How to break in climbing shoes

Even the right shoes need time to get used to your feet. If you take the time to “break-in” your new climbing shoes, you will feel more comfortable when hiking. However, different shoes have different break-in time. This article will show you how to break-in your climbing shoes properly.

1. What is Break-in?

Breaking in a pair of shoes is a slow process of getting your feet and shoes together. Each inch of the foot has many unique characteristics, so these characteristics sometimes cannot be fully calculated when shoes are designed and manufactured. This does not mean these shoes are not well built or your feet are not normal. The shoes will start to be softer as you use them more and more.

This break-in process tends to work in two ways. Your feet will get used to moving around in the new shoes you’ve just got. At the same time, the uncomfortable sturdy shoes you have just bought will gradually become softer and begin to adjust to your feet.

climbing shoes

For runners, the break-in in new shoes is especially important. If you hit the road with a new pair of shoes yet to break-in, it would be a disaster. Some common adversities that people encounter include blisters and discomfort when they walking. In more extreme cases, some people try too hard to wear their brand-new shoes and then cause muscle and tendon problems.

Climbing shoes are specially made to take on the challenges of protecting the feet and ankles in many outdoor activities including hiking, climbing and trekking . These shoes are designed to provide a measurable comfort level while providing you with protection against injury.

Although manufacturers have made every effort to bring comfort to the wearer, the fact is that these shoes are hard, as this is the way to provide the necessary protection for your feet. This stiffness often leads to concerns about comfort as this can be the cause of blisters and sore feet and ankles.

To minimize the possibilities of pain and maximize comfort and ease of use, break-in is the best solution. Below is a detailed guide that helps you break in your climbing shoes properly.

2. The fastest way to break in climbing shoes

Wear your shoes indoors: Wear the socks and insoles you’ll wear on the trail and tie your shoes snugly, not too tight. Make sure the shoe tongues and soles are straight. The new shoes will be a bit stiff at first. That is obvious.

Walk around the neighborhood: Make sure your feet feel good at each stage before increasing the distance.

Bring a small backpack and try walking a few miles: Walking on the trail is a time where the break-in process can hurt your feet. Make sure you gradually increase the distance throughout this period.

Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Even if you don’t find break-in advice, you’ll know how to take care and use your shoes properly.

Listen to your feet: Be cautious about pain spots on your feet. Small problems can become big problems in an instant. If your feet are pinched or have a burning sensation, try some other shoelace tips. If you have a shoe fit problem, you may need to replace your shoes.

Do not try to accelerate the break-in process: Tips like soaking shoes and pushing yourself to hike/climb while wearing climbing shoes are a bad idea. That will cause the shoes to break down more quickly and hurt your feet. Remember, in order to make good in the break-in process, you have to be patient.

climbing shoes

3. Tips for cleaning climbing shoes

Be sure to clean your climbing shoes. You think you’re too tired after a long trip so you don’t have enough energy to clean your shoes? So, don’t forget to clean this companion the next day.

Why is that?

After each trip, dirt and sand can cling to the shoes (be it leather or canvas shoes) and rub the surface of the shoes like sandpaper.

Mud can absorb moisture from the leather and become dry, making the leather less flexible and more prone to damage.

Removable shoe liners (in some shoes) or insoles can be washed in a washing machine. Be sure to review the manufacturer’s instructions before doing this. Remember to always remove the liners or insoles and expose them outdoors.

Note: Do not wash climbing shoes with washing machine

Use a brush to gently wipe away the dirt. It is best to use a dedicated kit. To clean the shoes completely, remove the shoelaces before cleaning the shoes. You can add some water mixed with a little special soap for leather, or even dishwashing liquid, to a specialized shoe cleaner to clean the shoes.

  • Do not use ordinary soap or detergent as these often contain active ingredients that absorb water, and detergents may contain bleaching ingredients, which can leave residues.
  • Mold on shoes? Mix water and vinegar at 80%: 20%, then use a clean brush.
  • If necessary, the outer sole can be cleaned. The shoe sole cleaner can clean the stubborn dirt on your shoes. If the shoes are contaminated with mud, soak the outer soles (not the uppers) into the basin for a few hours, then use a hose to clean the mud.

drying climbing shoes

4. Tips for drying climbing shoes

Let the shoes dry at room temperature. Quick drying is not good for shoes, especially leather shoes.

Remove the insole and let it dry naturally.

Do not put wet shoes near heat sources (fireplace, campfire, wood stove, fireplace, in direct sunlight …) because of high temperatures will:

  • Reduce the effectiveness of adhesives in shoes.
  • Warm up the uppers, resulting in the leather shrinking or curling. The shoes then can squeeze your toes as you wear them. That even makes it impossible to fit your favorite shoes.

The drying method you should do: Put your shoes in front of a fan at room temperature (remove the sole and expose the tongue) – the layer between the shoe and the instep).

No fan? Put 1 or 2 newspaper sheets in your shoes because the newspaper has amazing capability of absorbing moisture. Don’t forget to change the newspaper every hour.

If you want your shoes to dry quickly, put them upside down.

Put your shoes in a place where the temperature is normal and stable. Do not leave your shoes in the attic, garage, car, or anywhere that is airtight.