Chris Sharma’s Climbing Shoes
The coolest shoes worn by the coolest climber.
I am not exactly the fanboy type, but if there is one dude I can’t help but marvel at their sheer awesomeness, it is this man.
His super-cool, nonchalant attitude, powerful climbing style, and countless record-breaking ascents have made this Santa Cruz native a global climbing superstar.
Even today, at the age of 40, Sharma continues to leave his mark on the climbing world. As well as opening a string of massive gyms in Spain (Sharma Climbing Madrid is currently the biggest gym in Europe), rumor has it that Chris and Aquaman (also known as Jason Momoa) are teaming up for a climbing game show on HBO.
There aren’t many climbers that have earned their spot in the climbing history books quite like Chris Sharma. At just 15 he made the second ever 5.14c (8c+) sport-ascent of Necessary Evil. From there, Chris went on to break the 9a+ (5.15a) mark with the FA of Realization and the 9b (5.15b) barrier after topping out Jumbo Love. He also sent some pretty gnarly boulders and played a large role in popularizing deep water soloing.
There really is no denying Chris’ superhuman-crushing abilities. If you have ever wondered what shoes Sharma has used to make some of his most iconic ascents, you are in luck. We have done the digging to find out which shoes have been Sharma’s go-to models since he first started his climbing career.
While they might not help you climb like him, it sure might make you feel cooler falling off that V3 slab.
What climbing shoes does Chris Sharma wear?
Since the start of his career in 90s, Sharma has had three shoe sponsors; Five Ten (1998 – 2006) Evolv (2006 – 2016), and most recently Tenaya (2018 – 2021). It’s safe to say then, that this guy knows a thing or two about climbing shoes.
Of all the shoes Chris has won (there’s a lot) we have chosen the top 3 to have a closer look at.
Sharma is currently a Tenaya athlete ambassador, having joined their team in 2018.
When he first joined, there were whispers that Sharma might be working with the Spanish shoe manufacturer on a new signature shoe line, although we are yet to see this actually materialize. Instead, Sharma has put their existing models to work.
He has stated on several occasions that he is a big fan of the Tenaya line, citing their precision and comfort as two of his favorite features. He has clearly spent his fair share of time testing all of them, especially the Oasi and Iati. Of all Tenaya’s great shoes, however, Sharma’s go-to model is currently the Mastia.
As he stated in an interview in 2019, shortly after they were first released “I imagine this will become my go-to shoe for almost everything”. Which is exactly what happened.
If you are keeping up with Sharma on Instagram or YouTube, you would have seen him using the Mastia for messing around on boulders in his gyms, working on technical projects in Catalonia, and even putting up a few DWS lines like Trick or Tree (8b+) 5.14a.
In the pre-Tenaya days, Chris was the face of Evolv climbing shoes. He was heavily involved with this American shoe manufacturer, not only as a sponsored athlete but as a product designer too.
During their decade-long partnership, Evolv released the Sharma signature collection, a handful of shoes that received Sharma’s seal of approval. Various Sharma signature shoes were let loose over the years (Pontas, Optimus, and Nexxo to name a few), many of which were used for iconic Sharma ascents like Es Pontas, Jumbo Love, and La Dura Dura.
The one that has really stood the test of time though is the ‘Shaman’. It was one of the first shoes in the Sharma collection to be released, hitting the shelves in 2011. Chris frequently used the shoe for many of his biggest ascents including; Fight or flight (9b) La Dura Dura (first 9b+), Alasha (the hardest DWS line in the world), and Catalán Witness the Fitness (V15) to name a few.
Although this shoe isn’t branded as a ‘Sharma Signature’ anymore, the Shaman is still a hugely popular model in the Evolv line. It is even the shoe of choice for Olympic climber Colin Duffy.
FOR THE GYM
Five Ten Anasazi VCS
Five Ten was the first shoe sponsor Sharma teamed up with in the early 90s, and it was with their shoe range that he sent some of his earliest iconic sends.
I have seen photos and video footage of Sharma using a pretty broad range of early Five Ten models; the UFO, VX, Hueco and Moccasym and of course the Anasazi lace. But if there is one Five Ten shoe that Sharma favored more than any other, it would have to be the Anasazi VCS.
This was the shoe that Sharma used to send some of his most iconic projects such as Biographie (after a 4 year-long battle), Witness the Fitness and Closing Down (5.14a at 14 years old, what?!)
While Anasazi VCS has been discontinued in the last year, it has been replaced with a modern upgrade, the NIAD VCS. It shares many of the classic features of the classic, with some modern upgrades thrown in for good measure.
What is your favorite Sharma climbing shoe?
There you have it, the top three Chris Sharma climbing shoes.
Of course, these are just a handful of the shoes Sharma has worn over the last two decades, the complete list of shoes would be ridiculous. Chris has been with more shoe sponsors and worn a wider variety of models than any other professional climber I have researched.
The shoes I mentioned above are the ones that have been used for iconic ascents or models that, at one point or another, were this climbing superstar go-to shoe.
What is your favorite Sharma shoe?