Finding the right shoe can be a struggle, especially if you are looking for the best climbing shoes for wide feet. Your buddy might swear by a shoe, saying it’s the best thing they’ve ever climbed in. Now it’s all they wear and there is no debating them about it.
A shoe that fits one person however, may not be suited to all. Brand, material, closure type and profile all play into what makes a well-fitting wide climbing shoe. Truth be told, it’s a highly personal thing and only you can determine what works best for you.
If you’ve got wide feet, we hope that this guide gives you a bit of a head start on the hunt. We’ve got an array of shoes, depending on your level of experience and application type.
Keep in mind as you read this article that certain brands can fit wildly differently from another. Give for example La Sportiva which tends to fit the narrow-footed best, while Scarpa and Evolve are often touted by those who need wide climbing shoes.
Likewise, laces can offer a more finetuned fit. A leather, unlined shoe will stretch at least a half size and mould to the shape of your foot. These are all factors we’ll take into account here.
La Sportiva Skwama
After our team reviewed the La Sportiva Skwama a few months ago, it’s been a challenge to pull these shoes off their grubby feet.
We love the versatility and sensitivity of the Skwama brings to the table. The super-soft shoe is designed with overhung bouldering and climbing in mind, but honestly, this is one of the best all-around performance shoes available right now. Indoors or outdoors, smearing, edging or bat hanging from your tippy-toes – these shoes can do it all.
Of course, there’s no shoe that is perfect for everything, but the Skwama is pretty damn close.
La Sportiva shoes tend to run on the narrower side compared to other brands, but the wide toe box combined with the elasticated tongue should make this shoe suitable for most wide-footed climbers. The upper is also made of leather, so expect so see a little bit of stretch once you have broken these bad boys in.
In 2018, La Sportiva brought out the women version of the Skwama that uses a slightly lower-volume last to provide a better fit to smaller feet.
BEST FOR BOULDERING
Scarpa Instinct VS
The Scarpa Instinct VS is a real favourite among many climbers and are brilliant bouldering shoes for wide feet. Walk into the bouldering gym any given night and you’re bound to spot at least a climber or two sporting these high-end shoes. Specifically designed for hard bouldering, the Scarpa Instinct VS address all the demands of the modern boulderer while offering a snug comfy fit.
Features include an adjustable Velcro strap for quick on/off action and a generous toe patch. The heel of this shoe really shines with its ultra-snug design which. A tight band runs across the back of the achilleas, really securing it in and offering unparalleled confidence when cranking hard.
The last of the Instinct VS is highly downturned and asymmetrical, upping it’s performance on steep overhang. The climber’s weight is focused on the big toe providing great accuracy. On vertical to slabby terrain however, the stiff sole lacks the sensitivity needed to feel out tiny numbs and edges.
As mentioned, Scarpa as a brand can be great for wide fitting shoes, espcially those looking for climbing shoes with a wide toe box and narrow heel. In general, their models tend to be modelled from a wide last. If they fit your foot correctly, they’ll slip on like a glove and should feel like a second skin.
BEST BUDGET SHOE
The Butora Acro is without a doubt a top pick when compared to the competition. It’s edging prowess, sensitivity and performance on a variety of angles makes this shoe a real contender on the competitive market of high-end bouldering/sport climbing shoes. Though in the Western world of climbing, the Butora Acro isn’t as well recognized as other shoes, they’ve started to pick up popularity in the last couple of years, and with good reason.
The Acro is a slipper style shoe designed with a single strap. It’s has a medium-stiff sole and features the ultra-sticky Neo Fuse rubber. The shoe should be sized tightly in order to deliver it’s glove like fit. Throw in a high tensioned rand, downturned profile and a huge toe patch, and you’ve got the making of a thoughtfully designed shoe.
The shoe is offered in a wide and narrow model, as opposed to the traditional women’s and men’s label. Those with a wider foot have found this shoe to fit exceptionally well. If you can find them in-store, don’t pass up the opportunity to give these guys a go.
BEST FOR ALL-DAY CLIMBING
Another entry from the Butora line: the Alturas are a great pick for the tradsters and adventurers out there. Comparable to the La Sportiva favorite, the TC Pros, the Alturas will support you in wide cracks and long days on the wall.
The Alturas have an ultra-stiff sole and flat lasted profile. They may feel clunky and insensitive at first, however, with a bit of trust, they’ll keep you happily on your toes pitch after pitch. These shoes utilize the same rubber as the Acros (Butora’s Neo Fuse), so you know they are sticky. Additionally, the Alturas feature a protective high-top ankle and plush padded tongue, are real must for jamming.
These shoes do struggle in smaller cracks, for the same reason they excel in wider features. If you’re looking for a softer, more sensitive trad shoe, consider the Scarpa Vapor V. They perform well in narrow, thin cracks and offer a lot better sensitivity on small holds, while maintaining the wide fit of the Scarpa line.
Like the Acros, the Altura is offered in a wide and narrow version, and are modelled on a last that is slightly wider than the TC Pros.
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
The Scarpa Helix is a supportive shoe that offers sensitivity and support while being kind to your wallet. Though you won’t see elite boulderers or sport climbers wearing this shoe, its performance is remarkably balanced and its construction built with quality and care. These shoes are also known for their durability, helping stretch the budget that much more.
The Helix has a flat, slightly asymmetrical profile. It’s midsole is relatively stiff, yet the toe is fairly sensitive making this a great intermediate shoe. It’s also a popular choice for all day comfort at the crag. It’ll hold up pretty well on a variety of styles from vertical edging to crack climbing. Just don’t expect too much when it comes to steep terrain or heel hooks.
As with the Instinct VS, the Helix has a wider than average fit. These shoes do also stretch at least a full size so once broken in they shouldn’t cause any hotspots.
BEST OF THE REST
La Sportiva Tarantula
The La Sportiva Tarantulas has become ubiquitous in the climbing gym as the go to beginner shoe. If the sales person at your local gear shop recommends these puppies as your first shoe, you’re in good hands. They embody the tricky balance of comfort, support and performance a beginner shoe should offer. As you hone your technique, the Tarantulas will take on the beating a beginner imparts onto their shoes like a champ, all without breaking the bank.
The Tarantulas are a neutrally shaped shoe with a flat last. The midsole is rather stiff, providing a good amount of support, and consequently, comfort. An experienced climber will find the shoe falls flat on anything remotely overhung or advanced, but that’s not really this shoe’s focus anyways. The Tarantula is tailored to the climber who has just graduated from the rental shoe, and is looking for a better fit and slight better precision.
The Tarantulas are offered in both a Velcro and lace up version, so try on both to see what fits best. Keep in mind laces usually offer more adjustability. The leather construction will stretch at least a half to full size, so it’s best to size these snuggly from the get go.
While the La Sportiva line does trend on the narrow side, these shoes offer a customizable and comfort driven fit.
Finding the right shoe can be a frustrating experience. Like Cinderella slipping on the glass slipper, finding the right shoe can feel like a miracle. Keep in mind a list of your needs in order to narrow down your choices.
If you’ve got a wide foot, hotspots and ill-fitting heels might be a familiar struggle. However, the market now a days is vast, so chances are there is a shoe out there for you. A shoe modelled off of a wider last will reduce these dreaded points. Within a brand, this will often carry over from one shoe model to another. Keep an eye out as well for lace up versions and leather construction to optimize that customized fit.
Give some of these a go. You might just find your next best friend.
Now you know what makes the best climbing shoes for wide feet. If none of our top six choices jumped out at you, why not take a look at some of our other shoe reviews?