shoes that won’t break the bank but still keep you smiling.

La Sportiva Finale - All day climbing shoes

My Top Pick

La Sportiva Finale

One of the best value shoes in the biz offering awesome performance on a budget.

Five Ten Hiangle Review

For PErformance

Five Ten Hiangle

A cheap-ish sending shoe that doesn’t slouch on performance.

La Sportiva Tarantulace

For Beginners

LS Tarantulace

Consistently priced as one of the cheapest shoes. A great choice for beginners.

Evolv Defy

For Vegans

Evolv Defy

A beginner shoe made of vegan-friendly materials, using the TRAX SAS rubber.

We price check from over 12 of our most trusted retailers and share the lowest price for every shoe we recommend on this page. If you click a link, we may also make a little commission (at no extra cost to you, obviously).

I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but I’m going to say it anyway. Climbing is not a cheap sport, nor has it ever been. In my experience, the endless need for expensive gear is literally the only thing that has stayed consistent in the last 20 years of climbing. 

The financial investment in equipment is probably one of the biggest downsides to climbing, especially if you’re a natural-born cheapskate like me. I recently did the math and worked out that the average price of climbing shoes in 2023 is $119, which is not exactly spare change. But that’s just the start, if you want to try your hand at sport climbing then you need to add a rope, draws, and a Grigri to your wish list.

Why are shoes so expensive? Are cheap models worth it?

best climbing shoes under $100

Years of research and development are invested before a single shoe is ready to be let loose. Even when a shoe design is ready to manufacture, it’s not like they are churned out from a mass-produced factory in Asia. Crafting high-performance climbing shoes is a complex process and it takes a lot of input from skilled shoemakers to bring each shoe to life.

So what about budget climbing shoes then? Is it worth saving a couple of bucks? Or are you sacrificing to reach your full crushing potential?

If you’re looking for a climbing shoe around the $100 mark, then don’t expect much in the way of performance. Shoes at this price are usually very basic, which naturally means they will have inferior performance, quality, or durability.

This isn’t a huge problem for beginner climbers, after all, many affordable shoes are priced to not freak out newbies. But for climbers who want to start pushing sport or bouldering grades, cheap shoes will most likely be more of a hindrance than a help. If this sounds like you, then I suggest you leave this page and take a look at my intermediate shoes shortlist instead.

My Favorite Cheap climbing shoes

If you’re a beginner or a big wall climber, then there are plenty of good-value shoes that could be perfect for you. Below you can find a few solid suggestions I recommend, many of these shoes hover around the $100 mark, although my goal is to share the best-value models rather than the cheapest climbing shoes.

My Top Pick

La Sportiva Finale

La Sportiva Finale Review
Overall
7.6
(9 reviews)
  • Edging - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Smearing - 7/10
    7/10
  • Steep Terrain - 6/10
    6/10
  • Comfort - 9/10
    9/10
  • Sensitivity - 6/10
    6/10
  • Value For Money - 9/10
    9/10

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Good all-around performance
  • Vibram XS Edge rubber
  • Good at edging

Cons

  • Small toe patch
  • Limited sensitivity

Best For: Single and multi-pitch climbing, all skill levels

If money is tight, but you still want a quality pair of shoes that will inspire confidence in your foot placements, then the Finale is a solid choice.

Is it the cheapest shoe on this list? No, it’s not, but for its price, I think it’s one of the best value models out there.

The Finale is built with the high standard of craftsmanship you expect from La Sportiva and I really like that the shoe is made of 40% recycled materials and leather. The Finale isn’t a high-performance, the shoe’s focus is more on comfort, but the 1/2 sole of 5mm XS Edge allows the shoe to stick those tricky little holds really nicely.

Testing the la sporitva finale

In my opinion, the Finale isn’t the shoe for wrestling boulders. The minimal heel features and toe patch don’t give you much to work with for steep pumpy boulder problems. Anything short of a bat hanging from your toes, and the Finale won’t disappoint.

Best For Performance

Five Ten Hiangle

Five Ten Hiangle Review
Overall
8.15
(3 reviews)
  • Edging - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Smearing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Comfort - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Sensitivity - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value For Money - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Pros

  • Extremely-secure heel that’s awesome at heel hooks
  • The highly aggressive shape is brilliant for steep climbing
  • Stealth rubber offers plenty of friction on rock and plastic holds

Cons

  • The blunt toe box isn’t super precise
  • Microfibre uppers wear fast
  • Not suitable for longer climbing days
  • The white uppers quickly become discolored

Best For: Bouldering and steep sport

I know I’ve already said it, but I’m going to say again; A high-performance shoe is never going to be cheap. But if there’s a performance shoe that jumps out as an affordable option, it’s the Five Ten Hiagnle. It clocks in at around $60 cheaper than its next rival, but certainly doesn’t act like it.

The Hiangle is Five Ten flagship shoe that can be found on the feet of everyone from the comp climbing queen Janja Garnbret, to V17 crusher Will Bosi.

Five-Ten-Bouldering-Shoes Hiangle
Putting my questionable crack skills to the test.

There are some really cool features to the Hiangle. The toe patch is awesome for all the toe hooks, pressing, and scumming moves you find on gym boulders. I frickin’ love the heel, it’s so glued on I almost need adhesive remover to get them off. The unique downtunred shape feels great at hooking pockets too.

I personally find the fit of the Hiangle a little funny. On my feet, they feel narrow, but strangely high-volume at the same time. Don’t let my weird feet put you off, this is a top contender for narrow-footed climbers who enjoy steep sport and boulder problems.

Cheapest

La Sportiva Tarantula

La Sportiva Tarantulace Review
Overall
6.7
(10 reviews)
  • Edging - 7/10
    7/10
  • Smearing - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 5/10
    5/10
  • Comfort - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Sensitivity - 6/10
    6/10
  • Value For Money - 8/10
    8/10

Pros

  • Super comfortable
  • Great for new climbers 
  • Excellent, secure fit
  • Low price 

Cons

  • Limited performance

Best For: Beginners, both indoor and outdoor

If you’re searching for the cheapest climbing shoe, then the Tarantulace consistently clocks in as the model that retails at the lowest price. And for less than $100, it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the most popular beginner climber shoes ever made.

What I like about the Tarantulace and its velcro sibling, the Tarantula, is that they offer a little extra performance you won’t find in many of its counterparts. It’s built on a slightly more downturned last than your average beginner shoe, which allows for better power transfer to your toes.

It’s a pretty stiff-feeling shoe, and there isn’t much to work with if you want to throw down a heel or toe hook.

Best for Outdoors

Scarpa Helix

Scarpa Helix

The Scarpa Helix has been around for decades and is a true tried and tested workhorse of the Scarpa shoe family. The original Helix was my first-ever climbing shoe, so I know beginner climbers are in safe hands with this one.

The current model is the second generation but shares most of the characteristics of the original.

The Helix shares a similar design to many of the other shoes on this list. A neutral profile with a low asymmetric shape, suede uppers (reinforced with strategic stitching to avoid overstretching), and 7 eyelet lace closure that allows you to adjust to find that perfect fit.

Scarpa uses Vibram XS Edge rubber for the Helix outsole, which is a big bonus, (If you don’t know much about shoe rubber, Vibram is known for making some of the highest quality rubber compounds out there.) This stuff is rarely seen on budget shoes.

While it’s one of the cheapest shoes in their line-up, the Helix is made to the same quality standards you’d expect from Scarpa. Handcrafted in their Italian workshop and made with only the highest quality materials, it doesn’t get much better than this for under 100 bucks.

Best For Training

Five Ten Niad Mocc

Five Ten NIAD Mocc
Overall
7.4
(1 review)
  • Edging - 6/10
    6/10
  • Smearing - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 6/10
    6/10
  • Comfort - 9/10
    9/10
  • Sensitivity - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value For Money - 7/10
    7/10

Pros

  • Improved heel tension
  • Super comfortable
  • Enhanced build quality
  • The large toe patch

Cons

  • Dye turns feet red during break-in
  • Lacks performance
  • Not great for small edges or overhangs

Best For: Training laps of the gym

Climbers who have been in the game for a while will know that the Five Ten Moccasym is the stuff of climbing legends. It is probably the most popular crack climbing shoe ever and was the first shoe ever to use a slingshot rand.

The Mocc isn’t a high performer by any stretch of the imagination, but it isn’t exactly a beginner shoe either. I think they are best used as training shoes; soft enough to stick to gym volumes, comfortable enough to wear all day, and easy to slip on and off.

Testing the Five Ten NIAD Mocc

The NIAD Mocc isn’t my shoe of choice for lasering in on small edges, or cranking on heel hooks, but does that matter? I really like the simplicity of the Mocc, it’s got everything you need, and nothing else, for a fun day of cruisy climbing.

Best Vegan

Evolv Defy

Evolv Defy Review
Overall
7.05
(3 reviews)
  • Edging - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Smearing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 5/10
    5/10
  • Comfort - 10/10
    10/10
  • Sensitivity - 6/10
    6/10
  • Value For Money - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Pros

  • Affordably priced for beginners
  • Comfortable neutral shape
  • Sticky and durable Trax SAS rubber
  • Vegan friendly

Cons

  • Entry-level performance

The Defy is Evolv’s answer to the Tarantula, they are both pretty similar shoes, with the exception of the slightly more downturned shape of the La Sportiva. 

The reason why the Defy is one of Evolv’s longest-running models, and up there as one of the most-sold climbing shoes. It offers a really solid all-around performance for a beginner exploring different types of climbing.

While it has a more neutral profile than the Tarantula, in my opinion, the Defy has a slightly better heel design and uses Evol’s super sticky Trax SAS rubber, which I really, really like. The Defy is also a vegan-friendly shoe, which is a nice added bonus.

Best For Intermediates

Tenaya Tanta

Tenaya Tanta cheap climbing shoe

This is certainly the most performance-originated pick on my list. Not only is it noticeably more downturned than its counterparts but it shares many of the characteristics you see in Tenaya’s performance shoes like the Iati and Oasi (such as the floating toe patch and downturned last). 

Of course, there is a good reason why the Tanta is almost half the price of Tenaya’s flagship shoes. The heel cup won’t be much help for all those gnarly heel hooks you plan on doing, and the own-brand rubber found on the cheap Tenaya climbing shoes is known to feel pretty glassy underfoot.

Best of the Rest

Butora Endeavor

Butora Endeavor - Cheap climbing shoes

Best For: Beginners climbing outside

Butora never fails to impress me with their quality and value for money, and their budget offering is no exception. Extremely comfortable and ready to handle anything a beginner climber can throw at it, the Endeavor is perfect for wide-footed newbies. 

This shoe is good for all sorts of terrains; from vert to slab, cracks, and moderate overhangs, and is a great option for climbers who dabble with both gym and outdoor climbing. While the Endeavor is relatively sensitive and gives you enough confidence on small edges, it probably can’t keep up with the edging prowess of the Helix.

One of the most unusual aspects of the Endeavor is that the leather upper is lined with organic hemp. The hemp lining, according to Butora, enhances the breathability and moisture-absorbing capability of the shoe, whilst helping to reduce stretching. 

Best of the Rest

Evolv Rave

Evolv Rave

Best For: Chilled climbing days

The Rave is pretty similar to the classic Five Ten NIAD Mocc, but with a slightly wider fit.

Like the Moccasyms, this is a very sensitive shoe, allowing you to feel out all of the nooks, crannies, and divots. Thanks to the high level of comfort and the easy on/off access, the Rave makes for an ideal for training in the gym. While for edging control I wouldn’t pick the Rave as a top contender, it’s a remarkably versatile run-around shoe.

In dollars and cents, the Rave is slightly cheaper than the Moccs. If you’ve had issues with the bagginess of the Mocs, or struggle with its narrow fit, then I’d recommend giving these a go. Give them some time to break in and they’ll start to feel like a second skin.

Best of the Rest

Black Diamond Momentum

Black Diamond Momentum

The Momentum is their entry-level shoe that’s been priced just right to be classed as an affordable climbing shoe.

It’s got a similar profile to the Butora Endeavor with its flat symmetrical and medium-stiff sole but it’s the upper material that makes his shoe unique. Black Diamond has chosen a knit synthetic, making these shoes remarkably breathable. 

While the Momentum is relatively comfortable and supportive, it does fall short when it comes to performance compared to some of its counterparts. I think the Helix and Tarantula are a step ahead when it comes to edging, and the momentum has that signature lack of sensitivity that many beginner shoes have. 

How to get the best deal on Climbing Shoes

If you want to do some bargain hunting for yourself, then here are a few pro tips that will help you snag a serious deal on your next pair of climbing shoes.

Buy Last-generation Models

This is probably the best way to guarantee a cheap deal. When a brand announces the release of a new generation upgrade, or decides to discontinue a specific model, it’s a sure sign that there’s going to be some heavy discounts coming to help shift the old stock. 

Discounts as large as 50% (sometimes more) are common with clearance sales. Here’s a screenshot of a few deals currently currently available.

Climbing shoe discounts on steep and cheap

If you’re hunting for a bargain, highly recommend taking a look at Steep and Cheap. It’s Backcountry outlet brand and they usually have huge savings on climbing gear.

Buy Secondhand From Facebook or Your Local Gym

There’s always someone who has bought the wrong size shoe and wants to get rid of them. If you see a pair in your size, then it’s a great way to get your hands on a nearly-new pair of discount shoes.

If you do find someone selling, just be sure to offer your climbing comrade a fair deal. 

Sweet Talk the Store Assistant

Inside REI store guide

This is probably the least reliable way to get your hands on some discount climbing shoes but I know for a fact that it works! I know this because the last two shops I purchased shoes from gave me 20% and 15% respectively without even asking for it. 

I didn’t know them, they didn’t know me. I had never visited either store prior to purchasing my shoes. The only thing both encounters had in common was the fact I had a great conversation with the super cool people that was serving me.

Being a former retail worker, I know that most shop-floor employees will have the ability to offer discount prices. So, if you can strike up a strong enough connection with the person serving you, then don’t be surprised if they slip you a sneaky little discount.

Ready to find your Budget Climbing Shoes?

While many of us shudder at the thought of forking out hundreds of dollars, it’s worth remembering that there’s an important reason why our kit costs so much: Climbing gear needs to be seriously reliable.  In my opinion, this is the single biggest reason why we pay so much for our climbing equipment. 

But affordable climbing shoes don’t necessarily translate to poor quality. While the best bouldering shoes will cost closer to the $200 mark, as you have just seen, there are plenty of brands that still have some pretty solid budget shoe designs to choose from.

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