How Long Does It Take For Climbing Shoes to Break In?

How To Break In Climbing Shoes Recommended For You 2021

For your comfort, it is essential to break in winter running shoes and snowshoes. This allows the shoe to be stretched and improved in fit. This will help you to adjust to the shoe’s shape and size. It is important to get used to your climbing shoes.

Are you looking for How To Break In Climbing Shoes? Continue reading to find out the best ways to break in climbing shoes.

Types of Climbing Shoes

There are three types:

Neutral shoes: have a flat sole which makes them very comfortable. This is the perfect option for beginners.

Moderate shoes: They have a sole with a downturn foot that provides a more secure position. This shoe is ideal for crack climbing, multi-pitch ascents, and overhanging trails.

Aggressive shoes: Because of their prominent downturn design, these shoes provide a lot of heel tension. Most experienced climbers use them for overhanging escalating.

Types of Climbing Shoes

Do Climbing Shoe stretch?

Most climbing shoes fall within one of two categories, synthetic or leather when it comes down to the material used for their uppers.

This is important during the break-in period because it will greatly affect the stretch your shoe will achieve.

Because leather is natural, it can stretch anywhere between a half-size and two full sizes. Synthetics, on the other side, tend to be stable and don’t move beyond a half-size.

You should also inspect the shoe’s interior construction to see if it has lining. If the shoe is made of leather, its stretch will be reduced to approximately half its lined size.

Despite all this, your shoe will not grow in length, but it will expand in width. Instead, they will shrink in width and reduce hot spots as they are broken in.

You can read more about running shoe vs cross trainer

How To Break In Climbing Shoes?

These are the three main methods to help your climbing shoes stretch. It’s best to allow them to stretch naturally for a few weeks. If they are still tight, you can try hot tub or freezing bag techniques. You don’t want them to be stretched too far that they become loose. This is not possible with synthetics.

1. Stretch Shoes by Climbing in Them

Climbing places a lot of strain on the materials used to make climbing shoes. From putting all your weight on the heels to your toes to putting all your weight at an inner edge, you can go from your weight to your toes. You can climb cracks and put pressure on both the top and bottom simultaneously.

These forces, along with your feet stretching and flexing, make it possible to stretch and mold synthetic shoes around your foot gradually. They won’t fit perfectly, so that they will mold around your feet.

Although it might feel miserable for a few days, the pain will soon subside after a few sessions. There are things you can do to ease the pain for the first few days.

Keep your toenails trimmed short to avoid sharp edges that could cause injury to your other toes. You don’t want them to grow too long.

Wrap climbing tape (athletic taping) around hot spots like your big toe joint, middle toe, or back of your heel.

Before you put your shoes on, warm them up. Tuck your shoes under your armpit and place them in front of the heater. This will make them more flexible and comfortable.

Get up early in the morning to avoid swelling your feet throughout the day.

Before you put your feet in your shoes, place your feet in plastic bags (like socks). This will allow your feet to move more freely and helps reduce hot spots.

They will only last you a few weeks. You might need to go half the size with synthetic shoes. You will notice that the shoe mold to your feet more easily. You can stretch them if you need them.

Do Climbing Shoe stretch

2. Stretch Shoes by Showering in Hot Water

The rubber of climbing shoes can be damaged by heat, particularly UV rays. It’s best to use water, and not get too hot. If your skin can handle it, the shoes will still work fine. The rubber will be more flexible, and the synthetic uppers will stretch more when it is heated.

Shoes can easily get damaged if you’re not careful. If you don’t dry your shoes completely, mold can grow quickly. Too much heat or too much sun can cause the cracking of the rubber. It is important to do it correctly.

Don’t shower with your climbing shoes on until someone is there.

You can take a hot shower or soak your feet in a warm bath for a few moments. Your shoes must be in place, as they will mold to your feet.

After drying, wipe the shoes dry. You might find it difficult to walk in aggressive shoes.

It would help if you always climbed in your shoes once they have dried. This only applies if you have a local crag or a home gym. Wear dry shoes to your local bouldering gym.

Take the shoes off and place the newspaper inside. The newspaper absorbs water from the shoes and helps them dry completely. They should not be kept in the dark as they can develop mold. However, it would help if you didn’t leave them out in direct sunlight.

After they have dried completely, you will tell if they fit better and have stretched a little.

This method can increase the size of your climbing shoes by up to full size for unlined leather shoes. You might be able to get as much as a half size for synthetic shoes. You’ll feel more comfortable, and the shoe will mold better to your foot.

Read also: Way To Break In Shoe

3. Stretch Shoes by Freezing Bags of Water in Them

You can expand the shoes by freezing them if you don’t have a private hot shower. This method allows you to stretch the shoes more slowly by laced up tighter.

To clear out space in your freezer for your shoes, eat the remaining ice cream.

Ziploc bags should be filled with enough water to allow you to put your foot in the bag. You won’t have to overfill them, or they’ll make a mess.

Put the water bags in the shoes and lace them up to your preference. Then, place the shoes in the freezer for the night.

Allow shoes and ice thaw. After they have thawed to room temperatures, you can put on the shoes.

To get more stretch, you can repeat the process by lacing your shoes tighter.

After you are done, let your shoe air dry completely.

The freezing process helps to stretch the threads and seams. This makes it a great option for synthetic shoes. The problem is that the stretch won’t mold to your feet like the other methods.

This method is a good way to stretch your foot until it becomes bearable. Then, you can climb in the shoes for a few weeks to help them mold to your feet.

You can only stretch your shoes, so make sure you don’t do it with synthetic bouldering shoes. You won’t be able to stretch them beyond a size. Instead of wasting your time, invest in them.

How Much Do Synthetic Climbing Shoes Stretch

How Much Do Synthetic Climbing Shoes Stretch?

A half-size is the best size for synthetic climbing shoes. This is because the seams of synthetic climbing shoes stretch a bit, and rubber molds around your feet. Although synthetic shoes are said not to stretch, this is only partially true. No shoe fits perfectly at first. Your foot will always mold to the shoe.

Try different models and brands if you have trouble finding shoes that fit right. A “Last” is the name of the shoe’s shape. It is made using another person’s foot. You can try on many different shoes to find the right shoe for you. Different lasts are better suited for different feet.


1. Can Climbing Shoes Be Too Small?

If you have to take your climbing shoes off, your shoes are too small. It’s not worth the pain if it’s all that you think about while you climb. It would help if you had good shoes for climbing, but not too tight that you can’t think about it while you climb.

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2. Do Black Diamond Climbing Shoes Stretch?

Black Diamond’s climbing shoes made of synthetic materials are not elastic, despite the appearance. Although they may look similar to your running shoes, they are breathable. They will only stretch to a half-size because of the rubber mold around your feet during use.

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3. How Long Does It Take For Climbing Shoes to Break In?

If you climb regularly, it usually takes 2 to 3 weeks to break in your climbing shoes. This is approximately 8-10 climbing sessions. This can be done by using the freezer or hot shower method. However, it is not as fast as doing it the hard way.

Final Thoughts

A shoe that is too small cannot be made larger is the bottom line. Don’t be afraid to test drive a variety of sizes. The initial discomforts will usually subside as the shoe begins to stretch.

The shoe’s fastener adjusts to allow for more adjustment and to keep the shoe in a snug fit throughout its life. For example, a lace shoe allows you to adjust your fit each time.

Try one of the methods below to break in your climbing shoes if all else fails. It may seem silly, but a well-fitted shoe will perform better than a poorly fitting one. Put them on, heat them, and you will get a glove-like fit that a shoe straight from the box can never offer.

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