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How to Break in Climbing Shoes

When purchasing climbing shoes, they may feel too snug at first. While the rubber sole and rand will not flex much if at all, the uppers may allow for some relaxation.

Finding the ideal break-in method for your climbing shoes can take some trial and error. But there are a few tried-and-true approaches to get your feet into new shoes and break them in quickly.


Rock climbing shoes are designed to fit snugly, in order to provide optimal grip on rocks. When new, however, these can be too tight which may cause pain and discomfort when climbing. Breaking in new climbing shoes is essential for making them comfortable enough for regular use and prevents this from occurring.

If your shoes are too tight to climb into, or if you just want to expedite break-in time, there are a few methods that can help them stretch out. But it’s essential to remember that each method takes some effort and patience so you get maximum benefit from your shoe.

1. Soaking Your Shoes In Water

For optimal shoe break-in, soak your feet in hot water before taking a shower. This will allow the leather to stretch out and mold to your foot’s shape and positioning.

2. Dry Your Shoes Out

For extra dryness, try placing your shoes in the oven; just be careful not to overheat as this may melt the glue holding them together and render them unusable.

3. Break Your Shoes In

It is always wise to wear your shoes when breaking them in, as this helps the soles mold to your foot shape. You can do this by walking around the house or jogging outside.

4. Utilizing Walls at Your Gym

To achieve optimal break-in results, try climbing in your shoes against a wall at either your local gym or home. This will quickly stretch them out and make them more comfortable for you to walk around in.

5. Take Advantage of Thick Socks

Wearing thick socks over your climbing shoes will help them to stretch out. Start by starting with thin socks, gradually increasing the thickness until you achieve full stretch.

Your shoes’ stretchiness depends on a few factors, including the amount of rubber in the upper, whether they are lined or unlined and what kind of material was used to craft them. Synthetic materials won’t stretch as far as leather ones will; additionally, linings may limit how far your shoes will stretch out over time.

Wearing Socks

Add socks to climbing shoes to improve the fit. This can be especially important if your shoes have become less snug over time and no longer offer you a secure hold on the rock face.

socks can help prevent foul odors from accumulating inside shoes, which is often an issue due to sweat and moisture from your feet causing a musty stench to develop inside the footwear.

Climbing cracks, especially where rocky surfaces often get slippery and smelly, creates the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi to grow, leading to unpleasant odors in your shoes.

Good news! You can completely avoid this problem by wearing socks with your climbing shoes when in the gym. Doing so keeps them clean and smelling fresher for longer!

Socks can also protect your feet from rubbing and blisters, especially if your climbing shoes have a snug fit that may cause discomfort. A pair of thin socks or liner socks may help alleviate this issue and reduce the likelihood of blisters.

Wearing socks can make it much simpler to put on and take off your climbing shoes. The sock fills in any gaps between your foot and shoe, allowing your foot to slide onto and off without any pain or discomfort.

One potential drawback to using socks while breaking in your climbing shoes is that they may decrease sensitivity of your feet. This could be especially hazardous when traversing a crack where you need to feel edges and corners of the rock face, or performing heel hooks – an advanced maneuver used for precision climbing.

To prevent this, opt for climbing shoes that fit well and don’t need too much stretching. Doing so makes it less likely you will need to use socks when breaking them in.

Applying Heat

Climbing shoes must be comfortable and fit your foot securely for the best grip when climbing. Shoes that feel too tight can cause rubbing, blisters, or even injury; so the best way to guarantee a secure fit is by breaking them in beforehand.

Breaking in climbing shoes can be done a number of ways, but one of the most efficient is applying heat. This simple step helps your shoes stretch out and mold to your feet over time.

Start by filling a sink with hot water and soaking your shoes for several minutes. This will soften the leather and enable them to stretch more quickly.

Once the hot water has seeped through your shoes and softened their leather, air dry them and allow them to breathe for a bit. Doing this allows the shoes to stretch out and dry completely so that your shoes have an ideal, snug fit.

Additionally, you should take your shoes off and walk around in them as much as possible to allow the soles to mold to your feet more quickly and make climbing in them much simpler.

Another way to get your shoes to stretch out is by placing them in the freezer. This helps them mold to your feet more effectively, although it takes a bit longer than other methods.

After some time has passed, you can take off your shoes and try them on again. If they still feel too tight, repeat this process by adding more times to the shoelaces.

Depending on the material of your shoes, it may take longer to break them in. Leather climbing shoes tend to be more flexible than synthetic ones.

However, the more often you stretch your shoes out, the faster they will break in. This is especially true if you use leather shoes that have been dyed.

There are various methods to break in your new climbing shoes, and each has a different effect. To find the one that works best for you, it’s best to experiment and see what works best.


Walking daily can have numerous health benefits, such as strengthening bones and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It also reduces stress levels and promotes better sleep quality. Furthermore, walking is an affordable form of exercise that doesn’t require special equipment or skillsets.

If you have never taken a significant amount of time out to walk, start with some short, easy walks around your neighborhood. Over time, gradually increase both the distance and intensity of your walks; you might find that enjoying this type of activity motivates you to continue with it.

The primary objective of this method is to give your feet time to adapt to their new shoes without wearing them too much. Doing so will give your feet time to rest and adjust, as well as allowing the shoes to stretch more easily.

Once you have taken a few easy walks in your new shoes, try increasing the length of each walk and adding more routes. This will help them break in more gradually and effectively while also relieving any pain associated with breaking them in.

There are various methods of doing this, so you must decide which works best for your needs. A great way to find out is by asking a shoe fitter or attending a demo session.

Climbing shoes are an investment, so make sure they fit correctly. A pair of shoes that is too large can cause you to slip on small footholds or edges while one that’s too tight will leave your foot sliding and reduce precision when climbing walls.

To determine the perfect shoe size for you, stop by a shoe store or climbing shop that has a demo wall and try on various pairs of shoes. Doing this ensures that you find the right fit without ending up with shoes that are either too big or too small.

As a general guideline, opt for one whole size smaller than your usual shoe size when shopping for flat-leather shoes. Synthetic or leather shoes with synthetic linings tend to stretch more than their unlined counterparts.


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