Alex Honnold's climbing shoes seem to be one of the most popular searches for people who have just watched Free Solo and want to start climbing. Our article on what shoes pro climbers wear covers most of the best climbers in the world - but Alex Honnold's shoes deserve their own page.
An incredible climber in many rights - Alex Honnold's shoes vary depending on the terrain, the length (both in terms of height and how long he is on the rock) and the fit that he wants. Being sponsored by La Sportiva means Alex Honnold's climbing shoes come free and he gets the pick of any pair he'd like.
Climbing Shoe Buying Tip
- The "best" climbing shoes really depends on your foot shape and the type of climbing you'll be doing. We've got a couple of newly updated articles on the best climbing shoes and the best beginner climbing shoes that might be more helpful. They both have full guides on what to look for in a climbing shoe.
What Climbing Shoes Did Alex Honnold Wear On El Cap In Free Solo?
Alex wore Tommy Caldwell's signature shoes, the TC Pro. He has gone on record a few times saying he used and loves the TC Pro's and it is clear in the footage from El Cap Free Solo he was wearing them. The TC Pro's were designed specifically by Tommy for big wall climbs in Yosemite. Performance on slabs when smearing is a must, as well as good stiffness for the big long cracks of the valley. Almost everyone that climbs in Yosemite wears these.
The comfort of these shoes balanced with the performance is where the shoe really shines. It's best to size down enough that when you first wear the shoes they are tight, as the leather will stretch up to a size and a half. You can buy the TC Pro's that Alex used in the Free Solo film below.
What Were Alex Honnold's Climbing Shoes On Half Dome And El Sendero Luminoso ?
One of the earlier big breakout solo's for Alex was his 2008 free solo of the Half Dome in Yosemite. The famous photo of him stood facing out on the "Thank God" ledge got him featured by National Geographic. That ledge fell off a few years later ?
The shoe Alex used for both of these was the La Sportiva Miura Lace. These have been praised for their versatile "all around" style. High performance while still being comfortable, and able to work on overhangs and slabs alike.
He can be seen wearing these in the mini documentary on Half Dome above and the doc on El Sendero Luminoso below. Miuras are a great performance shoe, down-turned with a good toe for hooking as well as sharp edges using the Vibram XS Edge rubber. The laced version gives a better fit and allows you to wear these on a longer day in a slightly more comfortable size and fit that if you were to go for the easier on/off velcro version.
What Climbing Shoes Does Alex Wear For Sport Climbing And Bouldering
For bouldering and hard sport climbs Alex is a fan of the La Sportiva Solutions. These shoes are well loved by many professional climbers and high performance gym climbers alike. They were one of the first very aggressively down turned climbing shoes. They also use an innovative strap system that gives a very tight fit that is adjustable and specific to the user.
Many other pros like Jonathan Siegrist and Daniel Woods were big users of the shoe. There is a newer updated version out which has almost no changes to this classic except a harder wearing strap system and slight weight reduction. Also available in a slighter slimmer profile with a smaller heel cup - sold as Women's shoes but also known as Low Volume (LV).
Alex Honnold's shoes are generally worn fairly tight, so it's common to size down a half to full size over what would be comfortable in rock boots as they will stretch. These were the shoes he wore on his first 9a sport route.
What Approach Shoes Does Alex Honnold Wear?
A lot of the big wall solos Alex has done mean you'll need a good approach shoe. Approach shoes are a mix between the comfort, stiffness, and protection that a hiking shoes offers - with the added bonus of a stickier rubber similar to what you'd find on a traditional climbing shoes / rock boot. Alex climbs a lot of easier multi pitches and day outings in just approach shoes - it can be done.
Alex Honnold's approach shoes are generally always the La Sportiva TX range. These have a breathable mesh upper combined with the Vibram's Mega-Grip rubber that is seen on the best approach shoes. The TX4 is an updated and heavier duty version of these shoes. Available in both synthetic and leather versions, as well as lower volume Women's version. These are veritable crushers for hard approaches and easier slabs.
What Climbing Harness Does Alex Honnold Wear?
Alex Honnold's climbing harness is normally the Black Diamond Solution - when he wears one. This harness is a light weight sport climbing design with multi-strand inners for the leg and waist loops, which means pressure on the body is spread over a larger surface.
It also has four molded gear loops that stick out to make clipping easier. The harness doesn't have adjustable leg buckles and eschews anything that adds weight, meaning it a performance-first sports harness for hard sending. The Solution Harness also comes in a Women's sizing which can fit slightly better, it's worth a try.
There is also a "Honnold Edition" of the harness, which is exactly the same as the normal harness but in a different color and with Alex Honnold's signature printed on. It costs more but some of the money goes to the Honnold Foundation which is an awesome organization Honnold puts most of his earnings into.
Alex Honnold's Chalk Bag
Apart from his shoes, the only other climbing accessory Alex used on the Freerider was his chalk bag. As part of his Honnold Collection range with Black Diamond he's released the Freerider Chalk Bag. As a replica of the original it's super lightweight, uses repurposed material, and some of the profit goes to the Honnold Foundation.
Black Diamond Freerider - Alex Honnold's Chalk Bag
You can also check out our latest climbing gear sales from around the web, updated weekly.