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What Climbing Shoes Do The Professionals Wear?

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They might not help you climb like Adam Ondra, but a pair of professional climbing shoes will make you feel like the bee’s knees. I’ve done some digging and discovered some of the most popular shoes worn by your climbing heroes in 2023.

Five Ten Hiangle Review

Five Ten

Hiangle

The flagship Five Ten model. The Hiangle is the climbing shoe of choice for Will Bosi and Janja Garnbret.

La Sportiva Solution thumbnail

La Sportiva

Solution

One of the most iconic shoes ever created, the Solution has been used on countless record-breaking climbs.

Veloce Thumb

Scarpa

Veloce

The Scarpa Veloce is Magnus Midtbø’s favorite climbing shoe and a top pick for gym rats.

Tenaya Oasi

Tenaya

Oasi

Tenaya’s one-shoe wonder, seen on the feet of big-name ambassadors like Chris Sharma and Alex Megos.

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).

Climbing shoes have come a long way since their humble beginning in the ’70s and ’80s. With over 500 climbing shoes currently available, the overwhelming range of specialized shoes has allowed the climbing elites to make some seriously mind-boggling ascents.

Achievements that were once deemed impossible, like free soloing El Cap, climbing the Dawn Wall, or establishing a V17 boulder, are all realities thanks to the new breed of superhuman climbers and their range of cutting-edge equipment.

The guys and girls that are pushing the boundaries of rock climbing understand how important climbing shoes are, and know exactly what to look for in a new pair of climbing shoes.  For these reasons, keeping an eye on what shoes professional climbers wear is one of the best ways to keep up with the ever-changing world of climbing shoes.

What Shoes Do Pro Climbers Wear?

what climbing shoes do the professionals wear

Whether you are looking for some inspiration for your next pair of shoes, or you are just curious about what shoes your climbing heroes are wearing, you have landed in the right place.

We have deep-dived into the world of professional climbing shoes, and done the digging on the shoes worn by climbing royalty. 

Scarpa Veloce

Magnus midtbo

Scarpa Veloce Review
Overall
8.4
(2 reviews)
  • Edging - 6/10
    6/10
  • Smearing - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Comfort - 10/10
    10/10
  • Sensitivity - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Value For Money - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Pros

  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Ridiculously comfortable
  • Extremely breathable and lightweight
  • Vegan-friendly

Cons

  • Not great for heel hooking
  • The velcro strap is unnecessarily long
  • The rounded-toe box isn’t great for smaller pockets
  • Rubber disappears fast

Magnus is a retired professional climber, having competed in various World Cups between 2011 – 2017. Nowadays, he is probably best known for his YouTube climbing vlog and Instagram channel.

magnus midtbø climbing shoes

Midtbo has some serious ascents to his name, the hardest of which is the Ali Hulk Sit Start (9b), which he sent in August 2010. For most ascents, whether in the gym or at the crag, the Magnus Midtbo climbing shoes of choice are currently the Scarpa Veloce. It is the shoes he opts to use for 99% of his gym sessions, and also the shoe he used for his free solo ascent with Alex Honnold.

On the rare occasion he isn’t wearing the Velcoe Magnus has also been known to use the Scarpa Drago and Furia Air, depending on the terrain he is climbing.

Five Ten Hiangle

Will Bosi

Five Ten Hiangle Review
Overall
8.15
(3 reviews)
  • Edging - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • 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 - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Pros

  • Extremely-secure heel that’s awesome at heel hooks
  • The highly aggressive shape is brilliant for steep climbing
  • Stealth rubber offers plenty of friction on rock and plastic holds

Cons

  • The blunt toe box isn’t super precise
  • Microfibre uppers wear fast
  • Not suitable for longer climbing days
  • The white uppers quickly become discolored

Will Bosi has taken the boulder world by storm in the last couple of years, claiming an epic send of not one but two V17 boulders, including a highly coveted first repeat of Burden Of Dreams.

Will Bosi Climbing Shoe Picks
Will sending Alphane (V17) Image by Sam Pratt

But Bosi’s skill set isn’t just restricted to wrestling boulders, he’s also a force to be reckoned with on the sharp end of a lead rope, with ascents like King Capella (9b) and La Capella (9b) to his name.

For the vast majority of Will’s big sends, he turns to the Five Ten Hiangle to get the job done. This was the shoe he used to help send Burden, as well as King Capella.

La Sportiva TC Pro

Tommy Caldwell

La Sportiva TC Pros

Isn’t it every climber’s dream to have their own line of climbing shoes? For Caldwell, that dream became a reality after the release of the TC Pros in late 2009.

tommy caldwell climbing shoe pick

The TC Pro’s big debut came in 2008 with Tommy and Justen Sjong’s free ascent of Magic Mushroom on El Cap and has since been used on most of Tommy’s projects including his famous Dawn Wall ascent. A flat toe box, stiff sole, and Vibram XS Edge rubber all contribute to this shoe being one of the best slab climbing shoes on the market.

When Caldwell isn’t working on a big wall project he favors the Solutions for bouldering and sport lines.

Five Ten Hiangle

Janja Garnbret

Hiangle womens
Overall
8.15
(3 reviews)
  • Edging - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • 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 - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Pros

  • Extremely-secure heel that’s awesome at heel hooks
  • The highly aggressive shape is brilliant for steep climbing
  • Stealth rubber offers plenty of friction on rock and plastic holds

Cons

  • The blunt toe box isn’t super precise
  • Microfibre uppers wear fast
  • Not suitable for longer climbing days
  • The white uppers quickly become discolored

If you have been watching any of the IFSC competitions (or the Tokyo Olympics) it’s impossible to mistake Janja Having won the bouldering world cup in 2019, she became the only competitor to win all 6 individual events in the history of the competition.

She also became the first female Olympic climbing champion in August 2021, solidifying her position as one of the best climbers in the world. Odds are she will probably do it again at the Games in Paris in 2024.

Janja Garnbret Climbing Shoes

When Janja was still making a name for herself back in 2015, she made her senior tour debut in Chamonix with a pair of Women’s Miuras. But since late 2016 she has been sponsored by Five Ten and exclusively climbs in the women’s version of the Hiangles.

From dominating the competition circuit to sending 9a outside, the Queen of Comp does it all in her Hiangles.

Tenaya Indalo

Chris Sharma

Tenaya Indalo climbing shoe

Chris has been one of the biggest names in climbing for the last 20 years. Having been climbing for so long, Sharma certainly knows a thing or two about good climbing shoes. Over the course of his career, Sharma has had three shoe sponsors; Five Ten (1998 – 2006), Evolv (2006 – 2016), and most recently Tenaya (2018 – present)

Chris Sharma Shoes

In the early days, with Five Ten as his sponsor, Sharma was untouchable. He made the first ascent of Necessary Evil, the first 5.14c in the US, in a pair of Moccasyms. For his first ascent of Realization – the world’s first 5.15a sport climb – Sharma slipped into a pair of Anasazi VCS, another iconic Five Ten model.

his own range of ‘Sharma Signature’ shoes including the Shaman, Supra, Pontas, and Nexxo.

Sharma used the Pontas, and later the Pontas II, on some of his hardest ascents including Jumbo Love (5.15b) and Es Pontas (5.15a). The Sharman, another model from his Evolv collection, was specifically designed for steep overhanging terrain which Chris has used for some big deep-water solo attempts including El Bufador and Alasha.

In 2018 Sharma became an ambassador for Tenaya, a Spanish climbing shoe brand. While he can be found crushing in a pair of Iati and Mastia’s, it was the new Indalo that Sharma had on his feet whilst claiming his more recent 9b+ line, Sleeping Lion.

La Sportiva Theory

Adam Ondra

La Sportiva Theory Climbing Shoe

Attempting to single out Ondra’s favorite shoe is no easy task. As he once stated “For me, there is no such a thing as the best shoe ever. But there is the best shoe for certain kinds of climbing.

Because of this, at one time or another, Ondra has used pretty much every model La Sportiva has in its range. But when it comes to indoor bouldering Ondra is clearly a big fan of the La Sportiva Theory. If you have been keeping a close eye on the competition circuit, this is a shoe he uses in the bouldering comps.

But if Ondra is outside working something

If he’s working on overhung sport climbing or bouldering problems, then there is a strong chance you will see him in a pair of Solutions.

The La Sportiva Solutions have helped Adam achieve some serious accomplishments, including the first ascent of Silence, not only is it the hardest route in the world, its also the first to receive the grade of 9c (5.15d).

Adam also used the Katana Lace for his repeat of the Dawn Wall, the famous route first conquered by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson in 2015.

La Sportiva Miura VS

ALex Honnold

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

Alex Honnold has become one of climbing’s biggest superstars. His crazy free solo of El Cap made in an instant global celeb and resulted in him amassing nearly 2M followers on Instagram. Alex has worn La Sportiva for most of his professional climbing career and he regularly utilizes their brilliant section shoes.

the dawn wall vs free solo

At the start of his career, Honnold frequently used the Miura, having free soloed Half Dome in 2008, as well as Astroman and The Rostrum in 2007, in a pair of the classic Miura lace. He also uses them for vertical bouldering problems like Too Big to Flail (V10) and Mandala (V12.)

For the majority of his big wall ascents, like his free solo of El Cap, the Nose speed record, and the Fitz Roy traverse, Alex’s go-to shoe is the TC Pro. As he once said; “It’s the ultimate trad climbing shoe. Amazingly stiff for slab climbing and comfortable in cracks”.

When Honnold isn’t soloing 1000ft off the ground, you will most likely find him in the Solutions. “I like the downturned toe and the high-performance fit. They’re also amazing for heel/toe hooking – it’s rare that a shoe is great at both… I use them for pretty much anything other than trad climbing”.

Some of Alex’s noticeable ascents while wearing the La Sportiva Solutions include Ambrosia (V11), Cobra Crack (5.14b), and Atonement (514b).

La Sportiva Solution

Nalle Hukkataival

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

Nalle might not have the global fame of some of the other names on this list, but this Finnish crusher is considered one of the best boulders in the world, having established numerous first ascents and repeats of V15/V16 problems. Even more impressive, he established the world’s first V17 Burden of Dreams in Lappnor, Finland.

nalle hukkataival climbing shoes

For the most part, you will see Nalle crushing the world’s hardest boulder problems in the La Sportiva Solutions, which is the shoe he wore for most of his noteworthy ascents including Burden of Dreams (V17) and Giogia (V16). He has also been known to use the Miura VS for less overhanging projects like Livin Large (V15).

Evolv Phantom

Daniel Woods

Evolv Phantom

Another big name in the Bouldering world, Daniel has climbed more than twenty V15  boulder problems making him one of the most successful boulders.

During his time as a La Sportiva ambassador, Daniel would exclusively use the Solutions, a shoe in which he completed many national and international climbing championships and noticeable ascents.

Daniel Woods Climbing Shoes Guide

However, in 2017 his partnership with La Sportiva came to an end, and a new relationship with Evolv was formed. Woods has since used the Evolv Agro, an aggressive performance shoe.

The Agro isn’t the only Evolv shoe that has caught Dainel’s eye. Alongside Paul Robison, Daniel co-designed the Evolv Phantom in 2017, a shoe that has one thing in mind – sending seriously hard boulder problems.

Five Ten NIAD VCS

Shuana Coxsey

Five Ten Niad VCS female
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

Being a two-time bouldering world champ, Shauna is the UK’s most decorated competition climber, and at her peak, she was one of the best female climbers in the world.

At the beginning of her climbing career, Shauna was drawn to the Five Ten Anasazi, not only because they made the first child-specific and women-specific climbing shoe but also because the Anasazi had sent more 5.14s than any other shoe in the world.

Initially, she modified the Anasazi herself by sticking Stealth rubber patches over the top of the Toe box. After talking with the Five Ten design team about her upgrades, the Anasazi Pro was born.

Although the Anasazi line was retired in 2019, the next-generation upgrade, known as the NIAD VCS, has now become her go-to shoe.

Scarpa Instinct VS

Nina Williams

Scarpa Instinct VS Womens

Nina, a 29-year-old climber from Boulder, made a name for herself by climbing some serious scary highballs, most noticeably the first female ascent of Ambrosia, a mammoth 50-foot, V11 boulder. She is also widely recognized as one of the strongest female boulders in the world right now.

Nina Williams Climbing Shoes

Nina was a Five Ten ambassador from April 2007 – June 2019, so she is no stranger to a pair of Five Ten Hiangles. In fact, this was her shoe of choice for several years, hailing the women’s version the “best piece of women’s-specific piece of gear she has ever used”.

After Nina’s partnership with Five Ten ended in June 2019, she teamed up with Scarpa and can frequently be seen training and sending some serious projects in the Scarpa Instinct VS and Instinct Instinct VSR.

Tenaya Iati

Alex Megos

Tenaya Iati Review
Overall
7.25
(2 reviews)
  • Edging - 9/10
    9/10
  • Smearing - 7/10
    7/10
  • Steep Terrain - 8/10
    8/10
  • Comfort - 9/10
    9/10
  • Sensitivity - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value For Money - 9/10
    9/10

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Good all-around performance
  • Unique closure

Cons

  • Heel can be a little baggy
  • Minimal toe rand

Megos is known as a lead specialist with some serious ascents under his belt. Some of his noticeable achievements including clipping the chains on a 5.15c, sending a V15 bouder as well as being the first person to onsight a 5.14d. He also competes in the IFSC circuit and regularly competes in the sport and bouldering disciplines.

When longer routes and smaller edges demand precise footwork, Alex slips into the Tenaya Iati. If he is climbing on boulders, or terrain that requires more friction dependant moves, the Oasi is never far way.

Tenaya Mastia

Jimmy Webb

Tenaya Mastia shoe

Recognized as one of the world’s best boulderers, Jimmy has flashed over six boulder problems rated V13 or higher and has even made some impressive ascents of V16 boulder problems.

Jimmy Webb Climbing Shoes

In February 2019 Jimmy, like Sharma, became a Tenaya ambassador and has already made some memorable climbs including an ascent of Lucid Dreaming (V15) in a Pair of Tenaya Mastias. Speaking about the move, Webb stated “I tested these boots before making a decision I truly felt my climbing could improve. Super proud to be a part of such a rad brand and very excited for what the future holds.”

Tenaya Mastia

Ashima Shiraishi

Evolv Zenist

At the age of 15 Ashmima because the first female climber, and the youngest athlete ever, to achieve grade V15 with the ascent of Horizon. As well as crushing some of the hardest sport and bouldering problems in the world she also managed to her her hands on her very own signature shoe, the Evolv Ashima.

Ashima Shiraishi Climbing Shoes

Specifically designed for youth climbers, this aggressive shoe is designed with a supportive last that is perfect for developing feet while uncompromising in performance.

While this shoe has now been retired, Ashima has a new, limited-edition, signature shoe. The new shoe in question is a special version of the Evolv Zensit in collaboration with Brain Dead, with all profits being donated to DEI groups.

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