As a beginner climber, one of the first pieces of gear you'll need to buy will be a pair of climbing shoes. While you can get away with hiring shoes at indoor walls for a few sessions, the cost of doing so will quickly rack up and the performance of the shoes leaves a lot to be desired!
However, the last thing you want as someone new to the sport is to have to spend a small fortune on a pair of shoes, and with so many options available it can be hard to know where to start. To help you decide, we've compiled a list of the best beginner bouldering shoes for £70 or less!
1. Evolv Defy & Elektra
Evolv's best-selling Defy and its twin sister Elektra are great beginner climbing shoes which emphasise a blend of comfort and performance. The soft, synthetic upper feels great against the feet while the alternating velcro closure ensures that they are easy to get on and off but still dial in a good fit.
A slightly more relaxed fit around the heel than some other models reduces pressure through the foot, which is a great benefit if you're still new to the tight fit of climbing shoes! A variable thickness rand means that rubber is thicker in places that wear out quicker - especially the toe. This prolongs the life of the Defy & Elektra, which is especially important for beginners who tend to wear through shoes quicker.
The shoes have some stiffness in the sole to provide support on smaller footholds, but retain enough flexibility to allow smearing on volumes and smooth walls - a key feature for most modern indoor bouldering.
Overall, the Defy and Elektra are a fantastic choice for a first bouldering shoe due to their comfort, all-round ability, and value at typically £70 or less.
2. La Sportiva Tarantula
You've probably spotted the La Sportiva Tarantula many times at your local gym - it's one of the most popular bouldering shoes on the market and for good reason. Flat lasted and slightly asymmetric, they offer a fairly technical fit but do not put unnecessary pressure on the foot. They also have an unlined leather upper which will stretch slightly over time to match the shape of your foot. As such they have a fairly low internal volume to account for this break-in period.
The Tarantulas are great all-rounders which will perform reasonably well on all types of terrain. This makes them an ideal beginner's shoe, well-suited to learning the ropes while on varied indoor climbs. If you have narrower feet or would prefer to dial in your fit more accurately, there is also a lace-up version - the Tarantulace.
3. Boreal Beta
Designed specifically to meet the needs of those who predominantly climb indoors, the Boreal Beta is a fantastic choice for beginner climbers who are looking for a model to take them through the indoor grades. The knitted textile upper is incredibly breathable and has a great feel against the skin, providing maximum comfort indoors where breathability plays a bigger role.
A relatively low volume heel and slight downturn gives the beta a slightly more technical fit than most beginner models. The more accurate heel fit and a generous amount of rubber around the heel lend the shoe to heel hooks - a staple of many indoor problems. Combined with a sensitive toe and a moderately stiff sole, these features give the Beta enough performance to take your climbing to the next level without sacrificing comfort or price.
4. Scarpa Origin
Despite being an outright beginner's shoe, Scarpa's Origin was shaped by legendary shoe designer Heinz Mariacher, who is rthe brains behind some of the brand's highest performing shoes. It is designed to be a complete all rounder for beginners, providing everything you'd need for both indoor and outdoor bouldering and sport climbs.
That being said, the full 5mm Vision rubber sole provides a fairly stiff feel which lends itself to use on smaller footholds and flatter terrain, especially outdoors. This rubber also happens to be incredibly durable, especially compared to more advanced shoes, which is perfect for a beginner who is still improving their footwork. All told, the Origin is great value for money.
5. EB Mojo
French brand EB's Mojo climbing shoe is desgined with the first-time buyer in mind, yet packs enough quality features in that you can rely on them to progress to more intermediate problems. A dynamic microfibre upper and alternating velcro closure ensure the Mojo is comfortable on the foot, yet a fairly low internal volume insures that you can dial in the fit to suit you.
Despite being geared towards beginners, the Mojo has an impressively accurate and sensitive toe as well as a slight downturn and asymmetry that will help you get used to the features of more advanced shoes. The shoe is great for indoor and outdoor climbing alike, lending itself to all types of footholds with a combination of precision and stiffness.
Additional features like silver polyamide strands woven through the upper to combat a build up of odour add even more value to a shoe which is already incredibly well-priced for what you get - the EB Mojo really is a great choice on all fronts.