Evolv Venga kids rock climbing shoes

Kids Rock Climbing Shoes
Evolv Venga
$45, 11 oz. (pair of youth size 5)
Sizes: unisex kids 11 to youth 5
evolvsports.com

Kids are often happy to climb in their low-cut hiking shoes up to a certain age—then they want a pair of real rock shoes like mom and dad. When my 11-year-old son decided this summer he wanted to graduate to sticky climbing shoes, I got him the Venga. Unless your kid is a climbing prodigy, the Venga is the sort of all-around climbing shoe that he or she needs: comfortable (especially for multi-pitch routes); easy to pull on and off with its one-strap, hook-and-loop closure; and sporting outsole rubber that’s sticky enough to make your kid feel like the next Alex Honnold.

My son wore the shoes on single- and multi-pitch routes on the granite at Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park, and had only good words for their comfort and stickiness. The perforated synthetic uppers and mesh tongue keep feet cool on hot walls. An adjustable heel strap lets you shrink or expand fit by a full size, giving your child two or three seasons in them. And you’ll wish you could buy adult rock shoes for this price.

—Michael Lanza