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Wear Comfortable Climbing Shoes

Speed Climbing Tip 1


Wear Comfortable Climbing Shoes

Brad Saren wears comfy shoes to crank all the routes on the Finger Face at the Garden of the Gods, Colorado.

Photograph © Stewart M. Green

It’s a pain to wear tight uncomfortable rock shoes if you’re climbing fast. You’ll have to take them off between pitches to let your toes recover. Or you might slip them off your heels while you cool down at a semi-hanging belay stance. Either way, it takes time that you could be climbing.

Wear a comfortable pair of climbing shoes. An all-around pair is best for multi-pitch routes. If you’re climbing a long route, you won’t have to take them off and they should be comfortable for the descent off. If you have to carry a pair of sandals or running shoes for the descent, your climbing shoes are probably too uncomfortable.

Wear a pair you can scramble down in to save weight and time. If you’re doing an enchainment of single sport pitches, don’t take your shoes off between pitches while you belay. Leave them on and you’re ready to rock when your partner hits the ground. I usually bring a couple extra pairs, especially if it’s hot out, so I can switch shoes every ten or so pitches. Otherwise they get sweated up and uncomfortable.

Sometimes having comfortable shoes is the difference between getting a lot of mileage in or packing it up and limping home.

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