How To Stretch Climbing Shoes ? With video

If you’re a climber, then the right pair of shoes can make all the difference when it comes to safely and effectively tackling challenges. As a climber often you must have a question in your mind How To Stretch Climbing Shoes

Many climbers struggle with their climbing shoes initially because they are too tight but fortunately, there is an easy way to stretch them out without ruining your investment.

In this post, we will cover the basics of how to properly and safely stretch your climbing shoes so you can enjoy every climb without having to worry about pesky blisters or sore feet.

Read on to discover easy methods and helpful tips on stretching your climbing shoes the right way.

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Can You Stretch Climbing Shoes?

Yes, climbing shoes can be stretched. Climbing shoes are designed specifically for the sport of rock climbing and how you wear them can significantly impact your performance.

While shoes that are too small can cause pain and discomfort, shoes that are too large can prevent you from gaining the necessary foot power needed to ascend tricky routes.

Although it might be tempting to try to stretch out shoes that don’t quite fit properly, it is not recommended that climbers attempt it due to the damage it could potentially cause.

The material and structure of climbing shoes will often break down over time as they contour to your feet.

It is best practice to select the right size of shoes during purchase in order to reach optimal success while you climb.

How Can you stretch climbing shoes?

If you’ve invested in a good pair of shoes for rock climbing, you want to get the maximum out of them and make sure they fit just right.

The best way of doing this is to stretch them while being mindful of the shoes’ overall material and construction.

There are several ways to go about this, one of which is dampening shoes.

Alternatively, you can heat your shoes with a hairdryer, making sure your shoes don’t dry too quickly or become damaged due to exposure to hot temperatures.

Stretching shoes should help provide more comfort on challenging climbs, making rock climbing that much more enjoyable for climbers at all levels.

Methods to Stretch Out Climbing Shoes:

1. Stuff newspaper and wet socks into the shoes and leave them overnight:

This is the most common way to stretch out your climbing shoes, as it requires minimal effort.

Simply stuff the shoes with newspaper and wet socks before tying some shoelaces around them tightly. Leave them overnight and in the morning they will be nicely stretched out.

2. Wear wet socks while climbing :

Wearing wet socks can help stretch out your shoes over time. Simply wear a pair of wet socks while climbing and allow them to mold to the shape of your feet.

This is a great way to gradually stretch out your shoes without risking any damage or discomfort.

3. Use a shoe stretcher :

A shoe stretcher is an item that looks like a pair of shoes and can be adjusted to stretch them out.

The device allows you to choose the amount of stretching needed and works quickly without any risk of damage.

4. Put the shoes in warm water :

Soaking your climbing shoes in warm water for 10 minutes can help to soften them and make them more pliable.

This will allow the shoes to stretch out easily without any damage or discomfort.

5. Heat up your shoes :

This method involves using a blow dryer or heat gun on a low setting to gently heat up the material of the shoe.

Keep the dryer at least 12 inches away from the shoes and move it around to evenly heat up the material. This will make them more pliable, allowing you to stretch them out effortlessly.

6. Rub the outside of the shoe with a damp cloth :

This method is a bit more laborious but can still be effective in stretching out your shoes.

Simply wet a cloth and rub it across the outside of the shoes. This will help to loosen up the material and make it easier to stretch out.

Do climbing shoes stretch in length?

Yes, climbing shoes can stretch in length. However, this type of stretching is usually not recommended due to the risk of damaging the material and structure of the shoe.

The best way to stretch out climbing shoes is to use methods such as wetting them and using an elastic band or heat gun on a low setting while avoiding any permanent damage.

These methods will help to make the shoes more comfortable and allow you to reach your full potential while rock climbing.

It is very important for climbers to ensure that their shoes fit correctly to prevent any discomfort or injuries.

Climbers should always select a size that fits properly and can be adjusted if needed. Taking the time to properly stretch out your shoes can make a huge difference in terms of climbing performance and overall enjoyment.

Investing in a good pair of climbing shoes and taking the time to stretch them out will help you reach new heights of success while you climb.

How tight should climbing shoes be?

Climbing shoes should fit snugly but not too tight. They should be comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time, and you should be able to walk in them comfortably.

Your toes should have a slight curl at the tips when standing flat-footed, which will help with achieving maximum grip on challenging climbs.

If your climbing shoes are too tight, they can cause discomfort and restrict you from achieving your full potential.

Make sure to select the right size for your feet and make adjustments that feel comfortable before heading out on a climb.


How can I stretch my climbing shoes at home?

Some of the most popular methods include using an elastic band, wearing wet socks, using a shoe stretcher, soaking them in warm water, and heating up the material with a blow dryer or heat gun.

How do you stretch climbing shoes that are too small?

The best way to stretch out climbing shoes that are too small is to use an elastic band or wet socks. These methods work by gradually stretching out the material over time, allowing you to customize them for a perfect fit.


Ultimately, stretching your climbing shoes is beneficial and can go a long way in helping you perform at your peak level.

Shoes that are too tight can cause foot fatigue and even impede power output.

Climbing shoes come in various sizes but with a few simple steps, they can be molded to your feet ensuring the perfect fit.

Take time to stretch your shoes and you’ll be glad you did when it comes time to tackle those tough routes!