Community Discussion: The Most Popular Climbing Shoes

climbing shoes
For our second Community Discussion, we asked those on our email list to share information about their climbing shoe preferences. We hoped that the feedback collected would shed some light on the most popular climbing shoes for bouldering, sport, and trad climbing. After analyzing the results, here’s what we found …

Background of survey

The data for this feature was sourced from the 82 responses we received from our survey distributed in our weekly climbing newsletter, sent on 7/28/2016. With this sample size, we can’t draw any grand conclusions, but we found the responses interesting nonetheless. A big thank you to all of those who took a moment to contribute your shoe experience with us.

Demographic information

We asked a few questions to gain insight into the type of climbers responding to our survey. Notably, a large majority of respondents have been climbing at least a couple years, and 75% of respondents have experience with at least three pairs of shoes.

How many years have you been climbing?Number of Years Climbing
What is your preferred style of climbing?Preferred Style of Climbing
How many pairs of climbing shoes have you owned?Number of Climbing Shoes

We asked how many shoes our respondents have used as a disqualification question—that is, results shown below are only from those who have used three or more pairs (if someone has only tried one pair of climbing shoes, their opinion toward their favorite pair is pretty limited!).

 

Results: our audience’s favorite climbing shoes

We asked respondents to tell us their favorite shoe model for each of the following categories: bouldering, sport, trad, and all-around climbing. Participants were advised to enter N/A for any styles not related to them as a climber.

Remember, this is a popularity contest

And what’s most popular is not necessarily what’s best. This is especially true for climbing shoes due to the subjective nature of comfort.

climbing shoes

Top bouldering shoe

La Sportiva Miura

La Sportiva Miura / Miura VS
23% of votes

The top bouldering shoe among our audience is the La Sportiva Miura. It’s important to note that there are multiple variations of the La Sportiva Miura: there’s the standard Miura (lace-up) and the Miura VS (velcro). It appears that some participants who responded “Miura” may have meant the VS model, while others writing in “Miura” may have meant the lace-up model. Unable to decipher our recipients’ intent, we have grouped both the velcro and lace-up models together.

Runner-ups

La Sportiva Solution Review Top Bouldering Shoe

La Sportiva Solution
19% of votes
Scarpa Vapor V Top Bouldering Shoe Review

Scarpa Vapor V
5% of votes

Dramatically downturned and with La Sportiva’s Fast Lacing System, the Solution captured a spot at second place. Coming in third is the Vapor V, which Scarpa touts as a shoe that “opens 5.15 performance to the masses.” Generally speaking, many climbers that have difficulty fitting into La Sportiva shoes (some feel they run too narrow) will find comfort in Scarpa’s models.

Honorable mention

Perhaps the most hilarious responses we received were from some respondents who primarily consider themselves trad climbers:

Bouldering is lame

and

none, i hate bouldering…it is for young boys with rubbery bones!!

Thanks for the giggles, you gear pluggin’ guys.

Top sport climbing shoe

Given that boulderers and sport climbers seek similar qualities in climbing shoes, it wasn’t overly surprising to see that the exact same contenders made the top of the list.

La Sportiva Miura

La Sportiva Miura / Miura VS
22% of votes

The Miura VS is known to have a slightly greater downturn, whereas the lace variation is less aggressive. Broadly speaking, many boulderers prefer the ease of velcro for easy on-off mobility between attempts, while sport climbers may prefer the slightly less aggressive lace-up model.

Runner-ups

La Sportiva Solution Review Top Bouldering Shoe

La Sportiva Solution
19% of votes
Scarpa Vapor V Top Bouldering Shoe Review

Scarpa Vapor V
7% of votes

Top trad climbing shoe

In the trad category, La Sportiva’s Miura came out on top again, however, was closely matched by the Mythos. And for trad climbing, we assume “Miura” responses were typically in regard to the lace-up variation, given that most trad climbers avoid foot jamming in velcro!

La Sportiva Miura

La Sportiva Miura / Miura VS
23% of votes

Runner-ups

La Sportiva Mythos

La Sportiva Mythos
21% of votes
La Sportiva TC Pro Audience Choice

La Sportiva TC Pro
12% of votes

Top all-around shoe

No surprises here: the Miura took first place again, followed by the Mythos, and Five Ten’s Anasazi LV/VCS.

La Sportiva Miura

La Sportiva Miura / Miura VS
20% of votes

Runner-ups

La Sportiva Mythos

La Sportiva Mythos
13% of votes
Five Ten Anasaza LV VCS Top Climbing Shoes

5.10 Anasazi LV/VCS
12% of votes

Favorite climbing shoe brand

Given our responses from above, it was no shock to see that La Sportiva took gold as the favorite climbing shoe brand (54% of votes), followed by Five Ten (15%), Scarpa (12%), Evolv (9%) and others (10%).

Audience Choice Top Climbing Shoes

And just in case you want to see a real-life battle between La Sportiva and Five Ten, check out the Shoe War that went down in Joe’s Valley

Additional contributions have been made to this article by: Sander DiAngelis


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