There are various types of climbing shoes for seasoned and novice climbers, for men and women and also for specific activities. The vast majority of shoes are unisex, and a good many also suggest they fulfill multiple purposes, such as gym or outdoor climbing, bouldering and crevice climbing, or simply hiking and climbing. Examining the various types of climbing shoes and identifying what will work best for you is time-consuming, but if you are a serious climber, it will be time well-spent.
Gender-specific Climbing Shoes
Choose a climbing shoe manufactured specifically for women, if you are female. Although the vast bulk of climbing shoes are unisex, those that are made for the female foot tend to fit tighter in the heel and also offer more support under the arches. For example, the La Sportiva Mythos women's climbing shoe---a pair retails for about $130---offers a tight fit just underneath the female ankle bone, offering flexibility in addition to a sure grip.
Activity Specific Climbing Shoes
Pick out your climbing shoes according to the kind of climbing you will be doing. Mountain climbing, rock climbing, and also bouldering require different footwear. In addition, if you go rock climbing in a gym, you need to have different foot and sole support than if you are encountering nature's rock off the trail. A great example is the Five.Ten Prima lace-up climbing shoe for women, which is perfect for the climbing gym or some low-impact bouldering. A pair retails for $40.
Duration-specific Climbing Shoes
Opt for a shoe with breathable fabric and a supportive sole that provides comfortable foot support for extended periods of time, if you are planning on a day climb. Remember that the average gym climb lasts only about an hour or two, while a typical bouldering outing might take 2 to 3 hours. A day climb is likely to keep you in your shoes for 6 to 8 hours, and a shoe that feels fine after 2 hours may be too stiff to keep on your feet for 8. The Boreal Sol women's climbing shoe provides that support with a half-stiff midsole and integrated mesh that allows for breathability. These shoes retail for $79.