How to break into climbing shoes

You just bought some climbing shoes, but you need your boots to fit. Should you go with a half-insert or a full-size insert? Better yet, should you just size up? Many climbers are asked this question:How to break into climbing shoes?” The thought is: “Well, we’ve been climbing for 20 years, so we should have pretty good toes.” Read on to learn how to break in climbing shoes.

Breaking in climbing shoes is an integral part of the process. This article covers the best ways to break in your shoes and a few things you should remember for proper fit and sizing.

Climbing shoes typically last from 300 to 500 climbing hours, whatever you decide to use them for. Like any other shoes, climbing shoes must be broken in before use. So how do climbing shoes get broken in? 

How To Break In Climbing Shoes

We will share our tips to understand how you can break your climbing shoes. But first of all, you must check your shoes entirely, so let’s check your shoes now. 

Check your shoes thoroughly.

Many things can vary regarding climbing shoes. This list includes material, like the shoes can be made out of leather or synthetic material, construction, like whether the shoes are lace-up or velcro closure, and style, like whether the shoes are downturn or flat.

Leather shoes are more forgiving and stretch than synthetics during the break-in period. After an excellent stretching period, synthetic shoes may feel tighter than leather shoes. Another good thing about leather shoes is they will last longer than synthetic shoes.

Select the Right size For your feet

Comfort and fit are the two most important factors when deciding on a pair of walking shoes. So if you suffer from poor circulation, you may want to have your shoes made with extra padding. On the other hand, if you’re going out for a long hike, you might consider getting a pair of shoes with thicker soles.

The shoes you wear to climb on matter just as much, if not more, as the climbing technique you employ. Find a shoe that fits your foot size, and test it on a stationary wall. Try on mountaineering boots, climbing shoes, and other types of shoes.

Climbing shoes should fit comfortably on your feet and be easy to step into. The break-in process should last for a day or less, and you should be able to climb with relative ease.

When shoes are new, they stretch easily into a comfortable fit. However, shoes lose that stretch as feet expand and contract throughout the day. When feet swell, shoes may become too large, and climbers with large feet may be forced to wear shoes that are too small. It can cause feet to slip inside the shoes, thus leading to painful blisters.

Use plastic bags in your Climbing shoes.

Climbing shoes, when new, can be damn near impossible to get on your feet. This common problem can be easily dealt with by placing a new pair of climbing shoes in a plastic bag.

The product, which comes in a plastic package, is designed to be easily torn off and wrapped around your heel. It keeps the shoe from sticking to your foot and makes it much easier to slip your foot into even the tightest of shoes.

Wearing your footwear internally is not an unusual exercise for breaking in new trekking boots or shoes. However, in contrast to shoes, I don’t advise taking walks around an excessive amount of your hiking footwear. Climbing footwear isn’t constructed for taking walks in, and immoderate taking walks can damage that lovely downturned camber.

I incredibly propose this ‘pre-destroy in’ ritual due to the fact it’s a tremendous possibility to make sure you’re satisfied with the scale and form of the shoe earlier than passing the factor of no return (I suggest that literally, Jeff Bezos won’t come up with a money back in case you ship returned a couple of hiking footwear which has been dragged across the gym.)

Climb with your new shoes

The satisfactory manner to interrupt in mountain climbing footwear is via way of mountain climbing in them. Period. There’s no mystery sauce here. 

When you’re equipped to begin mountain climbing for your new kicks, start by leaping on a few smooth routes with some massive jugs, wallets, and smears to begin manipulating the footwear. 

These massive holds flex the forefoot appreciably greater than small edges and crimps, wherein the shoe is designed to live greater rigid. Your footwear will probably experience barely uncomfortable for the primary few sessions, so ensure to take them off often among climbs. You may discover it snugger to put on socks, at least for the first couple of sessions.


 Rinse and repeat step 3 for 3 – five mountain climbing periods, and you’ll quickly have a couple of flawlessly becoming mountain climbing shoes. After the introductory session, you’ll be capable to begin shifting far from the vast holds and onto the small edges.

 You can be topping out the pesky tasks to your new kicks in no time.

Wine/dine With Your Climbing Shoes

The maximum green manner to interrupt your footwear while off the wall is to put them on. Whether that is at the same time as you watch television,  visit the stores or prepare dinner. A romantic meal sporting your footwear will stretch them and loosen up the substances of the shoe. 

This is probably painful to start with, so try this in stages, step by step, growing the quantity of time you maintain the shoe on.

Warm your Climbing shoes

 Even rigid? So, the exceptional way to hurry this growth alongside is to heat your shoes. Heat is the number one catalyst for shoe stretching, forcing the fabric at the shoe to make bigger and mildew to the form of your foot. Warming the shoe may be carried out by using more than one strategy with the shoe on or off your foot.

Stretch your climb shoe with ice

Stretching your shoes with ice is one of the slower methods. The process is followings.

  1. Empty the footwear of any paper stuffing, tags, stickers, etc., supplied withinside the packaging.
  2. Pour sufficient water into Zip Lock luggage so that they’re near in length for your feet. Make certain they’re closed first-rate and tight.
  3. Slip a water bag into every shoe, then tighten and tie their laces with slight tension. Leave them in a freezer overnight.
  4. The subsequent morning, pull them out and watch for them to thaw. Do now no longer dispose of the luggage till the water inner is now no longer frozen.


How to stretch Climbing shoes with a shower?

Yes, it is true. Many climbers do this to stretch out their rock climbing shoes. This method is extremely effective; however, it can be dangerous. If the climbing shoes are not laced properly, it could lead to injury.

Walking around while soaking wet in the shoes does not have the same appeal as walking in them. After about an hour, the shoes are cool and dry, but your feet are still warm. So, after an hour, it is advisable to take them home for a longer steep, then wear them around the house for the rest of the day.

Some shoes can be left outside to dry, but most often, they will need to be replaced after drying. It’s important to have an accurate idea of how long a pair of shoes will dry, as this can affect how well they perform. After shoes are completely dry, it is important to stuff them with absorbent material before storing them. Newspaper is great for this. Many shoes will need to be restuffed after drying.

How to stretch climbing shoes in the freezer?

Bear with us in this one. However, it could be some other quite powerful approach. Get sealable sandwich baggage and fill it with water until it resembles your feet’ scale. Put the water-stuffed baggage, one into every mountain climbing shoe, and attach loosely. Place the footwear into your freezer and depart them overnight. The water within the baggage will extend at some point in the freezing process, stretching your footwear. Allow at least 10-12 hours before taking the footwear out and let them thaw completely.

 This approach is less ‘powerful’ than the bathe approach, so it can take some go earlier than the preferred healthy is achieved. The gain of this approach is that it could make for greater particular healthy.

How long does it take to break into climbing shoes?

Climbing shoes usually take around 5-10 hours of climbing time before taking on a more comfortable fit. The materials used for these shoes can be a significant factor. Nylon and Polyester are common materials that climbers use. These materials are usually known for holding their shape well.

Synthetic climbing shoes do not mold to fit your feet and, because of this, have a short break-in period. They usually require a bit of breaking in and a bit of time before your feet can mold to the shoe. They may take longer to break in than their leather counterparts, making their lower cost attractive.


The shoes fit properly at first, but over time and with repeated use, they wear down, stretch and lose their precision edge, heel hooking, and smearing abilities over time. The shoe’s comfort factor can be attractive, but the overall fit is less precise. Beware of buying performance shoes that feel too comfortable from new.