October 26, 2020

How to Stretch Climbing Shoes

If you have ever bought a new pair of climbing shoes that turned out too small for you or simply don’t like tight shoes and wonder how to stretch them, you came to the right place.

In this article, we will teach you how to stretch climbing shoes (especially climbing shoes for wide feet) so that you can feel comfortable wearing them. So keep on reading to find out.

How to Stretch Your Climbing Shoes

Solution #1: Wear them in a shower

It may sound a bit silly, but if you wear your climbing shoes in a hot shower, you can actually stretch them. For this method to work, ensure that the shoes expand as well as conform to your feet’ size, which can’t possibly happen unless your feet are actually in them.

Yes, you got it right; you will need to shower in your climbing shoes. Don’t worry, though, because you will be the only one knowing about it.

Some people had also found very similar results when they decided to let their own shoes soak just a little in hot water, immediately putting them on afterward. Try considering both of the options mentioned above to find the one that’s right for you.

How much will your climbing shoes stretch

Solution #2: Place them in the freezer

If taking a shower in your climbing shoes is not something you’d like to do, then try to place them in a freezer instead. Unlike solution 1, this method can provide gradual stretches to the shoes and may also require a few times to get the result you wish.

Fortunately for you, the process is straightforward; all you have to do is ensure that you’ve got enough time to dedicate to this process.

To try this method, you will have to fill two plastic Ziploc bags with water. Then stuff them down into the shoes as if you were actually wearing them. Ensure that those plastic bags will end up being the size similar to your own foot.

Finally, please place them in a freezer, letting them freeze overnight or for twelve hours at the very least. After doing so, you may have to repeat the process several times until you get the desired result.

Solution #3: Use a hairdryer and wear thick socks

How to make your climbing shoes sticky again

If you lack the patience the two above-mentioned solutions require, consider using a hairdryer. But remember that you will have to wear a few pairs of thick socks; it will help keep you protected from a hair dryer’s heat.

After you’ve already put socks and your climbing shoes on, try placing the hairdryer right above the tight parts for two minutes. Ensure you are holding a hair dryer very close to allow the heat to loosen the leather. This method will allow you to break into your climbing shoes easily.

Solution #4: Grin and bear it as you are hitting the rocks

If none of the already mentioned solutions sound good enough for you, then there are only two choices left for you: either wear your shoes on the rocks or buy a new pair.

You can also try to break your climbing shoes through a few long routes. This can be highly uncomfortable, though.

How to Stretch Climbing Shoes [FAQ]

How to Stretch Climbing Shoes

1) How much will your climbing shoes stretch

It is not possible to stretch much of a rock shoe. A rubber rand, heel rand, and toe cap can temporarily stretch, but they will spring back again, just like rubber bands.

You will be able to stretch only the upper, and only if it’s leather, considering the majority of synthetic uppers are made for the common purpose, not to stretch.

2) How to make your climbing shoes sticky again

Try warming them up. It is by far the easiest method to make shoes sticky again.

Another excellent method to warm them up is to try rubbing your shoes’ soles together for a few minutes. You will even feel the significant difference in heat while doing so.

How to Stretch Climbing Shoes [FAQ]

Final Thoughts

As you can see, you don’t have to buy a new pair of shoes because there are several highly efficient and useful solutions which you can use to stretch your climbing shoes and finally feel comfortable while wearing them.

All you have to do now is to choose a suitable method that feels right for you.

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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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