How to Break in Climbing Shoes

There’s nothing quite like the newness of a pair of climbing shoes. They’re stiff, and your feet feel foreign in them. But with time and use, they stretch and conform to your feet, making climbing easier and more comfortable. So how do you speed up this process? Here are a few tips on how to break in climbing shoes more quickly.

How to Break in Climbing Shoes

Summary: Climbing shoes are an essential piece of equipment for any climber, but they can require a bit of preparation before being ready for use. The first step is to know what type of shoe to buy based on your experience and climbing goals.

Once you have chosen the right pair, it is important to break them in properly. This is done by gradually wearing them for increasingly longer periods at first, then taking them out for a few climbs in order to really begin the process.

What Is a Climbing Shoe?

A climbing shoe is a specialized type of footwear designed for rock climbing. Unlike regular sneakers, climbing shoes have very stiff soles that provide increased support and edging power. They also have a snug, snug fit that helps to keep your feet in place while scaling a rock face.

In addition, most climbing shoes feature a rubber “rand” around the shoe’s perimeter, which helps to improve friction and grip. Whether you are just starting or are an experienced climber, investing in a good pair of climbing shoes can make a big difference in your performance and safety.

Why It’s Important to Break in Climbing Shoes?

Anyone who has ever tried to climb a rock face knows that having the right footwear is essential. The grip, support, and comfort that climbing shoes provide can make all the difference between a fun hike and a painful fall. Although many people think that all climbing shoes are created equal, this is far from the case.

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing climbing shoes is whether or not they have been broken in. Shoes that have not been broken in can be extremely uncomfortable, and they may slip off while you are climbing. This can lead to dangerous falls and serious injuries.

Breaking in your shoes helps mold them to your feet, providing a more comfortable and secure fit. In addition, it helps to soften the leather and improve the shoe’s overall grip. Although it may take a little extra time upfront, breaking into your shoes is essential for enjoying a safe and successful climb.

7 Ways to Follow on How to Break in Climbing Shoes

1. Wear Them

The best way to break in your shoes is to, well, wear them. Climb as often as you can in your new shoes, and they’ll start to conform to the shape of your feet. Be sure to alternate between different pairs of shoes so that they all have a chance to stretch out.

A Chance to Stretch Out

2. Use a Stretching Device

You can use a shoe-stretching device if you want to speed up the process. There are many different kinds on the market, but they all essentially work the same way: by placing your shoes on the device and gradually increasing the tension, you can stretch out the shoes’ fabric and leather.

3. Wear Them in the Shower

Wearing your shoes in the shower is a great way to help them stretch out. The steam and heat will help loosen up the fabric and leather, making them more pliable. Just let them air dry afterward, so they don’t get too smelly!

4. Use a Hairdryer

Use a hairdryer if you don’t have a shoe store nearby or can’t wait to start breaking in your shoes! This is how most professional climbers break into their shoes. Start by putting on a pair of thick socks and your climbing shoes. Turn the hairdryer on to the hottest setting and hold it about 6 inches away from the shoes.

Move the hairdryer around evenly, making sure to concentrate on the toes. After a few minutes, check to see how much the shoes have stretched. If they’re not quite there yet, repeat the process until they’re comfortable. Remember to take breaks, so you don’t overdo it and damage your shoes!

5. Use Hot Water

If you don’t have a hairdryer, you can also use hot water to break in your shoes. Just fill up a sink or large pot with very hot water and let your shoes soak for a few minutes. Again, concentrate on the toes and be careful not to damage your shoes.

6. Freezer Bags

If you’re really in a pinch, you can try this method. First, put on a pair of thick socks and your shoes. Then, take a gallon-sized freezer bag and fill it with water. Squeeze out the excess air and seal the bag.

Place it in the toe of your shoe and put the whole thing in the freezer overnight. The water will expand as it freezes and help to stretch out your shoes. Just let them thaw out in the morning, and you’re good to go!

 a Pair of Thick Socks

7. Put Them On and Climb

Once you’ve broken in your shoes, it’s time to put them to the test! Get out there and start climbing! Remember to take care of your shoes so they’ll last longer. With proper care, your shoes should withstand a lot of wear and tear.

By following these methods on how to break in climbing shoes, you’ll have a much more enjoyable (and comfortable) time while rock climbing!

You Can Check It Out to Wear Red Wing Boots

How Long Does It Take to Break in Climbing Shoes?

Climbing shoes are essential gear for any climber, but they can also be one of the most difficult purchasing items. Not only do you have to find a shoe that fits well, but you also need to make sure it’s comfortable enough to wear for long periods.

And on top of all that, you need to break in the shoes, so they’re ready to use. So, how long does it take to break in climbing shoes?

The answer depends on a few factors, including the type of shoe and how often you wear them. Generally speaking, it can take a few days to a few weeks to break into climbing shoes. However, if you’re wearing them regularly, you’ll likely see results sooner.

However, if you only wear them once in a while, it may take longer for the shoes to adjust to your feet. There are a few things you can do to speed up the process, such as wearing them around the house or using a shoe stretcher.

But ultimately, it’s just a matter of time and patience. With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to break into your shoes and hit the cliffs in no time. Keep reading for more information about how to break in climbing shoes.

Do Climbing Shoes Stretch?

The answer is yes; they do stretch…to a certain extent. Most climbing shoes are made from synthetic materials that have some give to them, so they will usually stretch out a little bit with use.

However, they won’t stretch very much, so it’s important to buy a pair that fits fairly snugly from the start. If your shoes are too loose, they may slip off while you’re climbing, which can be dangerous. Conversely, if they’re too tight, you may have painful blisters.

So when shopping for climbing shoes, err on the side of a tight fit and be prepared to break them in slowly. With a little bit of time and patience, you’ll end up with a comfortable pair that feels like an extension of your own feet.

A Comfortable Pair That Feels Like an Extension

What Is the Best Way to Stretch Climbing Shoes?

When it comes to stretching climbing shoes, a few different methods can be used. The most common method is to wear the shoes for a period of time, preferably while doing some light climbing. Then, as the shoes warm up and conform to your feet, they will naturally stretch out.

Another popular method is to use a shoe stretcher. This device can be adjusted to apply pressure to specific shoe areas, such as the toe box or heel cup. Finally, some climbers prefer to deliberately use a hairdryer or heat gun to expand the shoes. While this method can be effective, it can also damage the shoes if not done carefully.

Ultimately, the best way to stretch climbing shoes is the best method for you. Try out a few different methods and see what gives you the best results.

Frequently Asked Question

Are Climbing Shoes Supposed to Hurt at First?

A lot of climbers new to the sport (myself included) worry that their shoes will hurt like crazy when they first put them on. So much so that I put off buying my first pair for months because of it. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I finally took the plunge and found that most high-quality climbing shoes will be quite comfortable right out of the box.

Do Rock Climbing Shoes Break In?

Yes, rock climbing shoes do break in. The best way to break them in is to wear them as often as possible. Go climbing, or even wear them around the house. This will help soften up the materials and make them more comfortable.

Wear Them Around the House


So, how to break in climbing shoes? Start by wearing them around the house for a while. If they’re still uncomfortable after that, put them on and go for a light jog or walk. Once they’ve stretched out, take them to the crag and give them a real test.

If you still have some discomfort after breaking them in this way, it may be time to get a new pair of shoes. Climbing is hard enough without worrying about sore feet – so make sure your shoes fit properly and are comfortable from the start.

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Jennifer Branett

I am Jennifer, a passionate blogger since 2016. I like to write informative articles to help peoples in my free time. I am a family person. I have two kids who keep me busy all the time. I always try to give importance to my family. Sometimes it becomes challenging for me to maintain the time along with my family. But I never lose hope. I hope my articles are helping you in some way. If so, You can give me a thumbs up to my inbox, which means a lot to me. Thank you. You can email me at

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