Do You Wear Socks with Climbing Shoes? – Learn the Pros and Cons

One question that lingers in the minds of many climbers is, ‘do you wear socks with climbing shoes?’ Well, most climbing shoes are made to be worn with bare feet. Wearing socks can be lucrative but can affect your performance negatively on top of the risk of slippage. However, if you invest in a pair of good-fitting shoes, be sure that such issues will be a thing of the past. The good news is that wearing climbing socks offers a number of benefits. In the subsequent sections, we shall outline their merits, demerits, and more.

Do You Wear Socks with Climbing Shoes

Why Do You Wear Climbing Shoes Socks: 8 Reasons

Most climbers wear shoes barefoot, which is a great help in breaking in and stretching out climbing shoes. Moreover, it does not hurt to wear thin socks for climbing shoes. All you need to do is to invest in the best socks for climbing shoes, and you will be good to go. Here are the multiple benefits of wearing climbing shoes and socks:

  1. Helps to Keep Shoe Odor at Bay

Wearing climbing socks can help prevent the odor that comes with wearing climbing shoes for more extended periods. This is because this smell can become unimaginable if not mitigated quickly.

Thankfully, wearing socks helps prevent this problem on the go. In fact, you will not have to replace your climbing shoes at all if you wear socks whenever you are scaling up a mountain or a hill. This can significantly help you save more money in the long run. Eliminating odor is a part of your climbing shoe care, a regular ritual in the climbing season. So, wearing socks may amount to saving your crucial time.

  1. Helps to Prevent Blisters

Blisters are one of the common phenomena among climbers’ feet. If your feet develop blisters, you might not be able to climb tall peaks and hike long distances. In most cases, these blisters are usually caused by sweating.

Other times, they are caused due to the shoe being too close to your feet. Going back to climber’s foot blisters, wearing climbing shoe socks is a great idea to reduce the friction between the shoes and your toes to a minimum. This will also help prevent moisture on your feet, leading to the formation of blisters in the long run.

  1. Comfort

It is no secret that climbing socks can make your climbing shoe feel more comfortable. This can be attributed to the fact that the socks offer the much-needed padding in the seams where the shoe parts meet and your foot. Consequently, you can successfully climb for longer periods without fearing that you will have swollen feet.

  1. Reduce Mod Build-up inside the Shoes

When you wear climbing shoes naked foot, the shoe interior walls are the only agent to suck or get wet with your sweat. Thus, they develop mold faster when you miss aerating the shoes after climbing. And in a long gap, it becomes infested with bacteria. Whereas wearing socks with climbing shoes reduces the scope of mold build-up and bacteria infestation, socks blot the lion’s share of the body sweat. Thus, your shoes, wet with minimal sweat, get aerated shortly after they are taken off.

  1. Make your Climbing shoes Tighter

By wearing climbing socks, you can make your shoes tighter than ever. This will prevent your feet from slipping anytime you scale a mountain or a hill. Ideally, your climbing shoes should be able to accommodate thin climbing socks. This way, the shoes will fit your feet well and give you a fantastic climbing experience. But this requires you to know how tight your climbing shoes should be.

  1. Help to Warm Your Feet

Besides the advantages mentioned above, wearing climbing socks can help keep your feet warm. Such is usually the case if you are climbing a mountain full of snow. Other times, the weather might be cold and thus prompt you to keep your feet warm. Once your feet are warm, blood circulation will be optimal and thus enable you to climb longer distances more comfortably.

  1. Prevent Your Feet from Excessive Sweating

Most climbers usually sweat whenever they climb taller cliffs and hike long distances. Moreso, when the weather is sunny, your feet can sweat profusely. This sweat can make your feet start slipping in your climbing shoe. It is often the case when and if the shoes do not fit the heel well. To avert such scenarios, you should invest in thin climbing socks. With these socks in place, you can rest assured sure that they will be able to absorb the sweat and thus prevent slipping on the climb.

  1. Wear and Remove Your Climbing Shoes Easier and Faster

Once you start climbing, your feet will likely sweat and swell. Consequently, you might have difficulties anytime you want to remove your climbing shoes. In addition, if you’re going to put them back on, you might experience a lot of difficulties and thus might need to use extra effort to make this undertaking possible.

However, if you invest in the best socks for climbing shoes, be sure that this problem will be a thing of the past. Here, you will be able to wear and remove your climbing shoes with utmost precision.

Climbing Shoes Socks

When to Wear Shoes with Climbing Socks

From the discussion above, it is clear that wearing shoes with climbing socks offers a number of benefits. Here are some of the scenarios when you should wear shoes with climbing socks:

  1. When Using Rental Shoes

In case you do not have your pair of climbing shoes or they are not in the wearing state, you can choose to hire a pair from the nearest gym. Thankfully, these shoes are usually sprayed with a disinfectant after a customer has used them.

To optimize your hygiene levels, there is a need for you to invest in a pair of antimicrobial sports ankle socks. This will allow you to enjoy the much-needed comfort and safety when climbing a mountain.

  1. If You are Using Older Shoes

Sometimes, you might not have enough bucks to purchase a new pair of climbing shoes. As a result, you might have to rely on older shoes. If this is the case, such shoes are likely to be over-stretched and thus, might not fit as desired. You need socks with your climbing shoes to enjoy more comfort and prevent slippage.

  1. When Climbing Big Walls and Other Related Pitches

If you want to climb big walls, your feet need to feel comfortable. As a result, you need to invest in a comfy pair of socks. Regardless of the number of times you will climb big walls or rocky surfaces, be sure that your feet’s comfort will not be hampered with socks worn with shoes and thus allow you to become more productive and protected throughout the day.

  1. During Crack Climbing

During crack climbing, most people wear shoes that are larger than their feet. Such is usually the case if the cracks involved are large and can jam your feet and calf in unawares. If you have a thick pair of socks, be sure you will prevent such incidences.

Why Avoid Shoes with Climbing Socks

In the previous sections, we have outlined those climbers need to wear climbing shoes and socks so that they can be able to remain comfortable, warm, and protected and also prevent developing any blisters on their foot.

Fortunately, climbing shoe manufacturers have now started making shoes that do not require you to wear climbing socks. This can be attributed to the fact that the fabric’s texture in the shoe interior usually has some additional cushion padding along the heel area and thus, does not require you to wear any socks. Here are some reasons why you should avoid climbing socks when wearing climbing shoes.

  1. Create Space between Feet and Shoe Wall

Ideally, climbing shoes reduce the gap between the climbing surface and your foot. This goes a long way in creating the much-needed sensitivity to footholds and rocks. If you wear socks, you will add some space between the shoe and the foot. This further reduces foot sensitivity.

  1. They Affect the Fitness of Your Shoes

If you are fond of wearing climbing socks, be sure that your climbing shoes’ fitness will be affected in the long run. wearing socks regularly will stretch out your shoes faster than normal leading to a loose fitting. If you try socks with your climbing shoes, you must ensure the socks are of the same thickness. The problem is, different socks might not remain as snugly fit as they used to be earlier. In fact, you have to use the same socks you are used to because using different pairs of climbing socks can make you feel uncomfortable leading to low performance.

  1. Reduce Friction between Shoe and the Foot

Although socks can offer the much-needed cushion between the foot and climbing shoe, they can interfere with the friction between the foot and shoe. This friction and biting contact between shoe walls and feet are crucial for climbing as the grip of your feet over the climbing surface are essential for added control. As a result, with socks put on, you may lose much of the control you need so desperately. Besides, your foot might start slipping inside the shoe and thus thwart your climbing efforts.

What to Consider When Wearing Socks with Rental Climbing Shoes?

If you have to rent climbing shoes from climbing gyms, you need to wear socks for hygiene purposes. After all, such shoes are usually used by many people. Despite being sanitized after use, wearing socks with such shoes does not hurt.

The only concern with wearing socks with rental climbing shoes is if these socks make you less effective as you climb different surfaces. If it happens, consider investing in your climbing shoes. Whether you wear personal climbing shoes with socks or not, be sure that your feet will be safe, and you might still be more effective in scaling up different surfaces.

Should You Wear Sock with Climbing Shoe?

While you can say yes to answer the question, you must not overlook the demerits of doing so. Yes, climbing shoe socks help you remain comfortably warm, ensure your shoes are sufficiently tight while climbing, and prevent any form of slippage as you climb mountains. But they cut down your control. However, if you are okay without them, it is well and good—your preference matters most in this case.

We hope this article answers the question, ‘do you wear socks with climbing shoes?’ The most important thing is to ensure that your feet remain comfortable and climb the best anytime you choose to engage in mountain climbing out there with or without climbing shoes socks.

Afzall Rahman

Afzall Rahman is a college teacher by profession and is a rock-climbing enthusiast from his early childhood. So, anything on climbing keeps him glued to for hours - be it a movie on or related to climbing, book on or by climbers, article or podcast on climbing destinations, skills, gears, or the likes.

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