Our top pick for best shoe under $100 is an easy one: the Scarpa Helix. This shoe has been around for a couple of iterations and is a favourite among many climbers. This shoe has a simple construction consisting of a flat symmetrical last, suede upper and a lace-up system. Scarpa has gone with the ultra-sticky Vibram XS Edge (3.5mm) rubber, which is a very high-quality rubber for such a small price tag. Combine this with the medium-stiff midsole, and this shoe has no problem edging on small precises edges.
This shoe would do great on the feet of an all-around climber. They’ll perform their best on vertical to slabby terrain, as well as on moderate cracks. This would make for a great beginner shoe as well, as it provides a perfect balance between support and sensitivity, encouraging good footwork. Keep in mind however, that these flat lasted shoes are not particularly well suited for overhang. If your priority is pushing grades on steep sport routes and boulders, we’d recommend looking at something with a downturned profile.
This is a well-made shoe with the same quality construction you’d expect from Scarpa’s higher-end models. Retailing at $99 USD, you can’t go wrong with the Helix. It doesn’t get much better than this.
For Women: For a lower volume shoe, check out the women’s version of the Helix here.
The Butora Endeavor really impressed us with its versatility with value.
This is a velcro shoe constructed with a leather upper. It’s been lined with organic hemp for enhanced breathability and moister wicking capability. This paired withl with the padded tong, makes this is a seriously comfortable shoe. It’s performance capability is driven by it’s moderate asymmetry and flat, medium-stiff sole. We also love Butora’s patented rubber. It’s stickiness is comparable to the top competitors currently on the market.
This shoe will feel at home on all sorts of terrains, from vert to slab, cracks and moderate overhangs. The Endeavor is relatively sensitive and provides ample confidence on small edges. The heel fits nice and snug too. If you’re looking to push grades on boulders or powerful sport routes, you’ll want to look for something a bit more downturned, however, for all other uses, the Endeavor certainly punches above its weight.
This is a $99 shoe that performs like a $130 shoe. We’re impressed by the quality that Butora brings to the Endeavor and feel their popularity will only be increasing from here. Not only is this one of the best shoes under a $100, but it’s also a great shoe full stop.
For Women: The Endeavor is a unisex shoe that comes in both a narrow and wide size to fit all climbers!
From Italy’s other climbing shoe manufacturing powerhose, La Sportiva, we had to include the massively popular Tarantula to this list.
This is a flat lasted shoe with low asymmetry which comes in a velcro and lace-up models. Its stiff sole will keep you well supported, avoiding unnecessary cramping and foot pain. While performance wise this shoe doesn’t really excel in any one catagory, it holds up well enough in most aspects in order to get a beginner going.
Our biggest issue with this shoe is the rubber compound. The Tarantula’s use La Sportiva’s 5mm FriXion rubber. While this rubber has good friction, it is a pretty thick layer of rubber which becomes glassy over time. While this does mean you’ll get lots of mileage from them, they’ll quickly start to feel clunky as you outgrow the beginner phase.
The Tarantula retails for around $90 USD and would make for a perfectly good starter. Many climbers who start out with the Tarantulas find that they outgrow the performance level of the shoe before a hole ever appears. This means once you’re ready to move on, you can always keep these shoes around as a warm-up or training shoe.
For Women: In recent years, La Sportiva has developed women’s versions of their popular shoes, including the Tarantula. You can find the women’s version here.
Black Diamond recently joined the climbing shoemaking game with a full line of innovative kicks. Their Momentum shoe is their entry-level shoe that’s been priced just right. It’s got a similar profile to the La Sportiva Tarantuala with it’s flat symmetrical and medium-stiff sole. The upper construction however, is what makes this shoe really standout. Black Diamond has chosen a knit synthetic here, making these remarkably breathable.
While the Momentum is relatively comfortable and supportive, it does fall short when it comes to performance compared to its counterpart. We think the Tarantula is a slight step ahead when it comes to edging control, though it has a similar lack of sensitivity. The Neofuse rubber on the Momentum comes in at a similar thickness (4.3mm) but has a bit more stick to it. It’s a fairly comparable shoe, and may fit better on certain feet so as with all climbing shoes, it’ll be a matter of trying the Momentum on the wall, and seeing how they hug your foot.
The Momentum clocks in at around $94. We would recommend this shoe to beginner climbers who don’t quite fit into the Tarantula. They hit almost all of the same metrics, with the added bonus of breathability.
For Women: The Momentum also come in a women’s version which are more suited to low volume feet. They also come in some great colours!
As the only slipper on this list, we think the Evolv Addict makes for a great buy. This shoe is almost identical to the classic Five Ten Moccasyms, but with a narrower, lower volume profile. While the Moccasyms are know for becoming baggy over time, that’s not the case here. It’s got a simple construction with a unlined leather upper and a flat asymmetrical last.
This is a very sensitive shoe, allowing you to feel out all of the nooks, crannies and divots. While for edging control we wouldn’t pick the Addict as a top contender, it’ll do a perfectly adequate job on all but the smallest edges. This shoe performs best on cracks and endless slabs. We would recommend this shoe for avid outdoor trad climbers looking for a comfortable all-arounders, or as a pair of gym beater shoes.
The Addicts are slightly cheaper than the Moccasyms, coming in at $99. If you’ve had issues with the baggyness of the Mocs, we’d highly recommend giving these a go. Give them a little time and they’ll start to feel like a second skin.
For Women: Because the addict uses a very flat and narrow last, they advertised as a unisex shoe. For women that are looking to use the Addict, we recommend dropping a size and a half from your normal street shoe.
Budget doesn’t necessarily have to mean poor quality when it comes to climbing shoes. While a high end, high performing shoe can put you back by $200 plus, it’s awesome to see what manufacturers have been able to pack into such affordable shoes.
For the beginner climber we’d suggest looking at the Tarantula or the Momentum. They’ve got ample rubber and support, and will outlast the climbing wall scuffs. If you are happy to compromise on durability, it would certainly be worth giving the Helix or the Endeavor a try. Though you’ll want to be a bit more careful with your toes, they’ll simultaneously encourage better, more intuitive footwork as a result.
For the seasoned dirtbager, hanging out on multi-pitches and cracks, the Addict is a great choice. This classic design is proven to perform with its unparalleled sensitivity.
With a slipper, velcro and lace-up shoe all under $100, you’ve got plenty of options.