If you’re an avid climber, you know the importance of proper footwear when it comes to scaling mountains and challenging vertical terrains.

Among the various types of climbing shoes available, high top climbing shoes are a popular choice for their support, protection, and comfort.

However, high-top climbing shoes have advantages and disadvantages like all gear choices.

In this blog post, we’ll explore both sides of the argument to help you decide on the shoe that’s best for your climbing needs. 

We’ll begin by examining the best high top climbing shoes on the market, including their excellent ankle support that helps prevent sprains and injuries.

High top shoes also protect feet from sharp rocks and debris, provide stability on uneven footing, and offer a snug and comfortable fit for all-day climbs.

However, high top shoes can also limit the range of motion, and the extra weight can quickly wear out your legs, especially during long approaches or multi-pitch routes.

Let’s first review the 5 best high top climbing shoes for this year.

What Are the Best High Top Climbing Shoes This Year
What Are the Best High Top Climbing Shoes?

List of the 5 Best High Top Climbing Shoes

The 5 best high top climbing shoes for this year are:

  1. La Sportiva TC Pro
  2. Evolv The General
  3. Butora Altura
  4. Mad Rock Haywire
  5. Scarpa Women’s Maestro

1. La Sportiva TC Pro

This all-around trad climbing shoe is the best high-top we tested. It has a unique blend of comfort and support for climbing and can still do the specific footwork needed for a technical route.

The TC Pro usually performs well in edges, cracks, and vertical faces, when most weight is focused towards your feet most of the time. 

On the other hand, we tested it for steep climbing, heel, toe hooking, and pockets and found it did not perform well. This is because it has an insensitive and stiff rubber.

This high-top climbing shoe is somewhat flat and features a stiff 4mm Vibram XS Edge rubber. It lets your foot remain in its usual position.

Additionally, it is relatively downturned and has a flat-toe box. These features, combined with the medium asymmetry, allowed us to jam cracks effortlessly without giving up precision and power for edging.

La Sportiva TC Pro Pros:

  • It is an all-round climbing shoe ideal for multi-pitch routes
  • Unmatched comfort and ankle protection
  • Performs well on small edges and slabs
  • The flat design lets your foot remain in its natural position

La Sportiva TC Pro Cons:

  • It takes a long time to break in; therefore, the TC Pro is quite stiff, frictionless, and insensitive before the break-in

2. Evolv The General

In terms of performance, we found this high-top climbing shoe to perform well in almost everything. From unwavering comfort, impressive climbing performance, and incredible durability, Evolv The General is a great all-around climbing shoe. 

However, breaking in these climbing shoes will take a long time. Nonetheless, climbers will be amazed by what this climbing shoe has to offer.

Purposely designed for comfort and protection, the Evolv The General has a smooth and padded tongue and features a soft synthetic leather lining with additional padding on the toe box and ankles. 

These features have been blended with a relatively downturned toe for extra support and precision when edging. The downside with all the extra padding and shielding is a bulky and thick toe, making it difficult to jam on thin seams and cracks.

However, it does perform well on wider cracks. We found Evolv The General to be more of an all-around shoe than a crack-climbing dedicated shoe.

With excellent edging, plenty of padding, and somewhat camber, this Evolv piece is perfect for long routes that don’t need thin jamming though the support and edging are necessary. 

Evolv The General Pros:

  • Robust
  • Well-padded
  • Excellent at edging
  • Comfortable

Evolv The General Cons:

  • It has a thick toe box

3. Butora Altura

The Butora Altura high-top climbing shoe’s build is simply amazing. Seamlessly made, the high quality of this climbing shoe is quite apparent, and they will survive years of abuse, and you can resole them multiple times.

When it comes to performance, the Alturas is not technically oriented but has a stiff sole. 

This is perfect for lessening foot fatigue on long routes. The rubber is one of their exclusive blend, which performs impressively, but it requires a bit of patience to break in. 

The Alturas have a wide and regular fit, which means they are comfortable to climb all day long. The exceptional blend of a rigid sole, high and low-volume fit options, and a thin toe make this shoe perfect for the beginner crack climber. 

At some point, crack climbing can be painful for beginners, and these high-top climbing shoes provide a decent fit, thus reducing foot pain and exhaustion that can sacrifice the fun of crack climbing.

Butora Altura Pros:

  • It comes in low and high-volume options
  • Impeccable design
  • Durable
  • Ideal for beginners

Butora Altura Cons:

  • Long break-in period

4. Mad Rock Haywire Climbing Shoes

Upon testing the Haywire, we found that this shoe’s potential to amaze us was off the charts. With its awesome surface grip, impressive lightness, and a glove-like fit, this high-top climbing shoe will certainly mesmerize you. 

However, this high-top wonder might not please some climbers since it features a rather fragile construction. Overall, this bouldering high-top climbing shoe is yet another brilliant piece from Madrock.

If you’re searching for a sturdier shoe, it would be best if you looked at the La sportive TC Pro, Evolv the General, and Butora Altura. 

This climbing shoe features an exclusive outsole for efficient surface traction. The rubber’s thickness, precisely on the high-wear parts, is 5mm. It is entirely made using a top-quality rubber compound. 

This is an extremely downturned climbing shoe making it ideal for single-pitch climbers. They also perform well in sport climbs and bouldering. It can scale overhangs and vertical faces. Besides, you can utilize it indoors on walls.

Mad Rock Haywire Pros:

  • Incredibly lightweight
  • It offers the perfect fit
  • It is an all-round shoe ideal for bouldering
  • Unbelievably sticky rubber

Mad Rock Haywire Cons:

  • Not quite durable

5. Scarpa Women’s Maestro Mid Climbing Shoes

Scarpa Women’s Maestro flat-lasted climbing shoe designed for comfort. Regardless of the manufacturer claiming that it is a flat-lasted shoe, we found it to have a slight downturn.

Similar to most climbing shoes engineered for comfort, this high-top climbing shoe has reduced asymmetry.

It has plenty of protection in the ankle region, which is handy in penetrating wide cracks. The Maestro’s outsole is the Vibram 4mm XS edge. This is a thick rubber that is purposely incorporated for long-term durability and edging. 

The 1.4 mm midsole makes the shoe rather stiff, though it is not as rigid as the TC Pro. The upper is made of somewhat smooth Eco leather, which goes through an environmentally friendly manufacturing process than customary leathers. 

This climbing shoe is designed to protect and support your feet while handling the different faces and cracks present in customary climbing terrains.

When using it, it felt supportive and adequately padded for fist and hand cracks. What’s more, the average height cut offered excellent shielding for our testers’ ankles. 

When it comes to slabs, the Maestro flexed well, and its spacious toe box, medium-rigidity build, and full-length rand provided a reliable platform.

Lastly, this high-top climbing shoe was very comfy and still maintains adequate rigidity and support to keep our testers’ feet comfortable during long adventures.

Scarpa Women’s Maestro Pros:

  • Plenty of support for crack climbing, edging, and all-day utilization without being uncomfortably stiff
  • Exceptionally comfortable even when out of the box
  • High-quality build and design
  • Flat-last for maximum comfort

Scarpa Women’s Maestro Cons:

  • The toe box is too heavy for thin cracks and does not have adequate precision on tiny edges

Where to Use High-Top Climbing Shoes?

While high-top climbing shoes may be out of fashion, they are very versatile and handy during most climbing expeditions.

But where should you use them?

High-top climbing shoes are typically utilized for crack and trad climbing.

This is because you will require jamming your foot inside cracks for these climbing adventures, and these shoes are exceptionally good at this. 

Since they are designed for these two purposes, the best options have laces, a low-profile toe box, and a stiff or semi-stiff rubber.

The main difference between these shoes and low-cut climbing shoes is the ankle flaps present on the high tops.

The 5 Advantages of Wearing High Top Climbing Shoes

Here are the top five advantages of climbing with high top climbing shoes.

1. High-top shoes provide more ankle support

High top climbing shoes are popular among climbers due to their design, which provides additional support and protection.

One key advantage of high-top shoes is that they offer more ankle support.

This is important for climbers, who frequently encounter rough and uneven terrain when scaling mountains or bouldering.

The high-top design provides extra stability to the ankle, which helps prevent injuries and enhances overall safety.

Additionally, high-top shoes ensure the foot is secure in the shoe, preventing unwanted movement and helping the climber maintain proper form.

While high-top shoes may not be suitable for all types of climbing, their ability to provide increased ankle support and stability makes them a valuable option for many climbers.

2. They can help prevent ankle injuries on rough terrain

High top climbing shoes are designed to provide extra support to your ankles and feet.

One of the main advantages of wearing high top climbing shoes is they can help prevent ankle injuries on rough terrain.

When climbing, there is a lot of stress on your ankles due to the uneven surfaces and the pressure of your body weight.

The high top climbing shoes provide an additional layer of support to your ankles, which reduces the risk of twisting, spraining, or breaking your ankles.

This is a significant benefit for climbers who explore unpredictable outdoor environments, where the terrain may be slippery, unstable, or rocky, and accidents can be dangerous and life-threatening.

However, it is essential to note that these shoes may only be suitable for some types of climbing activities, as they can limit your mobility and balance and may not be comfortable for longer climbs or less technical routes.

Therefore, assessing your individual needs and preferences is essential before deciding to wear high top climbing shoes.

3. High-top shoes often have more durable construction

When it comes to climbing shoes, high-top designs offer several advantages over their low-cut counterparts.

For one, high-top climbing shoes provide additional ankle support, helping to prevent injuries and improve stability on the rock face.

Additionally, many high-top climbing shoes feature denser, more durable construction, making them better suited for intensive climbing sessions and outdoor environments.

High-top climbing shoes also offer excellent protection against elements such as water and sharp rocks, which can cause discomfort and wear on lower-cut shoes.

Overall, high-top climbing shoes provide a superior option for climbers looking for added support, durability, and protection while scaling challenging routes.

4. They can make it easier to climb steeper inclines

High top climbing shoes have become increasingly popular among climbers due to their unique features and benefits.

One of the most significant advantages of wearing high top climbing shoes is that they can make it easier to climb steeper inclines.

This is because the shoe’s design provides additional support and stability to the ankle and foot, which can help climbers maintain their balance and grip on rocky or uneven terrain.

Additionally, high top climbing shoes are also known for providing better protection against injuries or accidental slips, which is crucial for climbers who take on challenging ascents.

However, wearing high top climbing shoes may also have disadvantages, such as limiting flexibility and mobility, making it harder to navigate specific routes or moves.

Therefore, climbers need to consider the pros and cons of high-top climbing shoes before deciding based on their preference, skill level, and terrain.

5. High-top shoes can be more comfortable in colder weather

High top climbing shoes have become popular among climbers due to their unique design and construction.

One of the advantages of wearing high top climbing shoes is that they provide added warmth and support to your feet in colder weather.

This is especially important for climbers who frequently climb in colder climates or during winter months.

The higher design of the shoe provides a layer of insulation around the ankles that prevents cold air from seeping in, while also keeping the feet well-supported and cushioned during climbs.

High top climbing shoes are designed to grip and hold onto rock surfaces, essential for climbers who seek balance and confidence when scaling steep terrain.

The 5 Disadvantages of Wearing High Top Climbing Shoes

Here are the top five disadvantages of climbing with high top climbing shoes.

1. They may be heavier and more cumbersome, reducing agility

High top climbing shoes are footwear designed for rock climbing enthusiasts that provide support and protection to the feet and ankles during the activity.

However, one disadvantage of these shoes is that they may be heavier and more cumbersome than other types of climbing shoes.

This added weight and bulk might impede your agility or hinder your movement, especially when attempting to make quick and agile movements during a climb.

This can be particularly challenging for climbers who may need to adjust their foot position or shift their weight rapidly, putting them at a disadvantage when wearing high top climbing shoes.

Therefore, choosing the right type of climbing shoes based on your preferred climbing style and personal preferences is essential to get the most out of your climbing experience.

2. High-tops may not be as breathable, leading to foot odor and sweat

High top climbing shoes are popular among climbers as they offer increased ankle support and stability on difficult terrains.

However, it should be noted that high tops may only sometimes be the best choice, as they may not be as breathable compared to low-top climbing shoes.

This decrease in breathability can lead to foot odor and sweat, which may cause discomfort during long climbing sessions.

It is essential for climbers to thoroughly consider their needs before selecting high-top climbing shoes, as the trade-off between ankle support and breathability may vary depending on factors such as climbing style and terrain.

Other factors, such as fit and comfort, should also be considered when selecting climbing shoes for optimal performance and comfort.

3. The extra material can make them more expensive

High top climbing shoes are specialized footwear designed to provide extra support and protection for the ankles when scaling steep or challenging terrains.

While the added coverage around the ankles can offer several benefits, it comes at a cost.

One major disadvantage of high top climbing shoes is their cost-effectiveness.

The extra material used to make the shoe and the extra construction process can make them more expensive than traditional low-top climbing shoes.

This added expense might be a significant investment for people just starting with climbing or on a tight budget.

It is essential to consider the overall benefits and drawbacks of high top climbing shoes before making a purchase decision.

However, for experienced climbers, the additional protection and support may be worth the extra cost.

It ultimately comes down to personal preference, budget, and the type of terrain to be climbed.

4. They may not be necessary for less technical climbs

When considering the advantages and disadvantages of high top climbing shoes, it’s important to note that they may not be necessary for less technical climbs.

High top climbing shoes are designed to provide additional support and protection to the ankle, which can be particularly beneficial on more challenging climbs that require extensive footwork and precision.

However, on less technical climbs with a relatively low risk of an ankle injury, high top climbing shoes may offer little advantages over other climbing shoes.

In some cases, the added weight and bulk of high top climbing shoes are a disadvantage, as they can limit mobility and make it more difficult to maintain proper technique.

Ultimately, the decision to wear high top climbing shoes will depend on a range of factors, including the specific demands of the climb and the preferences and needs of the individual climber.

5. Some climbers may find them less aesthetically pleasing than low-top shoes

High-top climbing shoes are popular among climbers due to their unique features and benefits.

These shoes offer several advantages, such as increased ankle support, protection against abrasion, and better performance in cracks and overhangs.

However, some climbers may find them less aesthetically pleasing than low-top shoes.

It is important to note that high-top climbing shoes are designed for a specific purpose and should be chosen based on the climber’s individual needs and preferences.

Ultimately, the choice between high-top and low-top climbing shoes will depend on the type of climbing activity, the climber’s skill level, and their comfort and preference.

To conclude, high top climbing shoes have both advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately the decision to wear them is an individual choice.

They offer great support and protection for the ankles, making them ideal for people who experience ankle injuries or frequent strains.

At the same time, they can reduce flexibility and increase weight, making them less appealing for long routes or those who prioritize comfort and maneuverability.

When choosing climbing shoes, it’s important to consider your personal preferences and the type of climbing you plan to do to make the most informed decision.

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