Blog > Climbing Shoes > Lace Vs Velcro: How To Choose The Right Closure System For Your Climbing Shoes

Lace Vs Velcro: How To Choose The Right Closure System For Your Climbing Shoes

Profile image Adam M.
Apr 5, 2023
Climbing Shoes
Not sure whether to choose lace or velcro closure for climbing shoes? Discover the pros and cons of lace and velcro climbing shoes in our comprehensive guide.
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One factor to take into consideration when choosing climbing shoes is the shoe closure system. Choosing the right closure system for your preference can make all the difference in your performance, comfort, and feeling of security and confidence while climbing.

The two most common closure systems for climbing shoes are laces and velcro. Each system has its pros and cons, and the right one will depend on your personal preference as a climber.

The purpose of this article is to go into detail and explain each closure system and what its benefits and drawbacks might be for your climbing style. We will also share some useful tips on how to choose the right closure system that will match your needs and preferences.

Article Contents

Different Types of Closure Systems for Climbing Shoes

Before we dive into the benefits of each closure system, it’s important to first understand the different types of closure systems available for climbing shoes. The most common types are:

Lace closure

Lace-up closure systems are the traditional choice for climbers. They offer a customizable fit and can distribute pressure evenly across the foot, which is especially important for climbers with narrow or wide feet. Lace-up shoes also provide a secure fit, as the laces can be tightened or loosened as needed. However, they can be time-consuming to put on and take off.

Velcro closure

Velcro closures use a strip of hook-and-loop fasteners to secure the shoe. They are quick and easy to put on and take off, making them a popular choice for bouldering and gym climbers and those who need to switch shoes frequently. Velcro shoes also offer a snug fit, but they are not as customizable as lace-up shoes.

Slipper

Laces and Velcro are the two most common closure systems for climbing shoes, but it’s worth mentioning the next most common closure type, which is a shoe with no closure:

Slipper-style shoes are designed to be slipped on and off, with no closure system at all. These shoes are lightweight and flexible, but they may not provide enough support for more advanced climbing. For many climbers, they are the ideal shoes for warming up.

Benefits of Lace Climbing Shoes

Lace closure systems offer several benefits for climbers:

  1. Custom-fit: Laces can be tightened or loosened to achieve a precise fit, which can improve performance and reduce discomfort.
  2. Even pressure distribution: Laces distribute pressure evenly across the foot, reducing hot spots and discomfort.
  3. Durability: Laces are less likely to break or wear out over time compared to velcro closures.
  4. More secure fit: Laces can be tightened to provide a more secure fit, which can be important for certain types of climbing and climbers with narrow or wide feet.
  5. Ability to fine-tune fit: Laces allow for more precise adjustments to the fit of the shoe.

Drawbacks of Lace-Up Climbing Shoes:

  1. Time-consuming: Lacing up climbing shoes can be a more time-consuming process compared to using velcro closures.

  2. Less convenient: Laces can be more difficult to adjust or tighten when climbing, especially if the shoes are tight-fitting.

  3. Less convenient for bouldering or gym climbing: Laces can be more difficult to take on and off frequently, which can be less convenient for bouldering or gym climbing.

    
        
        

Benefits of Velcro Climbing Shoes

Velcro closure systems also have several benefits for climbers:

  1. Quick and easy: Velcro closures are faster to put on and take off than laces, which can save time and energy.
  2. Adjustability: Velcro straps can be adjusted for a customized fit, although not as precisely as laces.
  3. Convenience: Velcro closures are convenient for gym climbers or those who need to switch shoes frequently.
  4. Good for bouldering or gym climbing: Velcro closures can be easier to take on and off frequently, which can be more convenient for bouldering or gym climbing.

Drawbacks of Velcro Climbing Shoes:

  1. Less customizable fit: Velcro closures are not as customizable as laces, which can be a drawback for some climbers.
  2. Uneven pressure distribution: Velcro closures can sometimes create pressure points or hot spots, especially if the shoes are tight-fitting.
  3. Durability: Velcro closures can wear out or become less effective over time, especially with frequent use.

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When choosing the right closure system for your climbing shoes, consider the following factors

So, how do you determine which closure system is best for your climbing shoes? Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Climbing style: If you climb mainly in the gym or need to switch shoes frequently, velcro closures may be a better choice. For outdoor climbers who need a precise fit and even pressure distribution, lace closures may be the way to go.
  • Durability: If you plan to climb frequently or for long periods of time, lace closures may be more durable in the long run.
  • Type of climbing: The type of climbing you'll be doing can impact your closure system choice. If you're primarily bouldering or gym climbing, Velcro closure systems may be the best option. If you're doing longer routes or multi-pitch climbs, lace-up closure systems may be a better choice.
  • Foot shape: If you have narrow or wide feet, lace-up closure systems may be a better choice, as they offer a more customizable fit. If you have a standard foot shape, Velcro closure systems may work just as well.
  • Fit: The most important factor in choosing a closure system is getting a good fit. Try on several different types of closure systems to see which one feels most comfortable and secure. It’s equally important to understand how to buy the right climbing shoes that fit your feet in the first place. For more information on this, read our guide to finding the right climbing shoes for you.
  • Personal preference: Ultimately, the closure system you choose should come down to personal preference. If you find Velcro closure systems to be more convenient and comfortable, go with that. If you prefer the secure fit and adjustability of lace-up shoes, choose those instead.

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Breaking In Synthetic Climbing Shoes: Tips and Techniques
Feeling the fit: What a good climbing shoe should feel like

Lace Climbing Shoes vs. Velcro Climbing Shoes: Which is Better?

The Lace vs. Velcro climbing shoes debate will go on, and there is no definitive answer to which is better, it’s all about your personal preference.

Choosing the right closure system for your climbing shoes is an important decision that depends on several factors. Among the benefits outlined in this article, lace closures offer a customized fit and even pressure distribution, while velcro closures are quick and convenient.

Consider your personal preferences and climbing style when choosing the right closure system for your needs, and don't be afraid to try both options to see which one works best for you.

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