While a fairly common rumor, putting your climbing shoes in the oven seems to be a mixed bag of success with some climbers reporting great results and others reporting ruined shoes.
Changing to a new pair of climbing shoes can be tough or if it’s your first ever pair it can be even tougher on the feet. We all know the shoes are pretty uncomfortable and breaking them in can be a nightmare. Luckily the internet has come up with a couple of tricks to make it easier for you.
Can You Put Your Climbing Shoes in the Oven?
While I personally don’t recommend this method but if you are going attempt it the consensus seems to be
- Preheat the oven to 120°
- Put your shoes on a piece of cardboard
- Put them inside the oven for a period of 3-5 minutes
- Take the shoes out and wander around in them until they cool down. (socks can be worn during this step for particularly tight shoes)
- Repeat as many times as needed.
Shoe Stretcher Method
If you plan to be buying a lot of climbing shoes then a shoe stretcher might be perfect! This device is designed to help stretch out shoes until they are at the desired size.
This allows you to stretch your climbing shoes width or length to the desired size.
The small holes allow you to stretch specific parts of the shoe if that area tends to rub or chafe
This device is easy to use you just insert it in your shoes and leave them overnight to stretch. I recommend you make small adjustments at first rather than go big. Climbing shoes are easy to stretch out but not so easy to stretch in.
Another popular method for stretching out your climbing shoes is the shower method. You wear the shoes in the bath to allow the water to heat up the rubber.
Once you exit the bath you want to bundle up a pair of sock and leave them in your shoes overnight so they keep the stretch. It’s important to ensure the socks fully fill the shoe in order to keep the stretch. If your shoes are super tight you should wear a pair of thick socks in the bath with them to stretch them out a little more.
Ice Bag Method
Another method for stretching out shoes is using ice bags. This method only requires some plastic bags, water, and a freezer.
This method requires you to insert the plastic bag into your shoes and fill it with water to the desired size. You then put your shoes in the freezer and overnight the ice expands and stretches the shoe. Be careful to not use too much water or you might stretch your shoes too much!
Hair Dryer Method
Some climbers swear by the hairdryer trick and it’s one of the quicker methods on this list. All you need to do is pop your shoes on with several pairs of thick socks. Once your shoes are on all you need to do is place a hairdryer above the tight parts of the shoe for 2-3 minutes and the heat will loosen the leather and stretch out the shoe.
Blood Sweat and Tears method
If all of the above seems like too much effort then you can always try the blood sweat and tears method which has been tried and proven since the dawn of time.
All this requires is for you to head down to your local gym and start climbing, the shoes might hurt at first but after a while, they will naturally stretch out. It might take a few sessions but this method always guarantees a perfect fit for your foot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should my toes be curled in my climbing shoes?
Your toes should be slightly curled or scrunched up but in a way that is tight and snug, if you are feeling any pain then your climbing shoes are too tight.
Do climbing shoes stretch?
Climbing Shoes stretch naturally with use or you can check out the above methods which will allow you to speed up the process.
How do I know if my climbing shoes are too small?
Your climbing shoes are too small if they are causing you pain a good shoe fit should be very tight and snug but not painful.
How do I choose a climbing shoe size?
Most people when first wearing climbing shoes go 1 size up and as your feet slowly get use to the shoes you can end up going 1 size down. Its recommend you use rentals for the first month or two climbing before investing in a shoe.