The Best Moderate Downturn Rock Climbing Shoes

Moderately downturned shoes, falling into the middle of the spectrum, 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, providing more power and precision than flat, low downturn shoes, but they 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 (probably 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 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
$169.00
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
$140.00
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
$179.95
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
$122.31
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
$174.95
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
$103.97
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
$149.00
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
$169.95
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
$147.99
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
$134.07
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
$185.00
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
$154.00
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
$118.95
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
$72.48
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
$123.70
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
$149.95
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
$68.93
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
N/A
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
$79.95
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
N/A
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.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Eastern Mountain Sports

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 Outdoorplay

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.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Moosejaw

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.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Amazon.com

See All Moderate Downturn Rock Climbing Shoes Reviews