Vertical climbing routes are by far my favourite, the way you can rely so much on technique to float up the wall is super satisfying, But it took me so long to find the BEST Vertical Climbing Shoes that let me do that.
What are the best vertical climbing shoes? The La Sportiva ‘Miuras’ are no doubt the best vertical climbing shoes, backed up by top athletes like ADAM ONDRA and ALEX HONNOLD, They turn small edges into ledges for your feet, with no comprimise in comfort or support.
Now Lets go ahead and take a deep look into the miuras and see exactly what makes them the best vertical climbing shoe, Im confident you will enjoy what you find.
Why Are the ‘Miuras’ The vertical best?
So the miuras were chosen for the first 9c Sport climb and the first Free solo of El Capitan!
I Also choose these shoes for my hardest vertical climbs because they were built to EXCELL on vertical terrain.
The components that make this happen are the Strong Tension band connecting heel and midsole, the much thicker than average rubber, and the asymmetric toe shape, driving all the power into the toe along with nice extras like the neoprene lining make this shoe the best for your vertical climbing goals.
We will expand on all these now.
As you can see the Heel band on these shoes are very tight. This really pulls your toes right into the edge of the shoe, leaving no wiggle room to feel insecure in the shoes.
This ‘power band’ heel also transfers lots of the weight from your middle of your foot into the back of your achilles, transfering your weight into either into your hold or your ankle.
While this is an amazing feature of the shoe, massively boosting the weight weight appliable to the foot holds, and i wish more shoes had this tight of a heel band, it can cause some discomfort on the achilles if you wear them for a really long time.
Sometimes when i put them on they cause discomfort in the achilles and i cant identify why all the time, but its never frequent or lasts more than one climb.
you might experience this discomfort if the heel loops are tucked into the shoe when you put them on, or if your wearing them with socks.
I cant identify exactly why it happens but i only remember it happening twice over a two year period, so its by no means common.
The shoes are build from La Sportivas XS Edge rubber. La sportiva says ”Developed for maximum support, XS Edge allows you to focus your weight on the tiniest of holds” and i completely agree!
The magic of these shoes is the rubber is its secret compound, making it so that it doesnt deform to small edges and spikes like a softer rubber would.
This means they are not the best for climbing gnarly overhung boulders where a soft shoe is preferable, but they were build to excell on vertical terrain so this isnt a problem!
The hard rubber allows them to Grip tiny edges where only a small portion of the shoe is actually on the hold.
The rubber doesnt deform under high pressure on a small edge of the shoe, creating an solid platform for you to stand on and this makes them feel SO solid.
if your looking for a bouldering shoe, or a competition shoe, i wouldnt recommend these as there is no rubber on the toe for toe hooks. just bear in mind there a very specialist shoe, not an all rounder!
They suggest using these shoes for when feeling solid on edges is paramount, they will make you feel so much more secure on trad than a pair of softer shoes will for example, so if you have some big trad goals, these might be your ticket!
Because the shoes are so stiff they also provide EXCELLENT support, for those looking to climb iether at a crag from sun up till down or your big wall missions.
This is exactly why Alex Honnold chose them for his free solo of El Capitan, he obviously wanted to feel as secure as possible, and needed his feet to be supported for the THREE THOUSAND feet of cimbing.
If Alex was in a softer or more down turned shoe for those thousands of feet of climbing his feet would apsolutely get too tired, and he would probably have had to take them off for a while to let the pain and fatigue in his feet reside.
These shoes are very Asymmetric as you can see from the above.
This means they are not very straight at all, however my feet arent necessarily the most curved and they are super comfortable for me.
If you have straighter feet, or your toe shape doesnt match that of the shape in the photo, its worth trying them on in perfon before purchasing them as they might not work well with your shae of foot, and become uncomfortable as you climb in them.
This shape pushes all the power into the ‘point’ at the front of the shoe, meaning even the smallest of edges and divots in the rock can get fully utilised with your whole weight when your wearing this shoe.
It also allows you to make use of small indents in the rock where you otherwise wouldnt have been to get your foot over the hold, this is especially true for pockets and a lot of outdoor holds, where these shoes excell.
The most technical climb i have ever done was this near vertical 7c+ with the crux being a small left foot triangle genuinely the perimeter of this triangle was a 5p size MAX, Incut to the rock and pretty polished. These shoes made it feel like a JUG.
I missed my handhold but still managed to not fall of because of how solid these shoes are on the edge!
While this photo doesnt fully illustrate how stiff these shoes are, if you look at my scarpa VS-R’s for comparison you imagine how much more suppourtive they will be!
As you can see in the photo on the right, the shoes have one continuous piece of rubber running from toe to heel, this does a couple things:
- Transfers all your weight into the toe
- Makes the shoe more of a solid platform
- stiffens the shoe, to provide maximum comfort and support
The Miuras do not fold very easilly at all meaning they will support your shoe and provide comfort all day long. your feet wont get tired at ALL from wearing them on a long climb.
they come into there element on slabs too where your feet will usually get tired from supporting all your weight, but not in the Miuras!
For comparison i have included my Scarpa VSR’s on the right so you can see how much more flexible the shoe is.
This is because the Scarpas has two seperate pieces of rubber for the toe and heel section of the shoe, and a softer section of rubber connecting the two.
This means there more flexible for aggresive bouldering but stops them being so supportive on longer or more technical climbs.
The shoe isnt as aggresive as many other shoes, while they do have a downturn, and the toe box is concave for maximum surface area the shoe is pretty nuetral in shape over the whole shoe.
They might look quite curved in this photo, but the shoe curves to te arch of the middle of your foot, and is actually relatively flat again on the toes and heel for maximum comfort and edging ability.
This is why no Big waller would wear a super down turned shoe for a big wall, because if you can barely walk in them they would become excruciating after the first thousand feet of climing.
This allows them to sit flat on edges and get the maximum amount of contact with the hold, while keeping your foot level and feeling solid on the edges.
if they were any more downturned they would sit on edges with the heel BELOW the hold which means there would be more chance of them slipping off since the rubber is much harder and therefore less ‘sticky’ than
The tounge of the shoe is neoprene like a wetsuit which is a really nice touch, just maximising the comfortability of the shoe.
The shoe has three velcro straps on the top for maximum adjustability and customisation to your shoe shape, which would probably be quite uncomfortable if it wasnt for the neoprene tounge! its a really nice touch.
The tounge wraps right around the sides of the foot and all the way down to the last strap on the toe, which makes them so comfortable and eliminates all the hot spots that are caused by tight shoes.
Negatives or ‘Tradeoffs’
So like i covered these shoes are super specialist, they excell in specifically near vertical climbing and small edges.
To excell on this terrain there were some trade offs that had to be made, or theyd just be an average ‘all round shoe’.
Firstly they have no rubber on the toe, meaning toe hooks are pretty limeted in them, but there arent many toe hooks on vertical outdoor climbs.
I have done some toe hooking in them and it caused me to almost wear through the last velcro on the end of the shoe, which i had to repair with tape.
You can see how limeted they are for toe hooks because of the lack of rubber.
If you want a more competition, or bouldering shoe i recommend checking my Scarpa VSR Review, as these are MUCH more suited for performance bouldering, in fact they were specifically made for it!
Thank you so much for reading this, i hope it brought you some value and you can make a more confident decision about what shoes you should invest in.
If you decide the Miuras are for you, consider using my Affiliate code, i will earn a small commision at no extra cost to you, and it helps keep this blog going! <3