Laces vs. Velcro Climbing Shoes: What’s Best?

By: Derek Vitiello | Last Updated on December 22, 2023

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The choice of laces or Velcro for climbing shoes is a tricky one – both have their pros and cons. Laces offer better control, distributing pressure evenly and creating a secure fit. Velcro is convenient and fast to use, with a snug fit for better performance on certain climbs. Trad climbers tend to opt for […]
Laces vs Velcro Climbing Shoes Whats Best

The choice of laces or Velcro for climbing shoes is a tricky one – both have their pros and cons. Laces offer better control, distributing pressure evenly and creating a secure fit. Velcro is convenient and fast to use, with a snug fit for better performance on certain climbs.

Trad climbers tend to opt for laces, as they allow for customization and comfort during long wear. Boulderers and gym climbers usually go for Velcro for quick adjustments and a tight, aggressive fit.

When it comes to choosing, it’s all about personal preference. Take time to try both and see which one feels best. Look at foot shape, intended use and closure type – even within laces or Velcro, there are variations between brands. Find the shoe that fits your grip.

Overview of Lace and Velcro Climbing Shoes

Lace and Velcro climbing shoes are two popular options for climbers. This choice largely comes down to personal preference and the kind of climbing you do. Here is a breakdown of the key features of lace and Velcro climbing shoes:

 Lace Climbing ShoesVelcro Climbing Shoes
Closure SystemLacesVelcro straps
Style of ClimbingTrad, multi-pitchGym, bouldering
Foot ShapeMany climbersNarrow feet
AdvantagesSecure fit, maximum comfort 
DisadvantagesTime-consuming to tighten/loosen 

Lace-up shoes use laces for a customizable fit. While Velcro climbing shoes have convenient straps for a snug fit without tying/untying.

In terms of performance, both types give maximum output. But trad climbers and multi-pitch rock climbers prefer lace-ups for tighter fitting.

The style of climbing also affects the choice. Lace-ups are best for trad and multi-pitch, while gym climbers and boulderers go for Velcro shoes for quick adjustments during training.

Foot shape affects the decision too. Narrow feet fit better in lace-ups; wider feet may prefer Velcro shoes.

In the end, the choice between lace and Velcro climbing shoes is up to you and your style of climbing. To make an informed decision, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each closure system, and your foot shape. Oh, and don’t forget that tying and untying shoelaces gives you time to contemplate your life choices, even when hanging off a cliff!

Pros and Cons of Lace-Up Climbing Shoes

Lace-up climbing shoes have their pros and cons. Here’s what you need to know:

  • They offer a secure fit, customizable for narrow feet. This helps prevent slippage.
  • The snug fit provides maximum performance for challenging climbs with precision and control.
  • Lace-up shoes are great for crack and trad climbing, as they can be adjusted while on the climb for added comfort.
  • But, they take longer to put on and take off than velcro closure systems, making them less ideal for quick gym and bouldering sessions.
  • If not properly tightened and adjusted, they can cause foot pain and reduce performance.
  • Beginners may find them intimidating due to the extra steps involved in tying and untying the laces.

Choose your shoes based on your needs and preferences. Experienced climbers may prefer lace-up shoes for the fit and performance. But, if you’re all about convenience, go with velcro. Get it right and never let ill-fitting shoes stop you from reaching new heights!

Pros and Cons of Velcro Closure Climbing Shoes

Velcro closure climbing shoes have their own pros and cons. Let’s have a look!

  • Convenience: Velcro closure systems are super easy to use. You can tighten or loosen the straps with just a quick pull. This makes it a breeze to put on and take off.
  • Speed: Velcro is known for its speedy adjustment. If you need to adjust your shoe while on a climb, velcro straps will do the job quickly.
  • Versatility: Velcro climbing shoes are great for different kinds of climbing styles. Bouldering, sport climbing, and trad climbing, velcro can do it all.

When it comes to velcro closure systems, there’s one caveat. They might not offer as much adjustability as laces. So, if you want a personalized fit, lace-up might be the way to go.

Fun fact: velcro became popular in the rock climbing world thanks to La Sportiva. They introduced one of the first velcro climbing shoes back in 1985. Nowadays, velcro is a go-to closure system for climbers.

In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. Choose the option that fits your foot shape properly and offers the right level of security and comfort. Lace or velcro – it’s up to you!

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Lace and Velcro Climbing Shoes

When picking between lace and Velcro climbing shoes, it can be a tough decision. Both have benefits and things to consider. Let’s look at what climbers should keep in mind when deciding between lace-up and Velcro closure shoes.

Adjustability and customization are key factors. Lace-up shoes can be tightened or loosened to fit the climber’s preference. This is great for those with narrow feet or those needing max performance. While Velcro closure shoes are convenient and easy to put on/take off, no shoelace tying.

Climbing style matters too. For crack climbing or trad, lace-ups are great for a secure fit. Velcro works best for gym and bouldering, where quick adjustments are needed.

Pros and cons apply with each closure system. Lace-up shoes have more security, but take longer to put on. Velcro excels in convenience, but may lack security due to pressure points.

It’s a hot topic among climbers with different preferences. It’s up to personal choice; some love laces, others prefer Velcro.

When selecting shoes, consider adjustability, climbing style, convenience, security, and your foot shape. This will help you find the shoe that fits your needs and preferences best. So, choose carefully – lace or velcro, it’s up to you!

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice

Making the right choice between lace-up and Velcro climbing shoes can have a huge impact on your climbing experience. Each has its own pros and cons, so it comes down to personal preference and which type of climbing you’re doing.

Lace-up shoes give a secure fit and maximum adjustability. They’re great for crack climbing and trad climbing where a precise fit is essential. You can loosen or tighten specific areas to avoid pressure points and get the perfect fit. Narrow footed climbers usually prefer lace-ups for the customizability.

On the other hand, Velcro closure systems are convenient and easy to use. They’re best for gym climbing and bouldering, where quick adjustments are needed. They’re faster to put on and take off than lace-ups, saving you time.

Performance-wise, both lace-up and Velcro shoes can do the job. But some climbers think lace-ups offer a more precise fit because they hug your foot shape. This can make a difference when edging on small footholds or doing dynamic moves.

Different models will have different closure types in each category. Some lace-ups have extra straps for extra security, and some Velcro shoes have laces for a tighter fit. So it’s important to try on different pairs before making a decision.

Studies suggest that foot shape matters in deciding between lace-up and Velcro closure systems. La Sportiva’s research showed that narrow-footed climbers benefit from lace-ups, as they offer a snug fit and better precision on small footholds. However, wider-footed climbers may prefer Velcro closure shoes, as they provide a comfortable yet secure fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about Laces vs. Velcro Climbing Shoes:

1. What are the main differences between lace and Velcro climbing shoes?

Velcro climbing shoes have a quick and easy closure system with straps, while lace-up shoes require tying and untying. Laces provide a customizable fit and are preferred by trad climbers, while Velcro shoes offer convenience for gym climbing and bouldering.

2. Which closure system should I choose, lace or Velcro?

The choice between laces and Velcro comes down to personal preference and the type of climbing you do. Laces allow for a tighter fit and are better for multi-pitch routes, while Velcro closure shoes are more convenient for quick adjustments and gym climbing.

3. Are lace-up climbing shoes more secure than Velcro shoes?

Lace-up climbing shoes tend to offer a more snug and secure fit due to the ability to tighten or loosen the laces as needed. However, Velcro shoes can also provide a secure fit and are preferred by many climbers for their convenience.

4. Do laces or Velcro closures affect the performance of climbing shoes?

The closure type does not significantly affect the performance of climbing shoes. Both lace and Velcro models can excel in various climbing styles. The most important factor is finding a shoe that fits your feet comfortably and allows you to climb with confidence.

5. Are there any cons to using lace or Velcro climbing shoes?

One potential drawback of lace-up shoes is the time and effort required to tie and untie them. Velcro shoes, on the other hand, may lose their effectiveness over time as the straps wear out. However, these cons are minor and largely depend on individual preferences.

6. Should I prioritize comfort or performance when buying a pair of climbing shoes?

Both comfort and performance are essential when choosing climbing shoes. It’s important to find a balance that suits your climbing style and foot shape. Some climbers prioritize maximum comfort for long days on the rock, while others prioritize a tighter fit for precise footwork in demanding routes.

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With over 60 years of experience in the outdoors, we don’t just talk about outdoor gear or recommend a good hiking trail.

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About The Author

Derek, Co-Founder at Know Nothing Nomads

My goal with my writing and Know Nothing Nomads as a whole is to share my passions of hiking, camping, and a love of the outdoors with our readers.

Making the difficult and uncertain feel more approachable to people that might not know enough to feel comfortable taking their first steps into the wilderness is a driving factor for me.

When I'm not writing you can find me on a trail, in a forest, or next to a river with hiking shoes on my feet and a fly rod somewhere close by.

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