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What to Wear for Rock Climbing

what to wear for rock climbing

Having the proper gear is essential in doing rock climbing to make it safe all the time. However, just as important is wearing the appropriate outfit whether the activity is done indoors or outdoors. What you will be wearing will significantly impact your performance and affect your comfort and experience in doing the climbing activity.

But what to wear for rock climbing? What type of tops, bottoms, and underwear will make you comfortable? Do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes? These questions and other related information will be discussed in this article as we try to find rock climbing clothes suitable for whatever place you are climbing.

What to Wear for Outdoor Rock Climbing

If you are doing the rock climbing activity on the outside, you will need to consider some factors in finding the right outfit. For one, your main priority is to keep warm between climbs and even when belaying. But you will need to make sure you will not overheat when on the rock. With these requirements, you will definitely need layers when climbing outdoors.

Another factor to consider in looking for your rock climbing outfit is the weather condition in your area. If you are rock climbing during the winter conditions, you will need to consider the temperature in selecting what to wear. Of course, the option should be a fully windproof and waterproof outer layer combined with some well-insulated mid-layers.

However, it requires being comfortable under the sun’s scorching heat when it comes to doing rock climbing activities in the summer. Comfortable shorts and a sports bra for women are enough to maximize your climbing experience. You can wear those shorts and a vest that is usually your outfit when climbing indoors. Bat later in a day when the sun is out, you can add some layers to protect yourself from the wind and some coldness.

What to Wear for Indoor Rock Climbing

When it comes to doing rock climbing activities indoors, there are two main factors to consider in choosing what to wear: comfort and unlimited movement. There are no limitations on how many layers you will wear, but the most important thing is to be comfortable. You can even wear your favorite cotton shirt and jeans in your like as long as you are comfortable and will not limit your body movement.

Another factor to consider is how loose your clothing will be. Based on my experience, loose-fit clothing are the most comfortable but should only be in moderation. You are wearing looser outfits that are more than the requirements and might affect your comfort during the climb. You can even wear your comfies and still get the best climb of your life. At the end of the day, it is all about being comfortable when doing indoor rock climbing.

What Climbing Shoes to Used

do you wear socks with climbing shoes

New to rock climbing often just use regular sneakers or pumps as their climbing shoes during the early days. But, one excellent alternative is to rent climbing shoes on the indoor climbing centers themselves. Doing this step is way better since authentic climbing shoes provide a better feel and grip of the wall compared to regular shoes.

But if you are ready to acquire and spend some money on real rock climbing shoes, there are three main types to choose from. The first type is the neutral climbing shoes which are for beginners, trad climbers, and multi-pitch climbers. Then, there are the moderate climbing shoes which are for sport climbing, bouldering, and wall climbing. Lastly, the aggressive climbing shoes are for performance climbers and people doing overhangs.

Do You Wear Socks With Rock Climbing Shoes

Most often, beginners always ask if there is a need to wear socks with climbing shoes. The simple answer is definitely a ‘Yes,” but it is not the norm. Why is it so? It uses to be that wearing socks with rock climbing shoes is the norm. This situation was during a time where specialized climbing shoes were not invented yet. Mountaineers use to wore boots with nails on the toes and thick socks during their climb. Even in the ’70s where the first climbing shoes were available, climbers still use them with socks.

During the 1980s, mountain climbers started to unused the socks and decided to go without them. In today’s rock climbing and other climbing activities, the shoes are made for bare feet, and most of the rock climbers do not use socks anymore. About 95 percent of the climbers ditched the idea of using socks because of some upsides in doing it.

For one, the feel and sensitivity of the shoes are essential, which means climbing shoes should be worn tight. I am not talking about tightness that creates discomfort and pain. The tightness should let you feel the rock with less material in it. Also, wearing a sock will let your foot move around the shoe, which can cause discomfort, especially when it sweats.

Another factor is the fitting and comfort of the toe. Some rock climbers wear socks together with their shoes because they do not feel comfortable without them. However, if you have fitted your climbing shoes the right way, you do not need to use the socks to fit and be comfortable. Always remember that feet are designed differently, and you need to try different models and sizes to get the right one for you without using the socks.


What to wear for rock climbing will all depend on the place and weather conditions in doing the rock climbing activity. Obviously, the requirements during the summer are different from the winter since you will need to keep warm when doing rock climbing in winter conditions. But, the most important thing about your rock climbing activity outfit is the comfort it brings to you, which can directly affect your performance.

Meanwhile, rock climbing shoes are an integral part of your outfit in doing rock climbing activities. This specialized shoe provides a real feel and a better grip on the wall, which is better than regular shoes. If I were you, try to invest in these rock climbing shoes if you want to go deep with your rock climbing skills.

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