5 Crazy Ways on How to Break in Climbing Shoes


It can be very painful to climb in tight shoes. And it’s perhaps the most challenging part of climbing- how to break new climbing shoes. New shoes are always welcome, as everyone loves new shoes. It is important to get them used to before you climb. You might be tempted not to break them in, but you will need to do so every once in a while.

One reason why your climbing shoes are too tight is that you bought a pair that’s just too tight that it almost feels like a second skin. It’s an old adage that you have to buy really tight  shoes because they will become loose eventually. For climbing shoes, this might not always be true.

You must break in your new climbing shoes. Learn how in our article.

Hacks to Improve Your Climbing Shoes – 5 Ways

It’s your turn to take it to the shower

Although it may sound odd, we all take our shoes off after we shower. This is a simple trick to loosen tight climbing shoes.

  • Take the shoes out of their box and tie the laces securely. Wear them.
  • Run the shower  warm to  slightly hot. Put your shoes on and go into the shower. You should soak your entire shoe in hot, soapy water. It will also help if you’re going to wiggle your toes. This will stretch them further.
  • You can get out of the shower and go for a walk around the house wearing your still-wet shoes. Keep them on until your feet feel dry.
  • Then, remove the shoes from the bag and stuff them with newspaper until completely filled. This will allow you to mold the shoe to your feet. You can do this as many times as you need.
  • This may seem strange and crazy, but it’s a good way to get your climbing shoes in shape. This works well, especially if you need to loosen your really tight shoes.
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    Use an icebag

    If you don’t like getting your shoes all drenched in the shower, this could be a more viable option for you. This is a great way to stretch your feet a little.

  • Take the shoes out of the box and remove all packaging and stuffing.
  • Take two Ziploc bags and fill them with water. Then freeze them. The bags should be approximately the same size as your feet. Place each Ziploc bag on each shoe. Make sure to tie the laces securely. Put your shoes in the freezer for at least one night. It might be odd, but since it’s brand new, it won’t harbor germs and microorganisms yet.
  • Take the shoes out from the freezer. Then, let the shoes cool completely. You can repeat this process as many times as you need.
  • Use your trusty blower

    This is the best choice for you if you find the above-mentioned techniques too overwhelming. We will need your trusted hairbrush and some socks.

  • Use socks or any other material to stuff the shoes. You can fill the shoes with as many as you want until they are full. The heel area of the shoes should be filled with fabric. This is where most people feel uncomfortable.
  • Turn on your blower to heat up your shoes.
  • For a while, wear your shoes. Try climbing if you have access to it. 
  • Repeat the steps for approximately 2-3 times until your shoes are comfortable.
  • Wrap your feet with Saran

    New shoes can be painful. Wrap your feet in a plastic liner, or saran wrap to prevent blisters. Slide them into the shoe. You’d feel how easy it is to wear with plastic wrap. 

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    These shoes can be worn for several minutes. This will help stretch out the upper part. 

    This method works only if the upper part of your shoe has to be started just a little.

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    Pair your climbing shoes with socks

    The thicker socks are better. The upper of climbing shoes will be stretched if the shocks are thicker. The shoes will be a little looser. 

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    How tight should climbing shoes be?

    To prevent the need to break in new climbing shoes, here are some tips on how you would be able to tell that it’s the right fit for you.

  • Knowing your shoe size is only the first step. Your shoe size doesn’t always determine your climbing shoe size.
  • There shouldn’t be any dead space. However, the shoe should not feel tight.
  • Your toes should feel relaxed. They shouldn’t be too curled or bent. If it is, then it’s too tight.
  • It should feel secure and comfortable on the heel and cup. It should not be painful.
  • The shoe’s sides should be snug but not too tight. If it is too tight, you will need to reduce the size.
  • Try a different style if one part of the shoe feels too loose or tight. It may not be the right style for your foot.
  • Your performance can be affected if your climbing shoes are too tight. It can prevent you from seeing micro edges.
  • You can put on shoes at the end. Your feet will grow to full size.
  • Synthetic materials cannot be stretched. The sole of the shoe is being stretched.
  • What happens if your climbing shoes are too tight?

    To discourage you from wearing  climbing shoes that are too tight fitting, here are some things that can happen to your feet. 

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  • It will stop you from climbing.
  • It can cause foot damage.
  • You can make bunions and corn.
  • It can cause blood nerve compression.
  • It can lead to Hallux valgus When the big toe becomes angled in.
  • It can cause problems with the development of feet in children. 
  • And there’s almost no evidence to prove that very tight fitting shoes can enhance your performance. 

    FAQ’s

    Can women wear men’s climbing shoes?

    In terms of design, climbing shoes are almost always gender-neutral. But due to the sizing difference, most men’s climbing shoes may not be suitable for women. 

    How tight should climbing shoes be?

    It should be slightly tighter than performance footwear. For beginners, it is best to choose a shoe that is comfortable, but not too tight. You can climb higher boulders as you gain experience. You might find that a tighter fit is more beneficial.  It should not be so tight that your toes are bent.

    Which climbing shoes are more difficult to break in?

    Leather climbing shoes are more flexible than synthetic ones. They can be stretched further than synthetic climbing shoes.

    Final Say

    Your climbing shoes should fit like a glove. But it doesn’t have to be too tight that it hurts your toes. Poorly fitting climbing shoes won’t allow you to climb higher boulders. 

    You need to know how to put on new climbing shoes. Although they may seem insane, these hacks actually work!

    We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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