Getting kids into climbing is easier than ever these days. Whether it’s just for fun, getting them into a class, or pushing into the competitive world – we’ve got you covered. We’ll cover the best climbing shoes for kids, the best climbing shoes for toddlers, and a range of prices and uses.
Climbing shoes for adults feel very different to wearing a pair of trainers. They fit flush around the foot, curl toes over into a downwards point, and don’t feel comfy. Getting some kids to wear anything is hard enough – let alone a weird, uncomfortable shoe.
Kids calling? No time to read? Here are our top picks at the cheapest retailer
– Best Climbing Shoes For Kids – La Sportiva Stickit
– Best Climbing Shoes For Toddlers – Evolv Venga Youth
– Great Shoes For “Improver” Kids – Black Diamond Momentum Kids
– Best Kids Climbing Shoes For Competitors – La Sportiva Maverink
– Best Budget Kids Climbing Shoes – Simond Rock Junior
Best Climbing Harness For Kids
Best Climbing Shoes For Younger Kids
There are a few great options available for younger kids who would like to try climbing for fun. At this point don’t worry about performance at all. The main goal is to find a shoe that’s comfy, has sticky rubber on the sole and toes, and is easy to get on and off.
Because kids grow fast, most shoes have either a lacing system or a big velcro closure. These help a little to let the shoe grow with the kid. If your child doesn’t have comfy shoes they aren’t going to look forward to climbing. At least until the kid starts to enjoy getting better we really think climbing should be just about having fun. Let them grow their own love for climbing and they’ll do much better.
Best Climbing Shoes For Competitive Kids
We’ve also included a few shoes that are more for kids who are wanting to start training and competing. There are a couple of good options at this point – but we’d say once they reach about US size 3/4 that there are a much larger range of adults shoes. At this point hopefully they’ve got used to tighter fitting shoes and can then be better able to choose from a range from uber comfy to more aggressive.
Sizing & Fit For Kids Climbing Shoes
Sizing for climbing shoes is weird for adults shoes – but happily a little simpler for kids. We’d suggest just to go up a full size or a size and a half from their normal shoe size. Then you can get them to wear thicker or thinner socks, then eventually without socks as they grow up.
Best Climbing Shoes For Kids – La Sportiva Stickit
The Stickit from La Sportiva is an excellent little shoe that blends function and fun. It has the same durable but sticky FriXion RS rubber as many gym hire shoes do. The design is based on a sticky tree frog and comes in red/black or a cool green/yellow too.
The closure is great and also features a single strap that runs around the heel. It can be tightened easily and fastens with a simple velcro hand.
Comes in US toddler sizes from 9 to 2.5 kids.
Best Climbing Shoes For Toddlers – Evolv Venga Youth
As a first pair of kid’s climbing shoes, you can’t go wrong with the Venga Youth. They come in a fun color, have a breathable mesh upper, and have a great closure system. These were design by an youth coach with kids in mind and it really shows.
The straps goes all around the back of the heel where it can be adjusted for length. It then closes with an easy velcro patch. Because of this closure you might be able to get a larger size that cinches down to fit – and adjust as the child grows. Featuring a breathable and comfy upper fabric for summer sessions.
Available in sizes 11 through to 5 in US Kid’s. Completely Vegan.
Great Shoes For “Improver” Kids – Black Diamond Momentum Kids
The mini version of the super popular beginner shoes. Simple design with a nice big velcro closure and couple of bright, fun colors. The upper is the same breathable fabric of the adults version. With a flat and supportive stiff sole, this is a good mix of kids comfort and a little performance.
This is a great shoe for a kid who is maybe taking classes and learning a bit of technique and safety. Black Diamond also have a Kid’s Momentum Harness as well as a full body Kid’s Harness. Both of these are comfy and brilliant quality for kids learning to rope climb.
Available from Toddler’s 11 to 13, and 1 to 4 US sizes.
Best Kids Climbing Shoes For Competitors – La Sportiva Maverink
The Maverink is a definite few steps up from the others shoes. It’s a high end performance shoe that uses the No-Edge technology La Sportiva uses in some of it’s other top end boots. Featuring a flexible mid-sole and a steep downturn, this is really for the higher end competitors and outdoor prodigies.
Essentially it’s a slip on version of the Futura. The No-Edge toe means there is no defined edge as in traditional climbing shoes. This can help massively on small edges without much definition or for smearing on large volumes
These really are for competitive kids. If your child hasn’t worn similarly down turned and tighter shoes we wouldn’t recommend jumping straight to this. Instead if your child is looking for a bit more performance than standard kids climbing shoes we’d say either try something like the Black Diamond Momentum Kid’s above, or a flatter or slightly down turned adult climbing shoe in a smaller size.
Best Budget Kids Climbing Shoes – Simond Rock Junior
These shoes are cheap and no thrills but are great as a kid’s starter climbing shoe. We’ve seen plenty of these being used by new climbers with good reviews. They feature a stretchy middle elastic at each side, with a full wrap-around velcro strap. Easy to get on and off and will stretch a little over time.
Simond are Decathlon’s “own brand” of climbing gear makers. Decathlon are well known around Europe for offering cheap, quality outdoors and sporting goods. Now you can get the same in the US too. These work out great as a cheaper way to test the waters for a kid who’s just trying climbing.
These comes in sizes 10.5 to 3.5 US Kids. It’s worth noting that the other adult Simond shoes – the laced Rock, and the Velcro Rock Plus – start at US Size 2.5. They’re already really cheap but still great quality. $55 for new climbing shoes anyone?