In the climbing world, shoes are one of the most important pieces of equipment to have. So what do you do if your climbing shoes don’t fit? The first thing you should try is different shoe sizes. If that doesn’t work, consider breaking in your new shoes. Here’s how to break in climbing shoes?

Steps To Follow To Break In Climbing Shoes:

Wear them in a hot shower: After you’ve put on your climbing shoes, walk around in them for a bit, jump up and down for about five minutes. Then take them off and put them away. Once you’re home later that day wear the same shoes again but this time wear them into the shower with warm water running over them.

 Repeat this several times throughout the day. If you’re shower is big enough you can put them on and walk around in them too. 

This will speed up the breaking in time, but it’s not completely necessary. It usually takes about three to five showers for shoes to start feeling normal on your feet again. 

Wear Your Climbing Shoes Everywhere:

Try wearing your new climbing shoes everywhere you go that day. If you can’t, pick a few situations during your day and wear them there: school/work, breakfast, lunch, home. This will allow your shoes time to soften up by the end of the day.

 Do this for several days in a row until you’re comfortable wearing them all the time. The more they’re worn, the more they’ll conform to your feet.


Remember when you were a little kid and you wrestled around with your siblings or friends? The main point of that was seeing who could get the other person in a headlock first, right? Well, that’s what wrestling is like for your climbing shoes. Put them on and start jumping up and down and twisting your feet around. 

Do this for a few minutes, enough to make your shoes feel like they’re not brand new anymore. Repeat this step as many times as you want until your shoes are comfortable: usually, two or three wrestling sessions will do the trick.

Freeze Them Overnight:

Yes, you read that right. Freeze your shoes. This will help them “remember” what conforming to your feet is like. Put on your climbing shoes and then put them in the freezer. The next morning take them out of the freezer and wear them around for the day just like Step 2 said. Repeat this several times throughout the week until your shoes feel comfortable.

Wear Your Climbing Shoes With Socks:

Climbing shoes are made to mold into your feet without socks. So why not try wearing them with socks? Socks will help soften the leather and form the shoe to your foot more quickly, reducing the breaking in time by a lot. Wearing them barefoot allows them to stretch out and get too loose on your foot.

So try slipping them on with socks and see if that helps break them in. Wrestling with socks: This is the same as wrestling without socks except you put an extra layer of fabric between yourself and your climbing shoes.

What To Expect When Breaking In Climbing Shoes?

Your feet might be a little sore after the first couple of times wearing your new shoes. Keep up with the process and you’ll notice that they’re feeling more normal every day. For the first week your climbing shoes might feel too tight or uncomfortable on your feet, but don’t give up! When you break in climbing shoes it takes time.

What To Expect When Breaking In Climbing Shoes

Use A Blow Dryer:

After you take your new climbing shoes out of the box, heat up the inside with a blow dryer. This will help speed up the process of leather stretching around your feet. Be warned though: this step is not for everyone. It might feel like it’s getting too loose before you’re comfortable wearing them.

Warning Do Not Try This:

Cut Them Open:

This might sound like a good idea, but it’s really not. You can ruin your climbing shoes if you cut or rip parts of the stitching apart. This will make them unwearable and cause permanent damage to their structure. Your feet will be fine though if you’re cutting straight through the fabric. Just wear your climbing shoes around the house and get them broken in that way. It’s a little slower, but it works just as well.

Wear A Plastic Liner On Your Feet:

If you don’t want to go through with step 4, but still want the benefits of wearing bandaids on your feet like in this tutorial, try putting a plastic liner inside your shoes instead. You can find these liners in many different sizes at any drug store. They’re usually used to help prevent blisters and rubbing to sensitive parts of the body.

Tape Up Your Climbing Shoes:

This is another option instead of wearing bandaids, but it works a little bit differently. Take strips of tape and wrap them around the parts of your feet that are rubbing against the shoe in ways that don’t feel good. If you’re still getting blisters even with bandaids, try this method instead.

Rub In Hand Lotion:

Almost everyone has hand lotion at their house. It’s good for your skin and it also helps break in climbing shoes when rubbed into the leather on a regular basis for about a week or so. Take out some of the liners from your shoe (if you don’t have one, skip this step) and put the lotion all over the inside of your climbing shoes. Wear them around to break them in for a little while.

I'm Jiskcosn author of You can find me on the Internet, sharing information about Shoes & Boots that will help you make decisions about your footwear needs. I love writing about my favorite shoes! Ever since I was little, I've been obsessed with shoes. It's not unusual for me to have more than 100 pairs in my closet at any given time. My girlfriend always teases me about it, but she secretly loves when I buy her new heels! I've been running ShoeSelector since 2020. My goal is to provide you with all of the necessary knowledge needed before making your purchase decision and provide all this information in one place for those who are looking for it! I run this website with my team of like-minded individuals who share my passion for footwear. It's really important that we provide our readers with unbiased reviews and a Detailed Buying Guide so when you read something on this site it's always coming from someone who has actually worn them out there in the real world. You are more than welcome if you wish to connect and share your ideas. I am ready to help you with any questions about shoes that you may have, just leave me a comment.