Let’s make it brief, the Axiom Jean are probably the best looking climbing pants we ever tested. Is it a good pant for traditional climbing, outdoor expeditions or long days of sport climbing at the crag? No, we cannot say that. But if you plan of walking from work to bouldering or climbing directly and spend 2 hours doing some easy climbing, the Axiom are your fest friend. Besides looking good, they have a good amount of stretch, an inseam gusset and the cut is really athletic. Which means they won’t get in your way as much as normal jeans will when you go outside cycling, hiking, climbing or bouldering.
Look very good, can be worn to work, material stretches just right, durable, comfortable with deep pockets
No good insulation when wet, ventilation sub-par, no closable pocket, sizing off
While you can get any pair of jeans at Walmart or Target for less than $30, we would still recommend getting these if you are outdoor inclined. The Axiom is very durable, and get take a beating, no matter if rocks or trees are involved. And where normal jeans have no flexibility and lack range of motion these are good performers.
If you want to go on longer climbs or traditional climbing routes outdoors, you should go for another pair of pants, read our review for the best climbing pants 2020.
Analysis and Results from Our Review
What we liked
As a pair of jeans, the Prana Axiom Jean sits comfortable, is durable and just looks nice and sharp. Prana told that they are their best selling pair of jeas, and there are several professional pro climbers swearing on them. Their verdict: You can probably not find a better pair of jeans to go climbing in. Why would you do that? Well, of course, because of the looks. But it’s also comfortable to not have to change after work and directly hit the boulders or crags. And once you’re finished you can keep the pants on and go to a restaurant.
Materials used and the Weight
Axiom jeans are made of 98% cotton and a tiny amount of elastic material, 2% spandex. The spandex is the trick, making them nice and stretchy. If you know about jeans with stretch, you know that it comes down to how much spandex you weave in. Too much and the jeans doesn’t look and feel like jeans anymore, while not enough means they are just too stiff. Prana hit the right amount, the Axiom jean feels like any pair of casual jeans but gives you the full range of motion thanks to the spandex and the relaxed fit.
These jeans are not waterproof, so if you’re looking for hardcore outside climbing pants, don’t buy the Axiom. But if you compare it to regular storebought jeans, they will dry faster and easier. Thanks to the thick material, Pranas Axiom jean does a good job of protecting your leg skin from abrasions and cuts on the rock. That becomes very handy if you climb on granite boulders. Even when we wore them day after day, our test couldn’t notice visible signs of damage on the pants.
Fit: Casual and relaxed at the hips
These are no skinny jeans. They are more on the relaxed side, and have some widening going to the cuff. We wouldn’t call it boot cut, but it’s noticeable. Inseam lengths are accurate and precise to the sizing. We found the pants really comfortable, and you can wear them on any occasion where you can wear jeans. Note that they won’t fit your style if you are into hardcore skinny jeans.
With this said, we have to give them our award for the best looking and fashionable bouldering and climbing pant.
Features, Goodies and Pockets
These pants have a couple of noteworthy features, ranging from climbing and bouldering focused or focused on the fashion sense of the wearer. They come with a gusseted crotch area, which is pretty much standard for climbing pants, as the extra material adds a nice freedom of movement. Combine this with the stretchy material and you will get a pair of climbing and bouldering pants that won’t hold you back even if you need to do high steps and heel hooks.
In terms of fashion features you can find rivets with styling on the pockets and some sweet zig-zag stitching on the area of your thighs. The Axiom jean also sports a fake-leather trim sitting on the back pockets. Axiom jean comes with 4 pockets, 2 in the front and 2 in the rear, which is pretty much standard for a pair of jeans.
While the pockets are large and functional, and also sit well on the pant, you won’t find any closable pocket on this pants – a trade off Prana did for fashionability. This is a problem if you have overhanging boulders etc., as things in your pocket might fall out. While we didn’t have this particular problem while testing, as the front pockets are deep and snug, keep in mind it might happen. Outdoor climbing pants usually have this feature, and it’s one of the things that could be improved with an inline closable pouch pocket in the future, while still maintaining fashionability.
The material blend with 98% cotton is definitely not the material blend of choice for bad weather. If you plan to spend hours outside in humid and cold weather, these pants will be like a big wet rock dragging you down. And they won’t insulate at all in this case, as cotton becomes really cold when wet. The material is also not good in terms of ventilation, which makes Prana Axiom jeans not suited for long approaches in autumn or winter conditions. Consider it a good weather bouldering and sport climbing pant.
When it came to durability, they were good and protected. Some people however reported that after only some months stitching began to peel of on the outside seam and the inside seam above hemlines. Prana has a very good reputation for replacing these faulty pants, so we wouldn’t worry too much about it.
The waist fit is definitely large. If you normally wear a 33 waist size, the 33 sized Prana Axiom is probably to wide. From what we observed, they are one size larger than normal pants, so either get a belt or order them a size smaller than you would normally do. It’s not a big problem, but can be annoying if you order only one pair online from amazon and have to send it back due to the off sizing.
A Value Hit?
The price of $89.00 is justified in our opinion. Yes, they cost more than double what Walmart jeans cost, but they offer a lot more value too. Try climbing in Walmart jeans, and you will see what we mean. Prana Axiom comes with features like gusseted crotch and a good stretchy material, that worked for years on climbing pants. And if you compare the price to some Levis or Replay jeans, they are even cheaper.
Other Colors & Sizes
Pranas Axiom jean can be found in Antique Stone Wash or Dark wash. You can get them in sizes from 28 – 38 and even odd sizes like size 33. We recommend to try them on, due to the off sizing. Other option would to order two sizes and return the one that doesn’t fit if your retailer allows for it.
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Climbing shoes are one of the essential climber gears. That is why you need to make sure you buy the best pair for your style of climbing. On the other hand, with tons of different styles of climbing shoes available to select from, it can be overwhelming to choose the best pair that will suit your preference and budget. To help you pick the right climbing shoes, here are the tips you need to follow. We also put the best climbing shoes for 2020 for boulderers and climbers to the test!
Climbing shoes have a short history, they were only invented in the second half of the last century. But they have gone a long way from there, and for 2020 there are some interesting new concepts like 3D molded climbing shoes with inlay socks and really aggressive beginner shoes, targeted for gym climbers.
What Sort of Climbing You Do Most?
The first and perhaps the most essential factor to consider when buying a climbing or bouldering shoe is to know what kind of climbing are you into. Are you into bouldering, alpine climbing, or sport climbing? Crack climbs, face climbs, or slab climbs?
Different kinds of rock climbing need different types of equipment. What is more, they also need various features and properties in bouldering or climbing shoes. Like for instance, boulders often use tighter shoes which they can pull off fast between climbs.
Choosing the Best Type of Closure
The most popular shoe closures are Velcro and lace, even if slippers are slowly becoming a new style. Selecting the best kind of closure is a personal choice and somewhat about fit. Start by choosing a type of closure and then searching for bouldering shoes which fit your fit. You can also try on many shoes and from the ones which fit, pick the type of closure that meets your needs and preference.
For those with an average foot, ho big toes or crazy archers but the small middle section, this type of closure fits excellent.
Velcro is faster than lacing, and three straps will provide further adjustability
Velcro’s that has split tongues help fit a wider foot.
Often, this material can be loose when you are climbing at a high grade for a continued amount of time.
Sometimes Velcro’s can loosen (compared to a lace-up) when you’re climbing at a high grade for a sustained amount of time.
The closure of Velcro might add bulk while climbing and cause pressure points
Who Can Benefit from Velcro Shoes?
This is ideal for everyone, most especially boulders because of the speed in putting on and taking off.
This type of shoe is useful when you have oddly, fussy shaped feet as you can customize the fit, like tighten the lace at the toe. You can also loosen in the mid-part to have a room for high volume feet or high arch feet.
It takes time to put on and take off
Who Benefit from Wearing Laced Shoes
This is ideal for trad climbers who need a versatile fit. This is also perfect for sport climbers who climb aggressive routes.
Extremely fast to put on and take off
It is an automatic fit, so there is no closure to stress about
Some models come with a strap made of Velcro, which adds more safety to keep your heel in the right place and lessen slipping.
Climbers with wide foot might find restrictions to the elastic
If the only closure is made of stretchy material, you may find limitations in performance during aggressive maneuvers because the shoe might stretch or slip.
Wide-footed climbers may find restrictions to the elastic.
When the only closure is stretchy material, one may find performance limitations during aggressive maneuvers as the shoe may slip or stretch.
Who can Benefit from Wearing Slipper Shoes?
Boulders love the quickness of this shoe in getting it on and getting it off. While trad climbers enjoy less bulk as well as pressure point while rock climbing.
Choosing the Best Material
Boulders shoes are available in various materials, so it is important to choose one that meets your needs and preference. Some of the best materials are:
In case you have fussy or oddly shaped foot which does not seem to like a climbing shoe, then leather might be the best choice. Leather expands when there’s pressure so that it can provide a comfortable fit as this match to your foot over time.
The disadvantage of this expanding is that it makes it challenging to know the right size. It depends on the kind of leather, and it will be more or less stretchy. In general, the leather shoe will expand .5 to 1 shoe size. However, there is an exception, and the LA Sportiva Mythos are renowned for quickly stretching additional 1.5-inch sizes. How big the shoe stretches depend on how tightly it is fitted to start with- a tighter one will expand or stretch more.
Leather is breathable compared to synthetic components. So, your foot minimizes sweats and the shoe airs more, which reduce the smell. This doesn’t alleviate all odors. However, it helps. This material can smell just as gross when aren’t aired out properly after using. So, carry and store your climbing shoes in an open area with lots of fresh air to dry out properly.
When your shoe does get disagreeably smelly, it is harder to clean a leather model as it stretches when wet. Lined leather climbing shoes do not extend as much. However, they are less breathable.
A synthetic bouldering or climbing shoe is more accessible to size compared to leather models as it has minimal stretch. If you are looking for a boulder shoe which will not alter sizes in due course, then synthetic is the best choice. On the other hand, the lack of stretch does not mean it is vital to get a precise fit-out of the box.
Even if this material can get smells caught in them easier, they are easy to maintain. Most synthetic boulder shoes available will not acquire water damage. Like for instance, the famous LA Sportiva Oxygym’s, this were made to be submersible and washable. A lot of synthetic bouldering or climbing shoes are vegan-friendly as well.
A hybrid climbing shoe can be a good choice because it is easier to size with less stretching. However, it conforms to the exceptionality of your foot in specific areas. However, it all depends on the situation as well as the ratio of leather to artificial materials.
The way you will take advantage of this type of climbing shoes is to look for a model which fits well all through your feet, but could be a bit tighter in the leather parts. This is perfect as those leather parts are able to stretch in order to have a room for knuckles and wider hear.
Sizing Tips on Climbing and Bouldering Shoes
Bouldering and climbing shoes must feel completely snug in your foot. There should be no spaces or dead gaps, which will lessen sensitivity. Spaces or gaps under the arch or in the heel can cause your shoe to slide and slip in when your cam your toes or heel hook into a splinter.
Try-ons should be done around the time when the feet is a bit bigger.
Pay attention to concise climbing shoes. The upper part will stretch; however, the shoes will not get longer as you get them in.
Keep your mind to the rear of the heel. Stand on your toes to ensure the shoe does not press devastatingly on Achilles tendon.
Every model or brand has its sizing. Begin with your standard shoe size down or up to get a comfortable fit.
Try on many different styles and brands. The best bouldering and climbing shoes are those which fits you perfectly. Therefore, take time and try out many pairs.
Unisex Climbing Shoes
A lot of bouldering shoes available on the market today are unisex. When the female’s specific version is on hand, the choices usually are less. Some manufacturers provide women version available in purple and pink color, whereas other manufacturers market a gender-neutral low volume option. Men have low volume feet and decided to buy bouldering shoes for women for a perfect fit.
Top Climbing and Bouldering Shoes Available
The best climbing shoe depends on your chosen fit, closure preferences as well as climbing styles. It is extremely hard to choose, so we have made it simple for you. Below are the top picks for the best climbing and bouldering shoes for 2020. Check this out!
This is among the top climbing shoes for 2020. After going a lot of shoe demo’s SCARPA figured out something interesting, first time climbers would attempt on the most progressive climbing climbing shoes and like those best, although they would be using those advanced shoes sized much too big.
Conventionally, beginner climbing shoes have been reasonably stiff without downturn and asymmetry. This is better when a climber is learning to climb outside on tall concrete walls. The stiff sole helped to feet keep on the smaller holds.
As of 2019 and 2020 however, many rock climbers start to climb at climbing gyms indoor. The holds there are usually much bigger and on overhanging walls— climbing shoes which are downturned and flexible help for these kinds of grips. Therefore, SCARPA made a shoe intended for this type of beginner climber. Also, they made a new last which will encourage climbers to acquire the right fit in this comfortable and softer downturned shoe.
For many years, Mad Rock has been creating compression-molded pieces in their climbing shoes, from three dimensional molded rubbers which cover big toe-patches to three-dimensional molded heel cups. At this point, the company has taken a big step and has created a climbing show with an outer layer that is 3D molded. This essential feature allows for a considerable reduction in wasted rubber. What is more, it also allows the designer to move the rubber easily if they want to make thinner and thicker parts on the shoe to make sure a right and comfortable fit. This results in a more comfortable shoe that performs well too.
To have a room for this rubber construction, there is an inner sock which will integrate the midsole. The inner sock offers either a hard or soft midsole option. It also comes with closure made of Velcro. Still, there are lots of special details to come like the price and the release date.
La Sportiva Cobra 4:99 is the first shoe ever made intended for speed climbing. This began from the La Sportiva Cobra, and the company cut down all the bulkiness. The 4:99 is extremely light as the sole rubber goes halfway. The rear has been stripped to have small structure because this is not needed for climbing the speed road. It also comes equipped with less heel pressure, super-soft heel for an ideal and comfortable fit. It also comes with non-sticky rand on the side to avoid catching on holds.
From the people who initially brought you climbing shoes, this La Sportiva Genius is indeed the result of climbing shoe technology’s many developments and ingenuity. More than just the advancement of the No Edge idea, this Genius model lends the best characteristics from the arsenal of La Sportiva for its style and design. The outcome is a climbing shoe which can edge with precision and support while providing edges as well as barely-there nubbins. On the other hand, this is also perfect for steep climbing.
A lot of shoes made for steep climbs are sensitive and soft but doesn’t have enough fit for its incredible softness when it comes to techy on-feet-styles. For La Sportiva Genius, it does outstandingly well at both.
Black Diamond is one of the best makers of climbing. In fact, they have been in the business for many years and recently released a new model, the Black Diamond Momentum.
This shoe is intended for beginners- providing an easy on and off style, flat shape design as well as superb breathability. It comes with exceptional knit uppers- helpful where you want is and loose when you want to breathe. It is made of synthetic materials which mitigates stretch. Therefore, sizing will be not a problem opposed to climbing shoes made with leather uppers.
Loop and hoop tabs make this shoe easy to get on and off. It comes with soft midsoles flex, which allows the wearer to get familiar with the sense of holds under the feet whether you are smearing or climbing . The outsoles come with Neofriction rubber, which provides for the same sensitivity and thickness. You can wear this climbing shoe all day without pressuring your feet.
It has Velcro closure that might not be perfect for all, however for a newbie gets the task done. It is cheap, which makes it appealing for newbie climbers who are buying their first-ever climbing shoe.
Are you searching for a climbing shoe which is not only convenient and high performing, but also available for a reasonable price? Then look no further than Butora Acro. A lot of climbers praise the box fit of this model. A lot of users are noting that there is a similarity with La Sportiva Solution. Butora integrates “F5 rubber sticky” to harden micro features as well as slabs to make it superb.
This shoe has unwanted space in the heel. Butora Across is not as sensitive as many of the boulder shoes available; on the other hand, the stiff integrated sole offers an excellent edging platform. No pain when climbing rocks!
For those starting rock climbing, La Sportiva Tarantula is the best choice. Few climbing shoes are reasonable at similar quality as well as versatility. A lot of advanced climbing shoes place your foot in a hostile position, which is painful as well as not necessary if you are only starting. Even if this shoe does not have the accurate style of the other expensive models, that can be a benefit. The La Sportiva Tarantula climbs almost everywhere; cracks, gym as well as multi-pitch routes.
Reading this guide emphasizes the idea of how to look for the best and perfect climbing shoes.
On the other hand, you have to ensure that you do a bit of research, as well. Keep in mind that climbing shoes are considered a big investment. Take a look at the nearest gym or crag. Ask climbing partners or friends what they are using and why they choose them.
You are encouraged to read previous clients’ reviews (climbing shoe companies provide customer reviews on their website) for the designs you are considering.
Buying climbing shoes is a time-consuming task. However, it will be worthwhile once you get the best pair.
We put 16 of the best climbing and bouldering pants on the market through the wringer for 2020. Prana Stretch Zion (women’s equal counterpart is the Prana Halle Pant) is our winner, closely followed by the AP pants of Mountain Hardware. We also included a low budget option to find the best climbing pants in 2020.
Climbing uniquely challenges clothing, especially once you climb on real rock. You basically use your pants in a way that would destroy regular clothing within a short time. An ideal climbing pants pair should be both very durable, breathable, and maintain mobility.
Our 2020 Review
These goals are usually going towards opposite directions, but thanks to excellent fabrics and smart design, there are many top-notch climbing pants for 2020. Our top 16 climbing pants of 2020 are mostly great picks, and if you stick to our recommendations you won’t go wrong!
Some of the pants we tested won’t be continued in 2020, but you can still get them at a huge discount online, and they offer the perfect opportunity for a bargain. We have marked these as discontinued, so you can go bargain hunting!
As new pants are released by the different brands, we reviewed these and continue to review new models, so this list will grow over time! That way you will always find an updated list of the top climbing pants in 2020 here. Some of the pants we tested have been on the market for some time but experienced minor or major improvements, so we felt it’s worth to retest them in their current version.
Choosing the perfect pair of climbing pants comes down to what type of climbing you are doing in which climate and under what circumstance, that’s why we included a little guide as well. Read more for details!
Use the quick list to directly jump to the review:
Prana Stretch Zion Pants /Women’s: Prana Halle Pants – 97/100
Material: 97% nylon, 3% spandex
5 Pockets: 2 hip, 2 rear, 1 zip thigh
Weight: 385 g (13.6 oz)
A built-in belt that is adjustable
Leg snaps can be rolled up
Prana Zion pants are well designated and crafted with perfectionism. Being both functional and good looking, they have the potential to be the all-rounder pant for 2020. No matter if you go rock climbing, bouldering, traditional climbing or just hang out at the crag.
What we really liked about them is the stretchy material, which feels very polished and is abrasion-resistant. On top of that, it dries fast when it gets wet, which makes it perfect for spring and autumn climbing. They don’t cost a lot and are both warm and breathable.
And they come with ventilated inseam gusset, a built-in belt, five pockets with mesh inlay to store whatever you need and some roll up legs for more ventilation in the summertime.
Prana made a real candidate for the best rock climbing pant with the Zion, this doesn’t change in 2020. If you compare them to pants like the Arcteryx Gamma pant, they offer better value for the money
suitable for any type of climbing, bouldering
very durable and breathable
stretch a lot, thus comfortable
price is reasonable
dry quick, robust and abrasion-resistant
ventilation top notch
not as warm and insulating as some of the other pants
The best outdoor climbing pants of 2020: Outdoor Research Men’s Ferrosi Pant / Outdoor Research Women’s Ferrosi Pant
Material: 86% nylon, 14% spandex
5 Pockets: 2 hip, 2 zip rear, 1 zip thigh
Weight: 345 g (12.2 oz)
Cuff closures with draw cords
A close follow-up to our top pick, the Ferrosi pants are a favorite of our testers. They feel ultra-comfortable, almost as if climbing naked. Thanks to the thin and light fabric, they offered perfect mobility and breathability.
They were the best pants in terms of breathability and mobility!
I personally would wear them even when relaxing on my couch in favor of sweatpants.
To our surprise, they also were pretty abrasion-resistant and durable, as well as protective. Weatherproofing was top-notch, and even when climbing outdoors in colder air, they felt warm and comfy. Ferrosi pants are reasonably priced too: If you can get them on a discount, they are a steal.
Plain and simple
Our only complaint is that they lack additional features. They do have a cinch system for the leg cuffs, but it works not so great, and the waist is non-adjustable, which means you need a separate. Some might consider this a plus, but the design was almost a little too simple for our taste. But if you prefer minimalistic, no-frills pants, Ferrosis are your go-to pants.
A debatable topic is their look – they are not very fashionable, but we think for a technical climbing pant, that should not be your main focus.
For the all-round best pant, the Ferrosis didn’t make it by an inch. But they are the best climbing pant for outdoor climbing, no matter if you boulder, sport climb or trad.
best for any type of outdoor climbing, bouldering
most breathable pants in the test
large thigh pocket
lightweight and comfortable, almost like wearing nothing
ventilation top notch
style is not super fashionable
Best looking and fashionable climbing pant: Prana Axiom Jeans
Material: 99% organic cotton, 1% spandex
4 Pockets: 2 hip, 2 rear
Weight: 306 g (10.8 oz)
While the Mountain Hardwear AP Pant does look slick too, Pranas Axiom Jeans are still the best looking climbing pants.
Fitted, stretchy jeans are stylish, and there no way around it. And we have to admit that they excel in mobility too. It was almost surprising, but Prana somehow managed to blend denim with stretchy material. The result is pants that look like jeans but climb like every other good climbing pants. Thanks to the diamond gusset crotch, your legs are pretty movable too, and stepping high on a difficult boulder or when topping out of a route is easy and comfortable.
Their other big plus is the looks: If you take your time and try them on, they look pretty sharp thanks to their fitted cut.
Get the looks
The obvious additional strength is the looks. Appropriately sized, the Axioms have a straight but fitted cut that sits nicely and looks sharp. If you don’t know it, you will not even be able to pick them out from normal jeans.
As they are denim, however, they are not as comfortable as regular climbing pants. And if you have thick quads and calves, or are overweight, you need to size them one size bigger than normal.
Everyone else should size them one size smaller than normal, as they are cut pretty loose.
When it comes to outdoor climbing and weatherproof, they are not that suitable. While they are still comfortable to wear when hiking, as soon as things become humid or wet, the denim fabric is mediocre. And it is not as abrasion-resistant as some of the nylon blends. As such, we cannot recommend them as hardcore outdoor climbing pants. But if you need a versatile all-rounder to wear to the gym, bouldering and for the evening beer to your local pub, they are our top pick.
very flexible and stretchy material, although being denim
gusseted crotch area
best looking pants in the test
fitted cut is sharp and sizes well
lots of leg mobility
not so great weatherproofing, which is to expect for denim
abrasion resistance on the surface is only mediocre, although the inner part of the pants are durable
If you look for an eco-conscious pant, don’t look further than the Patagonia Venga Rock Pant. This one looks so good, you can even wear it when going to the pub, but comes with a breathable and stretchy finish. They are also good to climb in, although they lack an ankle cinch, which we think is a bit of a downer.
They do have a gusseted crotch, a toothbrush holding loop, and reinforced knees. Makes them an excellent choice for people who love to boulder and climb cracks, but not so great for long alpine routes due to the missing ankle cinch, which means you cannot close them.
Great mobility and flexibility
Gusseted crotch area
Toothbrush holder loop is practical
Robust and comfortable
No ankle cinch
So Solid Leggings
Material: 78% RECYCLED polyamide
Weight: 200 g (7 oz)
These eco-conscious pants are made of 78% recycled polyamide. So Solid makes Leggings for boys and girls. Granted, you have to be a bit of an extrovert to rock these pants as a guy, but this is something we liked.
When it comes to performance, it cannot get any better than against-the-skin tight – they so comfortable and stretchy, that it’s like you’re climbing naked. As stretchy and thin the material is, it’s still relatively resistant to abrasion, although you shouldn’t expect it to work like a thick pair of pants from jeans fabric.
With their gusseted crotch and breathability, they also give you a nice level of breathing. It’s up to you if you like the style and the colors, but these pants work!
stretchiest pant we reviewed
abrasion resistant for a leggings
you will make new weird friends when you wear them
warm for being so thin
suitable for indoor climbing and bouldering
a bit pricey
don’t wear if you don’t like attention
no pockets whatsoever
less warm and durable than the other “real” pants
Arcteryx Gamma Rock Pant
Material: 84% nylon, 16% elastane
3 pockets: 1 rear, 2 hip
Weight: 362 g (12.8 oz)
These pants are a little bit heavier than some of the others but other than that they are fantastic. Water-resistant, flexible but warm and very breathable they tick many of the features we wanted.
The nylon material makes them also durable, and the designers cleverly implement features: A chalk bag loop, integrated belt, four-way stretch, gusseted inseam and lots of pockets work well in day to day climbing.
Thanks to the protective knee area, you have some protection here as well.
But they are expensive, and one pair of these pants cost you twice the amount of the other pants, so be aware.
Perfect for alpine and trad climbing
Mobility is great
Warmth is suitable
Gusseted crotch and integrated belt
Chalk bag loop
Mountain Hardwear Yumalino Pant
Material: 88% nylon, 12% elastane;
5 pockets: 2 rear, 2 hip, 1 side
Weight: 550 g (1 lb 3 oz)
This is the perfect pant for autumn and winter climbing. They’re easily the warmest pants we tested, and are made with a super comfy soft fleece lining.
Thanks to the softshell exterior shell they’re also water repellent and great for cool weather outdoor climbing. The gusseted crotch makes them mobile as well, combined with the stretchy material. For further protection, MH reinforced the knee area.
But they are the heaviest pants in our test, and the material makes them unsuitable for summer climbing. If you’re looking for a cold-weather, durable and warm alpine and trad climbing pant these are perfect for you. If you have the change to spare, they’re pretty expensive.
best for trad and alpine climbing
comfy soft lining
durable weatherproof exterior
too heavy and warm for summer climbing or bouldering
La Sportiva Talus Rock Climbing Pant
Material: 96% Nylon, 4% Spandex
4 pockets: 2 rear, 2 hip,
Weight: 420 g (14.8 oz)
La Sportiva’s Talus pants look awesome and are functionally designed.
Including protected knees, gusseted crotch and integrated sleeve for a toothbrush, they also sport a handy loop for your chalk bag.
Made from 100% synthetic material, they’re breathable and comfortable. As the elasticated waist has a string-tie included, they also fit really well with harnesses – no belt needed!
We liked these features a lot, but the pants are pricey, and the material felt a tad less high-performing compared to the Gamma, Venga or Zion pants from above. They also lack an ankle cinch.
elastic and adjustable waist
integrated loops and sleeves for brush and chalk-bag
no ankle cinch
La Sportiva Arco Pant
Material: 97% cotton, 3% lycra
4 pockets: 2 rear, 2 hip
Weight: 360 g (12.7 oz)
Our secret tip for 2020. They’ve not continued anymore, but if you can get them on a discount, they’re a hot tip. They have more flexibility and comfort than almost all of the other pants, and if you look for roomy pants, these are your best bet.
Coming with a foldable waist, reinforced knees, integrated toothbrush pocket as well as a gusseted crotch we think they’re intelligently designed.
Fit is super relaxed, offering maximum movement range, and it makes them very comfortable.
Thanks to the bottom hem cinch you can also adjust them easily and while they are not really warm and water-resistant, we still can recommend them to boulderers, gym climbers and summertime crag climbing.
If you look for alpine and trad climbing pants, these are not the best choice. They come in nice and bright colors too!
awesome ankle cinch
roomy and comfortable
not warm at all
not great for trad and alpine climbing
Ucraft Xlite Climbing Pants
Material: 92% polyester, 8% Spandex
4 pockets: 2 hip, 2 side, zipped
Ucraft Xlite are a nice pair of pants, which are made from super light and stretchy material. They’re priced affordably, and although they’re not the most durable pants out there, our testers liked the features they had. For the money they pack a lot of nice extras: Elasticated waist, reinforced knees, zipped side pockets and breathy materials.
Ucraft also gave them a chalk bag loop and a sleeve for your toothbrush – a nice addition!
With the ankle drawstrings, you can also convert them to 3/4 length pants or even shorts in the summertime. We think these pants are solid all-round pants if you don’t want to go alpine climbing.
integrated chalk bag loop and toothbrush sleeve
low price alternative to Gamma or Arco pants
not warm enough for cold-weather or alpine climbing
not really rugged materials, fabric peels of easily
front pockets a bit too shallow for our taste
Topo Designs Climb Pants
Material: 98% cotton, 2% spandex
4 pockets: 2 hip, 2 side, zipped
Topo Designs’ Clim Pants are another solid all-rounder. We don’t see them perform on the same level as their competitors in terms of materials or stretchiness, but they are a bit cheaper too.
Features are good, with a gusseted crotch, lots of pockets, integrated belt and a nice chalk bag loop. Breathability and mobility are pretty decent too, but if you want to tackle really nasty boulder problems, you might want to look for other pants.
For long alpine and trad climbs, they are solid though, although they lack water repellency.
stretchy cotton-lycra blend
integrated belt with chalk bag loop
breathable and lightweight
warm enough for longer trad climbs
not as flexible as similarly priced competitors
not water repellent
Almost number one: Mountain Hardwear Men’s AP Pant / Mountain Hardwear Women’s AP Skinny Pant
Material: 75% cotton, 23% nylon, 2% elastane
Pockets: 2 hip, 2 zip rear, 1 velcro thigh
Weight: 204 g (7.2 oz)
leg snaps to roll up
These pants are not winning any particular awards, but they were strong in all areas and really versatile.
They look excellent, and the fabric feels durable and pretty technical. They’re very warm and weatherproof and still look like slacks. In terms of fashionability, these are the close follow-up of the Axiom jeans. You can comfortably take a stroll around town in them.
Featurewise, they come with velcro thigh pockets, two zipped rear pockets. An exciting feature is the reflective stripes inside the calve area, which is really handy when you roll them up for cycling or hiking at night times.
Although they lack an adjustable belt, they still fit snug if you size them right.
Problematic is the stiffness, as it meant they sometimes rode up or down when climbing longer routes – we had to adjust them from time to time. Not a significant problem, but compared to the other pants, they were not as strong in terms of fit.
The fabric also felt a little less comfortable and breathable compared to some of the other pants.
excellent looking fabric, almost like wearing slacks
reflective stripes inside calves, great for cyclists when rolling them up
velcro thigh pockets and zipped back pockets
mobility not as good as other technical pants due to stiffer material
fabric not super comfortable
E9 Rondo Slim
Material: 97% cotton, 3% elastane
3 Pockets: 2 hip, 1 rear
adjustable waist with elastic band
cuff closures with cords, work well
E9 offers its classic Rondo pant as a slim version this year. They come with a chalk bag loop, 3 deep pockets, and offer premium flexibility. Despite the slim cut, they are still roomy enough to tackle hard boulder problems and challenging sport climbing routes.
They are not the warmest pants out their, although they are very breathable. And if you plan on climbing outside in humid conditions, stay away from them, as they are made from cotton and not waterproof.
But if you need a reasonably priced (they can be founder under 50$), boulder and sport climbing band with an awesome ankle cuff system and sporty slim-cut offering good mobility the E9 Rondo Slim might be the right pick for you.
great mobility and comfort
ankle cuffs work really well
no closure on pockets, not so great for alpine or trad climbing
not really warm
not water repellent
Long-Term Test Notes
I, Arne Henricks, owned my personal pair of E9 Rondo for years. I actually have 3 pairs of them and wear them on any occasion be it in the alps on via ferratas or my local crags and to the gym.
They still hold up, even after years of abuse, and I haven’t treated them really good, tearing over rock, scraping on boulders or plastic. I love how they are super comfortable and get the job done without being pricey.
The deep pockets are tight enough to fit a phone snug, and while they’re not perfect for alpine climbing or wet conditions, they pretty much can do anything else. In winter I wear some thin panties to stay warm, it works for me. I even have a pair of shorts from E9.
Patagonia Men’s RPS Rock Pant / Patagonia Women’s RPS Rock Pant
Material: 52% nylon, 48% polyester
Pockets: 2 hip, 2 rear, 1 zip thigh
cuff closures with drawcord that do not work however
We didn’t really know what to think about the Patagonia RPS pants.
Yeah, they might be comfortable, but Ferrosis way more comfortable. They are mobile, but the Zions were way more flexible and offered greater mobility. In terms of style, the Axioms and AP pants looked better.
The Patagonia RPS are not bad pants, they have good features and ar well designed. But they don’t excel in any area. They are protective and breathable, but they lack a good cuffing system. The cinch on the ankle could not keep our testers ankles free of dangling fabric.
And they are not cheap, so as a result, they range somewhere in the middle of our contenders. We cannot recommend them as the first pick for any category, however.
mobility good, but not perfect
breathability good, but not perfect
won’t really excel in any area
price is not really cheap
cuff system won’t work too well to keep cuffs away from ankles
Black Diamond Notion Pant – Men’s / Black Diamond Notion Pant – Women’s
Material: 98% cotton, 2% elastane
Pockets: 2 hip, 2 rear
Drawstring elastic waistband
Black diamond created a weird pant here, using soft cotton and a drawstring waist. There are no zip pockets, which makes them not suitable for longer outdoor climbing or hiking in our opinion, and the cuffs are simple one-size-fits-all elastic.
These pants want to live indoors. For gym climbing, the stretchy cotton is fantastic and offers great flexibility. If you want, you can also use them for yoga or any fitness class. Breathability: Check! Comfort: Top notch!
But that’s it, they’re neither waterproof nor warm, and we wouldn’t recommend to use them for longer trad or alpine climbing – the soft material would just rip – the Notions were the least durable pants in our review. And the missing pockets might be nice indoors when you don’t need them, but outdoors the lacking zip pocket is a real problem.
mobility really nice
not really suitable for outdoor climbing – least weatherproof pants of the test
not really durable
cuff system won’t work too well to keep cuffs away from ankles
Budget Option: Carhartt Washed Duck Dungaree Work Pant
Material: 100% cotton
Pockets: 2 hip, 2 rear, 2 utility, hammer loop
We included these work pants as a budget option, and in fact, you won’t need to buy them from Carhartt, but any other brand will probably work.
But to be honest: They are no match for the other pants. The fabric doesn’t stretch, the fit is not forgiving nor cut in a way that suits climbing moves, and they have no breathability.
Looks are not great either, with wide thighs and calves you will look bulky even if you’re athletic. They come with six pockets, which are all utterly useless as they have no zip, no closure and tend to loose whatever you store as soon as you go vertical or overhanging.
Since they are not particularly comfortable, their only strong suit is durability – as they are working pants, they won’t rip easily. The lack of a cuff system is annoying as well, given the wide cut on the calves.
If you look for climbing pants, don’t buy them. They might be good for work, but even for the price they come at we cannot recommend them as climbing pants.
durable, as it’s a working pant
not that mobile, as they are not really made for climbing
heavy fabric does not stretch
fit is restricting motion
utility pockets are not really much use when climbing
no cuff system
Match your climbing pants to your climbing style
Sport climbing, bouldering, and indoor climbing
All the above types of climbing involve moves that are fast, dynamic, and athletic. And these moves require a greater range of motion from the climber and thus the pants. Pants for these types have a gusseted crotch and maximum flexibility by using materials with high elastane percentage.
Alpine and trad climbing
While you need flexible and stretchy pants when you go climbing alpine and traditional routes, these features are not the most important ones here. On long traditional or alpine climbing routes, you need warm, comfortable, and breathable pants. They can be a bit heavier but should feature closable pockets, maybe even microfleece lining and a durable, water-resistant finish.
Materials for the perfect climbing pant – things to consider
The materials decide how your pants will perform. Besides the cut and features like gusseted crotch area, materials are your number one thing to consider.
If you try to go cycling in a ballroom dress, you will fall. Same goes for climbing, if you wear the wrong pants, you won’t have a good time. Flexible pants are king, and if you have pants from a flexible material, it will allow you to make super stretchy moves. Levis 501 might look cooler but trust us: When you bomb your project because you lack 5 inches of movement on the last move, you’ll quickly consider climbing plants.
Stick stretch Cordura and lycra or elastane.
Not just in summer, but also warmer spring days need breathable pants. If you’re on the wall on a longer route, things quickly become warm when exposed to the sun. Good climbing pants offer a high level of breathability and come with smart ventilation features.
In the past, you had to choose either heavy, durable pants or lightweight linen style pants that ripped easily. Today, this changed, and you have both lightweight and durable pants thanks to synthetic materials
But the general tradeoff of a stiffer, heavier and more robust or ultra-flexible and thin pant is still there. Trad and alpine climbers usually prefer less flexible but more durable pants, and boulderers and sport climbers like their pants more flexible.
How comfortable your pants are, come down to the discussed points above as well as features like gusseted crotches, ankle cuffs, and elasticated waists. Another factor is built quality – wrongly placed reinforcements or seams can chafe your skin after long climbing sessions. In general, if you want comfort, go with stretchy pants.
5. Main materials of the pants we tested
All the pants we tested had a wide array of different fabric types and material blends used, and they behave differently. Most pants were however made from either nylon or cotton or some mix of both. It makes sense to discuss the differences between these two material types.
Nylon is the gold standard of outdoor clothing. It comes in all kinds of different proprietary mixes, but nylon fabrics usually offer low weight, excellent breathability, and a high level of elasticity. They also dry easily, and many are waterproof. It is a synthetic material, so this means it starts to smell if it’s not washed correctly.
Cotton, on the other hand, is natural and softer than nylon. It’s also very breathable and relatively durable, although there are many blends of nylon that offer supreme durability compared to cotton. Cotton is also heavier than nylon. You can also dry it in a commercial dryer, which is an advantage.
If you need breathable pants, you should try a lighter pant like the Ferrosi or Notion. If you need a very functional pant with lots of features and protection, you should try the Prana Stretch Zion or the AP pants.
Keep in mind that the fabric will also change the fit of the pants. If it’s possible, try the pants on in person, and refer to our fitting guide.
The warmth of the pants
Hypothermia sucks, even if you save some weight in your pants. Don’t skimp on weight if you tend to feel cold. Climbing outdoors is a serious sport, and hypothermia is no fun. If you go trad and alpine climbing in colder weather, stick with warm pants and forget about weight savings.
If you go crag climbing and bouldering, it’s ok to opt for thinner pants, but for alpine climbers, we recommend fleece-lined pants, unless you climb somewhere really hot. Mountain weather can change quickly!
Features on climbing pants
These handy features are nice to have and can be really helpful. Also if you still wonder why climbing pants are a good idea when you boulder or climb, read my post or watch this video.
A gusseted crotch means added material in the crotch area, which is fantastic for male climbers – as it’s anatomically better. Especially when you do yoga moves or dynamic climbing moves.
Drawcord or ankle-cinch
This is needed to adjust the length of the pants, and you can also use it to convert them to shorts or 3/4 length pants.
Toothbrush holders/toothbrush pockets
A brush is perfect for cleaning footholds and handholds in a route, which is important on some more frequently climbed routes. A holder for your brush is handy.
Zippered pockets and/or closable pockets
If you climb alpine routes or multi-pitch you definitely want a closable pocket of some sort, be it zip, velcro or buttons. Searching for small items in your backpack quickly becomes cumbersome otherwise. All of the pants we tested to find the best climbing pants 2020 had at least two pockets in the hip area and one in the rear. Except for the leggings, but they kind of run in their own league.
While some of them had zippers on the pockets, this is actually a debatable feature, some like it, some hate it. We think closable pockets are a must for alpine or trad climbing pants.
What we find essential is the thigh pocket, this pocket adds safe storage for cellphones or keys by having a closure system. A feature all of our testers loved, as it keeps valuables safe and does not interfere with a harness.
A cuff system keeps loose and too-long fabric away from your ankles.
This can be to ventilate, but also if you want to avoid to step on your pants all the time when precise footwork is needed. And it’s also nice to see your feet without flaps of fabric blocking the line of view. Pants like the Zion, AP Pants and some others have cuff snaps. Other pants like the Rondo slim or the RPS and Ferrosis sport cinch systems, with is nice. Other pants have roll-up cuffs, but no closure system. While the Stretch Zion pants and the RPS pants have an integrated belt, some other pants have either elasticated waist or drawstrings.
If no fitting system is given, you need to try them on for exact fit.
Chalk bag loop
An integrated loop for chalk bags on the rear or the side is very nice, especially if you boulder or free climb without a harness.
How to find the Best Climbing and Bouldering Pants for Your Needs
Climbing and bouldering pants are no magic, the manufacturers usually take some very flexible and mobile pants which are made from a durable material. Then they add some pockets and things like loops and cinches and change parts of the pant like the crotch area for even more mobility.
We would choose a very mobile and flexible pair of pants with lots of freedom of movement over a stiff and clunky pair of pants any day. But the next priority should always be the comfort and good features. When it comes down to these aspects, there are some differences to keep in mind.
How We Test Climbing Pants
When we test pants, we usually wear them doing routes and problems in the gym. That’s our first line of testing, to see how the pant performs in a controlled environment but without the environmental influences like cold weather, rain, and real rock.
After the gym test, we wear them bouldering outside and doing some sport climbing and/or trad climbing. This is our test where we also test how warm the pants are if they are rainproof and how abrasion resistant they are when you do crack climbing etc.
We also wear them for other activities sometimes, such as hiking, walking, mountain biking, and yoga, to see how they perform in day to day activities. Then, after testing, we rate them in these three categories.
Freedom of movement & mobility performance
Could we move easily wearing the pants? Did they resist certain moves when climbing or bouldering? Was stretching the legs possible without the pant interfering?
Level of comfort and breathability
Were the pants comfortable even when wearing them for longer periods? Did they breathe, or did we feel clammy or stiff when wearing them? Did they cause rashes on certain parts like the crotch area, ankles, etc.?
Bonus features, versatility, and practicability
Good pants should be versatile, so we review and rate how easy you can use the pants for different styles of climbing, bouldering, and so on. Bonus points if they hike and approach well. We also adjust the rating if they make our live exceptionally easy or hard, for example, if they need special care when washed.
Here are the best climbing pants with their score:
Conventional wisdom has it that climbing shoes either hurt and are made for performance or they are comfortable but lack edging and pointiness for pockets. While this is true in general, there are some shoes that promise qualities for both beginners and pros that look for a versatile all round shoe. La Sportivas Tarantulace is such a shoe. Described by the manufacturer as a “super-comfortable, high-performance solution for any climber looking for one shoe to do it all” this is a pretty big mouthful of marketing terms. Bold statements right? Time to do a La Sportiva Tarantulace climbing shoe review.
Let’s see if these shoes live up to their hype, and many testers think these are comfortable all rounders with good performance qualities, so i put mine to the test and had them on for the better part of this seasons, be it outside on the rock or inside the gym.
These pair of shoes are living up to their name! I also had some friends who are beginners test them and one of our coaches had them on too, and we all agree: For most climbing these are very durable, comfortable shoes that have great performance even for advanced climbers. Pros might feel they’re are a bit too soft and flat, but for their price, these shoes are hard to beat. Certain areas are only so-so, but that’s a small price to pay for a real all-rounder shoe.
Weight: 7.7 oz (per shoe)
Shape: Flat (comfort)
Construction: Slip Lasted
Last : WRN 45 This means the last has a round toe
Fit: Arched with low asymmetry.
Upper: Leather / Synthetic Leather
Midsole: 1.8 mm LaspoFlex
Sole: 5.0 mm FriXion® RS
Sizes: 33-44 including half sizes
These shoes perform well on edges. But they are not ultimate weapons. There will be sections, when you have tiny edges or undefined lines where these shoes have only OK edge grip. It’s still ok, but just keep in mind that you pay a slight price for the comfort. So if you need ultimate edging they’re not for you.
The Tarantulaces are not really pointy shoes, and they are also rather flat and not very stiff either. So unsurprisingly they do not perform really great in pockets. Most of us found them to be ok, but if they have limitations in one regard, than it’s this. Due to the rounded toe it’s kind of hard to slam them into narrow pockets, and where we climb this has been an issue sometimes (Frankenjura)
The stiffness allows you to trust your toes when you can fit them, but the TCs aren’t the pointiest of shoes. The relatively rounded toe doesn’t lend itself to small or narrow pockets, although you have to get onto some pretty specific terrain before it really becomes a problem.
The Tarantulaces are pretty good for heel hooks. Like all La Sportivas now they have a big wide stripe of extra rubber on their back heel, and it works just great. Allthough they’re not super stiff, heel hooks work great, while not being super precise.
Tarantulaces are no shoe for competition or hardcore boulder problems, so toe hookes work only so-so. There is some extra rubber in the front, but this is definitely not the speciality of this shoe. You can probably squeeze out some stabilizing hooks every now and then, but no extreme rooftop climbing.
Due to their flexible sole and soft material these shoes are pretty sensitive, and that’s why they perform good in this regard.I could even wear socks inside them and still have OKAY feeling, during some winter sessions. No matter what you do feel is always great.
Another great area for the Trarantulaces.Given their flexibility and comfort they are pretty precise. Edging works well, toe precision is good to a point where you can toe down small edges and they will always give you this nice feeling of trust. As said already, the toe is not super pointy, but effective enough for mid to small footholds.
The Tarantulaces work super nice for smearing. As they’re so flexible you get super grip on slick terrain, better than most stiff counterparts. They’re like suction cups, as one of my friends described them. And as they’re soft you get a great level of feedback on smears too. What you lose in edging power you definitely gain in smearing abilities.
Crack climbing works well with the Tarantulaces, but they’re not super stiff. So don’t expect wonders. They do a pretty decent job in thin finger cracks due to their low profile, as you can jam them inside the crack pretty good.
I wouldn’t recommend them for multi-pitch crack climbing, as they have no real ankle support for wider cracks, but they do pretty well on your daily crack needs!
Steepness (Slab to Slightly Overhung)
The Tarantulaces work pretty good on slab routes due to superior smearing qualities. You can also get vertical and slightly overhaning with them, but if you need to doe hard toedowns on steep footholds or power toe hooks in harcore overhung roofs they start to limit. But anything moderately overhung, even boulders, work good.
Sizing & Fit
I have fairly wide feet, and La Sportivas are usually a great fit. The Tarantulaces are made in the wider side, so if you have super narrow feet they might have little too much real estate.
My friend who has wide feet said: “I really like that they are so wide, makes them so comfortable”
I size them exactly my European street size would be. For me, being a 42, this is a 9 US street shoe size. And with this size i can touc hthe end of the shoe, and my feet are pretty flat. Hits the spot for me, as i can wear them all day long – i sometimes even keep them on when i belay.
Good thing about the La Sportiva heel form is that they fit lots of different feet and sizes. And the lacing works super convenient too. they never opened up on me by accident.
Yup, like a true allrounder you can abuse these shoes. Even if you take them through the wringer multiple times, they will continue to point and edge well. And the smearing works super good, even after a fullseason of slab climbing. Since i wear mine for belaying sometime too, they have seen all kinds of wide terrain and rock abuse.
The outer synthetic leather works great, and mine have seen some deal of abuse due to hectic footwork and changing weather conditions, i.e. mud and water too. They still shine!
The FriXion® RS rubber is a good blend of performance and durability. It’s probably more on the softer side, which makes it great for smearing, but still holds up pretty well. Overall they are maybe a bit less durable than super stiff shoes with the more stiffer mixtures, but i haven’t really felt this in reality.
There have been some users reporting ripped lace holes, but it never happened to me or my friends. And from what i heard they should also be pretty easy to resole too, so if you really use the sole up get a new sole and voila, they’re almost like new!
Wow, well comfort is one of the reasons you buy the Tarantulaces. If you go climbing for a whole day, you basically want climbing shoes which feel like sneakers. It really sucks to have hurt feet after only 3 or 4 routes, and that’s why even advanced climbers go with comfort shoes.
When it comes to comfort, these shoes are the shit. When you finish a long pitch, you will probably not even take these shoes off, as they’re so comfortable. I sometimes forget i am wearing them, and start belaying my friends and realize i’m still wearing them.
If you ask me, their comfort is one of their bigges benefits, and as long as their performance is enough for my day to day climbing i will happily wear this type of shoes 90% of the time.
Price / Value
Unlike most of La Sportiva’s top shoes, these shoes are aimed for beginners too, and that’s why they are a bargain of around 70$.
For this price, their value is almost unreal, a beginner shoe that can be worn even when you advance, does great on any slabs, performs good in overhangs and feels super comfortable.
If you’re just beginning to climb, or are a seasoned pro, these shoes can be your daily driver. They perform on most routes, are very nice to wear, are durable and cheap. For the price it’s also hard to find another option that is as versatile as these.
If you’re trying to send your hardcore project route, then this shoe might be not your best fit, but for good performance with top-of-the-line comfort these are very high on my list.
When it comes down to just getting your climbing in, me and my friends have always been glad we bough them, and we have been rocking them inside the boulder gym, climbing gym, outdoor pitches, boulder problems in winter and summer. A great all-rounder!