How Do You Know If Climbing Shoes Fit?

Experienced climbers know that almost nothing can be less exciting than buying a new pair of climbing shoes.

At least: nothing can be worse than putting it on. If you’re new to rock climbing, you’ve probably heard horror stories about how climbing shoes fit. But are they really that uncomfortable? I have some (somewhat depressing) answers for you.

In short, climbing shoes will probably never be comfortable. But does that mean that they must be the nightmare climbers despise?

Not necessarily.

In the following, I’ll tell you how climbing shoes really should fit. In doing so I promise you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

When choosing your next pair of climbing shoes, keep the following information and click here.

Should climbing shoes be uncomfortable for beginners?

I want to start with the exception to the rules. As always, some of the tips in this article do not apply yet. In this case, I speak of beginners.

In this way, beginners have a great advantage over their more experienced colleagues. If you just hit the rocks, you probably have a good time to experience the nightmare of real climbing shoes.

But for those who want to improve their skills, trust me: your time is coming. Enjoy being free of these rules for as long as you can.

For now, remember that climbers usually recommend that beginners wear comfortable climbing shoes. Tight-fitting shoes provide better control over your climb, but you do not need that extra mobility yet.

Not only that, those who are not used to climbing shoes may find it too distracting. Before you have a solid understanding of the technique, you need nothing else that tarnishes your mind. If you wear comfortable shoes, you can better focus on the task at hand.

But if, as a beginner, you remember to press the back button, you’ll stop right here. Just because some of the later information does not apply to you does not mean that you should not read it. If you know what lies ahead of you, you can choose your climbing shoes better later. You do not have to understand everything now – just let the information flow through until you find your new rock climbing shoes.

So what should you know about the fit of climbing shoes? Let’s take a look below.

1. Should my climbing shoes hurt?

Many climbers shy away from the idea that their shoes should hurt. Nevertheless, this traditional wisdom still has weight for many climbers.

But is it true?

To some extent yes.

The awkward truth is simply that climbing shoes are not made for your comfort. At a minimum, companies do not value comfort as much as the right fit.

But what does “Proper fit” actually mean?

For many climbers, this means that their toes are slowly dying from choking while the blood slowly flows from their tightly compressed feet.

Okay, I know – it’s not that bad. But it can definitely feel that way sometimes, especially when you’re putting in a pair of climbing shoes for the first time.

If this sounds repugnant, do not worry. I have good news for those who find it hard to accept that they have to give up that level of comfort. You do not do that.

While it may be true that your shoes should fit snugly, this does not mean they should squeeze your feet. Instead, you want them to fit exactly.

Remember that climbing shoes tend to mimic your feet and give your toes the ultimate grip. In this way, climbers can feel the rocks better when climbing.

You can not do this with feet that become numb due to a lack of blood flow. If you have problems with your feet, you can be sure that your shoes are just too tight. Make sure you do not grab loose shoes. Climbing shoes are always a bit uncomfortable. But do not waste time with shoes that are so tight that you can hardly move.

2. How do I know when my climbing shoe size is right?

In this sense, it may sound difficult to find the right climbing shoe. Do not worry, it’s still a simple and straightforward process.

As a rule, you know that you have the right size if there are no air pockets between your toes. In this way, you get a bruise while avoiding potentially dangerous levels of compression.

Keep in mind that new climbers usually feel they wear shoes that are too small. Also, remember that the keyword in all of this is “Tight.”

You do not want your toes to have any room to move, but that does not mean they should be compressed as well. By achieving the right balance between the two, you can maximize both the benefits and the comfort of your next pair of climbing shoes.

3. How should shoes sit on my heels?

When it comes to climbing shoes, many focus on how they should feel on toes. They accidentally overlook how these shoes should feel on the rest of your feet – on your heel.

But do not worry, there’s nothing really new to learn here. As with your toes, you want a tight fit that leaves no room to breathe between your heel and the sides of the shoe. The tight fit allows you to enjoy a climbing shoe that fits your feet best.


Make sure not to get too small again. You do not want your shoes to dig into your flesh or press in your tendons. Remember, you do not want to sacrifice your health for tight-fitting shoes. You just want to sacrifice your comfort. There is a big difference.

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