Have you just purchased a brand new pair of climbing shoes, but not sure how to break them in?
Most shoes, especially climbing shoes, will need to be broken in. It can be quite a frustrating and painful process, but it doesn’t have to be like this.
Let’s talk about some simple methods on how to break in climbing shoes!
Types of Climbing Shoes
There are three types of climbing shoes:
How to Break in Climbing Shoes?
Most climbing shoes are made of plastic or leather. Since leather can stretch more efficiently, you can expand your shoes.
Stretching climbing shoes is another approach to improve your footwear comfort if they feel too tight.
However, take into consideration that you will only be able to stretch the upper portion of the shoe. The toe cap and heel and are made of rubber, which means that it will return to its original shape.
How to Shrink Climbing Shoes?
After wearing your climbing shoes after a couple of months or years, they might stretch too much and feel loose. Your shoes must feel snugged for a better grip when climbing. Therefore, you can apply certain methods to shrink them.
Importance of Choosing the Correct Shoe Size
Remember that you should always choose a climbing shoe that will fit your climbing needs.
Some are best for multi-pitch ascents, while others are more suited for overhung sport routes and mountaineering. Apart from this aspect, your climbing shoes should also fit snugly around your feet.
They must be tight enough to create a secure grip without causing pain or discomfort after using them for extended periods.
How Tight Should Climbing Shoes Be?
Each climbing shoe brand uses a unique size chart that displays the proper shoe size according to your regular footwear.
This is because each manufacturer designs a different shoe layout and ultimately change your shoe size. For example, La Sportiva is an excellent shoe brand that offers durable climbing shoes.
However, they tend to be wider and bigger. Therefore, you should try to reduce the size by 1.5 to 2 sizes.
You can also choose a climbing shoe based on your toes positioning and heel comfort. Ideally, your toes should be curved vaguely at the knuckles to eliminate any crevice between the inside of the shoe and your toes.
They should also lay flat on the sole. If you feel that your toes are clumped, it’s the wrong size.
In regards to the heel, the shoes must have a tight grip around it. You can do this by tiptoeing and assessing if the back of the shoe rubs roughly your Achilles tendon.
If it does, it can damage your skin and cause blisters. On the other hand, the shoe size might be too big if your feet slip out of it when you stand on your toes.
Some people might say that wearing shoes that are too tight doesn’t cause any harm, but they’re greatly mistaken. There are certain health issues that can develop from using wrong climbing shoes, such as:
- Nail Bed Infections
- Athlete’s Foot
- Hallux rigidus (the big toe becomes stiff due to joint damage)
- Subungual Hematoma
Most of the previous issues cause pain and discomfort in the early stages. However, if your feet are exposed to these conditions for an extended period of time, it can lead to chronic infections and deformity.
Some people have even required surgery due to mobility issues and stiffness.
Climbing can be a wonderful experience if you wear proper climbing shoes that feel comfortable and tight. You will be able to enjoy it more and improve your climbing skills at the same time. Rock climbing does not always equal pain.