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Best Performance Climbing Shoes of 2016

By: Mike Summers

Best Performance Climbing Shoes of 2016

To conduct our performance climbing shoe test, Mike Summers used these shoes on a massive variety of indoor climbing surfaces at an indoor climbing gym. The climbing terrain ranged from 85-degree slabs to horizontal roofs. Types of climbs varied wildly from face climbing to artificial cracks and everything in between. He compared the shoes side by side rating them on our five main criteria—rubber, edging, smearing, heel/toe hooking, and comfort/fit. The Gear Institute Rating is the combined score across all categories, representing the highest overall level of performance.

For more reviews beyond this 2016 test, check out our other climbing shoe testsclimbing helmet tests, and climbing rope tests, as well as other related climbing gear reviews.

Tenaya IATI

90

2016

Tenaya IATI

The Tenaya IATI’s climbing shoe has a blend of comfort and performance that is incredible. 

Butora Acro

88

2016

Butora Acro

The Butora Acro is a comfortable and aggressive slipper but a centered powerpoint can make some moves feel awkward.

Five Ten Team VXi

87

2016

Five Ten Team VXi

The Five Ten Team VXi has amazingly sticky rubber with a narrow to box and is more of a specific climbing tool rather than a go-to shoe.  

Mad Rock Redline

82

2016

Mad Rock Redline

The Mad Rock Redline is designed specifically for overhanging rock, but a severe downturn makes smearing ineffective and painful.

Boreal Satori

80

2016

Boreal Satori

The Boreal Satori has a lowered toe box, putting the foot in a very aggressive stance, but some issues with the fit sacrifice performance and comfort.

About the Author

Mike Summers

Mike Summers

Mike Summers is an avid hiker, cyclist, climber, and outdoor enthusiast. While exploring America’s best outdoor spaces, Mike has developed an intimate relationship with his gear systems, allowing him to stay safe and comfortable in an otherwise forbidding environment. When he’s not exploring, you can find him sharing insights and chronicling his journeys at improbablebutpossible.com.

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