Climbing Shoes: Laces vs. Velcro

Climbing Shoes: Laces vs. Velcro
If you’re buying your first pair of climbing shoes, you’ll undoubtedly notice that some have laces, and some have Velcro closures. You might think choosing between the two is just a matter of personal preference, but there are advantages to each type of closure and knowing the difference is important when honing your skills.


altura green climbing shoes


If you’re still relatively new to climbing, you may prefer to start out with a lace-up shoe like Butora’s Altura pictured here in green. A lace up shoe offers better support, and also allows you to tighten the shoe along its full length, adjusting where needed. Good to know: If your foot is particularly narrow or particularly wide, a lace up shoe has a wide range of fit adjustability.

Velcro Closure

endeavor lavender climbing shoes

A climbing shoe with a Velcro closure, like Butora’s Endeavor pictured below in lavender, allow you to take them off easily to rest in between climbs, which is especially useful when bouldering or climbing in a gym. The trade-off? You can’t adjust the fit in the same way as you can with a lace-up climbing shoe, but you can’t deny the comfort factor!

An Important Factor to Consider

When buying a pair of climbing shoes and trying to decide between laces and Velcro closures, it’s a good idea to consider what type of climbing you’re most likely to be doing. If you’ll be doing a little of this and a little of that, laces are the best all-around/multi-pitch shoe, where you can leave them on from the beginning of the climb until the end. That’s because although they provide good support, they’re not so easy to get in and out of multiple times a day.

Velcro closures are great for sport, bouldering or gym climbing because they slip on and off easily, which is great when you’re transitioning between street and rock shoes multiple times per day. Some Velcro closure shoes tighten up almost as well as lace ups, so try them out to see how well they adjust fit-wise. In general, if you have a fairly average foot (no high arches, average in width), you’ll probably be pretty comfortable in a shoe with a Velcro closure.

Care and Maintenance

Laces wear out and get torn in cracks, so be prepared with a supply of extras when they start to look ratty.

Velcro can get gummy and attract dirt if you leave the closures open when you store them. Keeping the Velcro straps closed is a good idea anyway, since doing so will help keep the shoe’s shape intact. You can use a toothbrush to brush out the velcro if it starts to “gum up”.

What Experienced Climbers Say

Seasoned climbers tend to talk about shoes by their closure type, saying things like “I like that Velcro one” or “Is there a laced version of this one?”

The fact is that many experienced climbers tend to have a pair (or two or three!) of both types and switch off according to the type of terrain they are climbing on a given day. What’s most important to a beginner is comfort, whereas a pro is probably more concerned with performance than comfort. Of course, it’s great if you can find a shoe that offers you both!

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned climber, contact us at Butora to learn about our premium climbing shoes featuring extreme performance without sacrificing comfort. We think they’re also the most comfortable shoes on the market, which is something that every climber out there can appreciate!

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