How to Break in Climbing Shoes: 5 Essential Tips To Follow!

How to Break in Climbing Shoes: 5 Essential Tips To Follow!

Break in climbing shoes

Break in Climbing Shoes – Everything You Need to Know About It!

Finding the appropriate pair of climbing shoes may be challenging, and only a small percentage of climbers are successful at doing so on their first try. Finding a comfortable pair of shoes that flatter your figure may be a lengthy process that requires a lot of experimentation. However, you may need to try on many different pairs of shoes to find the right pair for your preferred climbing style.

However, the amount of time spent to break in climbing shoes can significantly impact how well they fit. When you first test out a new pair of climbing shoes, it is natural for them to feel a bit uncomfortable, but as you continue to use them more frequently, they will gradually break in and become more comfortable. It is essential to keep in mind that even well-fitting shoes may be stiff when first purchased and may take some time to break in before becoming comfortable.



















Break in climbing shoes is a challenge for climbers of all experience levels, whether they are new to rock climbing or seasoned veterans. Excessively tight climbing shoes might create unneeded discomfort, even to the point where you will need to remove them after each rock climbing or bouldering session because they are so uncomfortable. The solution to this issue is to search for shoes that properly fit your foot.

This instruction manual will provide some useful pointers on how to break in climbing shoes so that you may use them without causing discomfort to your toes. You will find that it does not require advanced knowledge but rather just some common sense and basic foot care.

Break in Climbing Shoes – Buying Tips

Before we get started, let us look at some fundamental recommendations for purchasing climbing shoes. These are going to help get you started on your journey!

Important things to keep in mind

  • To begin, find out what size shoe you normally wear on the street; this is only the beginning.
  • Make sure that the various parts of the shoe are not too loose or too tight; rather, the shoe should be a good fit and make you feel safe.
  • Get rid of any dead space in the area between your toes and your heel, but make sure the shoe does not fit so closely that it causes hot areas.
  • It is possible that the style and measurement of shoe that works well for someone else would not be as comfortable for you.
  • Never buy a pair of shoes simply because you like how they appear.
  • Because your feet tend to enlarge during the day (anything from half size to a whole size), we recommend that you try on shoes in the afternoon.
  • Rubber does not stretch; rather, it may grow supple and comfy with time.

How Much Stretch Capacity Does a Pair of Climbing Shoes Have?

A few things mostly control the amount that climbing shoes can stretch. These factors include the material that your climbing shoes are made of, such as lined or unlined leather, as well as the amount of rubber in your shoe and where it is located. Climbing shoes with unlined leather uppers stretch the greatest, sometimes even up to full shoe size. There is a possibility that lined leather will only expand by a half size, whereas synthetic uppers rarely stretch at all. When purchasing a new pair of climbing shoes, it is essential to keep these considerations in mind.

Rubber will not stretch, as was indicated in the introduction. On the other hand, the following techniques are geared toward expanding the top portion of the climbing shoe.


Helpful Tips to break in climbing shoes

Let us talk about how to break in climbing shoes now that you have selected the proper pair and know that you should anticipate stretching. Here are five easy procedures you can follow to break in climbing shoes without experiencing any discomfort or getting blisters.

Take a shower while you are still wearing your climbing shoes.

This is a good way to break in climbing shoes.

Putting on your climbing shoes while you are in the shower and then covering them with hot water is the most effective approach to assist move the shoes out of their box form and stretching them out. This might sound unusual, but it is the best way.

After unpacking, take a hot shower for five to ten minutes while wiggling your foot and toes regularly. Under the hot water, making minute motions with your feet, such as wriggling your toes and flexing and extending your foot, can assist your shoes in stretching out.

The hot water may bleed the colors out of your shoes, so your feet may get somewhat stained. Have no fear; neither your foot nor your shoe will suffer any damage due to this.

After getting out of the shower, you should wear them for another 15 to 30 minutes as you stroll around the home. After that, remove them and place some newspaper inside so they may air dry for a couple of hours. It is a good idea to wear them for a brief climbing exercise before they have completely dried; the movement will help them adapt to your foot better. This should be done before they are completely dry. After climbing, apply some more newspaper to ensure your shoes are dry.

Break in climbing shoes
Break in climbing shoes


















After you use them, they should already be stretched out and comfy enough for you to wear throughout your next rock climbing, indoor climbing, or bouldering session.

To stretch your shoes, even more, you may need to repeat this technique, just like the other ways listed below. Everything hinges on the dimensions and form of your feet and how fast a certain pair of climbing shoes begins to feel natural and relaxed on your feet.

Put ice bags inside your shoes to freeze them.

The second approach, which involves freezing your shoes with ice bags, may seem just as strange and out of the ordinary as the first, but it is equally as successful.

Since you know that water expands when it freezes, placing water inside the shoe and allowing it to freeze will cause the water to expand, stretching your new pair of shoes.

Utilizing an ice bag as a container for water in each of your shoes is the most effective method. For this purpose, you may get away with using regular plastic bags or zip-lock bags filled with water and placing them in each shoe. After that, you should fasten or velcro your shoes loosely and then put them in the freezer for around ten to twelve hours.

After spending last night in the freezer, remove your climbing shoes and allow them to sit out for a time that will allow them to thaw completely. Even while we said that using this strategy is just as effective as bathing while wearing your shoes, that statement is not entirely accurate. The use of ice bags may cause your shoes to expand less than normal, and you may find that you need to repeat the procedure more frequently, but you will be able to stretch them to get a better fit. Another advantage of utilizing cold water is that it prevents you from having to dye your feet a different color, which is always a benefit.

Give Your New Shoes a Blow Dry

Blow-drying your shoes is yet another technique that uses heat to assist in stretching.

First, you should use the blow dryer to heat the shoes after snugly stuffing them with fabric or socks. Be careful to set the dryer to its highest setting and let the leather upper warm-up for two to three minutes. While doing this, twist and bend the shoe a few times. At the same time, press the fabric or socks on the inside of the shoe, trying to pack it as firmly as you can. Return to the blow dryer and continue warming the shoe for an additional two to three minutes.

One final step is to bring the shoes to room temperature and remove the cloth from the inside. Put on your climbing shoes and test them out on a short route or boulder problem if you have the chance to do so; if not, take a minute to wonder about it and get your bearings.

The method will progressively expand your shoes; therefore, you should continue this process as often as necessary, alternating between heating the shoe and flexing or filling it.


Protect Your Feet by Donning a Plastic Liner

It is not an easier task to eliminate the tightness from climbing shoes, and most of the tightness is the friction between your feet and the shoe. Most of us do not understand how constrictive they are until we try on a new pair and cross our fingers that they loosen up after a short period.

Before inserting your foot into the climbing shoe, you should first cover your foot in saran wrap or a plastic liner. This will help your foot break in climbing shoes more quickly. You will understand that it is much easier to insert your foot into the shoe now and that it is much more pleasant to wear them in this manner for an extended period, in contrast to how uneasy it felt to wear them before you wrapped your feet.

Because it may be used in other ways for breaking in synthetic uppers that do not stretch but require breaking in, this technique is the most effective if you need to stretch your shoes by a tiny amount. Additionally, this is a terrific approach for just that little bit of additional stretching if you bought shoes that were not too tight to begin with but still needed.

Always climb with socks on, even while using climbing shoes.

The fifth and last approach that we will go over here is also the one that is likely the easiest: put on some socks.

Many discussions have been done over whether or not climbers should wear socks when they are on the rock, but it is less controversial to use socks to break in climbing shoes.

The easiest approach to stretching your shoes is to do it when worn with socks. This is because the additional volume inside your shoes will assist them in being more stretched out. For this, we recommend choosing socks with a greater thread count since they have a bigger volume, which will help this process function better and more quickly.

You can check this article for more details.

How Will You Know When you Completely Break in Climbing Shoes?

Finally, you might be curious about how you can tell whether your climbing shoe has been properly broken to its maximum potential.

Determining how long it takes to break in climbing shoes is strongly connected to this topic. However, there’s no one solution, although there are some indications. The first thing to consider is how snug the shoe felt when you initially put it on after purchasing it; if it was already very comfortable when you first put it on, then you should perform some little stretching and use one of the procedures described above just once.



















Your brand-new pair of climbing shoes should fit like a glove in no time at all if you make sure to buy a correct fitting as soon as possible, combine it with one or more of the procedures outlined above, and repeat as many times as is necessary.

Final Thoughts

We recognize that to break in climbing shoes, it may be a challenging and time-consuming task. But if you follow the appropriate steps, you should be able to have your brand new pair of climbing shoes broken in and feel as comfortable as a second skin in little time at all.

We are sure this article has offered you with everything you need to know about how to break in climbing shoes and that it will help you get your next pair of shoes stretched out without them being unpleasant for hours while climbing.


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