by Jullie

September 28, 2021

What is Edging in Climbing

To become a better climber, it is crucial to understand the basics of how to land your feet on different types of terrain. To make things easy, you have a handful of tools. And edging in climbing is one of them.

Edging is an important footwork concept that you use whenever you go climbing. So, if you are bouldering in a park or have to face climbing, you are going to encounter a foothold with a much smaller size. 

That’s when you need to know how to edge. Becoming an efficient climber requires you to put your feet in the right place. Let’s tackle in great detail what is edging in climbing.

What is Edging in Climbing?

Edging Technique Climbing

Whenever you are facing a small foothold, your climbing shoe won’t fit in it. Edging means placing the edge of your shoe on the small foothold.

However, you can use any part of the shoe in edging. But it is good to use the inside front part of your shoe, below the big toe.

So, edging is the kind of feet position you do when climbing. It’s called so because you need to put your feet on the narrow edges of rock. And, most of the time they are thinner compared to three fingers. 

How Should You Edge?  

If your step is a stretched or narrow one, edging climbing should be the right choice. Having a good edge on overhanging terrain, you can use your toe to push down or pull in.

As such, your lower body moves close to the wall. It reduces the strain on the arms by shifting weight on the feet.

Edging on the front tip of your shoe is perfect for tiny edges and pockets. It positions your body neutrally. And, you can turn yourself in either direction for your next move. Also, it gives you a slight extra reach when you raise yourself on your tiptoe.

Edging Climbing Technique

While edging, you need to have a lot of strength on your ankle and feet. They are the ones responsible for keeping your heels up in the air.

Or else the tiny part of your foot can’t produce enough pressure to rest your body on the edge. Moreover, you need to balance yourself perfectly.

What Kind of Shoes Are Perfect for Edging Climbing?

Many climbers prefer to wear downturned shoes when rock climbing. However, they might not be the right ones when it comes to edging climbing. Downturned shoes don’t have sufficient contacting surface for rocky support, which is important for edging climbing.

Soft shoes won’t do any good for you on the edges either. They make it hard for you to grab the rock with your feet. So, what kind of shoes work well?

For edging climbing, you need flat and stiff shoes. Moreover, they should have frictional patterns in excess. That way, the shoes can help your feet to hold the rock firmly along foot edges.

They have several points of contact with the edges. And can apply adequate pressure so that you can stay balanced on the rock face. 

Make sure that your shoes aren’t choked before you move forward to your big climb. 

Edging Technique in Climbing

Important Things to Keep In Your Mind When Edging:

Here are some important footwork tips when edging climbing.

  • You have to keep the feet under your body’s inertia. It is located below your core. One good thing is to find out footholds placed under you. Don’t bother even if they are smaller compared to the ones on your left or right. That way, you can maintain balance with ease. And, better balance means you have to apply less force for holding yourself. Keep in mind that lacking balance when climbing will compel you to apply more force on the arms. Perform a pullup, and you can understand it. If you can’t stay balanced, both your endurance and arms can take a beating.
  • After setting your feet in the right place on the edge, keep them there. If you position them in the wrong way, the chances are that you may lose a significant amount of energy. That’s because, by not moving around with the current position, you can better your chances of positioning in the right way. Do regular practice to learn the step correctly. That way, you can place your feet on the first try.
  • Keeping your heels high enough is another important tip that you shouldn’t miss. As a result, you can have adequate pressure on the edge. However, it might be harder on your calves when doing so. But the friction makes it easy for your arms to hold the body while having a stable foothold.
Edging in Climbing

More Useful Tips to Improve Your Edging Climbing:

1. Don’t forget about your hips

Many climbers tend to keep their hips away from the wall because they feel safe. In reality, the posture pushes you away. And the posture puts more stress on your muscles.

2. Instead, bring your hips near the wall 

As such, it puts more weight on your feet and helps to relax your arms by stretching them out. Also, it minimizes the risk of getting slipped off the wall. Moreover, it helps you to close the shoulders on your back. 

That way, you can have the right angle that you need to pull your body and make a steady move. Your arms are in a better place and help you to get a comfortable grip.

3. Carefully observe the edge

Your brain and eyes are powerful tools. Analyze potential footholds with caution. You don’t have to stress about anything else like doing a quick rest, etc. Also, try not to look out for chalk stains. 

That’s because there might be good edges where most people have never used them with their hands. When you do that, it can help you preserve plenty of stamina and arm strength. You can even use the edges to discover good and new resting positions.

Edging Climbing

Final Thoughts on What Is Edging in Climbing

Enough training is needed to get your foot in the right place. After you have a clear understanding of the same, you can put pressure on the edge.

However, it all comes to the cleanliness of the route and rock quality to have that perfect edging climbing. Push further, and read our special guide on how to get better at climbing, in general.

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About the author 

Jullie

Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

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