How to Break in Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes are an essential piece of equipment for any climber, whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned pro. However, breaking in a new pair of climbing shoes can be a painful and uncomfortable process. In this article, we will explore different methods for breaking in climbing shoes, including stretching, wearing them around the house, and climbing in them. We will also discuss the importance of proper fit and the potential risks of not breaking in your shoes properly. By following these tips, you can ensure that your new climbing shoes will be comfortable and perform at their best.

how to break in climbing shoes

Importance of Proper Fit

When it comes to breaking in climbing shoes, the first and most important step is ensuring that they fit properly. Ill-fitting shoes can cause a variety of problems, including blisters, calluses, and even injury. This is why it’s crucial to take the time to try on different styles and sizes to find the perfect fit for your feet. When trying on climbing shoes, make sure that they are snug but not tight. Your toes should be able to wiggle freely and there should be a little bit of space at the end of the shoe. Keep in mind that leather shoes will stretch, so it’s better to have a shoe that is slightly tighter than one that is too loose. This will help to avoid discomfort and injuries while climbing.

Stretching Techniques

One of the most effective ways to break in climbing shoes is to stretch them out. This can be done by applying heat, such as with a hair dryer, or by using stretching tools, such as shoe trees or stretching devices. Keep in mind that stretching leather shoes too much can damage them, so be sure to use a moderate amount of force and be consistent with your stretching routine. For example, if you’re using a hair dryer, hold it about 6 inches away from the shoe and move it around to avoid overheating any one area. Also, you can use stretching devices such as shoe trees to help the shoe conform to your foot shape over time. It’s important to note that stretching should be done gradually and with patience as over-stretching can damage the shoe and shorten your climbing shoe lifespan.

Wearing Them Around the House

Another way to break in climbing shoes is to wear them around the house for short periods of time. This can help to loosen up the leather and mold the shoe to your foot. Start by wearing them for a few minutes at a time and gradually increase the amount of time as the shoes begin to feel more comfortable. This method is especially effective when combined with stretching techniques. By wearing your shoes around the house, you can help to mold the shoe to your foot shape and make them more comfortable for climbing. This is a great way to break in your shoes without putting too much stress on your feet.

Climb in Them Often

The best way to break in climbing shoes is by climbing in them. This allows you to break in the shoes gradually, while also becoming accustomed to the feel and performance of the shoe. Start by climbing on easy routes or boulder problems and gradually increase the difficulty as the shoes become more comfortable. It’s also important to take breaks and rotate between multiple pairs of shoes to avoid overworking your feet. Climbing in your new shoes will help you to get used to the fit and feel of the shoe and will help to break them in faster. It’s important to take it slow and not to push yourself too hard, especially if you’re new to climbing.

Risks of Not Breaking In Climbing Shoes Properly

Not breaking in your climbing shoes properly can lead to a variety of problems. The most common issue is blisters and calluses caused by the shoe rubbing against your foot. This can be extremely painful and can make it difficult to climb. In some cases, ill-fitting or unbroken-in shoes can also lead to injuries such as sprained or broken toes. Furthermore, not breaking in your climbing shoes properly can also decrease your climbing performance, as you’ll be unable to feel and grip the surface as well as you should. This can be especially dangerous when climbing on more challenging routes. To avoid these issues, it’s crucial to take the time to break in your climbing shoes properly, using a combination of the methods outlined above.

Breaking in Climbing Shoes is Crucial

Breaking in climbing shoes is an essential step in ensuring that your shoes are comfortable and perform at their best. Remember to start by making sure that the shoes fit properly, then use stretching techniques, wear them around the house, and gradually climb in them. Don’t neglect the importance of breaking in your climbing shoes, as the risks of not doing so can lead to injuries, decreased climbing performance, and a significant decrease in your climbing experience. With a little patience and dedication, you’ll be able to break in your new climbing shoes and enjoy all the benefits that come with them.