An Introduction To Climbing Shoes and Chalk Bags

Types of Climbing Shoe

Special climbing shoes make standing on small bits of rock a lot easier! They are designed to be tight fitting (like a sock) and have a rubber sole that sticks to rock really easily. There are many types of climbing shoe on the market. To get the best fit, you should try a few different pairs on before you buy.

Look for something that's quite flat and stiff soled. If it's too downwards bent ('aggressive') they'll probably make your feet hurt. These are designed for much harder climbing than you'll be doing to start with.

Climbing shoes for beginners

Really flexible shoes will also be painful on your feet. Pick something stiffer until your feet get used to balancing on the end of your toes.

Climbing shoes come with different fastenings – lace up, velcro or elastic. Just pick whichever you like – lace up or velcro offers the most adjustment.

Rock climbing shoe for beginners

Climbing Shoe Size

Which size you buy is also important. It will feel strange to wear such tight shoes to start out with. Pick a size where your toe is snug into the end of the shoe, but not crunched up.

Climbing shoes are sized just like normal shoes, but different brands tend to fit differently. Just start trying on whichever size you would normally wear and go up or down from there. If you shop online, make sure you know exactly what size and type of shoe you need.

Climbing shoe for beginners

Climbing Shoes: Keeping them Fresh

Most climbers prefer to wear shoes without socks, for increased sensitivity. This can cause your shoes to smell terrible after a while. Don’t leave sweaty shoes buried in your bag for days – air them out after each climb and use shoe fresheners when you store them.

Climbing Chalk and Chalk Bags

Most climbers use a chalk bag and chalk. The chalk absorbs sweat, and therefore increases friction between your hands and the rock.

Chalk is available either loose or in a small mesh ball. Using a ball is easier and less messy to start with, and many indoor walls don't allow loose chalk.

Climbing chalk bag for beginners
How to wear a climbing chalk bag

You'll also need a chalk bag to put it in. This is a small bag with a draw-cord closure at the top that you can dip a hand into to 'chalk up'.

You can either attach the chalk bag to your waist with a piece of cord or a webbing belt. Alternatively, clip it to the back of your harness with a carabiner.

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