Outdoors Magazine

How to Size the Most Popular Climbing Shoes

By Perry Hua

Sizing climbing shoes correctly is difficult. And I mean mad difficult. No matter how you go about it, the three questions you will inevitably ask yourself when considering a pair of climbing shoes are: how do they fit, how should I size them, and how much do they stretch? Because as we all know, no two climbing shoes are exactly the same. A shoe from one brand will often fit drastically different than a shoe of another brand. Most of this confusion can be blamed on the last of a climbing shoe. Different shoe manufacturers use different lasts, which heavily determines the size and shape of the toe box, heel, and foot bed. How annoying, right? So, to help you in your quest to find the perfect shoe, I made this handy sizing guide on how to size the most popular climbing shoes. Hope it helps!

How to Size the Most Popular Climbing Shoes

How to Size the Most Popular Climbing Shoes - Sizing Guide - Athlete Audit

Notes to Remember:

  • The sizing suggestions are based off of street shoe size and are not 100% perfect. However, they’re a good kick in the right direction if you size according to the volume of your feet. As always, try shoes in-store for the most accurate fit or order a few pairs of similar size online if free returns are available.
  • Women’s versions of climbing shoes have a lower volume (especially in the heel cup) to fit those with smaller feet. And dudes, don’t be afraid to purchase women’s shoes if they fit you better.
  • The women’s version of the Evolv Defy are the Evolv Elektra, the Five Ten Anasazi VCS the Five Ten Anasazi LV, and the Mad Rock Lotus is almost identical to the Mad Rock Shark.
  • La Sportiva’s shoes consistently run a good deal larger, which is why we recommend downsizing on all of them.
  • Scarpa and Evolv’s climbing shoes tend to have a wider fit for those with larger feet. Thank goodness!
  • Take the amount of stretch into account when sizing shoes. If a pair of shoes do stretch some or a lot, it’s okay if your shoes are reasonably painful at first.
  • Signs of a perfect fit include no extra space in the toes, no deadspace in the heels, and adequate room to accommodate the width of your feet.

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