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Trad climbing shoes are designed with an emphasis on improved technical performance and robustness so you can tackle more difficult climbs. Some trad climbing pieces use a flat shape for multi-pitch routes, while certain offerings are more downturned for technical routes. Moreover, they feature sticky rubber soles to help keep your foothold in these challenging conditions. Shown below are some tips to help you in finding the ideal trad climbing shoes.
Features to check out when buying the best shoes for trad climbing
Best trad climbing shoes - November 2019
Fit. Buyers should check the closure system of their target trad climbing shoes to achieve an ideal fit. There are three kinds of closure systems you can choose from - Velcro, lace-up, and slip-on (slippers).
Last shape. The rock shoe’s last shape is determined by the kind of climb you’re about to take. There are three options you can consider - straight, asymmetric, or downturned. Those built on straight lasts are ideal for long ascents and crack climbing. Meanwhile, trad climbing shoes with an asymmetric shape use a front point that goes over the user’s big toe. This quality delivers power on the shoe’s inside edge. Lastly, kicks with a downturned shape are geared towards difficult routes by giving optimal control and performance.
Upper material. Trad climbing shoes use an upper made of either leather or a synthetic material. Leather kicks, both lined and unlined, can stretch to accommodate the shape of your foot. On the other hand, synthetic shoes don’t stretch that much (or won’t stretch at all).
Flexibility. Check your target pair if it’s slip-lasted or board-lasted. The latter is stiffer, while the former offers more sensitivity. Keep in mind that flexible trad climbing shoes are best used for smearing and slabbing while stiff kicks are preferred for tackling cracks.
Rubber. When shopping for new trad climbing shoes, it’s important to take a look at the rubber outsole’s thickness. Thick outsoles, ranging from 4 to 5.5mm, are durable and more supportive for edging. Outsoles that fall under 4mm offer more sensitivity, making them preferred for smearing on slabs.
Some brands that carry the best trad climbing shoes for men and women
Five Ten, an American outdoor brand, is one of the leading names when it comes to rock shoes. Their trad climbing shoes are engineered to help your feet perform on edges, cracks, and slabs. The finest Five Ten offerings feature an outsole made of Stealth rubber, which offers optimal grip and durability.
Scarpa rock shoes for traditional climbers offer a lot of value for their price. These kicks come with flat soles that give ample comfort for multi-pitch wear. Their finest offerings also feature Vibram XS Edge rubber outsoles to aid climbers in edging.
La Sportiva trad climbing shoes are built towards quality and performance. Their products specialize in delivering comfort and support for edging. They are constructed using durable materials so you can get the most out of them during a climb. A couple of La Sportiva climbing pieces also feature the brand’s No-Edge technology, which increases sensitivity to help you gain a better foothold during an ascent.