7 Best Climbing Shoes For Women, 100+ Shoes Tested in 2023

Teddy Dondanville
Teddy Dondanville on
7 Best Climbing Shoes For Women, 100+ Shoes Tested in 2023

With the steady rise in popularity of climbing as both a thrilling pastime and a competitive sport, it’s no surprise that empowered women like you want in on the fun. That said, you need to be in the right shoe, which is why we’ve come up with this space just for you.

What you see on here are the best climbing shoes for women in a variety of categories. These must-haves we’ve rounded up after testing over 150 pairs of climbing shoes. There’s more than enough for you to choose from in this selection—from the finest all-rounder to the most formidable steep rock shoe.

How we test climbing shoes

What you are about to unravel are women-specific climbing shoes that can elevate your game, whether on rock or wall. We’ve formed this insightful list using this approach:

  • For us to be unbiased with our reviews, we buy women’s climbing shoes using our own money.
  • We climb in each pair for days, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Our reviews on the best women’s climbing shoes reflect hundreds of opinions from expert senders and regular climbers alike.

Every reviewed climbing shoe is then given a 0-100 rating or CoreScore. This RunRepeat-exclusive scoring system helps us determine the climb-worthiest of them all.

Best climbing shoes overall for women

Scarpa Instinct VS
Scarpa Instinct VS

CoreScore

92
Superb!
4.8 / 5 from 1,461 users
85 / 100 from 23 experts

Pros

  • Secure fit
  • Very comfortable
  • Superior edging ability
  • Great for heel and toe hooking
  • Suitable for the gym or the crag
  • Durable

Cons

  • Not for smearing
  • Too painful for crack climbing
  • Not breathable

Verdict

Do everything in your power to snag the Scarpa Instinct VS, because you’re not going to find something as ferocious, whether on plastic or rock!

When it comes to surface traction, the Instinct VS is the one to beat. Heel-hooking in it felt very secure, and side-smearing was quite reassuring. We tested its toe-hooking grip on a variety of surfaces, and we came away super-impressed!

If your preferred route features a lot of edges, the Instinct VS should also be your go-to climbing shoe. In it, mounting on micro-edges was mind-blowing. It also performed beyond our expectations outdoors on ripples and sags. So, yeah, this Scarpa kick is such an edge-master!

Now, the Instinct VS was glove-like for us right from the start. We noted no air pockets within its synthetic confines, making us feel in control all the time. And its heel zone? Magnetically fitting!

As a moderate or semi-downturned climbing shoe, the Scarpa Instinct VS needed minimal break-in. After climbing in the gym a few short routes, the shoe already felt mighty comfortable. While not as breathable as we would’ve preferred, this remarkable climbing shoe for women has plushness few among its kind can match.

Scarpa Instinct VS full review

Best women's climbing shoes for beginners

La Sportiva Mythos
La Sportiva Mythos

CoreScore

92
Superb!
4.7 / 5 from 952 users
87 / 100 from 11 experts

Pros

  • All-day pampering
  • Exemplary finish
  • Truly beginner-friendly
  • Handles cracks well
  • Fantastic lacing system
  • Kingly grip
  • Fantastic in pockets

Cons

  • Not suitable for edging
  • Stretches too much

Verdict

After climbing in over 50 pairs of beginner climbing shoes for women, we are pleased to crown the Mythos as our top performer for entry-level climbers!

The moment we laid our eyes on this La Sportiva gem, we knew that comfort would be its biggest draw. When we slipped into it, our preview was quickly realized. It’s true—the Mythos has plushness everywhere; we even thought we were wearing a worn-in tennis shoe once or twice during our sends!

Performance-wise, the Mythos aced edge-filled routes for us like an absolute queen. Its moderately stiff sole unit made every mountable feel safe. We also commend the Mythos’ crack-climbing skills. Slipping it into medium-size fissures felt natural, and dealing with them wasn’t painful at all.

Its randing made our hearts skip a beat or two. We’re talking about its superb stickiness, particularly where smearing was required. The shoe’s adhesive power made a cakewalk out of edges, as well. Incredible!

And believe us when we say that the La Sportiva Mythos will last you months, even years. Its upper might look flimsy at first glance, but in practice, it is fully capable of weathering through hard beatings and scratches.

La Sportiva Mythos full review

Best women's climbing shoes for trad climbing

La Sportiva TC Pro
La Sportiva TC Pro

CoreScore

92
Superb!
4.7 / 5 from 501 users
90 / 100 from 29 experts

Pros

  • Trad champ
  • Crack scaler
  • Edging master
  • High comfort level
  • Supportive
  • Sticky

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Somewhat frail upper

Verdict

A serious female climber like you needs an equally exceptional trad climbing shoe. We’re, of course, referring to and recommending the TC Pro from La Sportiva!

This Tommy-Caldwell-designed climbing shoe wears its edging superpowers on its sleeve. Yes, tiptoeing on nubbins and tiny edges was such a thrilling experience in this kick. The shoe also made us feel like we were stepping on ledges when it was ripples we were negotiating!

Equally impressive was how the La Sportiva TC Pro worked its magic in cracks. Outdoors, where we encountered crooked fissures, the shoe moved with our feet without feeling too stiff. Its moderate rigidity and carefully placed randing made dealing with cracks more of a “let me do it again” experience than an “I’m outta here” one!

Now, if you haven’t noticed it yet, the TC Pro is a mid-top climbing shoe. Its over-the-ankle collar provides convincing ankle support. It also delivers that much-needed abrasion protection on outdoor climbs.

Last but not least, the La Sportiva TC Pro has through-the-roof comfiness. Its supple leather upper is lined, giving your tootsies a plush-yet-responsive cradle. Its semi-stiff midsole is also commendable on this front (it helped us climb without getting tired easily)!

La Sportiva TC Pro full review

Best intermediate climbing shoes for women

Red Chili Voltage 2
Red Chili Voltage 2

CoreScore

85
Great!
4.7 / 5 from 17 users
95 / 100 from 1 expert

Pros

  • Fantastic comfort
  • Exemplary climbing shoe
  • Superb toe hooking
  • Amazing supportiveness
  • Sturdy build
  • Great for wider feet

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Toe box lining can irritate

Verdict

The Voltage 2 is one of the brand’s most comfortable rock shoes. That said, outside plushness, the gear in question is also an enticing product when it comes to support and dealing with tricky edges. This toe-hooking wonder, however, is far from being a budget-friendly climbing shoe. Overall, despite its priciness, the Voltage 2 is a magnificent piece, thanks to its impressive collection of send-worthy traits and capabilities.
Red Chili Voltage 2 full review

Best women's climbing shoes for steep terrain

La Sportiva Solution
La Sportiva Solution

CoreScore

92
Superb!
4.7 / 5 from 1,630 users
89 / 100 from 10 experts

Pros

  • True to size
  • Secure fit
  • Great for heel and toe hooking
  • Excellent on technical face climbing
  • Suitable for gym and crag
  • Durable
  • Can be resoled

Cons

  • Not for multi-pitch climbing
  • Less support for crack climbing
  • Expensive

Verdict

Ascending face walls or vertical rock is no easy feat. But, if you feel like you’re up to the task, there’s no better climbing shoe than the La Sportiva Solution!

Toe-ins and heel-hooks in the Solution were quite a walk in the park for us. Indeed, we ascended this one steep route as if we had two extra pairs of hands for feet, creatively zig-zagging our way to the top!

With its superior edging prowess, the La Sportiva Solution transformed micro-edges into sturdy ledges. The shoe also granted us surefootedness on crooked pockets and nubbins.

But does it perform well on smears? We answer that with a confident yes! The rock we chose for our testing was moderately dusty, yet the Solution got us smearing on its feature-less sections like supercharged lizards!

This go-to kick for steep climbs has the comfort level to match its send-worthy capabilities. While it requires a few sessions to loosen up fully, past that, the Solution will spoil your piggies with personalized plushness all over!

As for fit, all we want to say is that the Solution didn’t feel loose at all. In fact, its heel felt like a suction cup. Yes, once you’re in it, your feet won’t be going anywhere!

La Sportiva Solution full review

Best value climbing shoes for women

Scarpa Origin
Scarpa Origin

CoreScore

87
Great!
4.4 / 5 from 768 users
96 / 100 from 3 experts

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Impressive durability
  • True-to-size fit
  • Easy on and off
  • Padded tongue
  • Supportive

Cons

  • Not very sticky outsole
  • Toe hooking issues

Verdict

Are you looking for a downturn-less Scarpa climbing shoe that you can snag for roughly $95 a pair? If so, check out the super-cheap Origin!

Immense comfort is what awaits you in the Scarpa Origin. It’s true—we felt right home within the shoe’s snazzy confines. We felt neither pinching nor hotspots in the shoe, tricking us into believing that we were wearing a pair of sneakers!

Now, the Scarpa Origin’s main game is edging. Its flat and sufficiently stiff forefoot afforded us surefootedness on ledges and beveled fixtures alike. Tiny nubbins were also a no match against its finely tipped front end.

As a neutral climbing shoe, it was only natural for the Origin to perform amazingly on smears. The flexibility of its arch zone and the Origin’s hyper-magnetic rubber outsole made smearing on extra-smooth boulders enchantingly easy!

Fit-wise, this beginner-friendly Scarpa climbing shoe felt custom-made, as well. Everything just snapped into place the moment we put it on—no air pockets, no slippage anywhere.

And let’s not forget the Scarpa Origin’s tank-like construction. From its scratch-proof upper to its enduring rubber outsole, this affordable piece will stick with you for many months. Get one now!

Scarpa Origin full review
Author
Teddy Dondanville
Teddy Dondanville

Teddy is a professionally trained Apprentice Rock Guide with the American Mountain Guides Association and a Wilderness First Responder with the National Outdoor Leadership School. Besides guiding outdoor rock climbing, Teddy also has years of experience in route setting and coaching climbing indoors. Through his guiding, route setting, and coaching, Teddy has experimented with climbing shoes for over a decade.