Send Shoes: Finding Your Solemate

When it comes to climbing gear, your shoes are arguably the most important item in your arsenal. They may not catch a fall or protect your noggin, but they’ll be with you wherever you go, and you can only share so many adventures before becoming best buds. But how do you even begin finding the perfect shoes? Surely the more aggressive and uncomfortable the better? Well, no, actually. While a sharply downturned toe and stiff rubber can make it easier to leverage teeny footholds and keep you solid on steep overhangs, the truth is that the best sending shoes are those that suit (a) your own unique feet, and (b) your preferred climbing style and goals. 

The first step in finding your ideal sending shoes is to take a look at the shape of your feet and start from there (the help of a seasoned gear guru is invaluable here). There are a few important factors to consider, including:

  • * Foot length
  • * Foot width
  • * Instep height
  • * Toe box profile
  • * Heel box profile

Again, the staff in your local gear shop will likely be able to help you find the perfect shoe by checking out your foot shape and choosing some options that are likely to work well. A point worth addressing here is the difference between “men’s” and “women’s” models. Generally, women tend to have slightly smaller, thinner feet than men; this means that most women’s models will have less volume and be slightly narrower than the men’s equivalent. However, that does not mean that you should only look at the shoes designed for your gender. At the end of the day, we all have human feet, and there are so many variables at play. As mentioned above, the best thing to do is focus on your foot’s shape, rather than a shoe that may be specifically marketed towards a particular demographic. 

Different companies have different approaches to their shoe design, and within one brand there will be a huge variety of shapes and styles. While professional senders and the local strongman may preach the powers of a particular model, there is no guarantee that this shoe will work for you. This is why it’s almost always better to buy shoes in person rather than online – the best way to find your perfect fit is to try a whole big bunch of options and narrow it down from there. Ideally, a shoe should fit your foot as snugly as possible to ensure that there is no dead space inside, while still being relatively comfortable.

It is also important to realise that you do not need hyper-aggressive shoes to climb hard. In fact, opting for softer, flatter shoes may even help you to strengthen your feet and toes and further elevate your performance. Plus, stiff, downturned shoes may be fantastic for bouldering, but they are not particularly well-suited for slabs, cracks or long days out. A more gentle profile paired with soft rubber allows for greater sensitivity and a more comfortable fit – perfect for finding those tiny smears and surviving the epics. 

All this being said, let’s take a look at a few of our favourite brands and the kicks they have on offer:


Evolv makes a wide range of shoes, from very gentle and soft, to aggressive and stiff. Plus, their budget-friendly price point makes them a great choice for beginners. Furthermore, Evolv uses a number of different TRAX rubber formulas, carefully pairing each shoe model with the ideal rubber for the best possible performance.

Defy & Elektra

The Defya and Elektra are both fantastic choices for a first shoe thanks to the uber-comfy fit, flat profile, easy-closure velcro straps and relatively stiff rubber. All of this works to create a shoe that won’t bring you to tears, while still offering precise footwork on slabs, verts and overhangs. Perfect for the gym and outdoors, especially for long days out multi-pitching!

Shop the Defy Velcro

Shop the Elektra


The Evolv Zenist is an excellent performance shoe that combines an aggressive profile perfect for overhangs with an exceptionally soft, sticky and sensitive rubber that allows you to feel every foot placement. A vegan synthetic upper offers minimal stretch and the rubber-padded toe cap makes it great for toe hooks. Designed for indoor competition climbers but also suitable for outside use, these offer great feedback on all terrain.

Shop the Zenist Men’s 

Shop the Zenist Women’s 


Ocún makes some darn good gear, and their shoes are no exception. They marry sticky rubber with aggressive heel boxes and a slingshot rand, all of which works to hug the foot tightly and offer maximum confidence on the wall.

Jett QC 

Providing a comfortable, relatively flat fit combined with a stiff sole made from Ocún’s stickiest rubber, the Jett QC is a solid intermediate shoe suitable for indoor and outdoor climbing. Two opposing velcro straps offer a snug fit and convenience when you’re taking your shoes on and off between burns, while a seamless heel and breathable tongue keep your feet happy so you can focus on crushing.

Shop the Jett QC


The Pearl Lace Ups provide the perfect combination of precision and comfort, offering a high arch and slight asymmetry with a customisable lacing system. Tailored for narrow feet and equipped with a Grippin Edge sole, they fit like a glove and work wonders on small holds and steep overhangs. 

Shop the Pearl


With a deep heel box, reinforced toe cap and aggressive downturn, the Fury means business. Ocún’s patented 3-Force System gives a snug fit that is ideal for precise foot placement and power moves, making it ideal for bouldering and steep sport climbs.

Shop the Fury


The Ozone is an excellent performance shoe, offering an aggressive, asymmetrical profile combined with ultra-sticky rubber and a design that works to maximise power in the toe and heel. This makes it ideal for steep vertical climbing and overhangs. The Ozone HV offers the same benefits as the Ozone with more space inside the shoe for wider feet.

Shop the Ozone HV

Shop the Ozone

La Sportiva

La Sportiva makes some of the best shoes around, particularly when it comes to high-performance kicks. Their use of ultra-sticky Vibram rubber, precisely tailored geometry and downright sexy design makes for shoes that feel as great as they look.

Tarantula & Tarantulace

Both the Tarantula velcro and Tarantulace models offer a fantastic balance between comfort and performance. You may think that these relatively flat bad boys should be limited to slabs, cracks and big walls, but their stiff rubber and sharp edges make them a great choice for technical routes and boulder problems. Plus, you can keep them on all day – perfect for trad and multi-pitches!

Shop the Tarantula

Shop the Tarantulace


La Sportiva has plenty of excellent high-performance shoes, but the Solution has always been one of the best. Striking and made for sending, it offers an uber-aggressive profile, convenient one-strap closure system, solid heel box & toe cap, and a slingshot rand that locks your foot in nicely.

Shop the Solution Men’s 

Shop the Solution Women’s 

Solution Comp

The Solution Comp offers all this and more, with a slightly more fitted heel box and extra rubber on the toe. As per the name, it was specially designed with competition climbing in mind, prioritising precise footwork and an extra snug fit, and it was chosen as the sending shoe of choice by several athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Shop the Solution Comp Men’s 

Shop the Solution Comp Women’s 


Great for edging and hooking, the Theory is another of La Sportiva’s high-performance models that we love. The shoe was designed to maximise friction, offering an upper which is almost completely padded with rubber and a unique ‘edgeless’ side that increases surface area. These are especially great for climbs with big volumes, and the aggressive profile is ideal for overhangs.

Shop the Theory

To order a pair, email


The La Sportiva Miuras will always be a classic fan-favourite for their superb performance and stunning aesthetic. The VS and VSL are regarded by some as the world’s best bouldering shoes thanks to their stiff rubber, flexible midsole and aggressive toe. On the other side of the coin, the lace-ups offer the same asymmetrical, down-turned profile with some added comfort and adjustability from the lacing system. Whichever way you swing, the Miuras are sure to show you a darn good time on any climb.

Shop the Miura Men’s Lace

Shop the Miura Women’s Lace

Shop the Miura VS

Shop the Miura VSL

Whatever you have at the end of your legs, there’s some shoes out there for you. Don’t keep them waiting! Head on down to your local gear shop, talk to the team there and make sure to keep an open mind when searching for your solemate – good luck!

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