A good set of climbing shoes are key to your effective climbing regime. Slippy, uncomfortable shoes will only wreck your climb and your feet.
So how do you know what shoes are suitable, do you need to have different shoes for rock climbing, indoor climbing or bouldering? Are straps or laces better? Its a bit of a minefield to be honest but I’ll attempt to cover all bases in order to help you to make the best decision.
So indoor or outdoor climbing shoe? Shoes that are specific to indoor climbing work just as well on outdoor rock climbing routes and the reverse is the same however if you are looking purely at a performance specialist shoe then there are some things to consider. Softer shoes with a curved mid sole are generally preferred for indoor and bouldering routes these also tend to have a low cut around the ankle area to provide more movement. Rock climbing outdoors on routes with many cracks, tend to use shoes with stiffer midsoles and high cut ankles to protect the foot and give more support. A pointier stiff toe also comes in handy for jamming in cracks.
Rubber? In my opinion the stickier the better however this generally means that the sole is softer and this in turn means that they are more prone to wearing out quicker than a stiff hard rubber. I tend to smear a lot and like to feel the shape of the rock as best I can for the tiniest of footholds. On the flip side of this harder soles will protect your feet more and will allow you to really dig in anddeal some punishment to the wall. If you tend not to rely on the smear tactics I would go for a stiffershoe and save your foot arch with the support.