April 12, 2021

How to Shrink Climbing Shoes in 4 Quick Steps

by Bernice

How do you shrink climbing shoes? Wash them, use newspaper, and leave them in the heat; the last option – wear climbing socks with your climbing shoes.

If there is something worse than having a big climbing shoe, it is too big for you.

Big climbing shoes might be a little bit comfortable, but they might not be the best for rock climbing.

Below are some ways how to shrink climbing shoes.

Several people find that their shoes have stretched over time.

Some lose weight, and their feet become smaller.

Buying new climbing shoes now and then might be a little bit expensive. 

That’s why many people ought to shrink their shoes.

Below are a few steps of common ways of shrinking climbing shoes.

These methods are best for leather shoes.

Those using synthetic shoes, don’t have a lot of options. 


Table of Contents
How to Shrink Climbing Shoes
How to Shrink Climbing Shoes?

Why Would You Want to Shrink Climbing Shoes?

Climbing shoes perform best when they are perfectly fit.

Some situations can affect the climbing shoes fitting.

Your climbing shoes will not fit accurately when you lose some weight.

Your foot size decreases when you reduce weight.

Some climbers overestimate their foot size.

Climbing shoe material can also affect the shoe size after some use. Leather-based climbing shoes can stretch over time.

You can learn how to shrink climbing shoes to avoid these situations.

Most people cannot afford new climbing shoes because of size selection mistakes or losing weight.

Shrinking climbing shoes is the best way to save money and time.

How Can You Shrink Climbing Shoes? 4 Ways to Shrink Shoes

Let us take a look at some of the ways you can shrink your climbing shoes. 

Step 1. Wash Your Climbing Shoes to Shrink Them

There is no doubt that your shoes tend to shrink after every wash.

For this method to work, ensure that you don’t wear your shoes until they are completely dry.

This way, your shoes are likely to take up the shape of your feet. 

Many people have noted success with this kind of method when trying to shrink their rock climbing shoes.

This method, however, varies from one person to the other.

Some shoes might remain shrunk, but others expand only after one wears them.

Consider washing your shoes to shrink them; you might see that it works. 

Step 2. Use Newspapers to Shrink Your Climbing Shoes

The next and most effective way of shrinking your rock-climbing shoes is by placing newspapers inside the shoes every hour after you have washed them.

Ensure that the newspapers are changed after every hour to enjoy the benefits. 

This method might get people talking, but at least some people have found success trying it.

Remember, if you decide to go with this method, you will be required to change the newspapers after every hour while waiting for the shoes to dry.

Step 3. Leave Your Climbing Shoes in the Heat to Shrink Them

If you are from a usually hot and sunny state, it is effortless to shrink your climbing shoes as you can just be leaving them outside for a few hours.

Do not place them under direct sunlight, as this will make them fade. 

When we say you should leave your shoes in the heat, we mean a natural heat form.

Do not place your shoes in the oven, microwave, or dryer.

This might cause severe damage. 

Using appliances like an oven might cause the emission of harmful fumes.

For example, the stench comes from a heated rubber sole.

If you do this, you will be forced to get a new pair.

The dryer gives off a lot of heat that, again, will melt your sole.

This might lead to the emission of dangerous and toxic fumes.

The point is, only use the natural form of the heat-the sun. 

Step 4. Wear Socks to Shrink Your Climbing Shoes

If none of the above methods work for you, the most straightforward approach would be to put on a pair of socks when wearing your climbing shoes.

It is one of the most straightforward solutions, other than having to wash your shoes over and over, which in the end, makes them worn out. 

To some, wearing rock climbing shoes with a pair of socks doesn’t seem remarkable.

A pair of socks will make you feel comfortable.

It is the most accessible solution, especially if you are in a hurry and can’t find old newspapers.

Which Climbing Shoes Expand After You Broke In?

Climbing shoes consist of leather, synthetic, or hybrid material.

Leather-based climbing shoes show more stretch when broken in.

The shoe brand can also affect the expansion.

Some experts take a number smaller than the actual size.

It will compensate for the changes after you wear shoes for some time.

La Sportiva brand shoes have more leather content.

They will expand more than the other brands of shoes.

You can buy a number higher than your size to get a perfect fit.

There is no need to buy a smaller size for shoes that consist of synthetic materials.

Evolv and Five Ten make climbing shoes from synthetic materials.

Which Climbing Shoe Should You Choose?

Everyone gives a different opinion about choosing climbing shoes.

Vegans will never recommend leather-based shoes.

They will tell you to buy synthetic ones without giving advantage details.

There is no problem in following their advice.

We have different advice for you.

You can find brands that allow you to choose climbing shoes after trying.

They will help you find the perfect size and model to give you the best climbing experience.

Some brands have outlets that allow you to try climbing shoes.

Do Climbing Shoes Stay Shrunk?

Climbing shoes do not stay shrunk because they expand again after some time.

You have to repeat the process of shrinking shoes after some time.

Leather will continually expand.

You have to repeat the cycle till the expiry of the shoes.

Some suggest that you wear the socks to increase fitting.

Athletes do not like this idea as it can reduce sensitivity.

People also feel alienated by wearing socks under climbing shoes.

You also have an option to buy a new pair of climbing shoes.

It is better to select synthetic material climbing shoes as they do not expand.

If the shoes are too tight after shrinking, you can wear them often as they get loose quickly.

Should I Buy a New Pair?

You can try to adjust with the climbing shoes you already bought as these shoes are expensive.

It is unsuitable to buy many pairs of shoes when they do not fit perfectly.

Experts may have many shoes for different types of climbing.

Beginners should train with one pair only.

If your climbing shoes are made of leather-based material, you can shrink them.

You can wear socks when your climbing shoes consist of synthetic material.

You can also sell these shoes to someone online.

People buy good condition climbing shoes fast.

You can use the money to buy a new pair of climbing shoes.

Can You Put Climbing Shoes in the Dryer?

You cannot put climbing shoes in a dryer or oven.

Anything that can heat the shoe damages its structure.

A dryer may remove the water with extreme pressure and heat.

Heat can melt the climbing shoe sole as it consists of rubber-based material.

Rotational pressure-based damages the leather and glue in the shoes.

It is unsuitable to put the climbing shoes in the microwave because it will damage the rubber in the shoes.

Do Climbing Shoes Loosen Up?

Yes, climbing shoes loosen up after some time.

It takes some time to loosen up the climbing shoes.

You may feel the difference in a few weeks.

The climbing shoes consisting of leather will loosen up quickly.

You may observe changes in a few hours.

It will be easy to spot the difference by placing both shoes in one location.

One shoe will be larger than the other.

It is an indication of a climbing shoe size change.

Final Thoughts on How to Shrink Climbing Shoes

Buying climbing shoes that are of your size is not always the solution.

Sometimes shoes expand and become loose.

If you have leather rock climbing shoes, you are in luck because you can use the methods listed above to shrink your shoes. 

Leather shoes stretch over time.

You could save yourself some money by simply getting a synthetic pair of shoes.

Or, buy a pair of nice socks and always wear them if you feel like your shoes are too big.

Socks are great; ensure your shoes are not way larger than your feet. 

If the shoe is too big, you need a new pair; even a pair of socks won’t do much at this point.

To save yourself some money, you can sell the bigger pair to a friend or family to get a smaller one.

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About the author 

Bernice

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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