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The Best Lace Climbing Shoes

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There is no school like the old school, and when it comes to climbing shoes, lace ups are the traditional way of doing things.

La Sportiva Miura Lace Climbing Shoe

My Top Pick

La Sportiva Miura

A tired and tested classic with a long pedigree of sending hard.

La Sportiva Finale - All day climbing shoes

For Beginners

La Sportiva Finale

A beginner shoe that gives you an awesome bang for your buck.

Tenaya Masai Thumbnail

For Edging

Tenaya Masai

A lesser-precise toe box makes the Mastia brilliant on tiny edges.

Scarpa Chimera thumbnail

For Bouldering

Scarpa Chimera

Super soft and ready to adapt to boulders and sport routes of all angles.

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Here’s a quick history lesson for you; The first real pair of climbing shoes were made by a young French climber called Pierre Alain, back in the 1950s. Frustrated with the limiting performance of sneakers and hiking boots, Pierre worked with a shoemaker to develop a shoe better suited for climbing; the PA. Since the PA, climbing shoes have seen massive advancement in technology, and now boast a huge range of performance-enhancing features that allow us to climb harder, higher, and in far greater comfort.

The PA Boot - First Climbing Shoe
The PA Boot was the first climbing-specific shoe

One thing hasn’t changed though. Laces have been a popular method since climbing shoes were first invented. While velcro has become the closure of choice for many in recent times, there’s still plenty of brilliant lace climbing shoes to choose from.

The Best Lace Climbing Shoes

While velcro and slipper climbing shoes have become increasingly popular in the last decade, laces up climbing shoes should still have a place in my shoe collection. To help you with your shoe search, here are a few of my favorite lace climbing shoes right now.

My Top Pick

La Sportiva Miura

La Sportiva Miura Review
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

The Miura Lace has been a mainstay in the La Sportiva shoe line for well over two decades. The jack of all trades, Miuras shine on moderately overhung sport routes, technical face climbs, and can even tackle slab, making it perfect for the vastly different styles of sport climbing routes.

The asymmetrical shape drives power to the big toe, which is combined with a stiff profile that feels extremely secure and inspires confidence on even the smallest of quartz flakes. The slingshot rand, used to maintain heel tension, is combined with a ‘Powerhinge’ (essentially a hole in the rubber outsole) which allows this stiff shoe to retain a surprising amount of flexibility. 

I prefer the Miura as an outdoor sport climbing shoe, although they can handle themselves in almost every rock climbing setting.

The Miuras also comes in a velcro alternative, which will be better suited to higher-volume feet. They also come in a male and female variation to cater to climbers of all shapes and sizes.

Best for Bouldering

Scarpa Chimera

Scarpa Chimera Climbing Shoes
Overall
8.55
(3 reviews)
  • Edging - 6/10
    6/10
  • Smearing - 9/10
    9/10
  • Steep Terrain - 9/10
    9/10
  • Comfort - 9/10
    9/10
  • Sensitivity - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Value For Money - 7/10
    7/10

Pros

  •  Ultra-sensitive and precise
  • Great at smearing
  • Excellent, secure fit

Cons

  • A Little pricey
  • Bad for crack climbing
  • The soft rubber wears pretty quickly

The Scarpa Chimera is a soft lace-up shoe that feels at home on challenging boulder problems and overhung terrain. This super-soft model shares many of the much-loved features of the Drago, including the super sticky SRT (surround rubber tension) toe box, which is great for toe hooking and also acts as a tension system to help drive power to the tip of the shoe.

The heel cup has been updated for the 2021 model, and now uses the PAF (Pressure Absorbing Fit) design found on many of their newer performance shoes. This new heel design helps disperse the tension generated in the heel, reducing any uncomfortable pinching on the Achilles tendon. The heel also has a generous covering of 2mm Virmbam XS Grip 2, allowing the heel cup to adapt to the shape of your foot and providing friction ensuring heel hooks feel secure and powerful. 

This lace up climbing shoe brings all the winning features of the Drago in a shoe perfectly suited to narrow-footed climbers looking to tackle hard boulders and sport climbs.

Best for Beginners

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

The La Sportiva Finale is one of the best-selling beginner climbing shoes ever made, and for good reason.

They might not be the cheapest beginner shoes on the market but they deliver a solid all-round performance you don’t get with climbing shoes under $100. The shoe is fairly stiff, with a 1mm midsole and 5mm of Vibram XS Edge on the outsole. While this helps the shoe’s excellent edging ability, it doesn’t exactly help on overhung routes or smearing on gym volumes. That said, most beginners won’t be looking to flash a V7 roof problem, so this should be a major sticking point for new climbers.  

Testing the la sporitva finale

Because this is a quality beginner shoe, once you start progressing and moving out of the beginner phase these are great to keep in your arsenal as a trad shoe, or even for a bit of deep water soloing!

The Finale uses a leather construction, which allows the shoe to mold to your foot brilliantly. This also allows for a higher degree of stretch than vegan climbing shoes, so bear this in mind when sizing them up.

Best for Budgets

La Sportiva Tarantulace

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

The Taratulace is designed for all-day comfort with soft uppers and a flat-last profile. The rounded toe box leaves your toes room to spread comfortably and lay flat without being pinched against each other.

Testing La Sportiva Tarantulace

These shoes, while comfortable, still edge well. Heel hooks and smears feel relatively secure thanks to the 5mm of Frixion rubber. Being lace-ups, the fit can be dialed in to suit the shape of your feet, and remain comfortable enough for the lazy climber to keep them on while belaying.

Best for Edging

Tenaya Mastia

Tenaya Masai Climbing Shoe

The Masai is a shoe I have been playing with a lot recently, and so far, I’ve been really impressed. It’s certainly not my shoe of choice for gym bouldering or steep climbing, but on vertical terrain with small footholds, it’s incredibly impressive.

Tenaya Masai Testing

It’s built on a neutral last with a stiff full-length sole, but what I find interesting how asymmetrical the shoe is. The asymmetric shape and pointed-toe box really focus power on your big toe, offering an incredibly impressive amount of precision on tiny footholds. If technical climbing is your thing, then I think you will really enjoy this model.

Unlike many other Tenaya shoes, I don’t find the Masai to be super narrow. The lace allows for a degree of control over the fit that helps the shoe adapt to a diverse range of foot width and volume. It’s also 100% vegan, which is a really nice bonus.

Best for Big Walls

La Sportiva TC Pro

La Sportiva TC Pros

Walking through Yosemite Valley, you would think half of the climbers use La Sportiva TC Pros. Designed by famed big wall climber Tommy Caldwell who climbed the Dawn Wall in them, TC Pros are the go-to trad climbing shoe for climbers the world over. 

The TC Pro is a high-top shoe with padding around the ankles to protect your foot from injuries when jamming. The stiff profile shoe edges like a dream while remaining comfortable enough to wear for long periods.

What’s Your Favorite Lace Up Climbing Shoe?

lace up climbing shoes

Many of our most loved velcro shoes, (the Miura, Katana, Finale, Vapor, and NIAD), all have laced versions to cater to differing preferences. lace up climbing shoes provide greater customization when dialing in the fit of your shoes, and often allow for slightly more precision, which is a lace closure is used for shoes designed for technical and vertical styles of climbing. 

Like everything, these types of climbing shoes do have their downsides too. Laces don’t exactly allow for that easy-on, easy off, experience we look for in gym climbing shoes. Also, there’s a good chance you will need to pick up some replacement climbing shoelaces at some point.

Climbing shoelaces are built much more durable than the typical sneaker laces to withstand way more abuse. Laced shoes used for foot jams will wear out eventually as the laces experience high amounts of friction from the rock.  

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