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How to Break in Rock Climbing Shoes

Are you trying to ease into rock climbing shoes but don’t know how? Breaking in your new rock climbing shoes can be a daunting task. However, with the correct techniques and advice, this process can be made simpler. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything from choosing the perfect pair of rock climbing shoes for you all the way through breaking them in without making any common mistakes along the way. We’ll also discuss some alternatives if breaking in isn’t an option for you. So get ready as we take a deep dive into how to break-in those brand new rock climbing shoes.

Choosing the Right Rock Climbing Shoes

When selecting the proper rock climbing shoes, there are numerous elements to take into account. Deciding the appropriate shoe for your needs should be the primary consideration. For bouldering, sport climbing, trad climbing and multi-pitch routes respectively, specialized rock climbing shoes are available to suit the activity. Bouldering shoes tend to be more flexible and have a flat profile while sport and trad climbing shoes usually have a slightly downturned shape for increased precision on small holds. Additionally, some models come with features like asymmetrical lacing or Velcro straps that can help customize the fit even further.

Next up is considering how your chosen pair fits on your feet. It’s important to find a shoe that offers both comfort and performance; if it’s too tight it will cause pain but if it’s too loose then you won’t get enough support from the shoe when you’re pushing off small edges or smearing across slabs of granite. Comparing different brands in-store will help you select the best fitting pair for your performance and budget.

Speaking of budgets, cost should always be taken into account when selecting any piece of outdoor equipment – especially when looking at rock climbing shoes since they range widely in price depending on materials used and design features offered (such as those mentioned above). Generally speaking though, entry level models start around $50-$60 while higher end options can reach upwards of $150-$200 or more per pair – so it’s important to set a realistic budget before shopping.

Choosing the right rock climbing shoes is essential to ensure comfort and safety while scaling a wall. Therefore, it’s important to understand how to break in your new pair of rock climbing shoes before attempting an ascent.

Breaking in Your Rock Climbing Shoes

Pre-Breaking In Tips:

Before you even attempt to break in your rock climbing shoes, there are a few key tips that can help make the process easier. Before committing to a purchase, thoroughly research your options and try on several pairs of shoes for the best fit. Prior to obtaining your rock climbing shoes, ensure that you select a pair which is the correct fit – not too snug or overly loose. Try on various models to identify the ones that feel best for you. It’s also important to check the material of the shoe; some materials may require more time and effort when breaking them in than others.

Wearing and Stretching Techniques:

Once you have purchased the right pair of shoes for yourself, it’s time to start wearing them in. Start off by wearing them around your house as much as possible; this will help soften up any stiff areas and give you an idea of how they fit while allowing them to mold more easily to your feet over time. Additionally, stretching techniques such as using a shoe stretcher or rolling up a towel inside each shoe can help with overall comfort levels when wearing these shoes during rock climbing sessions.

After putting all that effort into breaking in those new rock climbing shoes, don’t forget about aftercare maintenance. Regularly cleaning dirt from the surface helps keep bacteria away from forming on its surface which could lead to bad odors or skin irritation over long periods of use. It is essential to give the shoes sufficient time to dry out between usages, avoiding moisture accumulation within the material that could cause harm in the long run if frequently exposed to wet conditions such as those encountered on outdoor trips like hiking or mountain biking. Lastly, storing these shoes in their original box (or another airtight container) helps keep dust out while providing extra cushioning support against any potential damage due to regular movement or transportation.

After investing effort in properly fitting your rock climbing shoes, you can guarantee they’ll be comfy and supportive for future ascents. However, it is important to also avoid common mistakes when breaking in these specialized pieces of equipment.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Breaking in Rock Climbing Shoes

Breaking in rock climbing shoes can be tricky, yet mistakes are easily avoidable with some knowledge. Not doing enough research before buying a pair of shoes is one mistake that climbers often make. Prior to purchasing rock climbing shoes, consulting with experienced climbers and reading reviews can ensure you select the appropriate shoe for your needs.

Another mistake is not taking enough time to break in the shoes properly. Rock climbing shoes need time to mold around your foot, so take them out on several short climbs before committing to a longer climb or multi-pitch route. This will ensure they’re comfortable and won’t cause any blisters or hot spots during use.

Finally, don’t forget about foot care after using rock climbing shoes. Take care to inspect your climbing shoes for any signs of wear or tear, as replacing them may be necessary when this occurs. Take off sweaty socks immediately after each climb and let your feet air out until completely dry before putting on new socks or storing away your gear for next time. Make sure you also keep an eye out for any wear or tear – this could mean it’s time for a new pair of kicks.

By following these tips, you can avoid making rookie mistakes when breaking in rock climbing shoes – no matter how green behind the ears you might be. With proper research, taking time to break in the shoes and paying attention to foot care during and after use, your rock climbing shoes will last longer and keep your feet comfortable while out on the wall.

Awareness of missteps when donning rock climbing shoes is key for a secure and enjoyable climb. Alternatives to breaking in these shoes are also available for those who prefer not to go through the traditional process.

Alternatives to Breaking in Rock Climbing Shoes

Experienced rock climbers understand the struggle of wearing in a fresh pair of climbing shoes – an often uncomfortable process. Fortunately, there are other options available to make the process of breaking in rock climbing shoes more comfortable and convenient. Fortunately, there are alternatives to breaking in rock climbing shoes that can make your experience more comfortable and convenient.

Renting or Borrowing a Pair of Shoes for Short-Term Use: If you’re only planning on using the shoes for one climb or just need them for a short period of time, renting or borrowing might be the best option. Many stores have rental programs where you can rent out different types of climbing shoes to try before committing to buying them. For those just starting out, borrowing a pair of shoes from an experienced climber can be a great way to get the advice and guidance needed when it comes to finding the right fit and type of shoe. Additionally, many experienced climbers are willing to lend their extra pairs out to newcomers looking for some advice and guidance when it comes to finding the right fit and type of shoe.

Purchasing Pre-Broken In Shoes:

If you want something more permanent than rentals but don’t want the hassle (or pain) associated with breaking in your own pair, then pre-broken in shoes may be worth considering. Some brands provide pre-worn versions of their bestsellers, allowing customers to bypass the break-in process and obtain shoes that are ready for use right away. While they tend to cost slightly more than regular new ones, this convenience could save both time and money down the road as well as keep feet from becoming too sore after long climbs.

Finally, if all else fails and none of these options seem like they’ll work for you, then wearing comfortable nonclimbing footwear while scaling rocks may still be possible depending on how easy or difficult each route is expected to be. The key here is making sure whatever type of shoe is chosen has good grip so that slipping does not occur during any part of the climb – especially at higher altitudes where traction becomes even more important. For those who prefer lightweight materials without sacrificing supportiveness however; trail running sneakers often provide enough cushioning and stability needed when tackling challenging routes outdoors without having any problems with durability either.

FAQs in Relation to How to Break in Rock Climbing Shoes

How do you break in climbing shoes?

Breaking in climbing shoes can be a tricky process, but it is necessary for optimal performance. Start by wearing the shoes around the house to loosen them up and get used to their feel. Once you’re comfortable with that, wear them while bouldering or doing other low-level activities on easy terrain so your feet can adjust gradually. If they are still too tight after this step, try wetting the inside of your shoe with water and then putting them on while they’re damp; as they dry out, they should conform more closely to your foot shape. Finally, if all else fails consider using an oven: put each shoe in its own brown paper bag and heat at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes – no longer. This should help soften any remaining stiffness without damaging the material of your shoe.

How many hours to break in climbing shoes?

Generally speaking, the amount of hours needed to break in climbing shoes will depend on the material they are made from. Leather shoes usually require around 20-30 hours of wear before they become comfortable while synthetic materials may need only 10-15 hours. It’s important to take your time with this process as breaking them in too quickly can cause discomfort or even damage the shoe. Additionally, wearing socks that fit well and adjusting laces regularly during use can help speed up the breaking-in period significantly.

Do you have to break in rock climbing shoes?

Yes, rock climbing shoes must be broken in before they can be used effectively. The process of breaking them in involves wearing the shoes around for a few hours each day until they are comfortable and flexible enough to allow your feet to move freely while you climb. It may take some time to make the shoes supple and comfortable enough for efficient climbing, but it will be worth it in the end. Once broken in, rock climbing shoes will provide better grip, control, and comfort during climbs.

Are rock climbing shoes supposed to hurt?

No, rock climbing shoes should not hurt. If your shoes are causing discomfort, it is likely due to an improper fit or the wrong type of shoe for your needs. Properly fitted and suitable shoes should provide support and grip without causing discomfort. It’s important to get the right size when buying climbing shoes – too small can cause painful pressure points on toes; too large will reduce sensitivity and performance. Additionally, different types of rock climbing require different kinds of footwear – make sure you buy the correct kind for your activity level and terrain.


In conclusion, breaking in rock climbing shoes is a crucial part of the process when it comes to ensuring that your feet are comfortable and secure while on the wall. Breaking in your shoes correctly can help prevent blisters, improve performance and make sure you have an enjoyable experience. Still, do it wrong or too vigorously and you can end up with soreness or worse – so go slow. Remember that there are also alternatives available such as pre-broken-in options which may be worth considering depending on what works best for you.

Discover the best tips and techniques for breaking in your rock climbing shoes with our expert-reviewed outdoor website. Get ready to conquer any mountain with confidence!