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How Should Climbing Shoes Fit

how should climbing shoes fit

They say that the fitting of climbing shoes is way different compared to the other shoes everyone wears. That is precisely true. Climbing shoes are not meant to be comfortable but should be responsive and provide enough support to your foot. It should also have the ability to stick to the ground without skidding off.

But how should climbing shoes fit? How tight should climbing shoes be? Are climbing shoes supposed to hurt? The answer to these questions and the importance of having the right climbing shoes will be discussed in this article. Let me show you different information to help you discover the right fit and style of climbing shoes.

How Tight Should Climbing Shoes Be

Buying regular shoes is different compared to buying climbing shoes. In fact, it is usually our aim that the toes will not hit the front of the shoes, and there is a space around the other parts of the foot. In looking for climbing shoes, it is the complete opposite. The idea is to have all the parts of the shoe fit closely around your foot. This idea is the reason why it is not good to roam around wearing climbing shoes.

It is the nature of climbing that you will need a lot of pressure on your toes. However, if your toes are far or not in front of the shoe, you will not be able to control or feel your feet. In addition, if the fitting of your climbing shoes is not close enough to your foot, thus leaving some spots inside, especially in the heel, then the shoes can move around the foot, and you will tend to lose your balance.

In choosing the climbing shoes for beginners, look for a comfortable fitting for both of your feet. Meaning, the shoe must be a snug fit without causing any pain to your foot. However, after you start using it, it is ideal that the toes should have a slight bend and should be touching at the end part of the shoe. Always remember that any gaps found on the heel or under the arch might cause slippage or sliding.

Meanwhile, for the more experienced and advanced climbers, the ideal is tighter and performance-fitting shoes. The feel should be a snug fit comparable to a firm handshake but not bringing the pain on the foot. Also, with a tighter fit, you will need to remove your shoes regularly during the day for your toes to relax and get stretch.

Tips in Fitting Climbing Shoes

  • The heels should be a snug fit and secure. You want to avoid your shoe coming off your feet once you make the heel hook.
  • Both of your toes should fit precisely at the end part of the toe box and leaving no dead space.
  • The side of your foot should be a snug fit to your shoe. If your toes are fit in the toe box, but there is still space on the side, consider a lower-sized shoe.
  • When fitting the shoes, the best time to try them is at the end of the day where the feet are usually larger.
  • You will also need to check on the back of the heel. You can stand on your toes to ensure that the shoe will not press and cause pain on the foot.
  • Each brand comes in different sizes. You will need to check on the comp any’s sizing chart and then compared it to the size of the shoes you are usually wearing.
  • You can also try different shoes to find the best one for you. You can take your time by trying many pairs before choosing the right fit for your foot.

How Should Rock Climbing Shoes Fit

how tight should climbing shoes be

Your rock climbing shoes are your connection to the rock, and the wrong fitting can cause discomfort to your climbing. As a general rule, the climbing shoes should be a fit snug to your feet. It should not come with air pockets or pressure points but still allow some mobility on foot.

The very first time you climb your shoes, the right fit for you will always feel small. The reason behind it is that rock climbing shoe is entirely different from the regular shoes you are wearing where the is always space for the feet to move. But you must wear climbing shoes in the real environment in order to break in and get used to it.

Meanwhile, the fit preference of the shoes will all depend on the individual. But many newbies usually make a rookie mistake of buying much larger shoes than what is needed since they are uncomfortable with the tightness of the initial fitting. The very first time you learn how to climb, you will need to look for a snug but comfortable fit. Rock climbing shoes should help your feet stuck on the surface to avoid any air space, which will reduce the contact.

Always keep in mind that once you improve as a rock climber, your desire to look for a shoe that answers the demands of the sport also increases. This type of shoe will be tighter to promote better footwork while helping improve foot placement, especially on those technical terrains. Also, climbing shoes are designed to be worn out without socks but once it stretches because of wear, wearing socks to eliminate the stretch is the best way to maintain the shoes’ effectiveness.


How should climbing shoes fit? It will all depend on the preference of the climber. For newbies, the idea is to have a snug but comfortable fit. You may find it uncomfortable at first with its tightness, but using it in actual climbing sessions will give you a chance to adjust the big difference in fittings compared to wearing regular shoes.

But once you gained experience, it is normal for you to have the desire to have shoes that will meet the demands of all the climbing activities. After all, the shoe is your connection to the wall and will play a significant role in keeping you safe and comfortable during the climb.

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