How To Break In Climbing Shoes: Useful Advice To Enjoy The Climbing Moment!

When we discuss how to break in climbing shoes, we refer to the time it requires for a sneaker to adjust to our feet’ structure. As you ascend in your good shoes and environmental elements are given, your sneakers will expand slightly and adapt to your feet, providing a unique fit that is customized for you. But the thrill fades off rapidly as the dreadful break-in phase begins, and my toes begin to throb with that familiar pounding sensation. 

Having a new pair of climbing shoes is one of my favorite things to do. We feel like a kid on Christmas Day when my new boots arrive. When I break open the package, jam my grimy shoes into the clean footbed, and push away on everything that can support my pressure, I can only just control myself.  It’s not rocket surgery to break in climbing shoes. 

In our latest article, we provide you some practical ways how to break in climbing shoes:

  • Types of climbing shoes
  • How to buy suitable climbing shoes
  • The most effective methods for breaking in climbing shoes
  • Q&A
  • Conclusion

Types Of Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes are divided into three categories:

  • Neutral shoes: Shoes with a neutral color scheme and a flat foundation are pretty comfy. It’s the best choice for newcomers.
  • Sensible shoes: These have a downward feet base that provides a more stable stance. Crack climbs, inter ascents, and overhanging trails are the most incredible places to use them.
  • Aggressive shoes: These shoes provide a lot of heel strain due to their more apparent downturn structure. The majority of skilled climbers utilize them for ascending overhangs.

How To Buy Suitable Climbing Shoes

Understanding how to purchase climbing footwear is an accomplished talent that must be learned through experimentation, regrettably. Climbers rarely find their “ideal shoe” right away. Most people will keep trying new sneakers for different mountaineering techniques or fix specific comfort and performance difficulties. We have some excellent suggestions for choosing appropriate climbing shoes:

  • The size of your regular shoes is merely a launching point.
  • Remove any dead space, but just don’t cram so tightly that you end up with hot patches.
  • Climbing sneakers should not be too restrictive, as tears may prevent you from noticing micro edges.
  • Throughout the day, your feet expand from half to a standard capacity. If appropriate, try on sneakers in the afternoon.
  • Synthetic uppers don’t expand, so you’ll be wearing identical shoes in six months. When you’re on your feet, there should be no prime locations.

To determine how well a shoe fits, examine each part of the shoe separately. There should be no space in the provided alternative, but your feet should not be too twisted inside the sneaker unless you want an assertive fit. The foot should fit snugly but not painfully. If the edges of the sneaker are too open around your feet and your legs are too broad, you may want to go smaller a size.

If just one of those places is too slippery, try a different pair of shoes. Your climbing sneakers should not be so restrictive that you really can scarcely put them on, but they should fit firmly and securely on your feet. Always keep in mind that the most fabulous footwear for each mountaineer is one that fits. Do not buy footwear since it looks fantastic on somebody else.

Also, keep in mind that shoe leather does not extend, even if it might soften and become even more pleasant over time. However, the treatments that follow are aimed at expanding the top of the mountaineering shoe. Several things influence how much mountaineering shoes expand: Rubber quantity/location, synthetic vs. fabric, lined vs. raw leather. 

The most considerable elasticity will be found in an untreated leather top with little silicone – up to a considerable maturity or more. Fabricated uppers will not extend at all, while unlined leather will only expand a regular size. Bear that in mind before putting on climbing footwear and considering how tight they should be.

Now that you’ve chosen the correct shoe and understand how much it will expand let’s discuss how to break in climbing shoes. Here are some helpful tips for breaking into climbing shoes without creating blisters or pain.

The Most Effective Methods For Breaking In Climbing Shoes

Way 1: Use Them In A Heated Shower

As unusual as it seems, stretching climbing footwear in the bathtub is the most straightforward and practical approach. Remove any packing and stickers before putting on your new sneakers. Nice and snug tulle them, but not too tightly. Immerse yourself in a warm shower for 5-minutes, wriggling your foot and curving your foot as needed.

As the colors seep off the footwear, your toes are likely to become stained. This isn’t dangerous to you or the sneaker, but you’ll need to prevent staining carpeting, clothes, and other items.

Once you’re out of the bathroom, put your climbing boots on and move over them for 15-minutes. After that, take off your sneakers and pack them with papers for a few hours. Walk with these sneakers for a short time before they’re dehydrated; the action will help split them inside and conform them to the form of your feet. 

After hiking, re-stuff them with tissue and allow them to air dry entirely. Even though this approach extends climbing sneakers in more prominent stages than the others, you may have to reverse the cycle a few days have your shoes are fully stretched and worked in.

Way 2: Store Them In The Freezer Overnight

Another strange-looking trick, but trust us when we say it works. Fill two-wire bags halfway with liquid until they’re about the length of your foot. Sloppily lace or velcro the moisture packs into the climbing sneakers. After that, put your pants in the freezer for the night. As the liquid within the ice cube freezes, it stretches, extending your climbing sneakers.

Take off your shoes from the frozen and let them defrost entirely after at least 10-24 h. Continue as needed — this technique stretches climbing sneakers out almost the bathtub technique, then it may take longer, but it also enables you to expand your climbing sneakers for a positive effect – plus, it doesn’t necessitate dyeing your feet lavender, green, or pink!

Way 3: Make Use Of A Blow Dryer

This is a simple way for loosening and stretching new climbing sneakers that also employ heat. Begin by tightly packing your sneakers with gloves or, indeed, any cloth. Then, using a high-powered blow dryer, heat the sneaker for 2-5 min, concentrating on the leatherette upper. 

Stretch and stretch the sneaker a few times. After that, put the underwear on the inside of the sneaker as closely as possible. Return to the hairdryer for yet another 2-5 minutes to reheat the sneaker. You can go through this step, again and again, switching between warming and curving the shoe.

After you’ve completed those processes, re-heat the sneakers and remove the cloth. If you need to, put your mountaineering sneakers on and check them out over a short pitch or rock difficulty; if not, simply stand and stroll there for a moment. This method will slowly expand your mountaineering footwear, but it may be necessary to replicate it several times to obtain a perfect match.

Way 4: Feet Should Be Lined With A Plastic Sealer

This also keeps your toes from adequately filling the footwear. Cover your feet in a Ziploc bag or cellophane wrap and put it into the mountaineering shoe to solve this problem. You should discover that the shoes are a little easier to put on and might feel comfier right away.

Wearing the sneakers out there for a few moments while resting or exercising helps spread out the bottom a little, and doing so with your toes guarantees that the shoes extend in the proper locations. This method works best when you only have to expand your climber’s shoes a little, making it handy after using one of the procedures, for artificial shirts that don’t expand but need building in, and if you purchased sneakers that weren’t too tight to start with.

Way 5: Climbing Shoes Should Be Worn With Socks

The issue about whether or not to take socks with leather-soled shoes isn’t fresh, and we’re not out to stir things up. On the other hand, Socks are less controversial when it comes to breaking in new leather-soled shoes. It’s the simplest way, and it’ll bring you to the barrier the quickest. 

As your first several climbing activities, simply put a pair of socks – the thicker the greater. The added thickness in the sleeves will encourage small climbing footwear to expand out while also reducing hot spots.


How long would it take for climbing footwear to break in?

The length of time required for footwear to stretch is determined by how often you wore it and the components it is constructed of. Most climbing sneakers begin to feel significantly more pleasant after 3-5 climbing workouts, on average.

You may discover that breaking in artificial wading boots takes slightly quicker than putting in cowhide wading boots. This is due to the extraordinary qualities of leather wading boots, which allow them to adapt and alter shape while remaining incredibly resilient quickly.

Climbing sneakers, do they stretch?

When it comes to the top material, many climbing sneakers fall into one of three subgroups: synthetic, sheepskin, or a combination of both. This is crucial to learn during the buy and knock stages because it will affect how your sneaker will extend. Because cowhide is a fibrous material, it can expand anything between a quarter to three sets. 

On the other side, synthetic sneakers are less forgiving, frequently not sizing down more than a quarter size. You should also examine the internal architecture of the sneaker to see if it is insulated. When a cowhide sneaker is cushioned, the flexibility is reduced to around a half-length.

Please remember that the length of your sneaker will not expand. Your footwear’s rubber soles and rands will not expand; however, the shoe’s fabric uppers will expand in length and volume.

How to expand the climbing shoes?

To be truthful, you would strive to avoid extending your shoes forcefully. Climbing sneakers may appear to be simple. However, they are rather complicated, as they create pressure that channels force throughout the sneaker. You risk tampering with the precise balance of the sneaker structure if you expand them forcibly.

If your sneakers are a smidgeon off, use a microwave or warm air to straighten them up. The freezer approach is your best option for sneakers that require a lot of stretches. Understand that since the sneaker isn’t extended over your foot, the places that expand with the freezing approach may not have been the parts you want.

I would also not suggest having too daring with your dynamic stretching since you can end up ruining those excellent sneakers you just invested your hard money on.


These beginner climbing shoe pieces of advice were designed to help you promote your answer on how to break in climbing shoes. As a result, based on the purposes, finances, and interests of different individuals, you could want to check out this handy topic just to have effective ones.

We are convinced that by providing you with the information and knowledge provided in this article, “How to break in climbing shoes: Useful advice to enjoy the climbing moment!” you will be much more confident to enjoy doing exercise.

We also want to provide you with other information to select various types of shoes: Can’t Ignore Top 15 Best Bouldering Shoes For Beginners Review & Comparison 2021 or Targhee 3 Mid Walking Boots – Hot 2021 Keen Walking Boots Reviews. We are a pleasure to answer all your consideration if you needed.

In case you still hesitate to break in climbing shoes, I hope this video is helpful for you:

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