The 5 Best
Slip On Climbing Shoes

Serious sending shoes with easy access.

best slip on climbing shoes

Last updated on April 6th, 2023 at 03:59 am

Slipper-style climbing shoes were first introduced to the world in 1984 with the release of groundbreaking shoes like the La Sportiva Ballerina and the Boreal Ninja. The purpose of these shoes was simple, to provide unrivaled comfort with easy on, easy off access. Since then, plenty of other climbing shoe brands have joined the party and added slip-on climbing shoes to their ever-growing line-up.

The convenience of slipping your climbing shoes on and off in a few seconds isn’t lost on the 21st-century climbing community. The pure convince and comfort of these shoes is still just as appealing a factor today as it was in 1984. With the advancement of shoe technology and the magical creation of asymmetrical lasts and tensioned heel rands, slip-on climbing shoes are far more capable than just doing the warm-up laps of your gym.


THE TOP THREE

La Sportiva

Cobra

La Sportiva Cobra

The OG of slipper shoes. The Cobra is a comfortable training shoe for easier climbing days.

Scarpa

Instinct S

A slip-on shoe with serious sending performance. The Instinct S is redefining what’s possible.

Five Ten

NIAD Mocc

Five Ten NIAD Mocc

This Five Ten classic is a crack-climbing icon with solid all-around ability.


The Best Slip On Climbing Shoes

Here, I want to share some of the best slipper climbing shoes I have tried, tested, and researched. I will also share the strengths of each model as well as what I think each model is best suited for.

Let’s get started!

TOP PICK

Scarpa Instinct S

The Instinct S is possibly the highest-performing slipper on the market today and one of our favorites here at Climbing Shoe Review. 

The Instinct family is Scarpa’s hugely popular line of high-performance shoes, and just like its velcro and lace counterparts, the S is designed with indoor bouldering in mind. After testing the Instinct S, we found that these shoes are far more capable than this and are great for single-pitch sport climbs, or small multi-pitching where you are looking to prioritize performance over comfort.

Some of the standout features of the SR include a sensitive ¾ sole that uses 3.5mm of Vibram Xs Grip 2, a bi-tension rand – a revolutionary design that avoids the painful cramming of the traditional tension heel rand – as well as a healthy amount of rubber on both the heel and toe for technical hooking.

La Sportiva Cobra

La Sportiva Cobra

One of the oldest slippers still in production is the La Sportiva Cobra. While its design has stayed remarkably unchanged over the last 20 years, the Cobra has still managed to keep up with the times.

In 2017 the Cobra Eco was introduced, which like the name suggests, was a vegan-friendly version of the shoe that was made from 85% recycled materials. In 2020, LS announced the Cobra 4.99 with the sole purpose of crushing the 5-second mark on the speed wall. The traditional Cobras can be found on the feet of many climbers on the speed wall, including the speed record holder Reza Alipour and Adam Ondra

Off the speed wall, the Cobras are still popular for a day in the gym. A streamlined shoe with an unlined leather upper will create a custom molded fit once broken in, and its 3.5mm Grip 2 rubber won’t disappoint in both grip and sensitivity. 

Five Ten NIAD Mocc

Five Ten NIAD Mocc

Another one of the best slipper climbing shoes on the market today is the Five Ten Moccasym. Like the Cobra, the Moccasym has been around the block a few times and has been favored by climbing legends like Dean Potter, Chris Sharma, and Tommy Caldwell.

The NIAD Moccasym is flat lasted, comfortable, and ideal for a long day of climbing. This slipper is one of the best you will find for crack climbing, although the soft rubber does limit its edging ability. On the other hand, this does help the Moccasym’s smearing ability and makes them great for working on your favorite slab climb. It also uses the massively popular Stealth C4 rubber, which is arguably the stickiest rubber available on any climbing shoe.

With an attractive price tag and solid all around performance, this is a great choice for crack climbing enthusiasts or a relaxed day down at the crag.

Boreal Ninja

In 1993, Boreal unveiled the Ninja. The Ninja represented a major breakthrough as the first slip-lasted climbing shoe ever made. This new way of manufacturing allowed climbing shoes to become softer and more sensitive while maintaining a ‘glove-like’ fit around your foot. Today, most climbing shoes now use this method to make their performance shoes.

While Boreal’s reputation may have faded over the last few decades, its ability to design an outstanding slipper remains the same. The Ninja, similar to the Instinct SR, has had a serious revamp since its first release and is now a slipper that lends itself to high-performance bouldering. 

It’s an aggressively downturned profile, backed up with a thin midsole and 4mm of their super sticky Zenith rubber. The Ninja uses a 3D molded heel cup (much like the La Sportiva Solution) and an impressive toe rand which makes the shoe ideal for overhung boulder problems.

Evolv Rave

Evolv Rave

The Evolv Rave is the final entrance to make it onto our list of best slip on climbing shoes. While it doesn’t have the reputation or performance levels of every other shoe on our list, it’s one of the cheapest and offers some great features that are ideal for beginners. 

The Rave shares some similar characteristics to the Moccasym, with some key differences. Sure, they are both flat lasted, very symmetrical, and a rounded toe box. Where these shoes really differentiate is in the sole. 

The Rave is considerably more rigid compared to their soft Five Ten counterparts thanks to a full-length midsole and 4.2mm of Trax SAS rubber, Evolv own rubber with enough friction to rival Five Ten’s Stealth.

The heel on the Rave has an edge over the Mocc, with a rubber spin giving you the opportunity to bag some basic heel hooks.

What’s your favorite Slipper Climbing Shoe?

If our list of favorite slip-on climbing shoes tells you anything, it’s that there is a slipper shoe out there for everyone. Climbing shoe technology has allowed today’s range of slippers to provide a level of performance that climbers could only dream of in the ’80s.

So whether you are looking for a comfortable run-around shoe, or looking to do some serious sends, there is bound to be the perfect slipper out there for you. And if you still aren’t completely sold on slippers, don’t panic, we have reviewed plenty of other great climbing shoes for you to try out!

Written By

Sam Laird

A lifelong climber and shoe geek. His first shoe was the OG Scarpa Helix, although his shoe collection has grown to unhealthy levels in the last 20 years. When he’s not getting shut down on V2 gym slabs, Sam is backpacking around the world in pursuit of his next big adventure.

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