Im starting a bit of indoor climbing, but Im not sure Im commited enough to buy climbing shoes - they are quite costly.

Still, my running shoes seem to be a poor choice for climbing, I can only use the biggest footholds available.

Are there any types of regular footwear that would do better for climbing, or do I have to buy dedicated shoes?

  • Can you rent them? The places around where I live won't let you use whatever shoes you want (unless they are climbing shoes).
    – user241
    May 2, 2013 at 1:23
  • At the climbing spot I like I cant rent shoes, but Ill check the offer of different ones. As far as I know, they all allow any shoes you want, but they have to be very clean, not used outside.
    – K.L.
    May 2, 2013 at 11:10
  • 2
    Just rent them. Potentially relevant question.
    – VPeric
    May 14, 2013 at 14:30
  • I think I will. I tried some different shoes, sneakers etc, but all of them leave me slipping when trying to use very small footholds. Thanks for the advice and link, @VPeric, Matt :)
    – K.L.
    May 14, 2013 at 21:37

2 Answers 2


Rent them until you can get your own. Evolve makes some fairly low priced shoes, at least much cheaper than the other mainstream brands. Unless you're naturally a good climber, 5.8'ish is going to be a ceiling for most people without proper shoes. It's hard to gain confidence and good technique without being able to practice good footwork.


The reason running shoes are not great for rock climbing is because they tend to fit a little loose (since your foot swells when you run), they don't have hard soles, and to be durable enough for heavy road use, the rubber is not very sticky. Climbing shoes typically have sticky rubber, are form fitting, and have fairly rigid soles so you can stick to smaller features. If you have any other shoes that fix one of the problems I mentioned with running shoes, they'll be better. Often times hiking boots are much easier to climb in than running shoes.

If you want a shoe that you can climb in but still use as an "everyday" shoe, you could buy a climbing approach shoe. It's basically a specially designed trail shoe that can be used for some climbing/scrambling. I'll occasionally use these when I'm climbing v2 boulder problems or 5.8 routes outside instead of changing into my climbing shoes. Unfortunately, approach shoes can cost almost as much (and sometimes more) than shoes specifically designed for climbing. Although they provide a nice compromise between climbing shoes and shoes you can use elsewhere, they aren't a replacement for climbing shoes. It's just hard to beat the confidence you gain when using a climbing specific shoe, especially when you're starting out.

My advice would be rent climbing shoes if you can; they give you the best experience and idea of what climbing is like. Plus, you won't be destroying your running shoes while your getting into the sport.

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