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Gear

The Best Climbing Shoes of 2022

Quality rubber is the most important part of your crag bag

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Unparallel Duel ($120)

Unparallel Duel
(Photo: Courtesy Unparallel)

Best for the Gym

It was designed for Olympic speed climbing, but this soft, sensitive flat also makes a stellar gym trainer. Reason: it’s comfortable enough to wear for hours on end. The pliable build excels on slabs, though the 4.2-millimeter sole is a bit too soft to weather regular abuse on real rock. (unisex 3–13)

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La Sportiva TC Pro ($199)

La Sportiva TC Pro
(Photo: Courtesy La Sportiva)

Best for Trad and Big Walls

With input from Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold, the latest TC Pro is built for the long haul, thanks to a single-piece rand (less chance of delamination over time) that extends higher up the foot for increased protection, and reinforcements on all the lace eyelets (extra on the lower ones). Thinner webbing on the lace harness improves jamming comfort, while the perforated leather uppers boost breathability. The tongue is also ventilated and has been redesigned to reduce toe scrunch, which improves comfort. (unisex 34–46)

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Red Chili Voltage Lace ($170)

Red Chili Voltage Lace
(Photo: Courtesy Red Chili)

Best for Sport Projects

The updated Voltage retains the aggressive downturn and wide last of its Velcro predecessor (great for climbers with wide feet), now in a lace-up with a stiffer midsole and added leather lining in the toe box. This means extra forefoot support, and comfort to drive hard on overhanging terrain. A single pull on the minimalist, four-eyelet lacing cinches the entire shoe. As a result, the Voltage Lace marries the precision fit of a lace-up with the fast on-and-off of a slipper. (unisex 4–13)

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Evolv Shaman Lace ($185)

Evolv Shaman Lace
(Photo: Courtesy Evolv)

Best for Beginners

Evolv’s beloved aggressive shoe has long been a favorite for its stability on small to medium edges on vertical and gently overhung terrain. Credit the raised midsole and stiff heel rand, which drives your foot forward, and a toe box designed to minimize dead space. It also has one of the best heels we’ve tested: meaty enough for reliable hooking without any loss of sensitivity. All that’s different is the new lace-up closure, which affords more fit control. (men’s 7–13 / women’s 6–11)

Men’s Women’s


Scarpa Quantic Velcro ($159)

Scarpa Quantic Velcro
(Photo: Courtesy Scarpa)

Best for Doing It All

This lightweight jack-of-all-trades sits right between intermediate and advanced. It’s comfortable enough to wear for an entire session—more so than more rigid, aggressive shoes. But, thanks to Vibram’s stiffest rubber compound, XS Edge, it retains enough overall rigidity and bite in the toe for precise moves on small holds. It excels on gently overhanging terrain. Caveat: the minimalist rear falters a bit on technical heel hooks. (men’s 34–50 / women’s 34–45 )

Men’s Women’s


Lowa X-Boulder ($185)

Lowa X-Boulder
(: Courtesy Lowa)

Best for Techy Terrain

A seriously stiff midsole makes this shoe particularly well suited for edging and for heavier climbers (featherweights may begrudge a loss of sensitivity). Two hook-and-loop straps overlap to form an X over the forefoot, creating one of the snuggest fits in the genre. The perforated upper keeps your feet cool on humid days. (unisex 5–14)

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