How to Break in Climbing Shoes-The Ultimate Guide

Discover the best tips and tricks for breaking in your climbing shoes, including how to avoid blisters and hot spots, speed up the process, and get the perfect fit. Read our guide now!

Climbing shoes are an essential tool for every climber, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced pro. It’s important to have shoes that fit snugly and comfortably so that you can focus on your climb without worrying about your feet slipping or becoming uncomfortable. In order to get the best fit and feel from your climbing shoes, it’s important to break them in properly.

What Are Climbing Shoes?

Climbing shoes are specialized footwear designed specifically for the sport of rock climbing. They have a tight, snug fit and are typically made from a combination of leather, rubber, and synthetic materials. Climbing shoes come in a variety of shapes and styles, including flat, downturned, and asymmetrical, each designed to suit different climbing styles and preferences.

Why Breaking In Climbing Shoes Is Important

Breaking in your climbing shoes is important because it helps to ensure a comfortable and proper fit. When you first get your climbing shoes, they may feel tight and uncomfortable, but over time and with use, they will mould to the shape of your feet, creating a custom fit that’s perfect for you. In addition, breaking in your climbing shoes will help to prevent blisters, hot spots, and other discomforts that can occur when your feet are not properly supported.

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How to Break In Climbing Shoes

Breaking in your climbing shoes can take some time and effort, but the results are well worth it. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Wear them around the house: Start by wearing your climbing shoes around the house for short periods of time. This will help you to get used to the fit and feel of the shoes, and also allow them to start moulding to the shape of your feet.
  2. Go for short climbs: Take your shoes out for short climbing sessions, gradually increasing the duration of each climb as your feet get used to the shoes. Avoid doing any intense climbing during this time, as this can cause unnecessary stress on your feet and make breaking in the shoes more difficult.
  3. Use a shoe-stretching tool: If your climbing shoes are too tight, you can use a shoe-stretching tool to help break them in more quickly. There are a variety of shoe-stretching tools available, including wooden stretchers, foam inserts, and hand-operated tools.
  4. Wear thick socks: Wearing thick socks when breaking in your climbing shoes can help to prevent blisters and hot spots. This is because the socks will cushion your feet, reducing friction and pressure against the shoes.
  5. Be patient: Breaking in climbing shoes can take time, so be patient and don’t try to rush the process. It’s better to take your time and let your shoes mould to your feet gradually than to force the process and risk injury or discomfort.


Breaking into your climbing shoes is an important step in getting the most out of your gear. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your shoes fit comfortably and securely, allowing you to focus on your climb and enjoy the experience. So take the time to break in your climbing shoes properly, and you’ll be ready to tackle any climb with confidence.

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  1. How long does it take to break in climbing shoes? Breaking in climbing shoes can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the frequency and duration of use, as well as the materials and design of the shoes. It’s important to be patient and not rush the process, as this can cause discomfort or injury.
  2. Can I speed up the process of breaking in climbing shoes? There are a few steps you can take to speed up the process of breaking in your climbing shoes, such as wearing them around the house, taking short climbing sessions, using a shoe-stretching tool, and wearing thick socks. However, it’s still important to be patient and not force the process.
  3. How do I know when my climbing shoes are fully broken in? Your climbing shoes are fully broken in when they fit comfortably and securely, with no pressure points or hotspots. You should be able to wear the shoes for long periods of time without experiencing discomfort or fatigue.
  4. What are the best materials for breaking in climbing shoes? The best materials for breaking in climbing shoes are typically leather and rubber, as these materials have the ability to mold to the shape of your feet over time. Synthetic materials can also be used, but may not provide the same level of custom fit as leather and rubber.
  5. How can I avoid blisters and hot spots when breaking in my climbing shoes? To avoid blisters and hot spots when breaking in your climbing shoes, it’s important to wear thick socks, take short climbing sessions, and use a shoe-stretching tool if needed. Additionally, be sure to allow your feet time to adjust to the shoes, and don’t rush the process.
  6. Can I return my climbing shoes if they don’t fit properly? Yes, many climbing shoe retailers have return policies that allow you to return your shoes if they don’t fit properly. However, it’s important to break in your shoes properly before making a decision about fit, as this can take time and effort.
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