Stand up to friction, put a stable hook or put precise pressure on a ledge. The requirements for climbing shoes (in Switzerland climbing finches) are high. Therefore, the choice of climbing shoes must be given special importance. The wrong choice of shoe can spoil the beginners especially the joy of climbing or keep the advanced from his desired level of performance.

A contribution by Matthias Schmid - Bächli mountain sports

The agony of shoe size choice

The most important criterion when buying climbing shoes is the scope of application. Where, or how, should the climbing shoe be used? Because: The climbing shoe for all applications does not exist. So that you find a climbing shoe in the right size and shape, which fits the foot and climbing style, you should take the time to choose and try different models and sizes. It is important that the foot is measured at the beginning. The manufacturers use different strips and country-specific size scales, which is why the sizes are not always comparable. Already worn models often provide information about preferred last.

"Tight-fitting does not necessarily mean having pain"

Important in the shoe choice is: The climbing shoe must be close to the foot. With a climbing shoe that fits the shape of the foot, there is no longer any air between the foot and the shoe. The toes should be summarized in the front of the toe box and placed slightly. Tight but does not necessarily mean having pain. It is important that the shoe does not create pressure on a single point, but distributes the pressure on the entire foot.

The most important applications for climbing shoes

1 alpine sport climbing

Preload alpine climbing shoe

Hardly preload, hardly asymmetrical last

Comfort climbers or even beginners place more value on comfort than on a maximum of pedaling and precision. These climbing shoes are chosen so that the foot completely fills the shoe, but the toes are hardly put on (stretched). This allows a long standing / climbing in the shoes without having to be taken off in between because of unacceptable pain. Thanks to the thicker and harder sole, the climber needs less strength when standing on kicks. It also makes the crossing of rubble games bearable and also increases the life of the climbing shoes.

Who likes it comfortably

Edelrid Blizzard_Kletterschuh_Bächli Mountain Sports
The blizzard of Edelrid

2 all-round or sport climbing

Preload sports climbing shoe

Little pretension, slightly asymmetrical last

All-round and sport climbers who prefer climbing gardens and rather shorter routes choose a softer and narrower climbing shoe. For a better rock contact and a more precise kick, the toes should be easily positioned. The slightly thinner sole requires the climber a little more power when standing on small kicks, but improves the grip during friction climbing.

Who seeks more precision

Tenaya Ra_Kletterschuh_Bächli Mountain Sports
The model Ra of Tenaya

3 extreme sports or competition climbing

Preload extreme climbing shoe

Strong preload, strongly asymmetrical bars

Extreme sports and competition climbers need absolutely snug climbing shoes. Often the strongly bent toes are additionally underlaid with a fine bar and an aggressive heel pushes the whole foot even more forward. The snug fit is ideal for climbing techniques such as Heelhook or Toehook. The very thin and soft soles bring the climber on the one hand a maximum of pedaling and precision, on the other hand significantly shorten the life of these climbing shoes. Especially with frequent use in the hall, the rubber wear is enormous.

Who is looking for maximum performance

Scarpa Chimera_Kletterschuh_Bächli Mountain Sports
The Chimera of Scarpa

Lacing, hatching or burdock?

As with normal shoes, there are also the usual closure options for climbing shoes: laces, Velcro or neither, so-called slippers.
lace-up shoes (Lace-ups) have the advantage that they can be adapted by the lacing more closely to the foot shape. The shoelaces are most commonly used for all-round boots. Once dressed, the shoes can then be kept for a long time. A lace-up with plenty of bias and asymmetrical last but also proves itself in long sport climbing routes: If not the full performance of the shoe needed, the lacing can simply be loosened a bit. With the models with Velcro this is often less possible. Some good sport climbers and boulderers still prefer the exact fit of a climbing leg with shoelaces.
Shoes with Velcro ("Velcros") allow a quick on and off. Meanwhile, there are different versions of one to several Velcro straps. Certainly one of the most practical closure systems.
Flip flop have neither lacing nor velcro. They are held by one or more rubber bands at the instep of the foot. Slippers are worn tight. Loose-fitting slippers are hardly suitable for climbing.

Leather vs. Synthetic shoes

Roughly climbing shoes can be divided into three material categories. Climbing shoes with a synthetic upper, climbing shoes with a leather uppers and climbing shoes with a leather uppers lined with a textile lining.
Synthetic uppers have the advantage that they hardly expand during the life of a climbing shoe. The climbing finch is thus very dimensionally stable. Climbing shoes made of leather stretch when wearing something. Some climbers prefer climbing shoes made of leather, because leather is moisture-balancing and feels pleasant on the skin. Climbing shoes made of leather often dye something without textile lining. After a long multi-pitcher tour in summer, this is almost always the case. Climbing shoes made of leather with a textile lining are comparable in terms of dimensional stability with synthetic models and also moisture-balancing.

Be sure to ventilate climbing shoes after training

Climbing finches should be ventilated as quickly as possible after climbing. Airing is the alpha and o for smelly climbing shoes. Often climbing shoes are hardly ventilated. Of course, these soon start to smell unpleasant. If you climb every day, you need a second pair of climbing shoes. Stinky climbing shoes can be treated with a shoe freshener. In extreme cases, a hand wash with lukewarm water and a mild detergent will help. To dry, it is best to stuff the shoes with newspaper after washing and to replace the paper regularly.

Probably the largest climbing shoe selection in Switzerland

You can find an extensive climbing shoe range in the branches of Bächli Bergsport or in the Online Shop, If you do not know which type of sneaker fits best, we recommend a consultation on site.


About Bächli mountain sports

Bächli mountain sports is the leading Swiss specialist shop for climbing, mountaineering, expeditions, hiking, ski touring and snowshoeing. Currently offering 11 locations in Switzerland Bächli mountain sports its clientele expert advice and superior service. Published on LACRUX Bächli mountain sports at regular intervals contributions to the topics climbing and bouldering.


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