by Jullie

September 29, 2021

What to Wear for Indoor Rock Climbing

Indoor rock climbing is an excellent way of working out while pushing your limits, knowing your safety is guaranteed. 

Beginners might not know the unwritten rules of indoor climbing, like what to wear for indoor rock climbing. Finding the right climbing gear, i.e., a helmet, quickdraws, and rope, are just as important as picking the right clothes to wear.

Don’t worry, picking an outfit for indoor climbing is not as challenging as finding what to wear for a first date. Uncomfortable or ill-fitting clothes may distract you from performing at your highest level. Therefore, finding the right fit can be the defining factor in achieving your climbing goals.

Since indoor rock climbing is a workout on its own, gym clothes are an excellent alternative to consider. Ideally, the perfect clothes for climbing should exhibit the following traits:

what to wear rock climbing gym
  • Comfortable: This implies clothes that are not too tight in that it makes movent or breathing hard and still it should not be too baggy that it becomes an inconvenience.
  • Allow mobility: Stretchy or ideally baggy clothes allow free movement for splits, turns, and holds. 
  • Lightweight and breathable clothes: Erase the feeling of drag or bulkiness when climbing, which can be tiring and uncomfortable.
  • Durable and lasting: Indoor climbing is a physical sport involving many scrapes and bumps. Clothes tend to wear and tear easily; therefore, finding attire with long-lasting material proves to be beneficial.

Try and keep it simple by using the guideline provided below. To avoid confusion, we will systematically start with what to wear from top to bottom in that order. 

Tops Gear for Indoor Rock Climbing 

Any T-shirt is good for indoor rock climbing as long as it exhibits the traits mentioned above. Ideally, it should not be too baggy, as this may cause it to get caught and trapped on belay devices or get in the way during your ascent. 

Long sleeve stretchy shirts are a good choice, and they can help prevent scrapes or bangs, which you can expect a lot of them during your first few tries.

what to wear rock climbing

Slim fit T-shirts that are stretchy and breathable are the best type of tops for climbing since they offer you comfort and mobility to make long stretches and rapid turns when required.

The same case applies to women, but consider wearing a loose tank top and a sports bra if you want a more feminine touch to your climbing outfit.

Pants to Wear for Indoor Climbing

Pants that are good for indoor climbing are generally a bit baggy to create room for mobility. The pants need to have a gusseted crotch and breathable material that can roll-up. 

Pants with a stretchy waistband are preferable since they offer an excellent grip and still give you free mobility on your waist.

Pants help protect against scrapes and bumps on your knees, sheen, or thighs. With that in mind, here are a few pants you can wear to your next indoor climbing trip:

  • Prana Kanab Pants;
  • Leggings;
  • Ferrosi Pants;
  • Mountain Hardwear Ap Pants;
  • Duck Dungaree Work Pants;
  • Yoga pants;
  • Shorts.
what to wear when rock climbing

If you prefer shorts to pants, pick out those not too short since they may get caught under the harness. A short that measures just above the knee make a perfect fit. 

The only downside to wearing a short is that it will leave your shin and knee exposed. To avoid scraping or banging your knee, consider capris, shin guards, or anything that provides a little more protection.

What about Jeans?

You have probably seen some people wearing jeans while indoor climbing and wonder how they manage to scale walls in them. It’s already hard enough wearing tight jeans on a regular day. 

The trick about climbing in jeans is lycra (elastane or spandex). These are jeans designed with an extra stretch and a wider crotch. This enables the climber to make big split movements while safeguarding your legs from gnarly holds.

Some brands produce stretchy denim, not necessarily climbing ones. This type of denim is also suitable for indoor climbing. Jeans offer a stylish design while indoor rock climbing and after when you are outside.

what to wear rock climbing indoors

What Shoes to Wear for Indoor Rock Climbing

Shoes are essential tools for rock climbing. If you don’t own a pair of climbing shoes, you need not worry; most indoor climbing gyms offer rental climbing shoes. 

If you decide to opt for rental shoes, it’s advisable to wear socks with the climbing shoes since most people sweat in them. However, climbing shoes work better without wearing socks to offer you a tighter fit for a better feel on the holds. 

A good climbing shoe should present the following traits:

  • Sticky rubber sole: Sticky rubber helps give you a good grip on the wall surface to avoid slips or falls. Shoes with good grip also minimize the use of your strength to push yourself up.
  • Fit tightly: No one would like their shoe to fall off while they are on the ascent. Good climbing shoes offer a tight lacing option with a breathable tongue.
  • Breathable: Shoes with synthetic breathable upper allow adequate air to pass through, which prevents sweating. If you sweat a lot, it might make your climbing uncomfortable and, in some cases, slippery.
  • Flexible: A flexible pair of shoes allow for a better versatile feel on smaller holds.

Remember to carry a pair of slip-ons in case you need to use the bathroom. Apart from the right attire, you need to carry a few more accessories and items to an indoor climbing gym.

what do you wear rock climbing

Accessories for Indoor Rock Climbing

1) Chalk bag

Indoor climbing gyms provide rent-all essentials like harnesses, belay, and ropes, but when it comes to chalk, you might have to go with your own chalk bag.

2) Bottle of water

Like any exercise, hydration is vital to help you feel fresh and cool down your body.

3) Energy drinks

This is entirely optional for those who would prefer a boost to their energy levels, then consider getting one.

Skills and willpower are not the only things you require for climbing. As presented above, the correct attire also contributes to your success on the wall ascent. 

Now that you know what to wear for indoor rock climbing don’t be afraid to tackle the wall and push yourself to achieve your highest level.

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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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