Best Intermediate Climbing Shoes to Invest In

March 30, 2023

By Nate


Are you looking for what are the best intermediate climbing shoes to invest in? Find out more detailed information in this post. Welcome to Trad Climbers. I am glad you have made it here.

If you're ready to take your climbing to the next level, it's time to upgrade your shoes. But before making a purchase, it's essential to understand what qualities should be looked for in an ideal intermediate shoe.

Are you searching for a rock climbing shoe with the performance of something more advanced, but won't cause you too much pain? Look no further than the Scarpa Vapor V – it perfectly balances these attributes.

What Climbing Grade is Considered Intermediate?

Climbers who can progress from an easier route to a harder one are commonly labeled intermediate climbers; however, there is no definitive standard that defines this term.

In the United States, the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) is widely used climbing grade system. This divides rock routes into five classes according to technical difficulty.

Class 2: Scrambling and hand use are typically involved; most but the most inexperienced or clumsy will avoid rope use.

YDS grades are usually presented numerically, with lettered increments denoting the next level up.

The V scale is a widely-used grading system for boulder problems. Routes between V0 and V2 are considered beginner-level, while routes from V3 through V6 are intermediate in difficulty.

Adjectival grade assigns numerical and letter ratings to climbs in order to assess technical demands, protection requirements, rock texture, exposure and sustainedness. It was created to give climbers the most comprehensive evaluation when making onsight attempts and alert them of potential hazards.

What Shoe Does Adam Ondra Use?

Adam Ondra is one of the world's greatest climbers, having climbed some of the toughest routes available. His ascents of Silence and Change 9c+ were both landmarks in climbing history; furthermore, he also achieved numerous other remarkable successes such as repeating Dawn Wall.

Adam often opts for La Sportiva's signature shoes – Solutions or Futuras – when climbing, and they have proven to be a go-to choice for him on all sorts of challenging rock. Thanks to them, Adam has achieved an impressive number of first ascents.

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They're also incredibly soft, which makes them ideal for smearing and standing on volumes. However, be mindful that if your shoes fit too tightly, they may stiffen and reduce performance.

As a general guideline, I suggest getting your shoes one and half sizes smaller than your street shoe size for optimal performance fit and 0.5-1.5 for comfort. This is because shoes lose stiffness with age so it's best to get them at their most optimal stiffness before they become unusable.

Are Moderate Climbing Shoes Good for Bouldering?

Moderate climbing shoes are ideal for all kinds of climbs. Usually thinner than neutral climbing shoes, these shoes feature a slightly downturned shape which makes them ideal for technical terrain.

These shoes are an excellent option for slab routes, crack climbs and overhanging sport climbs. Their more rubberized and stickier soles make them great for smearing but may not be ideal when bouldering or standing on small ledges (edging).

A suitable moderate shoe should fit your foot comfortably 90% of the time. It should not feel too tight around the heel or be too flat on front of your foot as this could cause discomfort after some time.

Laces, velcro straps or slip-on closures can be adjusted to suit your climbing style and needs. Lace-ups offer more precise adjustment while being easily loosening if your feet get hot or swollen. Straps on the other hand are great because they can be quickly put on and taken off, making them suitable for many different types of climbs.

Should I Get Moderate Climbing Shoes?

When choosing climbing shoes, it's essential to take into account both your climbing style and where you plan on climbing. This will help determine which types of shoes are necessary. Also, which brands offer the most suitable solutions for your requirements.

If you plan on climbing steep overhangs or slabs, a stiffer shoe is the better option. This will provide more edging power and allow you to stand on delicate edges with assurance.

You'll want a tighter performance fit to reduce any pain or strain on your feet and toes. The fit should feel snug but not too tightly – like a firm handshake without pinching your Achilles tendon.

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Finally, it's essential to test a pair of climbing shoes on your foot. Make sure there is no dead space surrounding your foot which could reduce sensitivity. Also, impact absorption when heel hooking or camming into cracks.

When looking for the ideal shoe last, you should try on different brands to find one that fits your foot best. Some lasts are more comfortable for beginners while others are better suited to trad or multi-pitch routes.

When to Get Intermediate Climbing Shoes

If you're serious about climbing, it's essential to invest in a quality pair of shoes. When selecting your footwear, there are several factors to consider such as your body type, climbing style and the rock face you plan on climbing on.

If your feet are particularly sensitive, soft shoes might be best. They tend to be less aggressive than stiffer options and can handle longer routes or bouldering on difficult terrain without causing too much discomfort.

Alternatively, if you like to climb steep or overhanging walls, a downturned shoe could be ideal. This extra deflection allows your toes to hook onto footholds and pull yourself towards the edge more effectively.

Finding the ideal intermediate climbing shoes depends on two factors: your climbing style and budget. For beginners, opt for a cheaper shoe and save up for something more costly later. But if you're an intermediate climber, investing in higher performance footwear could help expedite progress.

Am I Beginner or Intermediate Climber?

Climbing is an activity that necessitates great skill, strength and endurance to excel. Acquiring these attributes takes time; therefore, climbing can be a difficult sport for some to master.

However, there are ways to hone your climbing skills. One of the most essential is improving balance; practice traversing on slacklines or solid footholds and put as little weight on your hands when moving up or down.

Another technique you can use to improve your climbing is mastering backstepping. This involves standing on a hold so that the outside of your foot is closer to the wall and your hips next to it, making it much easier to move up without losing balance and conserving energy while doing so.

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One way to learn how to backstep is to climb with a partner and observe their technique. This will give you insight into their approach when facing different problems, as well as giving you tips for success on your own climbs.

How Tight Should Intermediate Climbing Shoes Be?

While every foot is different, there are some general guidelines to follow when fitting shoes. Climbers usually want their shoes to feel tight but not so tight that they become unresponsive when climbing.

A great pair of climbing shoes should mold to your foot, providing a secure fit around the heel. Furthermore, they should be comfortable enough for extended hikes without bunching up your toes or irritating your Achilles tendon.

If you haven't yet, I highly recommend trying on several pairs of shoes at your local rock gym to find the best fit. They can help determine how tight or loose your shoes should be and what brands offer different options.

Climbing shoe manufacturers usually fit their shoes according to a unique system that differs between models within a brand's lineup. To determine which size is right for you, try on some pairs and then speak to a brand representative about how that shoe fits.

La Sportiva Climbing Shoes

When it comes to climbing shoes, there are a variety of features that matter. One key characteristic is downturn, which measures how much curve there is in the sole.

Generally, the more aggressive a downturn, the greater power your toes have to pull and perch on small edges. This is especially critical for bouldering and steep sport climbing where small footholds or caves can be easily traversed due to its downturn shape.

Not all downturned shoes are created equal. For instance, SCARPA Instincts ($199) boast a much less aggressive downturn shape than La Sportiva shoes, giving them superior grip on uneven terrain compared to some of La Sportiva's more extreme models.

The Instincts are ideal for bouldering and sport climbing on limestone pockets and short footholds where precision is key. Plus, their heel cup fits securely around your heel to make pulling into toe hooks easier, while XS Grip 2 rubber strikes an ideal balance between stiffness and sensitivity – ideal for edging into small footholds with ease.

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