The Best Moderate Downturn Rock Climbing Shoes

Moderately downturned shoes are all-purpose, all-around shoes that can be worn for a variety of styles of climbing. They have a slight curve to the last and are more comfortable than aggressive shoes. This style of shoe probably excels the most at vertical face climbing, but some climbers use moderately downturned shoes for cracks and multi-pitch climbs (usually sized a little large) and other climbers use them on steep, difficult projects (often sized tighter). Most climbers will want at least one moderate, all-purpose shoe in their quiver, and there are certainly high-quality models on the market with only some or no downturn. You can choose to size these shoes tighter for more precision or looser for more comfort. Read our reviews to see which all-around moderate downturn shoes are our favorites.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Scarpa Instinct VS
93
Edging 10
Smearing 7
Sensitivity 10
Cracks 10
Rubber 8
Value 8

High-tension vacuum fit; best heel of the Instincts

Precise, hypersensitive toe

Powerful merger of keen edging and aggressive grabbing

Protective, enlarged toe-hooking patch

Tongue with pull-tab helps seat foot deep in shoe

Longest break-in of the Instincts: smearing is initially clunky

Bi-Tension rand and neoprene lining are weak at heel pull-tabs

Fit is a tad aggressive for longer, slabbier pitches

MSRP
$169.00
BEST DEAL
La Sportiva Miura
93
Edging 10
Smearing 8
Sensitivity 8
Cracks 8
Rubber 10
Value 9

Excels on all angles and rock types

Comfortable fit

Unique lacing system that is exceptionally easy to tie and untie

Angled, low-profile toe box great for cracks, and all types of edging and face climbing

Long break-in period

Laces can blow out early

MSRP
$160.00
BEST DEAL
La Sportiva TC Pro
92
Best in Class
2015
Edging 10
Smearing 8
Sensitivity 7
Cracks 8
Rubber 9
Value 10

Comfortable for long multi-pitch routes, especially in Yosemite.

Outstanding performance on edging and most crack-climbing.

Protects ankles in off-widths.

Designed by Tommy Caldwell for granite free-climbing performance.

Performs poorly in finger-sized cracks, particularly splitter .75” cracks.

MSRP
$180.00
BEST DEAL
Scarpa Boostic
91
Edging 10
Smearing 9
Sensitivity 9
Cracks 9
Rubber 9
Value 5

Superb fit for medium feet with low-volume heel.

Stiff midsole for support.

Tensioned rand retains shape over shoe’s life.

Slight down-turned toe for edging performance.

Comfortable, secure Velcro closure.

One of the most expensive shoes on the market.

Not recommended for crack climbing.

MSRP
$170.00
BEST DEAL
Evolv Geshido SC
91
Edging 7
Smearing 10
Sensitivity 9
Cracks 8
Rubber 8
Value 9

Savvy blend of performance and comfort

Thin, low-profile, flexible toe excellent for cracks, flares, smearing, and smedging

Lots of adjustment possibilities

given their gradually rounded toebox and thicker (4.2mm) outsole

Lightweight but also built to last

1-mm half-length concave midsole perhaps not quite stiff enough for those seeking an all-arounder that leans more toward a traditional edging boot

Might not be downcambered enough—and has no downturn—for radical steeps

Could use a higher rand or toebox patch for toe scumming

MSRP
$140.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Five Ten Anasazi Arrowhead
90
Edging 9
Smearing 8
Sensitivity 10
Cracks 6
Rubber 9
Value 8

Extreme precision on edges, nubbins, and pockets

A very light shoe (feels like air on your feet)

Killer Onyxx rubber sole

Clean, simple design without too many bells and whistles

So performance-oriented that it won’t be good for all uses (trad, multipitch)

Narrow toebox can lead to cramping if worn too long with high-volume feet

MSRP
$165.00
BEST DEAL
Scarpa Booster S
90
Edging 9
Smearing 10
Sensitivity 10
Cracks 7
Rubber 9
Value 5

Extreme sensitivity plus hyper precision

Light and nimble on the feet

Good play and torque in double Velcro closure

“Swoop” design (Tri-Tension Rand) drives power into big toe

Ridged toe-hooking patch and high heel cup

Ultra-flexibility (lateral and torsional) means shoes can feel flimsy in foot cams/heel-toes

Specialist’s shoe: not as versatile as the Scarpa Instinct line

MSRP
$175.00
BEST DEAL
Scarpa Instinct S
90
Edging 7
Smearing 8
Sensitivity 9
Cracks 8
Rubber 8
Value 10

Lightweight yet durable

Copious rand and toe rubber

Great on pockets

Skin-tight fit required

MSRP
$149.00
BEST DEAL
Tenaya IATI
90
Rubber 8
Edging 8
Smearing 8
Heel/Toe Hooking 7
Comfort/Fit 9

Extremely comfortable

Rubber is sensitive and trustworthy

Smears very well

Runs large; order a half to a full size down from normal

Heel hooks are overly sensitive, not for the weak footed

Closure system cams on itself

MSRP
$169.95
BEST DEAL
La Sportiva Futura
89
Edging 7
Smearing 9
Sensitivity 9
Cracks 6
Rubber 9
Value 9

Very sensitive, soft bouldering and sport-climbing shoe.

Perfect, suction-cup fit.

Design is very long-lasting.

“No Edge” design requires you to be more precise.

Not supportive enough for long routes or pitches.

Harder to toe down on oblique edges.

Not the best at toe-hooks.

No Edge design requires you to be more precise.

MSRP
$170.00
BEST DEAL
Scarpa Feroce
89
Edging 9
Smearing 9
Sensitivity 10
Cracks 8
Rubber 6
Value 7

Less extreme last means good versatility

Triple Velcro closure secures shoe well; easy on and off

Toe stays downturned for edging, but allows give for great smearing capabilities

Good for wide feet and long toes

Too stiff for super thin cracks or the climbing gym

Might not fit thinner feet

MSRP
$165.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Scarpa Techno X
89
Edging 10
Smearing 7
Sensitivity 7
Cracks 6
Rubber 10
Value 9

Laces don’t interfere in crack climbing

Fantastic edging performance

Doesn’t stretch due to comfortable micro-suede synthetic leather

Really comfortable

Not enough arch support

Not great at heel hooking

MSRP
$145.00
BEST DEAL
Five Ten Pink Anasazi Lace-up
88
Edging 10
Smearing 6
Sensitivity 9
Cracks 7
Rubber 8
Value 8

Comfortable, flat-lasted shoe for all types of face climbing

Lower volume heel is more comfortable than other Five Ten shoes

Laces provide a precision fit

Can’t ask for a better, stickier edging shoe

Shoe’s tongue moves around a bit

Laces are hard to tie and untie

MSRP
$150.00
BEST DEAL
La Sportiva Katana Lace
88
Edging 8
Smearing 8
Sensitivity 9
Cracks 5
Rubber 8
Value 10

Sportiva’s proprietary P3 rand retains the shoe’s shape over its life.

Slight asymmetry and downturned toe add performance without compromising comfort.

Very low-volume heel.

Breathable and comfortable.

Too little arch support.

Long break-in period.

Could be more sensitive.

MSRP
$165.00
BEST DEAL
Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym
88
Edging 7
Smearing 7
Sensitivity 7
Cracks 7
Rubber 10
Value 10

One of the most comfortable climbing shoes on the market

Easy on, easy off

Wide range of climbing applications

Suitable for climbers of all abilities

Stretches a lot

Stretches a lot Heel could be lower volume

MSRP
$115.00
BEST DEAL
La Sportiva Jeckyl VS
88
Edging 5
Smearing 7
Sensitivity 9
Cracks 7
Rubber 10
Value 10

Fantastic crack climbing slipper, especially for desert routes

Great value

Suction cup fit: no dead space

Easy on, easy off

Not great at edging

Unlined leather stretches slightly

MSRP
$120.00
BEST DEAL
Butora Acro
88
Rubber 7
Edging 7
Smearing 7
Heel/Toe Hooking 9
Comfort/Fit 8

Precise fit, zero dead space

Huge patch of rubber on top of foot

Good balance of stiffness and flexibility

Crammed toe box

Stitching on strap gets in the way of tightening

Centered powerpoint can be awkward

MSRP
$154.00
BEST DEAL
Millet Hybrid
86
Edging 10
Smearing 6
Sensitivity 7
Cracks 8
Rubber 7
Value 8

Pointy, supportive, and hyper-precise toe: best-in-class accuracy

Narrow shoe that also accommodates high-volume feet

“Crash Pad” heel great for bouldering landings

Toe-hooking patch and high rand nice for bouldering and cracks

Surprisingly good smearing for a stiff shoe

A hair too flat-lasted and rigid for grabbing on the super-steeps

Some biting around the Achilles tendon due to heel-area collar stiffness

Reduced sensitivity in heel for technical hooks

Upper strap can bite into feet

MSRP
$120.00
BEST DEAL
Mad Rock Shark 2.0
86
Edging 5
Smearing 8
Sensitivity 8
Cracks 9
Rubber 7
Value 9

Incredible feel and sensitivity

Unique, nearly all-rubber upper excels at hooking, scumming, glomming

Comfortable vacuum fit

Low-profile toe grabs like a dream but divot-stands/dime-edges well on steeps

Affordable: only $119 for a specialized boot

Hard to take on and off—you must “unroll” the heel

Not super-breathable; confining on a hot day

Requires strong feet: a shoe for advanced climbers

A little “naked”/painful in jams due to soft, pointy toe

MSRP
$119.00
BEST DEAL
Evolv Prime SC
84
Edging 8
Smearing 8
Sensitivity 7
Cracks 10
Rubber 5
Value 6

Beefy, bomber construction

Highly-versatile, triple-closure system, and comfortable split-tongue

Rounded toe box is surprisingly precise

Excellent heel and toe hooking

A hair stiff for “grabbing” on overhangs

New sole feels too thick

Rubber felt “slick” under cooler conditions

MSRP
$140.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Lowa Red Eagle Lace
84
Edging 10
Smearing 7
Sensitivity 5
Cracks 8
Rubber 8
Value 6

Easy on, easy off lacing

Anti-bacterial lining

Mesh tongue that breathes well in warmer conditions

Great fit for medium to wide feet

Quick break-in period

Laces are cheap, and “bite” into the top of your foot

Stiff sole comes at the expense of sensitivity, making it hard to feel smaller edges

Perforated shoe fabric collects dirt

MSRP
$165.00
BEST DEAL
Evolv Addict
84
Edging 7
Smearing 5
Sensitivity 7
Cracks 7
Rubber 9
Value 9

Easy on, easy off

Wide range of climbing applications

Suitable for climbers of all abilities

Stretches a lot

Rubber could be stickier

Heel could be lower volume

Hot spot in heel

MSRP
$99.00
BEST DEAL
Five Ten Anasazi Guide
84
Edging 9
Smearing 8
Sensitivity 4
Cracks 7
Rubber 7
Value 9

Stiff, supportive flat last

Laces help to dial in fit

Great edging shoe

Struggles on finger cracks

Could have better arch support

MSRP
$145.00
BEST DEAL
Five Ten Anasazi VCS
84
Edging 9
Smearing 8
Sensitivity 4
Cracks 7
Rubber 8
Value 8

Superior edging

Comfortable

Maintains shape

Feels clunky at first

Upper wears quickly

MSRP
$160.00
BEST DEAL
La Sportiva Katana
84
Edging 9
Smearing 6
Sensitivity 5
Cracks 7
Rubber 8
Value 9

Dominates tiny footholds

Toe box retains shape

A true all-arounder

Very narrow fit

Insensitive

Clunky on overhangs

MSRP
$150.00
BEST DEAL
Tenaya Ra
83
Edging 7
Smearing 5
Sensitivity 8
Cracks 6
Rubber 9
Value 8

Precise, supportive, pointy toebox

Comfy uppers and split tongue

Stable edging and outside-edging platform

Bomber, highly adjustable double Velcro closure

Light but well built: minimal stretch and will resole well

Toebox “buckled” up after use, diminishing reliability on smears

4mm sole felt thick out of the gates

MSRP
$140.00
BEST DEAL
Boreal Lynx
82
Edging 7
Smearing 9
Sensitivity 4
Cracks 7
Rubber 8
Value 7

Very sticky Zenith rubber—when coupled with the flexible forefoot, excellent for smearing

Bomber Spanish construction—shoes are durable and will withstand trad/face abuse and multiple resoles

Slim, snug, comfortable heel cup

Wide, high-volume fit; good feel and comfort out of the box

5-5.5mm sole initially thick, causing “smedging” instead of edging

Some clunkiness and lack of toebox precision

MSRP
$139.00
BEST DEAL
Evolv Luchador SC
82
Edging 8
Smearing 6
Sensitivity 5
Cracks 4
Rubber 9

Comfortable, flat-lasted shoe

All-around performance

Great edging

Baggy heel

Deadspace under midsole

Velcro tabs hard to pull

MSRP
$139.00
BEST DEAL
Scarpa Vapor V 2015
81
Edging 8
Smearing 6
Sensitivity 5
Cracks 6
Rubber 8
Value 8

Comfortable when tight

Conforms to your foot

Excels at most angles

Not very sensitive

Doesn’t grab holds on roofs

Too wide for narrow feet

MSRP
$159.00
BEST DEAL
Evolv Geshido
80
Edging 7
Smearing 6
Sensitivity 7
Cracks 8
Rubber 5
Value 7

Versatile lace-up closure & precise toe box

Hold their shape well

Killer edging and nubbin standing

Able grabbing and smearing

Elongated toe for thin cracks

Tricky to fit—the “love bump” might not work for everyone

A bit stiff for ultra-steeps

Sole comes with too much rubber

Rubber feels slippery under cooler conditions

MSRP
$135.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Mad Rock M5
80
Edging 7
Smearing 5
Sensitivity 7
Cracks 6
Rubber 6
Value 9

Slightly asymmetrical toe shape adds performance

Easy on, easy off design

Comfortable

Slightly downturned toe adds a bit of performance

High arch support

Too much rubber on the heel made heel hooking difficult

Too stiff

Proprietary Science Friction rubber not the stickiest

MSRP
$105.00
BEST DEAL
Five Ten Stonelands VCS
78
Edging 4
Smearing 9
Sensitivity 6
Cracks 5
Rubber 8
Value 6

Very comfortable fit

Super-sticky Stealth C4 rubber; killer smearing

Reduced heel-cuff pinching with wide or swollen feet

Fierce outside edging/drop-knee accuracy

Good blend of performance and comfort

Flat last is perhaps a hair too flat—a mild downcamber or downturn would help with steeper terrain

Last can become somewhat amorphous after break-in, the downside of comfort

Soft shoe—toebox tended to buck up, especially on small edges

MSRP
$140.00
BEST DEAL
Lowa X-Boulder
78
Edging 7
Smearing 6
Sensitivity 5
Cracks 9
Rubber 8
Value 3

Great fit and support for long routes

Great edging shoe

Clunky Velcro closure doesn’t add anything to shoe

Too stiff

Pricey

MSRP
$175.00
BEST DEAL
Five Ten Rogue VCS
76
Edging 4
Smearing 6
Sensitivity 9
Cracks 8
Rubber 1
Value 8

Extremely comfortable

No dead space

Velcro does a great job of cinching shoe around foot, dialing in the fit

Split-grain leather upper not durable

Tongue slides around and bunches up

MSRP
$99.00
BEST DEAL
Lowa Falco Lace
76
Edging 8
Smearing 3
Sensitivity 7
Cracks 7
Rubber 4
Value 7

Good balance of softness and support

Opens wide for easy on, easy off

Fits narrow to medium wide feet

Kept my foot cool and comfortable

Rubber not very sticky

Hot spot on outer edge of foot

MSRP
$140.00
BEST DEAL
Scarpa Instinct VS

A superb, hyper-precise, form-fitting, powerful shoe for high-end face, trad, and steep climbing, and bouldering/gym climbing. The Instinct VS has the best heel-hooking heel and toe-scumming patch in the Instinct family, as well as the most aggressive fit (read: least stretch); the elastic tongue with pull-tab lets you worm deep into the toebox, eliminating dead space, while the broad single Velcro closure is comfortable but effective for tweaking fit.

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La Sportiva Miura

For sport, trad, big walls — good luck finding a better-fitting, better-performing do-it-all-well shoe. Just expect a long break-in period in which the shoe feels too stiff and clunky.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Moosejaw

Scarpa Boostic

The Scarpa Boostic is a serious contender for our favorite high-performance rock-climbing shoe. Comfortable yet high-performing, the Boostic is an edging titan on everything from low-angle rock to extreme overhangs, with excellent smearing and features appreciated on the most difficult redpoints. A real winner.

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Evolv Geshido SC

This is a gem of a shoe that, given its pared-down looks and unprepossessing design, was a sleeper redpoint and onsight machine, with the perfect blend of performance, tweakable fit, softness/smearing, comfort, and precision—especially with strong feet accustomed to slippers. Also, it has Evolv’s standard-issue high, bomber heelcup.

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Scarpa Techno X

The Scarpa Techno X does it all really well, and at a really high level. For a flat-lasted shoe, the Techno X is a really powerful edger, but deftly transitions to a crack climbing shoe that I’d recommend for both the desert as well as slippery granite like Yosemite. This is a shoe that should have a place in your bag whether you’re climb 5.9 or 5.12, single-pitch trad or multi-pitch adventure. 

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Backcountry.com

Five Ten Pink Anasazi Lace-up

The Five Ten Pink Anasazi Lace-up excels at a certain type of technical face/crack climbing, but they are also solidly all-purpose, and will have a place in the gym or at the sport crag. I can’t recommend them for bouldering because of how long it takes to actually take the shoe on and off. A fussy lacing system makes getting your foot into, and out of, the shoe needlessly complicated.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Moosejaw

Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym

The Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym is a classic – a basic, soft slipper that has withstood the test of time, and performs best on crack climbs and smears. Because they are so soft, they are less exceptional at edging, and they are too rounded in the nose for smaller pockets.

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La Sportiva Jeckyl VS

As far as desert crack-climbing slippers go, the new Jeckyl VS might have just set the new performance standard. I consider it to be in the same category as the Five Ten Moccasym and the Evolv Addict, yet I find to be much more comfortable and better performing than either. Outside of climbing desert splitters, however, the Jeckyl VS struggles to edge. Therefore, it might not be the first choice for sport, gym and bouldering.

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See All Moderate Downturn Rock Climbing Shoes Reviews