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The Best Climbing Shoes for Narrow Feet

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My guide to narrow-fitting climbing shoes covers everything you need to know about finding your fairy tale fit.

Tenaya Oasi

My Top Pick

Tenaya Oasi

An amazingly adaptable shoe that offers a narrow fit from heel to toe.

Drago LV Thumb

For Bouldering

Scarpa Drago LV

A soft, sticky sending machine, awesome for pumpy boulder problems.

Vapor V WMNS thumb

For Beginners

Scarpa Vapor V

Awesome all-around ability with enough support for beginner feet.

La Sportiva Futura

For Gym

La Sportiva Futura

One of the narrowest La Sportiva shoes, perfect for gym climbing

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When it comes to choosing new climbing shoes finding a shoe that offers the best fit is by far the most important box you need to check. It doesn’t matter if you splash out on a top-of-the-range performance shoe with all the latest shoe tech crammed into it, if it doesn’t fit your feet properly, then you might as well

How a shoe fits is ridiculously important in climbing and shoe manufacturers understand its importance better than most. Many shoe brands offer a variety of models that cater to both wide and narrow feet. Companies, like Scarpa and La Sportiva, might create 4 or 5 different shoes suitable for bouldering, all built on different last shapes in order to cater to a wider range of foot sizes.

If you have feet that sit on the narrower side of the spectrum, then you may be struggling to find a shoe that offers you that fairly tale fit. Fear not, in this article we are going to cover some important stuff, including;

– How to find narrow shoes
– What are low volume climbing shoes?
– My 10 favorite shoes for narrow feet

Let’s get to it!

How to find narrow climbing shoes

If you’re on the hunt for narrow climbing shoes, the way I see it, you have two options available;

1. Experiment with brands that are known for a narrow fit
2. Try some low volume climbing shoes

Some brands have a reputation for making narrow-fitting climbing shoes, whereas others have a reputation for creating shoes that are better suited to wider feet. From my experience, Tenaya and Five Ten consistently make shoes that naturally suit narrow-footed climbers. From my testing of various models from these manufacturers, I find many of their shoes just seem to be better suited to narrow feet.

The Tenaya Oasi (left) is narrower in the heel, forefoot, and toe than the Mastia (right)

Other brands, like Evolv, seem to have a shoe range that naturally gravitates to wider-footed climbers. Of course, this is a bit of a generalization, and every brand will have a model or two that are exceptions to this rule (the Tenya Mastia, for example, is a great choice for wider feet). If you are really struggling to find a well-fitting shoe, then consider looking for some lace-up models, as this allows for more control over the fit.

What are low volume climbing shoes?

Your next option is to play around with some low-variation models. Many shoemakers offer high and low-volume variations of their most popular shoes in an attempt to cater to a wider range of foot shapes. Not sure what that means? Allow me to explain.

The volume of any object refers to the 3D space it occupies. Imagine we have two shoes the exact same size, a high and low volume of the Mad Rock Drone, for example. If we then take a jug of water and fill each shoe to the top, the high-volume model will hold more water than the low-volume model, despite being the same shoe size. By reducing the instep volume, shoe width, heel size, and arch curve, low-volume shoes will cater better to narrow feet.

My Best Narrow Climbing Shoes

Using the logic I just shared above, I have picked 10 shoes that I think represent the best selection of climbing shoes for narrow feet in 2023. My shortlist is diverse and curated to offer a suggestion for climbers of all skill levels, budgets, and climbing styles.

My Top Pick

Tenaya Oasi

Tenaya Oasi

Teneya has built a reputation over the last few years for creating some of the most comfortable performance shoes money can buy. 

I find that most Tenaya shoes are great for narrow-footed climbers, although they are all designed with ‘foot width response’ in mind, allowing the shoe to adapt to a wide range of foot shapes.

Tenaya Oasi in action

One of Tenaya’s best creations is the Oasi, a model that took the Tenaya team two years to develop. The years in R&D paid off, and the Oasi’s versatility is seriously impressive. It’s got really nice flexibility under the toes, which helps for smearing and friction slab, but still transfers enough power through the shoe to allow you to stick small edges and pull at pockets on steep terrain. 

I find the heel, forefoot, and toe box of the Oasi all sit on the narrow side. Oh, did I mention it’s also one of Alex Megos’ favorite shoes?  Enough said!

Best For Bouldering

Scarpa Drago Lv

Scarpa Drago Lv
Overall
8.6
(4 reviews)
  • Edging - 7/10
    7/10
  • Smearing - 9/10
    9/10
  • Steep Terrain - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Comfort - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Sensitivity - 9/10
    9/10
  • Value For Money - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Pros

  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Great for toe hooks
  • Comfortable for a performance shoe
  • Fast break in period

Cons

  • Rubber can wear fast
  • Basic heel

Best For: Sport and bouldering, indoor and outdoor

If you are looking for a narrow bouldering shoe, Scarpa has just the shoe for you. The Drago LV is a masterclass in shoe building and “represents the future of climbing shoes”, in the words of climbing legend and Drago designer Heinz Mariacher.

As the name suggests, the LV is the lower-volume alternative to the classic Drago that was released in 2016. The Drago LV was built on a completely different last, the FZS, which is one of the narrowest shapes in SCARPA’s arsenal.

Scarpa has also completely redesigned the heel on the LV, opting for PAF heel system, creating a narrower-fitting heel cup. Plenty of volume has been taken out of the forefoot too, although the single strap velcro closure does make the forefoot slightly wider than a lace closure would.

All in all, I still think the Drago LV is one of the best climbing shoes for narrow feet, especially when it comes to bouldering.

Best for Beginners

Scarpa Vapor V

Scarpa Vapor V Womens
Overall
8.4
(4 reviews)
  • Edging - 9/10
    9/10
  • Smearing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
    8/10
  • Sensitivity - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value For Money - 8/10
    8/10

Pros

  • Awesome for technical sport climbing
  • Great for edging and precise footwork
  • Durable Vibram XS Edge
  • High & low volume variation

Cons

  • Heel cup is a little wide

If you are looking to move away from those worn-out, odor-infested rental shoes, the Vapor V is an awesome beginner shoe with bucketloads of crushing potential.

The model, the Women’s Vapor V is built on the WFR last – another volume last from Scarpa’s – with extra volume taken out for the heel to cater to narrow. 

The Vapor V packs some great features that make it far superior to your average beginner shoe. Plenty of clever Scarpa tech has allowed the Vapor V to be a well-balanced sending shoe, and one of the best all-around shoes I’ve tested, in fact.

Vapor V climbing

The shoe edges, smears, and heel hooks well in equal measures, although the lack of a large toe patch and stiffer profile does inhibit optimal performance on steep and friction-dependent boulders.

But for beginners and intermediate climbers looking for a shoe that inspires confidence on a wide variety of terrain, this shoe is definitely worth a look.

Best for Indoor

La Sportiva Futura

Womens rock climbing shoes - La Sportiva Futura
Overall
8.4
(3 reviews)
  • Edging - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Smearing - 9/10
    9/10
  • Steep Terrain - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
    8/10
  • Sensitivity - 10/10
    10/10
  • Value For Money - 7/10
    7/10

Pros

  • Incredible sensitivity
  • Great at edging thanks to No-Edge technology
  • The fast-lacing system

Cons

  • The price tag
  • Wears fast

The Futura is one of the narrowest La Sportiva shoes you will find and is a shoe with an awesome reputation. It can be found on the feet of some of the biggest crushers of our generation including Adam Ondra, Margo Hayes, and Stefano Ghisolfi.

The Futura makes the most of Sportiva’s no-edge technology, a revolutionary concept based on the logic that climbers perform best by reducing the amount of rubber between your foot and the rock.

The split sole design, 3mm Vibram XS grips 2, and 1.1mm midsole all contribute to making the Futura extremely sensitive and flexible. This makes the shoe really adaptable to various angles of climbing, making it the perfect tool for all your sport climbing or boulder projects. These features also make the Futura great for indoor walls too

While this is one of the few shoes on our list that doesn’t have a lace closure, the Fast Lacing System provides a brilliant custom fit and offers four points of adjustment dead space. This low volume version is built on the WPD last, offering a narrow heel and lower instep volume than the original Futura.

Best for Overhangs

Five Ten Hiangle

Hiangle womens
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

If it’s an aggressive shoe that you’re looking for, then here it is, the Five Ten Hiangle. This is the brand’s flagship shoe, their pièce de résistance, favored by all the elite Five Ten athletes.

Its highly downturned forefoot is really unique and puts it up there as one of the most aggressive shoes in the game. This puts your foot in a really nice position to hook pockets and features on steep terrain. It’s pretty good at adapting to smearing too, although certainly not as well as a moderately downturned shoe would.

Five-Ten-Bouldering-Shoes Hiangle

In terms of fit, like other Five Ten shoes I find the forefoot really narrow, whereas the heel feels more medium-width.

Best All Arounder

Five Ten Niad Vcs

Five Ten NIAD VCS Review
Overall
7.6
(1 review)
  • Edging - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Smearing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 7/10
    7/10
  • Comfort - 9/10
    9/10
  • Sensitivity - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Value For Money - 8/10
    8/10

Pros

  • Great all-round performance
  • The new heel makes the shoe more secure
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Not great for overhung terrain
  • The rounded toe box is super precise

The NIAD VCS is Five Ten’s 21st-century answer to their hugely popular Anasazi VCS. This shoe builds on the winning qualities of the much-loved original and brings some new features into the mix. 

The shoe is built on a new last, which I find incredibly narrow, definitely one of the narrowest climbing shoes I have worn in a while. The shape of the toe box is pretty unique, as it is centered between your big toe and second toe, which helps distribute weight across your toes when weighting the toe box. This shape makes the NIAD VCS a great climbing shoe for narrow feet as well as those who have Morton’s Toe.

Five Ten NIAD

From my testing, the shoe is pretty versatile, it performs well at a huge range of climbing styles (especially bouldering and sport climbing) and offers a good balance between comfort and performance. The NIAD VCS is comparable to the Vapor V, just slightly less performance-oriented.

Best For Outdoor

La Sportiva Miura

La Sportiva Narrow Climbing Shoes
Overall
7.65
(4 reviews)
  • Edging - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Smearing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Comfort - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Sensitivity - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Value For Money - 9/10
    9/10

Pros

  • Great edging
  • Versatile
  • Low and high volume variations

Cons

  • Laces wear fast in cracks
  • Jack of all trades, master of none
  • The stiffer profile isn’t ideal for indoor climbing

If you’re looking for the narrowest fitting La Sportiva shoe, then here it is; the Women’s Miura Lace. the Orioanl Miura is La Sportiva’s lowest volume shoe, and the women’s version takes this one step further, with a noticeably narrower heel and a softer outsole rubber.

These Miura shoes can handle almost everything you throw at them; single-pitch sport, technical big walls, or intricate boulder sequences, the Miura can do it all. The Miura is so brilliant in fact, that its design has remained remarkably unchanged over the last 20 years.

The Miura comes in both lace and velcro, although I suggest you stick to the laces if you have narrow feet. The reason for this is the lace model is slightly lower volume, thanks to its lined uppers, which means it’s going to stretch less than its velcro counterpart. Laces also have the additional benefit of micro-adjustments and tightening hotspots where needed.

Known as the ‘quiver of one shoe,’ the Miura is perfect for the narrow-footed climber who is looking for a shoe that can do it all.

Best for Edging

Tenaya Masai

Tenaya Masai climbing shoe

Is techie footwork you thing? If so, the Tenaya Masai is a shoe that eats up tricky footwork on non-existing footholds. Apparently, it’s one of Tenaya’s most popular shoes, which isn’t hard to believe, because it’s pretty killer.

The Masai certainly wouldn’t be my top pick for gym climbing, in the bouldering bay or on the ropes, but on vertical faces with tiny features, it’s one of the best out there.

Testing Tenaya Masai

Its pointed-toe box and asymmetric shape transfer power to the very tip of your shoe, allowing you to crank on tiny features with confidence. The whole shoe stays narrow, which can also be adjusted with the laces to help dial in that perfect fit.

Best for Budgets

Scarpa Helix

Scarpa Helix

If you don’t have hundreds of dollars to invest in your climbing kit, there are still some great shoes available to you.

However, those on a modest budget are going to have to settle with something a little less performance-oriented. Once your skill level and climbing obsession grow, many beginners will trade up for a shoe that packs more of a punch. 

If you are looking for a budget shoe, I really like the Scarpa Helix (It’s one of the best cheap climbing shoes you can buy).

The Helix is designed for beginners or experienced climbers looking for a shoe that can deliver all-day comfort. The women’s version in particular is a model I highly recommend as a low-volume climbing shoe. The lace extends pretty far down the forefoot, offering a great level of adjustability. 

Unlike a lot of budget shoes that use cheaper rubber compounds, the Helix comes equipped with the Vibram XS Edge rubber, making the shoe brilliant for balancing on small edges.

Best for Style

Mad Rock Drone Lv

Mad Rock Drone

I know style shouldn’t be a primary consideration when it comes to choosing climbing shoes, but with a moody all-black exterior, it’s hard not to fall in love with the Mad Rock Drone.

Don’t think these are all style, no substance. The Drone has fast become a frontrunner in the Mad Rock range, a popular choice with many of their ambassadors like Matt Fultz and Olympian Michael Mawem and Alexey Rubtsov.

Like the Drago, the Drone LV has a similar single strap/elasticated closure, which is best suited to bouldering and sport climbing. The shoe makes the most of Mad Rocks’ super-sticky Science Friction 3.0, as well as plenty of other clever design additions including a patented curved sole, an expandable 3D heel cup, and a beefy toe patch.

As this is a low-volume climbing shoe expect a narrower toe box, smaller heel cup, and reduced in-step volume compared to the Drone HV. I’m sure many climbers will also appreciate that these are vegan-friendly shoes too.

What’s your favorite?

Best climbing shoes for narrow feet

If none of my recommendations are doing it for you, I won’t be offended. Feel free to do some research and discover your own suitable shoes. Remember to keep in mind the criteria I mentioned at the start of this guide, and you will find your fairy-tale fit in no time.

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