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Climbing shoe

A climbing shoe or kletterschuh (german: climbing shoe) is a piece of footwear designed for rock climbing. Typical climbing shoes have a close fit, little if any padding, and a smooth, sticky rubber sole with an extended rubber rand. Most climbing shoes are very specialized, and are unsuited to walking and hiking, so climbers carry them to the base of the rock.[1]



Rock climbing is an offshoot of mountaineering, and early rock climbers used heavy-soled boots designed for alpineering or hiking. Modern shoes use carefully crafted multi-piece patterns to conform very closely to the wearer's feet. Leather is still the most common upper material, but lately many companies have begun using other materials such as fabric and synthetic leather. Advances in material science have resulted in a variety of sticky rubber compounds developed specifically for rock-climbing. Climbing rubber is becoming increasingly popular on non-climbing shoes. Approach shoes are hybrids between light-weight hiking shoes and climbing shoes. They are comfortable enough to wear for long distances, but many are also suited to more technical climbing. Many kinds of river shoes also use sticky rubber due to its ability to retain traction even on wet rocks. Specialty shoes for use with flat pedals for Mountain Biking are now being manufactured with sticky climbing rubber.

The rubber is often attached to the leather using Barge Cement. This cement has the ability to bond to both rubber and leather very well.

Shoe fit

Climbing shoes fit very closely to support the foot and allow the climber use small footholds effectively. Many climbers do not wear socks inside their climbing shoes to achieve a more precise fit and prevent their foot from slipping inside the shoe.

Most climbing shoes, particularly the more aggressive or technical styles, are uncomfortable when properly fitted; a common adage among climbers is, "If your feet don't hurt after climbing, then your shoes are too big." A primary reason for this is that aggressive climbing shoes force the climber's toes into a curled position, which puts the climber's weight on the tips of his toes rather than the pads, giving him much more strength and stability on small foot- and toeholds.

Downturned Toe

Only shoes designed for Performance are downturned. Downturned is when the toe box is bent downwards. This increases the ability to stand on small holds and pockets. Disadvantages are that downturned shoes tend to be less comfortable than regular models and are not as optimal for smearing.

Climbing manufacturers


  1. ^ Cox, Steven M. and Kris Fulsaas, ed., ed (2003-09). Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (7 ed.). Seattle: The Mountaineers. ISBN 0898868289.  

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