Can Women Wear Men's Climbing Shoes A Deep Dive into Sizing and Fit/ Featured Image

Can Women Wear Men’s Climbing Shoes? A Deep Dive into Sizing and Fit

Key Takeaways

  • Differences Exist: Men’s feet are typically wider with larger volume, while women’s feet often have narrower heels and higher arches. These differences influence the design and fit of climbing shoes.
  • Design Matters: Men’s climbing shoes usually have wider toe boxes and stiffer outsoles. Women’s shoes often feature narrower heel cups and softer midsoles.
  • Footwear Flexibility: Women can wear men’s climbing shoes if they find them more comfortable or suited to their needs, but should consider size, fit, and specific climbing style.
  • Choose According to Your Style: Climbing shoe selection should be influenced by your preferred climbing style, the terrain you usually climb, and your feet’s specific characteristics.

Hey there, climbing enthusiasts! Today we’re diving into a topic that’s sure to pique your interest: can women wear men’s climbing shoes?

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering whether gender plays a role in the types of shoes we should be wearing on our vertical adventures, this article is for you.

I’ll explore the key differences between men’s and women’s climbing shoes, uncover some surprising similarities, and provide practical considerations for ladies contemplating slipping into a pair of “his” shoes.

Are men’s and women’s feet different?

When it comes to men’s and women’s feet, there are indeed some differences worth noting.

First off, men’s feet generally tend to be wider than women’s. This means that men often require shoes with a roomier toe box and an overall broader fit.

On the other hand (or foot!), women typically have narrower heels than their male counterparts.

Additionally, the arch shape varies between genders.

Women commonly have higher arches than men, which affects how weight is distributed across the foot while climbing.

It’s essential to consider this when selecting climbing shoes as proper support for your arch can significantly impact comfort and performance on the wall.

Let’s talk about size, not just length but also volume.

Men typically have larger feet in terms of both length and volume compared to women.

This means that even if you find a pair of men’s climbing shoes in your size, they may not provide an optimal fit due to differences in volume between your foot and a typical man’s foot shape.

So remember, while our feet share many similarities regardless of gender, these subtle variations can make all the difference when it comes to finding the right climbing shoe for you!

Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Climbing Shoes

Are men’s and women’s feet different? The answer is yes! And this difference extends to climbing shoes as well.

When it comes to climbing, having the right shoe can make a world of difference in your performance.

So, let’s dive into the key differences between men’s and women’s climbing shoes.

Design and Fit

When it comes to climbing shoes, design, and fit are crucial factors that can make or break your climbing experience. And yes, there are some differences between men’s and women’s climbing shoe designs and fits.

Let’s talk about the design. Men’s climbing shoes tend to have a wider toe box compared to women’s shoes. This is because men generally have wider feet than women. Additionally, men’s shoes may also be slightly stiffer in order to provide better support for their larger frames.

Now onto the fit. Women’s climbing shoes usually have a narrower heel cup compared to men’s shoes since women typically have narrower heels.

The idea here is to ensure a snugger fit that prevents any unnecessary movement inside the shoe while you’re tackling those tough climbs.

But does this mean women can’t wear men’s rock climbing shoes? Not necessarily! Some women may find that they prefer the wider fit of men’s shoes or vice versa. It ultimately depends on personal preference and comfort level.

The shape and size

Another key difference is, Men’s climbing shoes are typically designed with a wider toe box and forefoot, catering to their generally broader feet.

On the other hand, women’s climbing shoes tend to have a narrower fit, accommodating the slimmer structure of their feet.

The shape of the shoe also plays a role in determining how well it fits on your foot.

Men’s climbing shoes may have a straighter last or shape compared to women’s models which often feature a more curved last. This curvature can provide better arch support and overall comfort for female climbers.

Additionally, men’s shoes usually come in larger sizes than women’s shoes since men generally have bigger feet.

It is essential for women to consider wearing men’s climbing shoes to keep these differences in mind when selecting their size.

Remember that finding the right fit is crucial for optimal performance and safety while climbing.

Try this free and simple tool to find out your shoe size based on your gender.

The outsole and midsole

The outsole is the rubber sole of the shoe that comes into direct contact with the rock or climbing surface.

It needs to be durable and grippy to ensure maximum traction.

Men’s climbing shoes often have thicker and stiffer outsoles compared to women’s shoes, which can provide better edging capabilities on small footholds.

On the other hand, the midsole is located between your foot and the outsole.

It provides additional cushioning and support during climbs. Women’s climbing shoes typically have softer midsoles than men’s shoes, allowing for more sensitivity on smaller holds.

Finding a balance between a stiff outsole for precision and a soft midsole for sensitivity can greatly enhance your climbing performance.

So if you’re considering trying men’s climbing shoes as a woman, keep in mind these differences in design when it comes to their outsoles and midsoles!

Watch the video below to differences between La Sportiva Solution women vs men

Similarities Between Men’s and Women’s Climbing Shoes

Similarities Between Men’s and Women’s Climbing Shoes

While there are notable differences between men’s and women’s climbing shoes, it’s important to recognize that there are also some similarities.

These similarities make it possible for women to wear men’s climbing shoes if they find them more comfortable or better suited to their needs.

One of the key similarities is the use of high-quality materials in both men’s and women’s climbing shoes.

Whether you’re looking at a pair designed specifically for men or women, you can expect to find durable materials that provide excellent grip and support on various types of terrain.

Another similarity lies in the importance of proper fit.

Just like with any type of footwear, having a well-fitting shoe is crucial in order to perform your best while climbing.

Both men’s and women’s climbing shoes offer options for different foot shapes and sizes, ensuring that climbers can find a snug fit that allows for precise movement.

Additionally, both types of climbing shoes prioritize performance. Whether you’re tackling challenging bouldering routes or scaling towering cliffs, both men’s and women’s designs emphasize features such as toe sensitivity, edging power, and heel-hooking capabilities.

Pros & Cons: Women Wearing Men’s Climbing Shoes

If you have decided to try out men’s climbing shoes. Here are some Pros & Cons to keep in mind


  • Variety: With more brands and styles on the market, women might find a better fit or a design they prefer in men’s shoes.
  • Availability: In certain regions, men’s climbing shoes are easier to find and buy.
  • Roomier Fit: Women with wider feet might find men’s shoes more comfortable.


  • Possible Loose Fit: Men’s shoes might be too wide or voluminous for women with narrow feet, affecting climbing performance.
  • Weight: Men’s shoes are generally heavier, which can lead to faster fatigue.
  • Less Aggressive: The shape of men’s shoes may not provide the level of precision some women climbers need.

An aggressive female climber

Practical Considerations for Women Trying Men’s Climbing Shoes

If you’re considering trying on men’s shoes, there are a few practical considerations to keep in mind.

Size and fit matter. Men’s climbing shoes tend to run larger than women’s sizes, so be prepared to go down a size or two. It’s crucial to try them on before purchasing as every brand has its own unique sizing chart.

Consider the design differences between men’s and women’s shoes. Men generally have wider feet and higher insteps compared to women. Therefore, if you have narrow feet or low arches, you might find that men’s shoes don’t offer the appropriate support.

Think about your specific climbing style. Different types of climbs require different shoe features such as sensitivity for bouldering or stiffness for trad routes. Ensure that the men’s shoe you choose meets your performance needs and provides comfort during long sessions on the wall.

Finding the Right Shoe for Your Climbing Style

When it comes to finding the right climbing shoe, your personal climbing style plays a crucial role. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, understanding your preferred style can help guide you in choosing the best shoe for your needs.

Consider the type of climbs you most enjoy. Are you into bouldering and short, intense routes? Or do you prefer long multi-pitch adventures? Different styles of climbing require different features in a shoe.

For example, if you love bouldering, shoes with aggressive downturns and sticky rubber soles are ideal for precise foot placements on small holds.

On the other hand, if all-day comfort is important for multi-pitch climbs, shoes with a flatter profile and more cushioning may be better suited.

Think about the terrain you typically climb on. Are steep overhangs your thing? Or do slabs and vertical faces excite you?

Shoes with stiffer outsoles are great for edging on vertical rock while softer outsoles provide better sensitivity on overhanging routes where smearing is needed.

Take into account any specific challenges or preferences related to your own feet. Do you have wide feet or high arches that need extra support?

Some brands offer options specifically designed for these variations in foot shape.

Remember that finding the perfect climbing shoe may involve some trial and error. It’s worth trying on different models until you find one that feels comfortable and suits your individual climbing style!

Read more about finding the right fit for your climbing shoes

A female climber


So, can women wear men’s climbing shoes? The answer is yes, they can! While there are some key differences between them in terms of design and fit, there are also many similarities.

Women who prefer the fit or style of men’s climbing shoes can certainly give them a try.

So whether you choose men’s or women’s shoes, it’s all about finding the perfect fit that allows you to climb confidently while keeping your feet comfortable throughout your adventure! Happy Climbing!


Are Women’s Climbing Shoes More Narrow?

Yes, typically, women’s climbing shoes are designed to be more narrow and streamlined compared to men’s shoes.
This is to account for the average foot structure differences between men and women.

What is the Difference Between La Sportiva Solution Male and Female?

According to an article from climbing shoe reviews, “The male version uses a 1.1mm midsole, whereas the Women’s version uses a 0.9mm midsole. That might not sound like much, but I guarantee you would feel the difference”

What do Female Climbers Wear?

Female climbers usually wear flexible, durable clothing that allows free movement. This often includes climbing pants or shorts and a breathable top.
Footwear is typically high-quality climbing shoes. Safety gear such as harnesses, helmets, and chalk bags are also standard.

How to Fit Women’s Climbing Shoes?

Women’s climbing shoes should be snug but not overly tight. They should allow for toe precision on small holds but not cause discomfort or impede circulation.
It’s recommended to try various brands and styles, as the fit can significantly differ.

Why are Climbing Shoes so Small?

Climbing shoes are designed to be snug to allow climbers precise footwork on small holds. The tight fit enables better performance, especially on challenging climbs. However, they shouldn’t be so small that they cause pain or damage to the feet.

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