As a child, I was very overweight and one of the laziest people you were likely to meet. People used to find it weird because I came from an athletic family. My mom and dad were sprinters and my older sister was a climber. My sister and I never really got along, to be honest, we were just two different people.
Climbing is how my sister and I became closer over the years. I used to “borrow” her climbing shoes and run around our backyard in them. This obviously made her so angry because of how fragile they are, but she did ask me to go climb with her at the gym one day. I did and the next day, we bought me my own pair of climbing shoes. I’ve always had wider feet just like my sister, so we needed some options for wider feet.
There are more options out there for wide feet these days, so I thought I would compile a list of the best climbing shoes I have come across since I was a teenager. I hope that it makes your life so much easier.
Climbing Shoes: Buying Guide
These types of shoes are made to hug your foot rather tightly, making them a bit uncomfortable the first few days. They are supposed to mold to your foot after you use them a few times. They should not hurt you after they are broken in and if they cause rubbing on your toe knuckles or other sensitive areas, they are too tight.
- Neutral climbing shoes: These are the most comfortable because they are the plates and do not have pointed toes. They are good for beginners and they don’t strain your toes.
- Moderate climbing shoes: They are a combination of neutral and aggressive types. They have a slight curve making them ideal for climbing on slabs and multi-pitch routes.
- Aggressive climbing shoes: These have an aggressive curve, pulling the toe down and putting tension on your heel. They are ideal for single-pitch route and gym walls.
3. Material and Durability
The material used is normally rubber, leather, or both. The thicker the rubber, the more durable the build will be. You want to find one that will last for a long time and that will be a good barrier between your foot and the rock. Leather is normally more durable, and it performs well, whereas rubber is good for comfort and moisture control.
The upper is made to mold around your foot but rubber parts like the heel cup and the toe box will not stretch. If these parts feel wrong or uncomfortable, you better try another pair. Some have extra mesh or sweat padding to help control moisture and odor.
- Lace up: This type of closure makes them more versatile because you can decide how tightly you want the laces tied.
- Strap on: Velcro straps make putting them on and taking them off very easy, but they tend to lose stickiness over long periods of time.
- Slip on: These are easy to put on and take off and there is nothing in your way when you need to slip your foot into cracks.
This includes all the parts of the construction that affect how it fits, such as the heel and forefoot width. Board lasted styles tend to be stiff, less sensitive, but comfortable for long climbs. Slip lasted styles are usually used for rock climbing due to their sensitivity and flexibility.
This is the material on the sides of the shoes that's not made of rubber. They can be made from leather or synthetics. Leather is better for stretching, so if your feet have a strange shape, leather is the right option. Synthetics are easier to size because they do not stretch easily. They are also easier to clean. You can get a leather/synthetic hybrid which can be molded to your feet in certain areas.
This part is in contact with rock when you climb and it can either be thin or thick, or sticky. Sticky outsoles are better for smearing on slabs and climbing. The firm outsoles are better for edging, but the thickness of the outsole will affect the performance.
These shoes normally curve down at the toe and the downturn refers to how much curve there is. Flatter downturns are usually more comfortable but those with curved toes are more powerful on steeper walls.
The midsole is what determines how flexible they are. Softer midsoles are good for curving your feet around holds so they are ideal for bouldering. Stiffer midsoles are better at long outdoor climbs where support is a priority.
11. Lined vs Unlined
Unlined pairs can stretch all parts of the design which can be a disadvantage if you need a snug fit. Lined designs focus stretching on specific places to mold them to your foot easily.
12. Your class/level of experience
Beginner climbers should go for rigid models to help them strengthen the muscles needed for higher level climbing. As skill level increases, the flexibility can also increase.
13. Foot size and shape
Note down the size and general shape of your feet before going shopping for them. Everyone is different so there is no real way to choose the perfect footwear for a certain foot shape. You can, however, look for shoes made for wider feet.
The best designs out there range from about $35.00 to $323.00 which makes them quite affordable even for people on a strict budget. The higher the price, the better the quality of the product.
Cleaning & Maintenance Tips
- Don’t use them when you aren’t climbing
In doing this, you allow them to last longer. Most climbers have a small carpet to step on before starting to climb. Any dust and sand that gets onto the sticky soles can hinder their climbing ability.
- Store them in a cool place
Heat is used to remove the soles of shoes, so keeping them in hot areas can actually deform the rubber and damage them. For example, don’t leave them in a boiling hot car.
Using a minute amount of rubbing alcohol, you can wipe the dust and dirt from the soles. You can also dilute the alcohol with some water for cleaning the uppers using a toothbrush.
Making sure that you keep them in contact with air as much as you can, will minimize any smell and mildew that could form. You can also use a deodorizing spray or powder to reduce the risk of odor.
Tips on Fitting Climbing Shoes
It is good to remember that the best way to get the right fit, is by trying them on. A few tips for fitting your climbing shoes if you have wide feet include:
- Making sure that your toes curl gently or are flat.
- They should not put any pressure on sensitive parts of your foot.
- There should be no unnecessary space on top of your toes.
- The heel of your foot should be comfortably hugged.
- They should be tight fitted, but not uncomfortable.
- You can use a shoehorn to pull it over the heel of your foot easily.
- An insole can be used for your smaller foot to even out your feet, if they are different sizes.
- You can use a shoe stretcher to stretch them if they are too tight for your feet.
Wrapping It Up
Climbing is a mixture between a sport and a hobby, and many people benefit from it. We wanted to make your climbing experiences as pleasant as possible with the best climbing shoes for wide feet for sale. Our personal favorite is the Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoes. This is because we love the organic material and odor control qualities of this design.
Comfort is so important and every option on this list is comfortable. Not all of them will mold to your foot so you must make sure to choose the right one for you. Most of them are slip-lasted for flexible and sensitive climbing, making your time climbing all the more interesting.
1. Are socks required when wearing climbing shoes?
Ans. You do not necessarily have to wear socks with your climbing shoes, but you can. Some people wear them because they find it more comfortable or because they are used to wearing socks. Provided that your shoes have the right fit, you shouldn’t have to wear socks.
2. Do climbing shoes stretch after a few uses?
Ans. Yes, most climbing shoes will stretch over time. This means when you first buy them, they might have a tighter fit than they do after your first few hours climbing in them. They should not be uncomfortably tight, though, especially if you’ve used them for a while.
3. What type of socks would I wear with my climbing shoes?
Ans. Mostly, people will bring socks along to climbing trips for warmth. It is recommended that you wear thick, woolen socks on top of your climbing shoes to add extra grip when you climb on wet rocks. It is also good to do this in bad weather and on multi-pitch routes.
4. How tight fitting should my climbing shoes be?
Ans. Ideally, you want them to hug your feet comfortably. They should not be so tight that it is painful. The right fit should allow your toes to curl slightly, but not be uncomfortable at the same time. Remember that they do stretch, so if they are too tight at first, that might not be the case later.
5. Do I need to wear climbing shoes for climbing?
Ans. No, you do not need special shoes for rock climbing. However, it normally makes climbing much easier, especially for beginners. At some point in your climbing career, you will want to invest in a pair of climbing shoes as they are inexpensive and make it safer to climb.
6. What is the proper way for climbing shoes to fit on my feet?
Ans. It is important to make sure that your toes are either flat or slightly curved in a comfortable way. Your toe knuckles shouldn’t be painfully pressed against the inside of your shoes. They should fit snuggly around your heel and if they are too difficult to put on, the pair is most probably too small.
7. How long do I have to wait before resoling my climbing shoes?
Ans. There is no definite answer to this question because everyone has a different climbing schedule. If you climb around one to two times a week, you can resole your shoes in about 3 to 9 months after your purchase. This is all dependent on how often you climb and also where you climb.
8. Can climbing shoes be washed in a washing machine?
Ans. No, climbing shoes should never be washed in a washing machine because laundry detergent can damage every part of them. Wearing socks with your shoes might help with odor and you can also use foot powders. These chemicals can wear your gear down and make the material brittle.