Are you looking for the best climbing shoes for long routes and long lasting sessions? Your usual climbing shoes might not fit your needs in this area, so it’s good to get a pair specifically for these types of situations. The problem is there are so many different pairs of climbing shoes out there now that you’re just not sure which ones to buy. If you’re in the market for a new pair of climbing shoes, it’s critical that you find one that works for your desired reasons – and there are more options than ever.
What are the best climbing shoes for long routes and long lasting sessions?
I’ve tested many different pairs of climbing shoes, having got recommendations from more experienced climbers in the past on what to choose for different aspects of climbing. These three pairs of climbing shoes stand out to me in terms of comfort without sacrificing too much precision and sensitivity – the aspects you’ll mainly need when you’re climbing long routes or when the duration of your climbing session starts to get a bit longer than usual.
All three pairs of shoes are laced, and this is for a good reason. Having laced shows allows you to tighten or untighten your shoes to give your more precision or comfort whenever the time calls for either one. Because we’re going for more comfortable shoes, it’s a must that you buy some with laces just in case you need that extra bit of tightness when the time calls.
Let’s talk about each pair of shoes so you can decide for yourself which pair you’d prefer.
Based in Italy, La Sportiva is one of the leading climbing shoe manufacturers in the world. They bring innovative designs and high quality products. La Sportiva is a worldwide trusted brand providing top-notch climbing shoes, hiking shoes and other outdoor gear. The La Sportiva Katana Lace is one of the best climbing shoes on the market that has very versatile attributes for all your climbing needs.
- Shoe Type: Moderate
- Upper: Leather/synthetic leather
- Rubber: 4mm Vibram XS Edge
- Good for: Durability, versatility, comfort
- Bad for: Your wallet. The price is quite high.
The Katana Lace is a moderate shoe with a slightly downturned toe which helps to keep the foot glued into a pocket or pressed into an edge while also keeping the foot feeling comfortable. Due to the moderate arch, your feet feel flat and comfortable 90% of the time. The flatness is also good for crack climbing.
The heel of the shoe is tight, but not so much that you feel uncomfortable; in more of a way like a mother hugs a child she hasn’t seen for a while. This allows your toes to feel more precise as if the weight of your feet is being pushed from your heel down towards the front of your foot.
The Vibram XS Edge rubber on this shoe has made a name for itself as a glue that only unsticks when you pull your foot away. Like the La Sportiva Muira, the Katana has no wow-factor for any particular type of climbing, but it’s the versatility of this shoe that allows you to see its true value.
In terms of long routes and long lasting sessions, this is the best shoe out there. It rivals the La Sportiva Miura as the best all-round shoe at this present time. If this is your only pair of shoes then you won’t be disappointed.
The real problem with this shoe is the price. It’s a great shoe but it’s a lot of money to spend on a pair of climbing shoes specifically for long routes or long lasting sessions. The other two climbing shoes reviewed in this article are better value for your money – they might not be as good but they make up for that with a MUCH lower price tag.
If you’re looking for something that can give you the benefits of a high-performance sport climbing shoe then this isn’t the shoe for you.
The Mythos Eco is another fantastic option for long routes and sessions made by the leading brand La Sportiva. La Sportiva have been making the Mythos for over 25 years and over that time it has be renowned by the world over as the most comfortable climbing shoe out there. Recently it has been updated to use sustainable materials while also keeping its original 25 year old moccasin style shoe.
- Shoe Type: Neutral
- Upper: Leather
- Rubber: 4mm recycled rubber
- Good for: Comfort, crack climbing, the environment
- Bad for: Edging, pockets, sensitivity
There’s no other more comfortable shoe than the Mythos or the Mythos Eco. You barely feel pain when sticking the toe into a hold.
What the Mythos Eco has over the Mythos is its eco-friendly unique selling point. La Sportiva estimates that they can make just one sheet of its Eco-Rubber for about five sheets of the Vibram rubber that they use on the soles of their Miura and Mythos shoes to name a few.
The shoe is specifically built for a long day’s climbing which is why it’s on this list, and due to its flat sole it’s great for crack climbing. If you’re looking for a shoe that you just want to stand in all day while having a good experience once you get on the wall then this is the shoe for you.
The Mythos Eco is an affordable shoe that’s good for the environment. It provides you all day comfort and would be a perfect shoe for you if all you care about is a climbing shoe that you can wear for long routes or long sessions without much of a problem.
Climbing on edges and in pockets with the Mythos Eco isn’t easy. There’s little sensitivity around your toe, so slab climbing can be almost impossible depending on the size and protrusion of the footholds.
Five Ten is the range of climbing shoes created and designed by Adidas. The branding refers to the 5.10 grade which at one point was the highest grade in climbing. Eventually, as the world saw an improvement in climbing equipment, further grades were added. Adidas has been renowned as a trustworthy, affordable shoe manufacturer for decades and continues to do this today with its range of climbing shoes. The Five Ten Anasazi Lace is proof of this, having been around as a top selling shoe for over 20 years.
- Shoe Type: Moderate
- Upper: Synthetic
- Rubber: Stealth C4 (4.2mm)
- Good for: Versatility, face climbing, crack climbing
- Bad for: Toe hooking, comfort on the heel and on the upper part of your foot compared to other two pairs of shoes mentioned
The Anasazi Lace was designed for technical face and crack climbing. The shoes aren’t stiff enough to feel too uncomfortable, but are stiff enough to keep your foot sturdy while on the wall. The Stealth C4 rubber sticks to the wall on even the smallest of footholds, giving the wearer the confidence they need on any vertical face.
The shoe is very versatile, giving you comfort along with precision and sensitivity on your toes. The Anasazi Lace has the combination of an unmatched heel cup and rand tensioning system that is the secret to its high-end performance. The tension heel cup is a snug fit, and the rand at the front of the shoe pulls the foot forwards for extra foot sensitivity and power.
This shoe is very affordable and a good addition to your climbing gear for long routes, long sessions, face climbing and crack climbing.
Unfortunately the Anasazi Lace doesn’t come with a toe hooking patch unlike the Five Ten Anasazi Pro (which is also slightly less comfortable). So therefore toe hooking can be quite difficult.
Although the synthetic material on the upper seems to be very durable, it doesn’t offer the comfort that leather has to offer on the other two pairs of shoes mentioned in this article.
The heel tension cup is great to help the shoe’s performance, but it can make your heel feel slightly uncomfortable at times.
In my personal opinion all of these shoes are a great addition to your climbing gear but it just depends on your own needs. I would only buy the La Sportiva Katana Lace if you were happy using them as your go to shoe most of the time because they are quite pricey. If you’re looking for a pair of shoes for long routes to go alongside your current pair of shoes then I’d think about getting the La Sportiva Mythos Eco or the Five Ten Anasazi Lace.
To have a look at my recommendations on the best climbing shoes click here.