How to Break in Climbing Shoes

Written by maxwell wallace
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Climbing shoes are specially made footwear designed for rock climbing. Climbing shoes offer optimum comfort and performance once they're broken in. Most leather climbing shoes stretch after prolonged wear, while climbing shoes constructed from synthetic materials tend to remain the same size throughout their life. Be aware of the material your climbing shoes are made out of as leather and synthetic shoes break in a little differently.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • New climbing shoes
  • Sink
  • Leather stretch spray

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    How to Break in Climbing Shoes

  1. 1

    Start by walking around your home in your climbing shoes. This will give your feet time to adjust to the new material and mould the shoes to their form. You can break in your climbing shoes with or without socks. Short of climbing, this really is the only way to break in climbing shoes composed of synthetic materials.

  2. 2

    Since leather becomes more malleable when it's wet, try running leather climbing shoes under the faucet briefly, then wringing them out. Do this a couple of times until your shoes are less stiff--then repeat Step 1, if desired. Don't submerge or soak your shoes, as this could damage the leather. This technique does not work with synthetic shoes because water will not impact the material.

  3. 3

    Leather spray will also help you break in leather climbing shoes. Use it judiciously. You want to manipulate the leather to form to your foot better--but not so much that the shoes stretch out of size.

Tips and warnings

  • Leather spray may discolour your shoes. Read the warnings on the can of leather spray before applying for further warnings.
  • Remember also that while you want your climbing shoes to be comfortable, their main function is not comfort. Climbing shoes need to be snug to your foot for optimum grip on rocks and climbing walls. The right grip can go a long way toward making your climb enjoyable and preventing accidents.

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