do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

Do You Wear Socks With Rock Climbing Shoes? [2022 Update]

Have you ever wondered –  do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes?

Fret not, you are not the only person who is still contemplating whether to wear socks with climbing shoes or not! 

Generally speaking, climbers rarely wear socks with rock climbing shoes.

One of the reasons for this is that they don’t want to look “dorky”. It is like wearing socks with sandals. I’m sure you can just picture it! 

That being said, you will be surprised at how wearing socks with climbing shoes benefits you.

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

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When Is It A Good Idea To Wear Socks With Rock Climbing Shoes?

There are some situations where you will most certainly need to wear socks with rock climbing shoes. Let’s explore these situations in a little more detail here. 

1. If Your Feet Sweat Easily

Wearing shoes with sweaty feet is undeniably uncomfortable. Now, you may be thinking, should you wear socks with climbing shoes?

My answer is “YES.”

Socks will help to absorb your sweat and give you more comfort while you are climbing, as your feet will feel drier than if you were not wearing socks. Even thin socks can keep moisture at bay, especially in warmer weather.

At some point, sweaty feet will give off bad odors, and if you are not wearing socks, your shoes will also smell funky. 

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

This is when antimicrobial socks play an important role in preventing your shoes from smelling musty.

2. Big Or Old Climbing Shoes

If you have an old pair of rock climbing shoes and now it is not comfortable to wear barefoot, wear them with socks. 

The socks will fill in the gap between your shoes and feet, apart from adding extra comfort to your feet. 

The same goes for if you accidentally bought your climbing shoes a size bigger. You can wear socks with climbing shoes. 

Usually, this happens when you buy shoes online because you don’t get to try them before making the purchase. 

This time, maybe you can skip the breaking in the new climbing shoe part.

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

You can consider thicker socks like Women’s Athletic Ankle Socks  or JOYNÉE Men’s Athletic Socks Low Cut  if you are in this category.

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

3. When You Use Rental Climbing Shoes

Wearing socks with rental shoes is always a good idea to avoid infection due to excessive sweating while climbing. 

You can rent climbing shoes from most gyms around you, and they are usually sprayed with disinfectant spray after each use, but as the saying goes – prevention is better than cure! 

If you feel like you need your own disinfectant spray because you are skeptical about whether they sprayed the rental shoes or not, I recommend you buy Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X Antifungal Spray Powder.

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

This disinfectant spray is not used on shoes but on your feet. You have to shake it first and then spray a thin layer on the feet before and after (once you wash your legs) doing the climbing.

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

4. When You Decide To Wear It

There are no written rules saying that you cannot wear socks with climbing shoes. Some people enjoy wearing climbing shoes without socks, and some do not. You have the freedom to choose your preference. It doesn’t mean you have to do it if you see others do it.

If you feel comfortable wearing socks with climbing shoes and it is for extra protection, you are free to do so. In the end, it is your choice that affects you.

Why You Should Not Wear Socks With Rock Climbing Shoes?

You may see that some climbers prefer not to wear socks with rock climbing shoes, and you will be thinking of the reasons they choose not to wear them. There are valid reasons why they prefer not to wear socks with rock climbing shoes.

1. It Can Increase The Risk Of Slipping

Wearing socks will decrease the friction between your foot and the climbing shoes, so you are exposed to slipping inside the shoes, which will make your climbing more challenging.

If you think you are still not good at controlling your footholds while climbing, avoid wearing socks with climbing shoes.

For me, this only happens if you wear socks with bigger climbing shoes but they still don’t fit well, even with the socks. 

I am not going to deny that wearing socks gives challenges to your footholds. That is why it is important to choose the right size of rock climbing shoes regardless of whether you wear socks or not.

If wearing socks still doesn’t solve your problem with bigger-sized climbing shoes, I advise you not to wear those shoes at all or you will be exposed to injuries while climbing

2. The Fit Of Your Shoes Will Change

If your feet fit perfectly when wearing your climbing shoes, just wear thin socks. 

This is because once you wear the shoes with thicker socks, your shoes will expand slightly while climbing. The next time you wear shoes without socks, they will not feel as comfortable as before. 

Wearing the same socks with the same climbing shoes also has an impact on your performance in climbing. If you don’t use the same thickness of the socks each time, your shoes will fit differently, and unconsciously, it will make it more difficult to learn the different footholds in your shoes.

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

 Pros & Cons of Wearing Socks With Rock Climbing Shoes

Every decision we make has its pros and cons, and the same goes with your decision to wear socks with climbing shoes. Let me help you list out some of the pros and cons of wearing socks with rock climbing shoes.

The pros of wearing socks with rock climbing shoes:

  • Your climbing shoes will not smell easily 

Although proper shoe storage or proper shoe care can help to prevent them from giving out bad odors, a pair of socks helps to absorb your sweat. So your shoes will not soak with sweat and become a breeding ground for fungus.

  • Wearing socks with rock climbing shoes is more hygienic

It doesn’t matter if you are wearing your own shoes or rental shoes. You have to take care of your feet if you want to keep enjoying climbing, especially outdoor climbing. 

  • Wearing socks can improve your climbing grip

Wearing big shoes can cause you to slip easily, especially when you start sweating. This may cause you to lose your grip and you may be exposed to danger. That is why socks are good to wear with big climbing shoes.

  • Wearing socks can be helpful when breaking in new climbing shoes

New shoes are always uncomfortable the first few times you wear them. So, wearing socks can help you reduce discomfort and stretch the shoes so you feel more comfortable in the future.

  • Wearing socks can prevent blisters

The moment you have blisters on your toes, your climbing experience will not be as good as before. Blisters are commonly caused by your shoes being too loose or sweating. If you are not comfortable wearing thick socks, you can use thin socks to help minimize the friction between your toes and shoes.

The cons of wearing socks with rock climbing shoes:

  • Socks will add space between your foot and the climbing shoes

This will result in a decrease in your foot sensitivity while climbing. The reason some  climbers do not wear socks with climbing shoes is that they can have enhanced sensitivity to rocks and footholds. But, I believe if you wear socks from the first time you wear climbing shoes, you will be familiar with the footholds.

  • Socks may change the fit of your shoes 

This is especially if you wear thick socks. You will face this concern if you don’t use the same thickness of socks every time you wear climbing shoes. Be consistent. If you wish to wear socks with climbing shoes, then wear the same type and thickness of socks.

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

Should You Try On Climbing Rock Barefoot?

There are a few people who have shown that you can climb without shoes such as Adam Ondra, Chris Sharma, and Charles Albert.

But the question now is should YOU try rock climbing barefoot?

If I were to answer the question, I would say no because I don’t want to hurt my precious toes.

Plus, climbing shoes provide friction and rigidity as they are designed to make you climb harder. Wearing climbing shoes helps to increase your ability and you can even climb an entire grade harder thanks to the advanced technology.

So, if you have a slight intention to ditch your shoes, you are preparing yourself to give up the effectiveness of a few crucial techniques such as scumming, heel hooks, jamming, and toe hooks. Additionally, your feet will develop calluses and feel rough. 

Shoes are made to provide protection for your feet. That is why we wear shoes whenever we go outside our house. The same goes for climbing shoes. One of their primary functions is to protect you while climbing.

3 Best Climbing Socks

Now, that you’ve had a look at the arguments for and against wearing socks with rock climbing shoes, if you’ve decided that you do in fact want to purchase socks, here are some recommendations! 

1. Feetures Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab Solid

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

Feetures Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab Solid is suitable for men and women. These socks are designed to have a custom-like fit, which can reduce the risk of blisters and other common sports sock issues. The best part is that this brand has a lifetime guarantee with which you can return their products for a replacement if you are unsatisfied.

ProsCons
4 sizes, from small to extra-largeSeamless toespecific to each leg to provide an enhanced fit.Moisture-wicking fabric to help keep your sweaty legs dry.Long-lastingIt is pricey but well worth it.

2. Drymax R-Gear No Show Running Socks

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

Drymax R-Gear is their best-selling socks. It combines comfort, performance, and style to give you the perfect fit. Drymax R-Gear also has Double Tab, Low Cut, Quarter, and Crew. The difference is their length, and you can also choose the thickness you prefer.

ProsCons
Moisture-wicking knit fabric to keep your feet dry.The fabric used could prevent you from getting blisters.3 pairs in a pack.AffordableThick materialIt is not no-show socks as advertised (your socks will not be visible when you wear them with climbing shoes)

3. Injinji Run 2.0 Lightweight No Show Toe Socks

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

If you look for toe socks, you can try Injinji Run 2.0 Lightweight No Show Toe Socks. Your toes will not feel uncomfortable as the material of these socks is lightweight and helps to absorb sweat between your toe fingers, so they will feel dryer.

ProsCons
Neat seamscomfortableIt is lightweight and can keep your feet cool.Not very durable

FAQs

Do You Wear Socks With Rock Climbing Shoes?

Climbing shoes are designed to fit nicely and you will not feel very comfortable wearing them because the climbing shoes will cause uncomfortable rubbing and leave you with blisters.

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

To help you provide a little protection, liner socks or a pair of thin socks are very helpful.

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

Not wearing socks with rock climbing shoes is also fine as long as it doesn’t affect your performance and distract you while doing the climbing activity. 

As long as either choice brings more benefits than harm to your feet, that choice is the best for you. 

Do You Wear Socks With Rented Climbing Shoes?

You should consider wearing socks with rental shoes, even if the shoes will be sprayed with disinfectant spray after each use. 

do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes

For hygiene purposes, you can bring along a pair of antimicrobial sports ankle socks to wear with the rental shoes. 

The reason is that we have no idea how many people have rented the shoes or if the shoes have been washed before. 

It is a precaution to avoid any infections coming from the rented shoes. 

This will give you a better experience while climbing, even if you wear different climbing shoes each time because your feet will feel the same material. 

Moreover, the antimicrobial fabric can eliminate the bacteria that result from the interaction with sweat to create odor and other skin infections.

Once you plan to purchase your own climbing shoes because you enjoy climbing so much, you can buy  La Sportiva Tarantulace Climbing Shoes – Men’s or La Sportiva Tarantulace Climbing Shoes – Women’s. Switch Back Travel has listed these climbing shoes as one of the best rock climbing shoes.

Benefits of La Sportiva Tarantulace Climbing Shoes for Men & Women:

  •  Suitable for both gym and outdoor climbing
  • Assymmetric shaping & can be resoled
  • Properly fit & comfortable

Conclusion

If other climbers ask you this question, do you wear socks with rock climbing shoes? I’m sure you have your own answer and a solid reason by now!

You also must have an idea of how tight should rock climbing shoes be if you want to wear them with socks or without socks.

Having rock climbing socks can make your climbing shoes last longer and you only need to change your socks once in a while. This is more cost-effective than buying new climbing shoes will certainly cost you more than buying a new pair of socks!

Whichever path you choose, I wish you happy climbing! 

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