Climbing is a sport that requires a lot of energy, concentration, and the right equipment to make it possible.

One of the most necessary pieces of equipment for a climber is their shoes.

The right pair of climbing shoes can make all the difference when it comes to scaling a rock face.

Intermediate climbers, in particular, need shoes that provide enough support, grip, and comfort to help them take their skills to the next level.

With so many options on the market, finding the best intermediate climbing shoes can be daunting.

That’s why we’ve put together this blog post to help you choose the best intermediate climbing shoes that suit your needs.

This blog post will explore some of the best intermediate climbing shoes, their features, and why they’re worth investing in.

Whether you’re bouldering or sport climbing, we’ve got you covered.

We will also explain some key factors you should consider when choosing a pair of intermediate climbing shoes.

What Are the Best Intermediate Climbing Shoes This Year
What Are the Best Intermediate Climbing Shoes This Shoes?

List of the 10 Best Intermediate Climbing Shoes

This is a list of the best intermediate climbing shoes we have tested and researched online.

  1. Scarpa Vapor V
  2. La Sportiva TC Pro
  3. Five Ten Anasazi VCS
  4. Tenaya Masai Unisex
  5. Mad Rock Remora
  6. La Sportiva Katana Lace
  7. Boreal Diabolo
  8. Red Chili Voltage LV
  9. La Sportiva Miura VS
  10. SCARPA Maestro Mid Eco

1. Scarpa Vapor V

Out of all the climbing shoes we tested, Scarpa Vapor V was our favorite pair of climbing shoes. This climbing shoe is incredibly versatile and offers excellent performance for an intermediate climbing shoe.

When we sized them tight, they edged through almost any crack and were perfect for sport climbing and bouldering.

Again, when we sized them a bit large, they were the ideal partner for all-day multi-pitch climbing with generous support and rigidity that lasted the whole day. In addition, the roomy size allows for EI Cap in light missions. 

It also features a bi-tension rand, which contributes to performance, like the one offered by the La Sportiva Katana Lace, but with a narrower fit, precisely around the heel cup.

Overall, this is a performance shoe offering versatility and is ideal for numerous uses depending on how you size it. 

What we liked about Scarpa Vapor V:

  • Excellent performance in small cracks
  • Supportive
  • Versatile

What we didn’t like about Scarpa Vapor V:

  • Reduced sensitivity

2. La Sportiva TC Pro

This list would not be complete without a shoe from La Sportiva. They are infamous for manufacturing reliable, performance climbing shoes, and the TC Pro is no exception.

They are performance shoes that give you the confidence to climb on almost any surface you’d like. They offer incredible edging ability and ample ankle protection. 

Besides, they are supportive and have a medium-stiffed sole, and offer above-average smearing ability. All these features combined will keep your feet comfy and strong throughout your adventure. 

For these reasons, the La Sportiva TC Pro has made its way into this list. On the other hand, the TC Pro is not as good as professional-level shoes when it comes to bouldering and sport climbing, though it is a good choice for almost all kinds of trad climbing. 

What we liked about La Sportiva TC Pro:

  • Excels at edging
  • Impressive at crack climbing
  • Decent all-around climbing shoe

What we didn’t like about La Sportiva TC Pro:

  • A bit expensive, but they are worth it

3. Five Ten Anasazi VCS

Five Ten Men’s Anasazi is an extremely precise all-rounder that is a bit uncomfortable, though not too much that you want to leave it at home. It’s rather comfortable and doesn’t give up precision, and is designed to be relatively rigid yet sensitive.

Nevertheless, it gives up a bit of the edging ability due to its sensitivity and impressively tacky rubber. This climbing shoe lets the climber feel everything under their feet, making even the small features feel like niches. 

They provide similar sensitivity to your sock but with ample rigidity to stand even on the smallest cracks.

What we liked about Five Ten Anasazi VCS:

  • Incredibly sensitive
  • Tacky rubber
  • Decent all-around intermediate climbing shoe

What we didn’t like about Five Ten Anasazi VCS:

  • Velcro straps can be uncomfortable on thin cracks

4. Tenaya Masai Unisex

Tenaya Masai climbing shoe offers a lot more than its good looks. It is built with a midsole that blends sensitivity and rigidity, making it feel more like your foot’s extension.

Besides, it features a cotton lining, meaning that you’ll no longer stress about this footwear overstretching and becoming baggy. 

The asymmetrical toe front and semi-downturned-toe box make you feel confident on small edges whether you’re going trad climbing or sport climbing.

Also, Tenaya Masai climbing shoes offer you additional power on steeper routes. Constructed with a narrower profile, this climbing shoe will offer you a snug fit without giving up comfort. 

What we liked about Tenaya Masai Unisex:

  • Ideal for trad and sport climbing
  • Comfortable
  • Catchy design

What we didn’t like about Tenaya Masai Unisex:

  • Not great at bouldering

5. Mad Rock Remora

Mad Rock Remora is a performance intermediate climbing shoe with an almost flat profile. It also features a soft sole, and it comes with an affordable price tag.

While it is not very good at edging, it excels at smearing, jamming, and slabbing. The squishy footwear sucks onto the feet though they are still easy to slip on and off. 

The spacious, high-volume construction precisely in the toe box is ideal for wide feet.

Due to their being soft and relatively flexible, the small holds were a bit tricky to locate and grip properly, but the additional surface area on the tip makes edging and smearing easy.

As mentioned above, Mad Rock Remora are affordable shoes for intermediate climbers who need an all-day climbing shoe. Additionally, they are excellent as mileage partners in the gym. 

What we liked about Mad Rock Remora:

  • Durable
  • Synthetic upper
  • Versatile

What we didn’t like about Mad Rock Remora:

  • It takes some time to break in

6. La Sportiva Katana Lace

There are multiple reasons why La Sportiva Katana Lace climbing shoe is trendy and loved among climbers. It has a rather downturned toe, and slight asymmetry guarantees you can hook confidently and maneuver the smallest edges. 

Regardless of the downturn, this climbing shoe has your feet in a pretty flat placement ideal for cracks and comfort.

The heel offers a snug fit and is blended with the medium-stiff P3 midsole, which focuses all your body weight on the toes. It is included in our ranking of the best crack climbing shoes.

The Vibram XS Edge rubber compound is tacky enough to hold on to almost any surface. It does not feature complex styling, but it offers impressive performance through various climbing styles, which is among the many reasons why it is on our list.

What we liked about La Sportiva Katana Lace:

  • Rigid
  • Durable
  • Versatile

What we didn’t like about La Sportiva Katana Lace:

  • Restricted sensitivity

7. Boreal Diabolo

If you require unmatched surface traction, you can be sure that Boreal Diablo is the intermediate climbing shoe to go for. In addition, it offers impressive precision, particularly on small edges, which gives you more confidence in yourself as you climb.

That being said, this climbing shoe might not be the ideal choice for climbers on a tight budget.

However, the Boreal Diabolo is a reliable and flexible intermediate rock climbing shoe in which the climber can go through difficult terrain with poise. 

What we liked about Boreal Diabolo:

  • Excellent surface grip
  • Very comfortable
  • Excels at edging

What we didn’t like about Boreal Diabolo:

  • Expensive

8. Red Chili Voltage LV

This is a comfortable performance climbing shoe, regardless of its downturn. Also, it is an extremely versatile rock climbing shoe with an excellent and fitting heel cup for booting.

Nonetheless, this excellent lightweight rock climbing shoe is quite expensive and might not be the go-to footwear for climbers on a budget.

In short, the Voltage LV climbing shoe is an excellent climbing partner, whether you’re going on rocky terrain or wall climbing.

The Red Chili Voltage is an aggressive shoe; it is downturned heavily and offers a mixture of precision and confidence over small holds.

However, because it provides the front part of the foot with a significant squeeze, you can only experience the comfort this shoe offers on single pitches. 

Typically, most heavily downturned rock climbing shoes are designed precisely for sport climbing and bouldering, either outdoors or indoors, which is the case with Red Chili Voltage LV.

It is constructed with features that make it easy to scale 90-degree faces and overhang routes. 

What we liked about Red Chili Voltage LV:

  • Impressive plushness
  • It’s incredibly versatile
  • Extremely lightweight

What we didn’t like about Red Chili Voltage LV:

  • A bit expensive

9. La Sportiva Miura VS

Here is yet another climbing shoe from La Sportiva, the Miura VS. This climbing shoe is well-designed for tough climbing, where they are tricky edges. Also, it has an asymmetric shape which allows the climber to power down on small rock features.

Compared to the lace version, this Velcro straps model is designed for overhang routes and boulders.

But, for you to achieve the best results in these situations, you must size it tightly, which typically translates to pain. On the other hand, to ensure that they are not too painful, try them before making a purchase. 

What we liked about La Sportiva Miura VS:

  • Great at edging
  • Rigid
  • Impressive in pockets

What we didn’t like about La Sportiva Miura VS:

  • Not quite sensitive

10. SCARPA Maestro Mid Eco

Nothing can interfere with the fun of climbing like an unreliable shoe that’s too tight to wear. Typically, too tight means too painful. The Maestro mid-Eco is built to be a reliable climbing shoe that prevents any pain from your foot.

The rigid sole offers plenty of support, and the dense leather upper provides lots of padding and ankle shielding. Our testers found it to be an extremely comfy and effective climbing shoe for crack and trad climbing.

On the other hand, the Maestro Mid Eco shoes are quite pricey, and some customers have complained about their fitting.

Thus, considering their price tag, it would be best if you tried them on before buying. However, if they fit properly, you will be amazed by their impressive performance.

What we liked about SCARPA Maestro Mid Eco:

  • Robust construction
  • Comfy
  • Supportive

What we didn’t like about SCARPA Maestro Mid Eco:

  • Reduced sensitivity

What to Consider when Purchasing Intermediate Climbing Shoes?

Now that you know the best intermediate climbing shoes, we will delve into what to consider before buying them.

So far, you have already decided whether you’re going to be a traditional or sport climber, boulderer, or simply a gym climber.

Whichever style you prefer, finding the best climbing shoe for your foot type and type of climbing will be handy in achieving your climbing objectives. 

Besides, climbing gear, including shoes, is relatively expensive, and it would be best if you bought the best to make your adventure that much fun.

So here are some of the features and considerations to look for when looking for the ideal pair to get you going during your adventure effortlessly. 

1. Cost 

Most of the climbing shoes in this list are affordable; therefore, you don’t need to spend all your saving to purchase them.

Also, all of them are ideal for all climbing styles, outdoors and indoors, and they can be worn by novice and intermediate climbers.

Of course, the cost of the climbing shoes varies depending on the level you are practicing the sport.

Similar to most climbing gear, pricier climbing shoes typically translate to improved quality.

On the other hand, if you’re new to climbing, you should try out cheaper shoes instead of using rental shoes.

In the end, you must remember that at some point, you may need to buy a new, maybe more expensive pair, once you get better. 

2. Shape/profile 

Generally, the shape of the shoe is known as the profile.

As you get better at climbing, your climbing shoe’s shape becomes more crucial.

A neutral profile is enough for beginners, and it can also be a decent all-day shoe for better climbers.

More aggressive climbing shoes typically feature downturned toes and have a snug fit. 

If you want to tackle more challenging boulder or overhang terrain problems, this climbing shoe is a perfect choice, though it is not the climbing shoe you want to wear the whole day.

The curvature is another variable to consider when searching for a climbing shoe profile dedicated to your style of climbing. 

3. Fit 

Like all footwear, you don’t want a shoe with a heel that slips out when you are climbing, whether indoors or outdoors.

Begin with your normal shoe size and either downsize or size a bit higher from it.

A climbing shoe is supposed to fit snugly rather than comfortably. 

It should be tight, leaving no room for your toes to move around to optimize your grip on the surface.

This snug fit is essential, especially on vertical routes, and is handy in improving your performance. 

Trad climbers will search for a comfier shoe that will offer impressive performance in cracks and one that can be worn throughout the multi-pitch routes.

As you begin climbing vertical terrain, you can go for a more aggressive climbing shoe, similar to sport climbing and bouldering shoes, as you will require a tighter fit. 

All climbing shoes come in half sizes, which could be the difference between a painfully tight shoe and a comfy snug-fitting shoe.

Most shoes come in UK sizes; therefore, ensure you have the correct conversions before buying. 

Try out various sizes and brands, as they are usually different.

For example, Five Ten and Evolv have started producing climbing shoes the same size as street shoes.

On the other hand, Scarpa and La Sportiva are constant but frequently need to be tried out before getting the correct size. 

4. Stretch and stiffness 

Most new climbing shoes need some time to break in, and they typically stretch after some time.

Shoes made of leather uppers usually stretch; thus, consider this when buying. 

Meanwhile, shoes made of synthetic uppers stretch minimally, so make sure you get a close fit.

Also, leather shoes are unlined, which gives room for them to stretch more than synthetic linings. 

5. Rubber 

When it comes to climbing shoes, rubber plays a critical role, and all rubber compounds are not equal.

Tacky rubber is typically less durable but soft, while tougher rubber lasts for a long time.

For beginners or multi-pitch traditional climbers, a tougher, sturdier rubber would be the ideal choice. 

Also, you should check whether the climbing shoe you chose can be resolved.

This will save you cash and time eventually since you don’t have to keep buying new climbing shoes and wait to break into them. 

6. Closure 

There are three types of closing mechanisms for climbing shoes; laces vs. Velcro straps, and slippers.

Climbing shoes with laces give the climber more adjustment options, but they take some time to wear and take off than their slippers and Velcro straps counterparts.

However, they are ideal for all-day multi-pitch adventures. 

Velcro straps can be adjusted as well, though not as much as laces.

Again, though, they are easy to put on and take off or even change.

They are perfect for sport or gym climbing since you will regularly be removing them between climbs.

Climbing shoes with this closure system can be handy in multi-pitch climbs because you can effortlessly open the straps to provide some aeration for your feet and not have to stress about removing or dropping them when climbing. 

Among the three closure mechanisms, slippers are the simplest to wear and take off.

Also, they are the comfiest of the three.

But, since they are usually unlined and rather basic, they are typically utilized in specific areas such as crack climbing. 

7. Weight 

When climbing, the weight of your footwear is something you should consider.

The upper and rubber’s thickness usually contribute to the shoe’s weight, and it varies from lighter climbing shoes to bulkier ones. 

Intermediate Climbing Shoes Features Explained 

1. What is Outsole?

This is the outer part at the shoe’s bottom that touches the surface.

2. What is Insole?

The insole is typically where you place your foot inside the shoe.

3. What is Rand? 

The bed of rubber that wraps from the toe box to the side of the climbing shoe is known as the rand.

4. What is Toe box?

This is the whole front portion of the climbing shoe.

5. What is Heel cup?

The heel cup is the part that the heel is placed.

6. What are board-lasted climbing shoe?

A board-lasted climbing shoe is less sensitive and more rigid, providing additional comfort for long adventures.

7. What is slip-lasted climbing shoe? 

This is the level of rubber covering the shoes from the sides to the toes. 

8. What are asymmetrical climbing shoes?

An asymmetrical climbing shoe has a long point over the first toe, translating to better edging ability. 

9. What are downturned climbing shoes?

This is when the shoe’s shape curves down towards the front part for a tighter and more aggressive fit. 

10. What Are Neutral Climbing Shoes?

A neutral climbing shoe has a flat bottom which offers extra comfort.

Well, there you have it, the best intermediate climbing shoes, followed by a buying guide and definition of terms. 

We hope this guide has helped you find the best intermediate climbing shoes that meet your needs. 

Intermediate Climbing Shoes FAQ

We will answer the most frequently asked questions on the internet about intermediate climbing shoes.

How do you determine which type of climbing shoe is best for your skill level and climbing style, and what factors should you consider when making this decision?

To determine the best type of climbing shoe for your skill level and climbing style, you should consider several factors, such as:

  1. Climbing Style: Consider the type of climbing you intend to do, whether it’s bouldering, sport, trad, or indoor climbing. Each style requires different levels of sensitivity, support, and protection.
  2. Fit: The fit of your climbing shoe should be snug but not painfully tight. You should also consider the shape and width of your feet and choose a shoe that accommodates them.
  3. Material: Climbing shoes come in different materials, such as leather, synthetic, or a combination of both. Consider the durability, breathability, and stretchability of the material.
  4. Sole: The sole of your climbing shoes will determine the grip when climbing.

Are there any particular features or design elements that are especially important to look for in intermediate climbing shoes, such as stiffness, sensitivity, or durability?

Yes, there are several features and design elements that are important to consider when looking for intermediate climbing shoes. These include:

  1. Stiffness: Intermediate climbing shoes should be stiffer than beginner shoes to provide more support and precision on the rock. However, they should not be so stiff that they are uncomfortable or restrict movement.
  2. Sensitivity: Good sensitivity is important for intermediate climbers as it allows them to feel the rock and make precise movements. Look for shoes with thinner soles and a lower profile to maximize sensitivity.
  3. Durability: Intermediate shoes should be durable enough to withstand frequent use and wear and tear from climbing. Look for shoes made from high-quality materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing.
  4. Toe shape: The toe shape of climbing shoes can vary from flat to aggressively downturned. Intermediate climbers may want a slightly more aggressive toe shape. This can help to provide more power and precision for technical climbs while still maintaining a good level of comfort.

What are some common mistakes that climbers make when selecting intermediate climbing shoes, and how can you avoid these pitfalls?

Some common mistakes that climbers make when selecting intermediate climbing shoes include:

  1. Choosing a shoe that is too tight or too loose. A shoe that is too tight can be uncomfortable and cause pain, while a shoe that is too loose can be ineffective in providing the necessary grip and support.
  2. Focusing too much on aesthetics rather than performance. While it’s important to choose a shoe that looks good, it’s even more important to choose a shoe that performs well and suits your specific climbing needs.
  3. Overlooking the stiffness of the shoe. Some climbers prefer a stiffer shoe, while others prefer a more flexible shoe. It’s important to choose a shoe that matches your personal preference and climbing style.

How can you properly break in and care for your intermediate climbing shoes to ensure that they perform at their best and last as long as possible?

To properly break in and care for intermediate climbing shoes, you can follow several steps:

  1. Wear them around the house: Before hitting the climbing gym or outdoor crag, wear your new shoes around the house for a few hours each day. This will help the shoes conform to your feet and soften up the rubber.
  2. Gradually increase use: Start using your shoes for shorter climbs and gradually increase the length and difficulty of your climbs over time. This will help prevent excessive wear and tear on the shoes.
  3. Avoid excessive moisture: Keep your shoes dry and avoid exposing them to excessive moisture. This can cause the rubber to break down and reduce the lifespan of the shoes.
  4. Store them properly: When not in use, store your shoes properly out of direct sun exposure.

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