April 9, 2021

How Small Should Climbing Shoes Be?

by Bernice

Are my climbing shoes too small? This is a common question among beginners who are getting started with climbing.

It is easy to notice that the bouldering people say that they wear three sizes smaller than their regular shoe size. 

Then, how small should climbing shoes be? How is it even possible to fit such small shoes on your feet without pain?

Many people exaggerate the size of the climbing shoes. Here is a review to help you know the correct climbing shoe size to wear during climbing. 

The most appropriate answer to the question “are my climbing shoes too small,” requires you to consider some crucial factors. These factors help you develop the right idea of the size you can wear during climbing. Find out every aspect that controls the size of the shoes used for climbing explained exhaustively. 

Table of Contents
How Small Should Climbing Shoes Be
How Small Should Climbing Shoes Be?

How Small Should Climbing Shoes Be Depends on Your Style of Climbing 

You read it right! Different climbing types should be the first factor to consider when looking for the correct shoe size to wear.

The terrain you plan on using the shoes will determine the type of climb you need.

Every climbing shoe is unique and is used differently in different terrains.

The type you choose must be able to match the style of landscape you want to climb.

Read what to look for in climbing shoes from our guide.

The shoe sizes range from high-performance shoes to trad climbing shoes with different sizes.

They also have varying constructions and purposes. 

Bouldering and Sport Climbing

Climbing offers several experiences that you can choose to enjoy.

If you want to be involved in pushing into the tough sports lines, you may need to invest in an asymmetrical shoe.

The shoes force your weight forward to the front of your feet, and you will climb with scrunched toes. 

While you climb, it would be best to stay stable and not move inside your shoe since that can be slippery.

Get a nice and snug shoe, and your toes can run up to the top and then bend easily.

The big toes should curl to effectively fill out the toe box, but you should still care for your big toe after climbing.

Also, ensure you get a shoe that fits the profile of your feet.

The shoes made for bouldering have optimized performance, and you will have to bear a little discomfort as you climb during your first exercises.

Trust that you will get used to the pain, and eventually, it will fade in subsequent climbing. 

Long Routes and Versatile Use

You don’t have to go small all the time. When you want a shoe to cruise some pitches below the technical limit, you can find a shoe that fits well.

You have to ensure that your feet are not in any pain by getting a comfortable and supportive shoe for this type of climbing. 

The toes can touch the end, but they don’t have to curl aggressively or in pain. It would help if you had a little bit of wiggle room.

Getting to climb the alpine, you can get rock climbing shoes that will enable you to wear socks

An all-around shoe will have the same factors in consideration.

It should allow comfort while it also helps you move your toes to curl and be straight again easily. 

Are my climbing shoes too small

Related Article: How Climbing Shoes are Made?

Trad Climbing and Cracks

The pressure joints on the cracks create a lot of pressure when climbing.

It is imperative to check on that before you get the shoe size that fits this climb.

Here, you don’t need an aggressively fitting shoe.

They are very uncomfortable with the pressure you may experience.

A trad shoe matches an all-around shoe, and it should offer you some support to stand on and wiggle your toes with ease.

You need space to move around and adjust your feet effectively.

Toes can touch the end of the shoe, but it should not curl with pressure. 

Final Thoughts on How Small Should Be Your Climbing Shoes

So how small should climbing shoes be? As you have seen, it comes to personal preference and the kind of climb you want to go through.

Performance fit is most popular with most climbers, but you can choose the one you want.

As long as you feel suitable for your size, it is ok to use them every time you climb. 

Try your shoes off in practice before you go through the climb.

It is always important to keep safe ad ensure you buy a shoe worth its price.

You can even purchase shoes in several sizes and taste the best to fit your unique needs.

Read how much rock climbing shoes cost.

Lastly, it is highly recommended you go for the right brand of shoes.

There are a plethora of shoes on the market.

You can get recommendations of the best brands from friends or your instructors.

It is not wrong to go the most common way.

The rankings on rappellingequipment.com are curated to save you time by aggregating the best reviewed products from the most reputable companies. We may receive a commission if you buy something using a link on this page.

About the author 


Bernice often jokes that she is better at climbing than walking. With avid parents of climbing, her first encounter with the high vertical rock walls was at the age of one. Her favorite style of climbing is bouldering.

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