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Do You Wear Socks with Climbing Shoes

do you wear socks with climbing shoes

If you are new to rock climbing or other sports climbing activity for that matter, it is normal for you to ask questions about anything related to the sport. This action is normal, especially if you are gathering information related to the sport. One question that newbie climbers ask me as an experienced climber is about wearing socks during the climb.

“Do you wear socks with climbing shoes?” is a normal question I received from climbers just starting to learn the sport. The answer to the question is all about you and your preference as a climber. Yes, you can use socks if you need to. But nowadays, the majority of climbing enthusiasts do not wear socks anymore due to the advancement of shoe manufacturing specializing in sports climbing. If you need to get more information about this topic, read on my friend.

Do You Wear Socks With Rock Climbing Shoes?

During the early days of rock climbing, climbers used to wear socks when doing climbing activities. But as years go by and more companies are manufacturing specialized climbing shoes, a lot of climbers prefer wearing the shoe without socks for a number of reasons. For one, climbing shoes need to be tight to make the toe close to the surface to give the climber the feel and comfort during the climb.

Another downside of wearing socks is the tendency to slip, especially if your feet begin sweating during the climb. Although, there have been many climbers claiming that you do not feel anything if you do not have the socks in the shoe. However, if your climbing shoe fits well and should be the exact size, the toes must be the exact feel relevant to the surface.

Climbing shoes must be tight, and if the shoes are in the right fit, then wearing socks is not needed. However, I still know a lot of climbers wearing socks along with their climbing shoes. The reasons for them wearing those socks vary but can be summarized in one word: comfort. So, if you need to wear socks during the climb, that’s is definitely okay.

Wearing Socks and Climbing Shoes

Wearing socks along with the shoes is all about preference. In my years of rock climbing, I have seen climbers being bareback while others use socks for comfort. To those wearing socks, I cannot disagree with them as long as they are comfortable during the climb. An old friend of mine who has been ankle socks during the climb said that it rescues hot spots while also reducing the effort when taking the shoes off the feet.

It is common knowledge that climbing shoes are built to be without socks. However, some climbers prefer wearing socks instead of wearing shoes bareback. Why is this so? Please find below the different advantages of having socks on your feet.

The Upsides of Wearing Socks During the Climb

Preventing Odor

One way to prevent odor in your feet during the climb is by wearing socks. The feet tend to get sweaty during the climb, creating a smelly odor once the feet are dry. However, this can be prevented by using a sock during the climbing activity. As long as you are comfortable with having socks and know how to adjust, you will be fine.

In addition, socks are an expensive way to eliminate those bad odors after doing a climbing activity. Wearing socks will basically eliminate moisture, which discourages bacteria inside the shoes to prevent the foul odor from happening. It absorbs the sweat to prevent the foul odor bacteria from thriving inside the shoes.

Making a Tight Fit

Climbing shoes should be a snug fit during the climb to be comfortable in doing the climbing activity. There had been an assumption that wearing socks during the climb would result in slippage, but that is actually not the case. The worn socks will make the shoe fitting tighter, which means comfort during the climb. But it will depend with the thickness of the worn socks.

There are climbers that I know who are using thin pairs of socks for their climbing activity. Always be reminded that our feet usually swell during the climb, which means you will need to consider the tightness of your shoe before considering wearing socks. Swelling may increase the tightness of your shoes during the climb, which will be uncomfortable for you.

Preventing Blisters

Having blisters during the climb can be annoying and will be disturbing the quality of your climb and, of course, the enjoyment level. However, wearing socks can reduce if not eliminate the friction between the shoes and the toes as it eliminates moisture which usually helps in formulating blisters on your feet. Different types and sizes of socks can help the climber in preventing blisters.

Helps in Talking On and Off the Shoes Easily

They say that taking on and off the shoes is difficult, especially if you are wearing climbing shoes. But if you have socks on your feet, it will be easy to remove the shoes after a climbing session because of the flexibility and the slippery surface.

Provides Comfort

Wearing socks along with your climbing shoes will make you comfortable. The padding created by wearing the socks will provide additional comfort, which can result in a long climb.


Do you wear socks with climbing shoes? The answer to this question will depend on you. Although it is popular for climbers to climb without socks on their feet, you can still wear socks should you want to. I know many climbers who achieved an excellent performance by wearing socks during the climb, which is very impressive.

Wearing socks with your climbing shoe is all about your preference. If you like it, then give it a go as long as you are comfortable. The most important thing is to maximize the climbing activity to achieve excellent performance and longer distance with or without socks. It is all about enjoying and maximizing the benefits of all climbing activities.

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