Know That Feel: How Should Shoes Fit for Climbers?

Know That Feel: How Should Shoes Fit for Climbers?

Want to start climbing? You’re not alone. Research shows that nearly 4.4% of all Americans climbed indoors in 2018.

Rock climbing is an incredibly enjoyable and rewardable sport. It’s both physically and mentally demanding. You’ll gain a tremendous appreciation for your body, and you’ll make some friends along the way!

Fortunately, the equipment is minimal. If you’re bouldering, all you really need is a rock (or a wall!), chalk, and a good pair of climbing shoes. If you’re top-roping or lead climbing, you’ll need more specific gear, but the fundamentals remain relatively simple.

Shoes can make or break your climbing experience. But how should shoes fit? How tight should climbing shoes be? Let’s get into it.


You’ll want to select between a neutral, moderate, and aggressive shoe. Most beginners benefit from a neutral shoe. They provide more all-day comfort, and they are beneficial for longer, multi-pitch climbs.

Moderate shoes are more downturned. They have thinner soles than beginner shoes, but they are more comfortable than their aggressive counterparts.

Aggressive shoes are usually only recommended if you have ample experience climbing. They have very downturned toes and extra heel tension. Of all climbing shoes, these tend to be the least comfortable.


Fit is essential when selecting your perfect pair. For optimal results, you should shop for your shoes in the afternoon. That’s because feet can swell up a full size during the day, and this can impact the size you select.

Keep in mind that sizes vary depending on the brand and your particular shoe shape. Climbing shoes should feel snug. When you break them in, you might feel some dull friction, but they should never feel overly painful.

Shoes shouldn’t have any extra space between your toes and the inside of the shoe. If there is space, the shoe will not secure well around your toes when climbing.


Each shoe has unique features like linings, straps, and rubber. Each of these features can influence how well the shoe performs. Many times, it is up to the climber’s preference to determine which feature they like best.

Laces are versatile. You can simply loosen the laces when you want to loosen the fit while walking or taking off the shoe. However, straps are even more convenient, as you can just unstrap the shoe to take them off.

Shoes are either made from leather or synthetic products. Leather shoes come unlined or lined, and they tend to stretch over time. This stretch can vary anywhere from a half-size to a complete full-size.

Synthetic shoes have less stretch. Most high-performance shoes are made with synthetic properties, and they are a preferred choice for those who wish to avoid leather products.

Final Thoughts On How Should Shoes Fit

How should shoes fit? It isn’t always a straightforward answer. Each climber have his or her preferences in choosing the best climbing shoes.

At Butora, we specialize in selling dynamic shoes for every kind of climbing. Shop our extensive collection today!


Butora Endeavor Climbing Shoes