Beginning rock climbers often start out with one pair of rock climbing shoes. These are typically called all-day comfort shoes. They are versatile, with a thick sole and heel cushioning. As you start to climb different slopes, you may wish to adjust your shoes. For example, when climbing a steep face, ideally you should wear shoes that fit more snugly. Gym climbers often wear shoes with a thinner sole. Crack climbers wear shoes with a narrow toe and more protective material on the top of the shoe. Before selecting your ideal shoe, try on a variety of styles and sizes.
Try on several sizes. Your size for a normal sneaker may be different than your ideal size in a rock climbing shoe.
Unlace the shoe completely, then slip your foot inside. Lace the shoe back up. This helps ensure a better fit.
Set aside shoes that force your toes to bunch up. Ideally, your toes should just barely touch the front of the shoe. They should not be crammed into a space that is too small. Nor should there be a great deal of extra space in the toe area. The exception to this rule is if you are going to climb a steep face or climb in a gym. Rock climbing shoes for these purposes ought to curl your toes slightly, but not to the point of discomfort or pain.
Stand up and walk around in the shoes. If they seem to “slip” around while you walk, they are likely too large. If the shoes threaten to cut off the circulation in your feet, they are likely too small.
Stand on your toes and evaluate your heel space. Your heel should fit snugly into the shoe, but not feel pinched when you stand on your toes.
Select a rock climbing shoe with your ideal closure, once you’ve determined the proper size. Rock climbing shoes may be lace-ups, hook-and-loops or slippers. Slippers have less bulk and you don’t need to fuss with laces. On the other hand, you may easily adjust laces. Hook-and-loop shoes are ideal for gym climbing and you can quickly put them on or off.