Finding the best climbing shoes for gym is essential for any rock climber, especially in gym climbing.

Not only do they need to be comfortable and fit right, but they also need to be able to provide the right level of support, stability, and grip when you’re scaling those walls.

With so many options available on the market today, it may be challenging to decide which ones best fit you. That’s why we’ve put together this review of the 11 best gym climbing shoes so that you can better understand which ones suit your needs.

We’ll look at some of the critical features of the shoes, such as their flexibility, durability, and grip, and review some of the pros and cons associated with each one.

This review lets climbers of all levels get an overview of the best climbing shoes for their gym needs.

Best Climbing Shoes for Gym
Best Climbing Shoes for Gym

List of the 11 Best Climbing Shoes for Gym

The best climbing shoes for gym will provide the perfect balance of comfort and support while allowing you to move quickly throughout the wall.

This review will look at the 11 best climbing shoes for gym use and provide an overview of their strengths and weaknesses.

Whether you’re a beginner looking for your first pair of shoes or an experienced climber needing an upgrade, these shoes will ensure you’re equipped for any gym climbing challenge.

1. SCARPA Drago Rock Climbing Shoes for Gym Climbing

These climbing shoes are specifically designed for high performance in outdoor and indoor climbing sports. It is relatively soft. Therefore, sensitivity is among its best features, and you will definitely feel everything underneath your feet. 

The sensitivity and softness make Scarpa Drago perfect for indoor use since they mold, stick, and smear to almost anything. As for outdoors, this shoe performs well on slabby and steep terrain, precisely on rough rocks like granite and sandstone. 

The Scarpa Drago has rubber everywhere, meaning it is ideal for a heel or toe hook. It is also impressive how it achieves this and still retains its sensitivity, all while maintaining minimal weight.

Considering how soft they are, they don’t offer a lot of support, which was evident once our testers tried them out on edgy terrain. 

That said, this shoe became one of our favorites for indoor and outdoor use fast. On the other hand, if you’re picky about using them, it is good that you know they’re more sensitive and soft as against supportive and edgy. 

Scarpa Drago Pros:

  • Ideal for gym climbing
  • Impressive sensitivity
  • Excellent toe box
  • Swift break-in

Scarpa Drago Cons:

  • Minimal toe rand

2. La Sportiva Solution Rock Climbing Shoe

As you would expect, we cannot go far without reviewing shoes from La Sportiva. They do have a reputation for producing reliable, high-performance shoes.

La Sportiva Solutions feature an aggressively downturned build since they have the P3 platform from La Sportiva. This is handy in retaining the edging ability as well as the shape of the shoe.

The spoon-dip build on the sole fits perfectly between your foot and toes. The Solution’s heels are incredibly durable; the firm incorporated a Molded 3D heel, and our testers seemed to like it a lot.

This design works incredibly well and offers your foot a secure fit. The Vibram XS Grip2 rubber means it can stick on virtually anything, making them perfect for indoor bouldering. Read the complete review about the Solution climbing shoe.

La Sportiva Solution Pros:

  • Amazing precision
  • Secure fit
  • Ideal for indoor bouldering
  • Comfy 3D heel

La Sportiva Solution Cons:

  • A little bit pricy

3. Scarpa Instinct Lace Indoor Sport Climbing Shoe

Here is yet another shoe from Scarpa. The Instinct Lace is designed on a similar last as other Instinct versions, and the only difference is the incorporation of laces.

This generates incredible tension from the big toe to the midsole and the ankle, letting the climber get the most from small footholds. 

We felt that the heel could have been somewhat letting down. The manufacturer says it is a better version of the Instinct VS, where the Velcro straps guarantee decent support.

Scarpa Instinct Lace climbing shoes are rather clunky, and the heel felt somewhat heavy. However, this lace version is better. It is relatively wide with a distinct rubber strip positioned through the ankle’s back and heel, which increases the shoe’s volume. 

The Vibram XS Edge is marginally firmer and is incorporated in the Instinct Lace. It is purposely added to give the shoe a unique edging ability. Also, this climbing shoe is quite suitable for smearing. Overall, the Instinct Lace is perfect for intermediate sport climbing and bouldering.

Scarpa Instinct Lace Pros:

  • Impressive edging ability
  • Sturdy rubber
  • Ideal for sport climbing and bouldering
  • Performs well in smearing

Scarpa Instinct Lace Cons:

  • Slighly expensive

4. Five Ten Hiangle Budget Gym Climbing Shoe

Every gym route-setter changes the volumes now and then, presenting different challenges for the climbers. Moving from one volume to another or changing a toe hook to stand comfortably on the edge means transitioning pressure between the shoe’s interior and the sole.

Five Ten Hiangle gym climbing shoes are handy in helping you move up that gym wall with balance. It is a high-performance shoe that will amaze you with its edging ability and price. 

These climbing shoes are perfect for beginner climbers. They have an aggressive downturn, medium asymmetry, and a rounded toe.

All these contribute to these climbing shoes’ incredible performance. They are the climbing shoes you should go for if you’re on a budget. 

They are multi-purpose climbing shoes that are ideal for bouldering and gym walls with tricky angles. Overall, these are the shoes to go for if you’re a climber who loves carrying multiple gears during your adventure. 

Five Ten Hiangle Pros:

  • Extremely sensitive
  • Affordable
  • Ideal for overhung and vertical bouldering
  • Suitable for beginners

Five Ten Hiangle Cons:

  • Awkward fit

5. La Sportiva Miura Gym Climbing Shoe

The La Sportiva Miura has been doing its thing for 20 years now, and it’s no surprise that it found its way to this review. The Miura’s toe box is relatively spacious, giving the toes just enough space to move comfortably.

On the other hand, once you’re done climbing, there could be some crumpling from the leather in the toe box.

The heel features a low-volume design, and the rubber from the sole covers almost the whole shoe offering it a relatively diverse shape. While this is just a simple design, it is useful when you’re on small edges. 

Depending on your foot’s shape, some users may find the heel a bit uncomfortable. Notably, the Miura cuts off on the heel’s back, and some climbers may find it somewhat uncomfortable. 

Indeed, the Miura is the best when it comes to smearing, climbing edges as well and pockets. Additionally, if you like gym climbing, then you should try these climbing shoes out. 

La Sportiva Miura Pros:

  • Excellent at edging
  • Low-volume P3 platform
  • Versatile
  • Durable

La Sportiva Miura Cons:

  • The velcro should be more durable

6. Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe for Gym

Our pair of Evolve Defy revealed one truth: they are reliable shoes for beginner climbers. What’s more, they are perfect for bouldering.

These climbing shoes performed impressively in most climbing functions, though they are a bit below average at edging. 

On the other hand, as a beginner climber, you will not require the best-performing shoes yet. It would help if you simply had a comfy shoe that allows you to have fun as you explore this sport. 

If you’re a medium or professional-level climber, the Evolv Defy climbing shoes are an ideal second pair; to wear during long routes where comfort is your priority.

This shoe is also soft, meaning the toe box and sole are extremely sensitive. This makes them ideal for smearing, and anytime you need to feel the rocks beneath your feet. 

However, if you happen to smash your toes against the wall, you will feel every bit of the pain. Another thing to love about the Evolv Defy is that they are inexpensive. Overall, they are comfortable, high-performance, affordable shoes.

Evolv Defy Pros:

  • Perfect for bouldering
  • Inexpensive
  • Comfortable
  • Ideal for beginners

Evolv Defy Cons:

  • Outdoor performance is not as good (best for gym climbing)

7. La Sportiva Oxygym Climbing Shoe

Clearly, La Sportiva took its time designing this shoe. It is well-designed for beginner climbers, which you can see clearly in the toe box. It is spacious and flat, making it suitable for smearing and poising in spacious footholds.

Due to this design, the Oxygym climbing shoes have a hard time with elusive foot positioning and overhangs. However, this is not a big problem for beginners. We were quite impressed by the Oxygym’s heel. 

The shoe has plenty of sticky rubber, which gives you confidence in even the tiniest heel hooks. The sides and the bottom have circular indents, which adds to this climbing shoe’s good looks and offers additional grip. 

The rubber of La Sportiva Oxygym climbing shoes is specifically designed for gym climbing, but they also perform well outdoors. The FriXion rubber extends to the shoe’s back, giving you a lot of friction which is ideal for a heel hook.

Also, this makes it suitable for beginners looking to get better at gym climbing.

La Sportiva Oxygym Pros:

  • Washable
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Decent grip

La Sportiva Oxygym Cons:

  • Not ideal for professional climbers

8. SCARPA Veloce Rock Climbing Shoes for Gym Climbing

If you’re looking for gym climbing shoes, the SCARPA Veloce Rock Climbing Shoes might be for you. These shoes have a low-profile, breathable design to help fight foot fatigue.

They have a slightly aggressive, toe-pointing shape that gives excellent climbing control without too much pressure. Our testers found them more comfortable than shoes with a similar style, and they were able to get a thorough workout for footwork and upper body strengthening.

The Veloce Rock Climbing Shoes have the best grip of the shoes we tested, including rubber toe spikes that help climbers keep their footing on climbs with crumbly holds.

The Veloce Rock Climbing Shoes were tested in the gym on concrete, wood, and synthetic climbing holds. They performed well on flat, overhanging, and vertical climbs.

We liked the flexibility for power moves and how they provided adequate support for more advanced climbing.

SCARPA Veloce Pros:

  • This product offers exceptional value for money
  • Provides a harmonious combination of performance, comfort, and size-inclusivity
  • It is the ideal choice for those with wide feet

SCARPA Veloce Cons:

  • Soft heel constructed with less durable rubber

9. La Sportiva Skwama Gym Climbing Shoes

This compilation would be incomplete without acknowledging the Skwama. Many climbers have touted it as one of the most versatile products from La Sportiva, and it’s easy to understand why.

The Skwama is one of the more comfortable climbing shoes in the La Sportiva range, aside from the Futura and the Theory, making it a great choice for gym climbing.

With an 8.0 mm midsole and 3.5 mm Vibram XS Grip 2 outsole, the Skwama provides excellent smearing performance, further enhanced by the unique cutout on the shoe’s forefoot, which provides an extra degree of flexibility.

The La Sportiva Skwama utilizes P3 technology to create a cambered profile with plenty of tension, allowing it to edge surprisingly well for a soft shoe.

This impressive performance has led to the shoe being used by world-renowned climbers such as Ondra and Honnold for gym training, as well as Akiyo Noguchi for competitions.

La Sportiva Skwama Pros:

  • Outstanding overall performance
  • Ideal for toe and heel hooking
  • Striking visual appeal
  • Cushioned heel for impact mitigation

La Sportiva Skwama Cons:

  • A little bit of a wider fit than the usual La Sportiva models

10. Tenaya Oasi Gym Climbing Shoe

Despite not being as well known as other leading brands, Tenaya is highly respected in the climbing community for the quality of its footwear.

Olympians such as Alex Megos and Tom O’Halloran have been seen wearing Spanish-style shoes from Tenaya, a brand that Chris Sharma joined in 2019. If you’re unfamiliar with Tenaya, you may be surprised to learn of its presence among these high-level athletes.

Tenaya’s “Arial Plus” performance line is renowned for its comfortable shoes, the pinnacle of which is the ‘Oasi,’ which has been on the market since 2013.

The Oasi is designed with a narrow fit, however, its SXR Dynamics and patented closure system provide flexibility to accommodate various foot sizes and an adjustable fit.

Tenaya Oasi Pros:

  • Outstanding comfort and superior performance
  • Exceptional capacity to precisely customize the fit

Tenaya Oasi Cons:

  • Determining the correct dimensions can be a challenging task

11. Evolv Zenist

The Zenist has been engineered to be exceptionally efficient when it comes to hard plastic surfaces. In contrast to the Veloce, which is designed with novice users and leisurely training sessions in mind, this shoe is focused on optimal performance.

The hallmark of the Zenist performance is its capacity to adhere to even the most challenging of surfaces. Smearing is an integral component of gym climbing, and this shoe is well-equipped to handle even the most intricate three-dimensional volumes and friction moves with ease.

The shoe’s improved sensitivity comes from its 1mm rubber insole, providing precise foot placements for a more effective experience.

This is complemented by 4.2mm of Evolv’s TRAX SAS rubber, an exceptional compound for gym and rock climbing that I am particularly fond of. This combination is highly durable and reliable.

Evolv climbing shoes possess a remarkable heel, particularly in their more advanced models. While the Zenist heel is more polished compared to the “dark heel” of the Agro, both provide confidence when heel hooking.

As my projects often necessitate an aggressive heel, I find myself reaching for a pair of Evolv’s shoes. Additionally, the Zenist is highly accommodating to those with a wider foot.

Evolv Zenist Pros:

  • TRAX SAS rubber is an excellent choice for its remarkable smearing properties and sensitivity.
  • Furthermore, its solid heel design provides strong support and stability.

Evolv Zenist Cons:

  • Zenist replaced the Artgo model, which was favorite shoes for our team

What to Look for When Buying Gym Climbing Shoes?

Typically, a soft shoe will do better in the gym, though several other variables make climbing shoes suitable for gym climbing, such as:

Breathability

This is essential, especially for gym climbing during the summer. If you go to a climbing gym during the summer, you will notice that they’re usually hot.

Without the outdoor breeze, you will certainly sweat a lot. Therefore shoes that are specifically designed to let out some of that moisture and heat would be highly appreciated. 

Ease of wearing and taking off

This is another great bonus for indoor climbing shoes. When gym climbing, you will have to take off your shoes several times, which is why it would be best if you bought ones with Velcro straps or slipper-style climbing shoes. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the best gym climbing shoes will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

All of the shoes highlighted in this review are great options, and it’s important to consider the fit, style, and type of climbing you plan to do when making your decision.

Ultimately, the right climbing shoes will make all the difference in your climbing experience, so it is important to find the right pair for you.

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