How to Stretch Rock Climbing Shoes

Many of us faced the of dilemma going out on a fun climbing adventure but tight rock climbing shoes exert so much pressure that it makes us unable to walk. When was the last time you bought a pair of new rock climbing shoes and they were of perfect fit?

It is a popular rumor, that a new pair of climbing shoes can help climbers reach the highest parts of success. Most store-bought new rock climbing shoes are tight in the beginning. 

Unlike all other shoes, rock climbing shoes are often tight. Even if you get the perfect size for yourself, you will feel stretch and pressure when you climb wearing them. Are you having trouble with your climbing shoes? If you are looking for ways to stretch rock climbing shoes then stay with us. In this article, we have stated all the ways How to Stretch Rock Climbing Shoes.

Ways how you can stretch rock climbing shoes - How to Stretch Rock Climbing Shoes

Follow the following strategies to stretch your favorite rock climbing shoes.

How to Stretch Rock Climbing Shoes

Photo by : Climbing tips

  • Wear your climbing shoes and walk in them - How to Stretch Rock Climbing Shoes

If you find your rock climbing shoes to be tight, do not go out on a climbing expedition wearing them. Wear them at home for a few days and walk in them. It is normal for climbing shoes to be a snug fit.

Your new climbing shoes may have air spaces that cause rubbing and hot spots. Wear them at home and walk in them for half an hour every day. 

Carry this out for a week, and you will realize that your shoes are beginning to open up. Nowadays, different brands come up with different designs and materials to give shoes an edgy fun look. The design pattern may involve corners that are a bit tight in the beginning but you have bought the right size for your feet, eventually, they will loosen up.

  • Fill your shoes with stuffing - How to Stretch Rock Climbing Shoes

a. Plastic ice bag - How to Stretch Rock Climbing Shoes

You can take a transparent plastic bag, and fill it up with water before putting it in your shoes. The idea involves stuffing your climbing shoes with an ice bag that can create the shape of your feet.

After filling the plastic bag with water tie it properly, put it inside your shoes and keep them inside your refrigerator until the water turns to ice. As the plastic bag turns to ice, it will expand and stretch the material of your shoe.

This is a slow process and may take 3-5 nights, but eventually gets the work done. At least, it saves you the trouble of walking in your shoes to stretch it.

1. Socks and blow dryer

If you think the ice bag method may cause water to spill and make your shoes wet, then you can give this method a shot. You can few socks and stuff them inside your shoes. You need to stuff them in a compressed way so that no gap remains. Next, get a blow dryer and heat your climbing shoes.

Heating will cause your climbing shoes to expand. The stuffed socks will be a replacement of your feet and cause the material for your shoes to stretch. 

Do not apply too much heat, as it will damage or melt your shoe’s material. Carry this method out for a week. Check if your shoes have metals in them, such as the eyelets. Heating them too much will cause them to burn. Always use moderate heat, turn the dryer off and on after every 5 minutes for a total of 30 minutes.


  • Putting them in your oven

There is another way you can stretch your rock climbing shoes, by heating them in your microwave. At first, you need to preheat your microwave to 120 degrees Celsius. Place your shoes in a box, or a piece of cardboard.

Put them in your oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Take your shoes out from the oven, and wear them. This will help your climbing shoes to stretch according to your foot’s measurements. 

Heating expands molecules, so the molecules in your climbing shoes will expand, with any further force it will stretch. If you feel your climbing shoes are too hot to put your bare feet in, then you can wear socks to protect your feet from the heat. You need to try this method twice or thrice in a row for 3-4 days.

Many people have found this method very convenient, as it requires less time than the other methods. However, its biggest drawback is that you cannot put your shoes in the microwave if they contain even a small piece of metal. It can cause an explosion in your oven, or set your shoes on fire.


  • Wear your climbing shoes and take a hot shower

If you like the idea of heating your climbing shoes to stretch them, but your climbing shoes contain metal objects or is made of leather, then try this technique out. You need to wear your climbing shoes and take a nice hot shower. This might sound funny and strange to you, give it a shot.

Hot water will cause your shoe’s materials to expand, and as you are wearing them in your shower, your shoes are being constantly pressed against your feet. 

As you walk, stretch, and move in the shower, your shoes are subjected to forces from different angles and will eventually loose up. After you come home, do not let your shoes dry off without stuffing them with something.

Stuff your shoes with socks, small objects, or even potatoes before you leave them to dry. This process is highly convenient, as it takes only 2-3 hot showers to fully stretch your rock climbing shoes.


  • Stretching your climbing shoes with a shoe stretcher

If you are familiar with shoe stretches you should know how it works. Using shoe stretchers to loosen the edges is the most conventional way to stretch shoes. People have been using shoe stretchers to stretch their shoes for many years, however, you can stretch your rock climbing shoes directly with a shoe stretcher. Rock climbing shoes are designed and built using different materials. You need to pre-treat it before using a shoe stretcher. 

You need to soak your climbing shoes in hot water, wear them in the hot shower, or heat them in the microwave. Put the shoe stretchers in your shoes while it cools or dries off. Shoe stretchers need additional support to help them stretch rock climbing shoes, be it water or heat.

Types of shoe stretchers - How to Stretch Rock Climbing Shoes

If you want to stretch the length or width of your shoes you should opt for one-way stretchers. If you want to extend both length and width wise, you should get a two-way stretcher. Two-way stretchers do cost a bit more than the one-way ones, but get the work done swiftly.

However, there are some stretchers who help to stretch in multiple directions. They are known as three way and four way stretchers. These stretchers help to stretch and expand specific parts of the shoes such as the instep and the mid arch regions.

Shoe stretchers are made of different materials. Some are made of wood, some of the rubber, synthetic, and natural materials. Plastic shoe stretchers are the most convenient ones, as they come in pairs and are less expensive.

On the other hand, natural stretchers are great for holding the shoe’s size and shape after expansion. Synthetic ones are not recommended, as they fail to maintain the shape of the shoe sometimes. On many occasions, it has even failed to meet its purpose.

Use Stretching Spray on leather shoes or Oil Conditioner - How to Stretch Rock Climbing Shoes 

If your climbing shoes is made of leather, then that is usually a hindrance when you will want to stretch. You cannot use heat or soak it in the hot shower to stretch it. However, you can use an oil conditioner or stretching sprays to stretch climbing shoes made of leather. These two substances help leather to soften, relax, and stretch. If you are using oil conditioner, you need to use a very little portion of it. Apply it to your shoes and let them soak in.  

As for stretching sprays, you will find different types of them in the marker. Make sure you pick a good setting spray for your leather shoes, as leather can be very delicate. You have to spray all over your shoes and let it settle for some time.

Do not wear socks to stretch

There is a common misbelief, that wearing thick socks will cause your climbing shoes to stretch. This is nothing but a hoax. In fact, your feet will feel compressed and suffocated.

Bottom Line

Now, you are all set. You are ought to know all the ways how to stretch your climbing shoes. Don’t let tight shoes come in between your long-awaited climbing adventure. Have a great day!


You can also read : How to Clean Rock Climbing Shoes

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