Rock climbing is a great sport to grow your mental and physical strength while facing new challenges and meeting new people. We'd like help you find a new sport to fall in love with, and with this guide we'll help you figure out the right climbing gear that you'll need to get the job done right.
We’ve all been first time climbers, and have experienced the first timer assumptions of climbing too. Naturally people want to mainly use their arms and focus on “pull-up” style moves - nothing could be further from the truth when climbing. Climbing focuses more on fluid movements through leg and foot work than arm or hanging motions. Watch other climbers and see how their bodies move horizontally across the wall rather than vertically scaling the route as quickly as possible. Before joining a gym ask if they offer any classes for first timers, most do, and see if you have any friends who are also interested in the sport. Climbing is a fun and rewarding experience that is even better had with friends.
Your climbing shoe should fit snug so you can feel the holds beneath your feet but not so snug you are in pain or unable to feel your toes. Getting the right fit will help you climb longer and tackle more complex routes. If your shoes fit right you’ll be able to enjoy the sport without painful distractions from throbbing toes.
There are neutral, moderate, and aggressive climbing shoes to choose from depending the type of climbing you intend to do. The ratings reflect the degree of angle the shoe is designed to hold. Neutral shoes sit flat when placed on the ground, moderate shoes feature a slightly downturned shape whereas aggressive shoes have a strong downward shape.
Some climbing shoes feature laces while others have velcro closures or simply slip on, While closures have minimal effects on the performance of a shoe, the rubber sole and liner type do. Rubber can vary in grip, flex, and responsiveness to rock temperatures. Depending on liner material the shoe will have a certain amount of stretch or non at all.
Since you are just starting out in the sport of climbing, we’d recommend a neutral shoe with velcro closures and a thicker sole to provide the durability and support you’ll want as you learn your foot technique. Remember, climbing shoes are designed solely for climbing rocks, always wear a second pair of shoes to your climbing location and wipe the sole of your shoes before connecting with the rock.
Various features do exist between climbing shoes. Whether you prefer lace ups so you can adjust tightness on specific points of the top of your foot, or velcro straps to adjust evenly across the entire foot, there's a climbing shoe out there that will deliver on your preference once you determine what that is.
Care and Storage
Like any gear, if you are aware and attentive to how you treat, clean, and store it there’s no reason it should not last seasons if not year of use. With climbing shoes, we always brush any debris and dirt off before beginning a route and before packing out for the day. To keep our helmets from getting too stinky too fast, we like to wipe the inside with a facial or disinfectant wipe at the end of a climbing session. Between seasons, we store our climbing gear in it’s own designated bag after each item has received another wipe down and maybe toss in a few dryer sheets to ward off any stink.