woman on top of rock

Who doesn’t love a nice bit of slab climbing?! 

We’ve scoured the internet to bring you all you need to know to find the best slab climbing shoes around! 

 Although not as popular as the more fashionable styles of rock climbing, slab climbing may be seeing a bit of a resurgence.  

If you’re one of the number of people turning their backs on overhanging and face climbs and instead discovering the dark side of slab climbing, then you’re in the right place.  

Below we’ll look at all the nuances of slab climbing; what makes a good slab climbing shoe, what’s the best temperature for slab climbing and what to look for in a slab climbing shoe, as well as a guide to the best slab climbing shoes on the market.

Hey! By the way… this page contains affiliate links. So if you make a purchase after clicking one at no cost to you we may earn a small commission. Thanks for your support!

Best Slab Climbing Shoes

Best Budget Slab Climbing Shoes

Black Diamond Momentum

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Features

  • Innovative Proprietary Molded Rubber
  • Engineered Knit Technology

Specs

  • Lace-up
  • Hemp Lining

Our pick for best budget slab climbing shoes, the Black Diamond Momentum, brings something new and fresh to the table compared with traditional rock climbing shoes like the ones mentioned above.

Their innovative, proprietary molded rubber may not have the history of the Five Ten Stealth C4 rubber or the well known name of Vibrams XS Edge or Grip but it does have years of climbing manufacturing expertise behind it.

Designed for comfort and performance, the flat shape lends itself well to slab climbing, whilst the engineered knit technology helps with exceptional breathability.  

The soft flex midsole makes this a great choice for beginner climbers who might not need the same performance a stiffer shoe will give on slab climbs.

Best Performance Slab Climbing Shoes

Five Ten Anasazi Pinks

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Features

  • Synthetic 
  • Lace-ups

Specs

  • Stealth C4 rubber

The Five Ten Anasazi lace-ups, or “pinks” as they have affectionately been known, have a history of hard sport climbs under their belt.  

Whilst now slightly out of fashion with the current sport climbing generation, they were once the choice of many top pros. 

This is thanks in part to the super sticky Stealth C4 rubber, rubber that has literally been designed to stick to glass!  

These are the kings of smearing, and amazing on small edges too.  

However, although the rubber is very sticky, it is also less durable than the competition. 

Save these for performance slab climbing on limestone or sandstone. For long multi pitch or easy granite, grab yourself a pair of the La Sportiva’s above.

Best Slab Climbing Shoes for Granite

La Sportiva TC Pro

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Features

  • Patented P3 Permanent Power Platform
  • Mid height high-tops
  • Tommy Caldwell endosered

Specs

  • Vibram XS Edge

If anyone knows what the best slab climbing shoes for granite rock are, it’s Tommy Caldwell.  The guy has probably climbed more on this type of rock than any other climber alive!  

The La Sportiva TC Pros are his pick for anything Yosemite and ours too!

These are the perfect slab climbing shoes – super supportive, stiff and with a hard wearing yet amazingly grippy Vibram XS rubber.  

Designed to be powerful and technical whilst edging on slabs, they also blaze a trail on the infinite granite cracks that are a slab’s main companion.

If you were in any doubt as to the technical competency or comfort of these climbing shoes then just listen to what the granite master Tommy Cladwell has to say about the inspiration for them – 

La Sportiva came to me with the opportunity to help design a shoe for granite.  At the time I was in the early stages of working on the Dawn Wall so I had this route specifically in mind during the design process.  It helped me analyze very specifically the way a shoe needs to function for big wall free climbing.  It had to function at a very high level while still being comfortable.  It also had to be robust enough to protect your feet through all the abuse big walls dish out.  I could never have imagined it would turn out so well.  It was a game changer for me.

Best All-Round Slab Climbing Shoes

Scarpa Helix

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Features

  • Passive Randing
  • Lace Up

Specs

  • Vibram XS Edge Rubber

The Scarpa Helix combines all the quintessential qualities of a traditional rock climbing shoe with modern technology to give you the best all round slab climbing shoes available.  

They are durable, comfortable and undeniably classic – the flat-lasted sole and lace-up construction give the perfect shape and fit for slab climbing whilst the Vibram XS Edge rubber is one of the best for the smallest of edges.

We can see why the Helix is one of Scarpa’s most popular shoes with its elemental, yet refined features.  The padded tongue and relatively symmetrical profile lend to all-day comfort and performance on the rock – perfect for long all day multi pitch adventures!  

For us, this is one of the best climbing shoes of any discipline!

Best Trad Slab Climbing Shoes

La Sportiva Mythos

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Features

  • Patented Lacing System
  • Unlined Upper

Specs

  • Vibram XS Edge
  • Leather Upper

The Mythos from La Sportiva is another classic and iconic climbing shoe designed for the 21st century climber.  A versatile shoe that does everything and fits everyone according to La Sportiva, the Mythos is most at home, in our opinion, on slabby trad climbs.

The patented lacing system is unique in that it lets you get the perfect fit whatever shape your foot is.  This is also partially thanks to the soft, unlined leather upper, adapting to your foot’s shape. 

Perfect for long, all day trad climbs where your feet tend to swell.

La Sportiva have also designed the Vibram rubber rand so that it too allows for stretch and comfort thanks to the perforated sides.  All in all, this makes for a great option for a wide variety of climbers looking to get out trad climbing slab.

Best Sport Slab Climbing Shoes

La Sportiva Katana Lace

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Features

  • P3 Technology
  • Lorica Lacing Harness

Specs

  • Vibram XS Edge Rubber

The most aggressive shoes on our list, the La Sportiva Katana Lace are our recommendation for the best sport slab climbing shoe.  

Thanks to the P3 technology these are super stiff, really helping you climb for longer and harder on demanding slab climbs.

The Lorica lacing harness provides a helpful exact, no stretch fit and the highly breathable tongue works in conjunction with the shoe lining for moisture management – important when all your energy is focused on your feet!

These are perhaps the best slab climbing shoes for transitioning between styles, equally at home on overhanging or technical face climbs too.  

If you’re looking for an even more aggressive shoe, then the La Sportiva Solution might be what you need, although we wouldn’t recommend this as your go-to slab climbing shoe – way too painful! 

Best Slab Climbing Shoes for Sandstone

Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym

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Features

  • Elastic Slipper Closure
  • Unlined Stretchy Leather Upper

Specs

  • Stealth C4 Rubber

While granite slabs are more commonly found around the world, if you ever find yourself at the foot of a sea of sandstone, then you’d be thankful to have the Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym on your feet.  

The Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym are a favourite of ours, dating back to as far as we remember.  

The comfort and affordability of this shoe have made it extremely popular over the years, and whilst it may not compete with newer styles and their innovations, it is one of the best slab climbing shoes, especially for sandstone.

This is mainly due to the famous C4 Stealth rubber.  

Soft enough to make smearing a dream, essential on sandstone slabs, but hard enough to give you control on the edges, this rubber is one of the best.  

Coupled with the unlined, stretchy leather upper and elastic slipper closure this makes the Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym a pleasure to climb in. In fact, you’ll rarely want to take them off, even at the belay!

However, the Five Ten Moccasym is not quite as stiff as we’d like for a more elite level slab climbing shoe, so this would more suit those just starting out slab climbing, or looking for a do it all climbing shoe.

What Makes a Slab Climbing Shoe Good

rock climber

Rubber, rubber, rubber.  And a few more things.  But mainly the rubber.  

When all the work is going on in your feet, with your hands really just for balance, then the crucial aspect of a good slab climbing shoe is the rubber.  

This will be the primary agent holding you onto the wall, often just by the friction alone, so choosing a shoe with the correct rubber for your needs is most important.

Another factor to consider (from an intermediate level at least) is stiffness – the stiffer the shoe is, the more support it offers.  

Whilst slab climbing a lot of tension is created in your calves, and unless you have calves like a Tour de France cyclist then we recommend a stiffer shoe.

Trad Climbing Specific Shoes

There are many trad climbing specific shoes out there which also are great for slab climbing. When climbing trad many times you’ll encounter slabs, so most shoes on this list function very well for trad climbing. However if you’d like to read more about some of the considerations with trad shoes, take a look at our guide.

What to Look For In Slab Climbing Shoe

rock climber

So you’ve checked out all the types of rubbers offered by each manufacturer, and assessed the level of stiffness you need.  What’s next?  

Well, comfort is also key.  If you’ve never slab climbed before it can be a shock!

With your arm strength out of the question, you’ll be relying ultimately on your feet.  The smallest discomfort you feel in the climbing shoe at the beginning of the climb will be exponentially intensified halfway through.  

And by the end of the pitch you may want to give up slab climbing forever.  At this moment just thank yourself you’re not on a multi pitch climb!

What’s The Best Temperature For Slab Climbing?

rock climber

The best temperature for slab climbing is pretty subjective, and really comes down to an individual’s tolerance level.  

Climbing Magazine says shoe manufacturers design their rubber to work best in a specific temperature range of about 68 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.  

This will depend on the rubber compound – different rubbers will be affected at different temperatures, but the general rule is: cold is better for friction, and therefore, better for slab climbing than warmer temperatures.

Best Places To Slab Climbing in the World

rock climber Slab

Here’s our top three best destinations for slab devotees for when you’re planning your next trip.

  1.  Yosemite Valley – The birthplace of American climbing, what more has to be said about this iconic destination?!
  2.  Squamish – The Canadian yosemite?  Whilst not quite as big or impressive as it’s counterpart there’s slab climbing here to last you years!
  3.  The UK! – Head across the pond for the ultimate in scary headpoint slab trad routes in spectacular seaside locations!

For further reading see: “9 Best Gym Climbing Shoes: A Mind-Blowing Guide”.

Published by Neil Skilton

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