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The Best Velcro Climbing Shoes

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Velcro climbing shoes are the go-to closure style for the majority of modern shoes. Want to know which one is right for you? Here’s everything you need to know about velcro shoes.

La Sportiva Solution thumbnail

My Top Pick

La Sportiva Solution

One of the most popular performance shoes ever created.

Scarpa Drago

For Bouldering

Scarpa Drago

If dangling from overhangs is your thing, then the Drago won’t disappoint.

La Sportiva Miura

For Outdoor

La Sportiva Miura VS

An awesome all-rounder with an appetite for small edges and bad features.

Evolv Defy

For Beginners

Evolv Defy

A vegan shoe for beginners, great for both gym and climbing outside.

We price check from over 12 of our most trusted retailers and share the lowest price for every shoe we recommend on this page. If you click a link, we may also make a little commission (at no extra cost to you, obviously).

As rock climbing started to gain momentum throughout the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, climbing shoe innovation exploded. Manufacturers started experimenting with different designs and developing a range of exciting new shoe technology. This led to revolutionary breakthroughs like slip-lasted construction, slip-on shoes, asymmetrical and cambered lasts, and of course, velcro climbing shoes.

One of the first climbing shoes to use velcro closure was the Boreal Bambas. The Bambas, and many of Boreal’s early creations, represented the new era of climbing shoes. This was the shoe Lynn Hill used on her first historic free-climbing ascent of the Nose, the Bambas set the stage for several other shoe manufacturers to join the velcro revolution and develop their own line of shoes with velcro closures. 

Lynn Hill climbing The Nose Yosemite
Lynn Hill climbing the Nose in the Boreal Bambas. By Lynn Hill

Since then, velcro climbing shoes have dominated climbing shoe construction. Today, the most popular bouldering or sport climbing shoes opt for a velcro closure system, as these shorter styles of climbing go hand-in-hand with the easy on, easy off nature of velcro.

The Best Velcro Climbing Shoes

As with every climbing shoe, the right one for you will depend on various factors. The terrain and type of rock, the style of climbing, your foot shape, and your personal preferences will all play a role in finding that perfect shoe.

That said, here are a few of our favorite velcro rock climbing shoes, all of which offer slightly different benefits.

My Top Pick

La Sportiva Solution

La Sportiva Solution Review
Overall
8.6
(7 reviews)
  • Edging - 9/10
    9/10
  • 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 - 10/10
    10/10

Pros

  • Laser precise toe is awesome for technical footwork
  • 3D molded heel is great for heel hooking
  • Secure fit thank to the hook and loop strap

Cons

  • A little expensive
  • Not suitable for all-day climbing
  • The straps can break easily

First launched in 2007, the La Sportiva Solution marked the start of the modern performance shoe revolution. The massive toe patch, aggressive camber, and 3D molded heel cup represented a huge step forward in shoe construction and made the Solution an instant hit with bouldering and sport climbing specialists.  

La Sportiva Solution Toe

Even a decade and a half later, the shoe is still one of the most popular shoes ever made and is frequently seen on the feet of professional climbers. The talon-like shape of the toe box allows for extreme precision for delicate foot placements (Here’s Ondra showing the laser precision of the Solution) while the split sole allows the shoe to stay flexible and conform to a huge range of climbing styles.  

While the closure is not the typical two or three-strap velcro you might be used to, the hook-and-loop system keeps the foot snug and allows for more points of adjustment than traditional velcro straps, helping eliminate dead space in the shoe. Because of its aggressive profile, the Solution isn’t ideal for long multi-pitch or technical face climbing but is an excellent choice for gym days, sport climbing, and bouldering. 

For sport climbing’s Olympic debut, La Sportiva released the Solution Comp a less rigid, more adaptable, version of the Solution specifically designed for competitive indoor climbers.

Best for Bouldering

Scarpa Drago

Scarpa Drago Review
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

The SCARPA Drago has become a seriously popular choice for pebble wrestlers, especially when it comes to indoor bouldering. Hell, these shoes are such good gym climbing shoes that over 25% of Olympic climbers wore the Drago in the Tokyo 2020 games.

What makes the Drago so good, I hear you ask? SCARPA has an impressive repertoire of shoe technology, and they seem to have thrown it all into the Drago.

This super soft shoe uses three different tension systems to ensure the shoe is super responsive and precise. This includes the SRT (Surround Rubber Tension) toe box, found on a few of their other soft shoes,  and ideal for toe hooking. It edges pretty well for a soft shoe too, thanks to the 1/3 length Vibram XS Grip 2 sole that is paired with the PCB Tension System.

Best for Outdoor

La Sportiva Miura Vs

La Sportiva Miura VS review
Overall
7.65
(3 reviews)
  • Edging - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Smearing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
    8/10
  • Sensitivity - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value For Money - 9/10
    9/10

Pros

  • Incredible edging
  • Versatile performance shoe
  • High & low volume versions
  • Durable rubber

Cons

  • The small toe rand isn’t great for hooking
  • Not my first choice for gym climbing

Being a stiff and aggressive shoe, the La Sportiva Miura VS  is a legendary edging machine. Worn by beginners wanting to up their game and experienced crushers on their latest project, the Miuras can do it all. 

La Sportiva Miura VS all day climbing

They were designed for steep overhanging terrain and boulder problems but their stiff sole and toe box design handle technical face climbs just as well. The slingshot rand and power hinge combination are a result of innovative engineering that stretches the rubber at the back of the shoe during movement, channeling all the power onto the toe box.

Like any performance shoe, they aren’t the most comfortable and will not suit multi-pitch adventures. However, they will excel at single-pitch sport climbing, overhanging or vertical.

Best for All-around

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

If you are looking for a velcro climbing shoe with all-around climbing capabilities, then look no further than the NIAD VCS. This shoe is the successor of the popular Anasazi VCS, the iconic shoe used by climbing legends like Chris Sharma to conquer ascents like Biographie

This next-generation retains many of the winning features of the classic Anasazi VCS, with the introduction of some much-needed additions, like a toe patch and an improved heel design. 

NIAD VCS testing

The neutral shape of the NIAD is a key contributor to its solid all-round performance, which also them comfortable for longer styles of climbing, while the semi-stiff sole helps the shoe perform remarkably well in foot jams, vertical climbs, smears, and is even suitable for a bit of trad climbing. 

Unsurprisingly, the NIAD VCS falls short on the steep stuff, as it lacks the pocket-pulling ability of its aggressive, softer, counterparts. That said, the performance that Five Ten has squeezed out of the shoe is pretty impressive – bouldering in these bad boys is a refreshing change from toe-crushing downturned shoes!

The NIAD makes a superb addition to any climber’s arsenal for a relaxed gym-climbing day, slab, vertical face, and all-day multi-pitches.

Best for Beginners

Evolv Defy

Evolv Defy Review
Overall
7.05
(3 reviews)
  • Edging - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Smearing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 5/10
    5/10
  • Comfort - 10/10
    10/10
  • Sensitivity - 6/10
    6/10
  • Value For Money - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Pros

  • Affordably priced for beginners
  • Comfortable neutral shape
  • Sticky and durable Trax SAS rubber
  • Vegan friendly

Cons

  • Entry-level performance

The Evolv Defy’s padded tongue and interior make them so comfortable that many climbers have been spotted at the crag or gym belaying in them. The flat profile and symmetrical shape make them ideal for beginners yet to need aggressively downturned shoes. 

That’s not to say these shoes aren’t capable of a rad send or two though. We are big fans of Evolv’s Trax SAS rubber, it is sticky stuff, both on plastic and rock. They also edge surprisingly well for an entry-level shoe, thanks to the 1.4mm full-length midsole.

The VTR (Variable Thickness Rand) also ensures they are durable enough to hold up to the abuse from sloppy footwork characteristic of beginner climbers.

Why Use Velcro Climbing Shoes?

lace vs velcro climbing shoes

By far the biggest advantage of wearing velcro over lace climbing shoes is the convenience of getting them on or off. If you are bouldering or sport climbing, you know how much time is spent standing around, belaying, resting, or just reading a problem. The easy-on, easy-off, access of velcro is ideal for these styles of climbing. 

Also because of the uncomfortable nature of aggressive and asymmetric climbing shoes, they aren’t exactly something you want to be wearing for long periods of time anyway.

Coming off a long single-pitch route and can’t wait to let your poor toes loose? Lace-ups can sometimes feel like a freaky torture chamber for your toes.  For this reason, the majority of climbers now use velcro shoes. Climbing has exploded in popularity in recent years, with most new climbers starting on gym routes, indoor bouldering, and single-pitch sport climbing. 

Slipper-style shoes are even easier to take on and off with an elastic closure. However, a slipper can feel less secure and is more prone to increasing movement within the shoe, which is why most of these types of shoes are usually reserved for training days or as speed climbing shoes. Toe and heel hooking isn’t exactly ideal in these styles of climbing shoes either.

Ready to start searching?

With the explosive rise in the number of climbers worldwide, velcro shoes are more crucial than ever. Newer climbers tend to use their shoes for shorter periods up short gym routes or boulders, spending way more time out of the shoes than in them.

The time spent taking on and off shoes for these short climbs can add up; hence, most gym rats, sport climbers, and boulderers opt for velcro shoes. In contrast, trad climbers stay in their shoes for hours at a time, pitch after pitch, even belaying with them on to avoid disastrously dropping them. You cannot know how many times I’ve been on a lower pitch and heard “SHOE!” from above. 

In a nutshell, it boils down to personal preference, but a quick on-off shoe can be a welcome addition to your collection. If you want to see more great velcro climbing shoes Make sure to free

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