Best Intermediate Climbing Shoes (Top 6 Picks & Buying Tips)

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Climbing is a sport that challenges both body and mind. Having the right gear is essential to scaling those vertical heights with confidence.

One of the most important pieces of equipment for any climber is their shoes.

But with a plethora of options on the market, it can be overwhelming, especially for those who have moved past the beginner stage but aren’t quite ready for advanced climbing.

That’s where intermediate climbing shoes come into play.

Why Choose an Intermediate Climbing Shoe

Intermediate Climbing Shoes budget

Intermediate climbing shoes occupy a unique space between beginner and advanced models.

Here’s why:

  • Balanced Performance: Intermediate shoes provide a balance of comfort and performance, making them suitable for longer climbs and various terrains.
  • Improved Sensitivity: They offer better sensitivity compared to beginner shoes, allowing you to feel the rock and make precise placements.
  • Enhanced Support: Intermediate shoes often feature more advanced closure systems and materials for improved support and fit.
  • Skill Development: Choosing an intermediate shoe can aid in skill development without sacrificing comfort and safety.
  • Cost-Effective: They are usually more affordable than advanced shoes while offering a significant performance boost compared to beginner models.

By the end of our guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of what to look for in an intermediate climbing shoe and be well-equipped to choose the perfect pair for your climbing adventures.

So, let’s take a look at the offerings!

Best Intermediate Climbing Shoes

Best for Women


Best Budget

So iLL Street LV

Best Premium

La Sportiva Miura

In this buyer’s guide, we’ll explore what makes an intermediate climbing shoe different from beginner or advanced options, what to look for in an intermediate shoe, and we’ll provide you with a curated list of six excellent choices across different categories including the best shoe for women, budget-friendly options and premium picks.

1. Best Intermediate Climbing Shoe for Women

For women, our recommendation is the SCARPA Women’s Origin Rock Climbing Shoes. With low volume and a women-specific fit, they’re a great intermediate shoe. These shoes have the tagline ‘Start Comfy, Stay Comfy.’

With hook and loop closure, passive rand and flat lasted construction, they’re designed with comfort in mind first and foremost. And what more could you want from a climbing shoe! Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons:


  • A flat-last and only slight asymmetry
  • Comfort first but with the stick needed for a solid climbing technique
  • Narrower last and lower-volume heel cup than unisex or men’s shoes
  • Vision Rubber – a thick outsole that is highly durable for learning the nuances of good footwork
  • Pressure absorbing heel structure spreads the force of the tension, reducing any tension on the Achilles’


  • A little bit more expensive than some other choices
  • They can stretch a bit, even after minimal use, so be sure to buy a snug fit to begin with

2. Best Budget-Friendly Intermediate Climbing Shoe

Our budget-friendly choice is the So iLL Street LV Half & Half Climbing Shoe.

This shoe features a rubber sole, ultra-lightweight and thin midsole, a padded tongue, downturned toe and large buckle closures.

Let’s look at the pros and cons so you can make up your mind:


  • Designed to accommodate narrower feet
  • An ultrathin midsole for a more sensitive and softer fit
  • A lightweight aggressive climbing shoe
  • Thin padded tongue
  • “Dipped” seafoam green and black unique design
  • ‘Sticky’ rubber outsole
  • A good stepping stone to more aggressive climbing shoes


  • Measures small. Choose a size and a half up from your regular size
  • A ‘messy’ finish to the shoe

3. Best Premium Intermediate Climbing Shoe

If you’ve got the dough to spare, the La Sportiva Miura Climbing Shoe is worth its price tag!

With a rubber sole, slingshot rand and speedy lace-up closure, this shoe sits a cut above the rest when it comes to intermediate climbers.

Let’s take a closer look at this stunner of a shoe:


  • Slingshot rang that is connected to a power hinge underneath the shoe, keeping you on edges with ease
  • 8-panel directional lining for channeling stretch
  • Ideal for bouldering, overhand sport routes, technical face climbing and gym climbing
  • Intermediate-High performance shoe
  • Pointed, large downturn with high asymmetry
  • Medium-firm heel tension
  • Low volume
  • Narrow width


  • Can come up a little too small
  • Some find it bends a bit too much between the toe box and heel

4. Best Versatile All-Rounder Intermediate Climbing Shoe

For a good all-rounder intermediate climbing shoe, you can’t go wrong with the CLIMBX Red Point Shoe.

Made from a combination of fabric and leather with an organic hemp footbed and rubber sole, this climbing shoe is excellent when it comes to versatility. It isn’t limited to one style of climbing (like other shoes may be) and is great for all angles, rocks and styles of climb.

But what about its pros and cons?


  • Good technical climbing shoe
  • Will help you climb to the next level
  • Stiffer midsole toe box than other shoes, making it easier to stay on the edge of small cracks
  • Great camber arch to help climb on overhanging, steep boulders and higher-grade sport routes
  • Soft, comfortable material
  • Great stickiness to the rubber that isn’t affected by temperature


  • Make sure to downsize half to a full size from your normal shoes
  • Not great for narrow feet

5. Best Intermediate Climbing Shoe for Aggressive Performance

When it comes to aggressive climbing, you need to have the right shoes, so they stand up to the task at hand.

We believe that the Ocun Bullit Climbing Shoe is a great choice for this purpose.  

With super sticky rubber with a pre-tensioned arch, these shoes are slipper fit and are a comfortable yet powerful choice for an aggressive performance.

Let’s look a bit more at these great shoes:


  • Sticky CAT μ1.5 rubber
  • Slipper fit
  • Pretensioned arch
  • Vegan construction – microfiber upper with Velcro strap to stop rotation
  • Pretensioned heel strap
  • 3D molded rubber toe area
  • Slightly down-turned, concave and asymmetrical shape
  • Anatomically modelled to fit stressed toes
  • Excels in overhanging routes
  • 1-year warranty


  • The Amazon fit guide is a bit misleading

6. Best Intermediate Climbing Shoe for Specialized Terrain

There are different climbing shoes out there for different types of climbing.

The ones we’ve gone for here are the SCARPA Men’s Vapor V Rock Climbing Shoes specifically designed with sport climbing and bouldering in mind. The Vapor V bends well in steep terrain with just the comfort and sensitivity that you need when the angles ease off.

The reduced volume in the tongue also keeps it supple and a suede base conforms excellently to the foot for comfort that lasts the whole day long. Let’s read more about it!


  • Slightly asymmetric with a moderate downturn for optimal performance in steep terrain
  • Vibram XS Edge Rubber which is stiff enough to stand on thin ledges
  • Softer M70 rubber in the heel to handle all kinds of boulders and headwalls
  • Flexan Dynamic Midsole to offset the softer upper


  • Need breaking in
  • Hard to do heel hooks without it slipping off

What to Look for in an Intermediate Climbing Shoe

Wearing Intermediate Climbing Shoes
Tips for choosing intermediate climbing shoes

When searching for the perfect intermediate climbing shoe, you should consider several factors:

  • Size and Fitting: The shoe should fit snugly without causing discomfort. Pay attention to sizing, as it varies between brands.
  • Material and Construction: Look for shoes made with durable materials and precise craftsmanship.
  • Type of Closure: Decide between lace-up, Velcro, or slip-on closures based on your preference and needs.
  • Climbing Style: Consider the type of climbing you’ll be doing, whether it’s bouldering, sport, or trad climbing.
  • Sole and Rubber: Choose a sole with the right balance of stiffness and sensitivity to your climbing style.
  • Asymmetry and Downturn: Assess the level of asymmetry and downturn based on your skill level and climbing objectives.
  • Price: Set a budget and find a shoe that offers the best features within that range.

The Takeaway

If you’re wanting an intermediate climbing shoe, you’ve come to the right place. With luck, our six choices of climbing shoe will tick the boxes that you want and need. Still can’t decide? Why not opt for the good all-rounder shoe? It’s versatile and reasonably priced – what’s not to like?

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