The combination of physical skills and technique has always been the most important trade in any sport, but there is no doubt that with better tools, you can certainly become a better athlete. For swimmers, streamlined suits can help them be faster in doing laps. A well-chosen pair of shoes prevents ankle injuries for runners. Comfy shorts are chosen by volleyball players so that movement is easier. That being said, sports climbers also have to be critical in choosing their weapon of choice aka their climbing shoes.
There is a big variety to choose from, but beginners face many questions. Do I pick one that's two sizes smaller than my usual size? Velcro or lace? The one that's flat or curved? There are many aspects to consider, but hopefully after reading this article, it will be clearer.
Velcro shoes are the shoes typically used for bouldering or short routes. The pro is that you can take them on/off very quickly, especially useful with very agressive shoes (boulderers sometimes take shoes on/off between each attemt on a hard boulder). The con is that its harder to tight the shoes perfectly around the foot, but with every year, the velcro system is getting better and better with that.
Laced shoes are typically the shoes intended for longer routes or prolonged time of usage. The con is that takes time to put them on, so you don't want to do this every few minutes. Biggest pro is that the shoe can be tightened better around the foot. Even after getting a bit sweatty, you will still feel secure enough for long continuous climbing.
This type is the over-all the most comfortable type. They are designed to be worn all day. Its usual flat camber lets the foot fit in a relaxed position, making it best for long multi-pitch climbs as well. It's great for the novice who does not want to sacrifice comfort but requires stickiness of a rubber sole. The support of the foot for smalle footholds is lower than with the other types but for easy and moderate climbing, it suffices.
The mid-ground of climbing shoes, this jack of all trades type offers a camber that is subtle and slightly bended which makes it more comfortable than an aggressive shoe. It's a good transition from the neutral shoe when you want a pair that's designed for more technical climbing. This type allows climbers to stand on smaller holds and put more weight on them, as the bend in the shoe allows for better force transfer to the tip on the shoe.
Aggressive is the exact term for this shoe - just by seeing it you can feel the extreme camber. Its high heel tension lets your foot get into a powerful position which allows flexibility and edging. Preferred by climbers who specialize in bouldering and high-end sport climbing. Aggressive down-turn enables maximum force to be focused to the very tip of the shoe, but it commes with a price. The shoe can get very tight and uncomfortable after a short period of time, so it take time and will to get used to it.