This article was originally published here.
Put it this way, climbing shoes aren’t strictly necessary but not wearing them will hinder your ability to climb.
Climbing shoes are very different to any other shoes. They are made to provide extra grip on uneven rock surfaces, and we’re not just talking about the soles – the edges, heel and toe are designed to stop you slipping too.
The fit is different too. Climbing shoes are made to securely fit your foot with no wiggle room, meaning you get more power from your entire foot while allowing you to 'feel' the rock beneath you.
It might be tempting to try climbing in ordinary shoes, but because of these differences, you’ll actually be very uncomfortable, not to mention less stable.
In contrast to climbing shoes regular shoes don't do any of the above, if they did they would be very painful to walk around on day to day.