How To Stretch Climbing Shoes With effectiveness?

Climbing shoes are designed to fit tight to enable you to feel comfortable in your climbing exercises. But understand that it can be too tight, especially if you bought small-sized ones and certainly they will cause you discomfort.

To further worsen the case, the stipulated date for return may have passed, making it difficult for you to return the climbing shoes to the store you bought it from. So, in a situation like this, what do you do?

Well, there’s a solution to this problem and that’s stretching! However, understand that this can only work if the shoes are designed and produced with leather materials.

Without wasting any time, let’s look at the different methods to stretch your climbing shoes.

Methods of Stretching Your Climbing Shoes

Stretching Your Climbing Shoes

Method 1: Use a Hairdryer


  1. Hairdryer
  2. Socks

Step 1: Put some socks into your climbing shoes

You do this by putting enough socks into your climbing shoes until there’s no space left inside them. The more packed the socks are, the better your climbing shoes will get stretched.

Step 2: Heat the shoe with a hairdryer

You must be careful to do this probably. While heating the shoes, the hairdryer should be about 4 to 6 inches above the shoes.

Gently move the hairdryer around the shoes for them to be heated evenly and don’t spend much time on one spot to avoid melting the shoe.

Step 3: Add more socks when the shoes are warm

In this step, the heat has caused the shoe to expand with little spaces that need to be filled. You simply add more socks to let the shoes stretch more.

Step 4: Allow the shoe to cool down and check it

Allow the socks to cool off before taking them out. Wear the shoes and walk around for a while to know if you still feel any discomfort in your toes.

If there’s no discomfort, the process was successful. However, know that the shoes will be too light for you to wear them, which other methods will give you a better result.

Method 2: Freeze the Shoe


  1. Freezer
  2. Plastic sandwich bags

Step 1: Fill the plastic sandwich bags with water

Get plastic sandwich bags with zipper seals and fill them with water to put them into your shoes. Before putting them into your shoes make sure that the excess water is removed.

To get better stretching with this method, don’t leave any extra space between the bag and the sides of the shoes.

Step 2: Insert the bags of water into the shoes

Seal up the bags, and insert them into your shoes to the extent the toe cavity is filled. Lace the shoes around the bags of water, the way you do to your feet.

Step 3: Put the shoes inside the freezer

Put the shoes inside the freezer for around 8 to 12 hours. Make sure it doesn’t exceed 12 hours to avoid damaging the shoe itself.

Step 4: Remove your shoes from the freezer and allow them to dry

Leave your shoes for 30 minutes to dry before pulling out the bags of water. It mustn’t extend more than 30 minutes, this is to avoid condensation which may lead to the shoes getting wet, making them vulnerable to damage.

Step 5: Remove the bags of water

Carefully remove the bags of water after the shoes must have dried.

Step 6: Allow the shoes to soften from frozen or thaw

This will take some hours for the shoes to thaw or soften from frozen.

Allow the shoes to get warm before putting them on, then you can check them by walking around to be sure they are now good for you.

Method 3: Soak Your Shoes


  1. Newspaper, socks, washcloths, or paper towels.
  2. Shower

Step 1: Put on socks and slide on your shoes

Before soaking your shoes, wear a pair of thick socks for padding, slide on your shoes and lace them up. This will assist to maximize the stretching of your shoes.

Step 2: Turn on the shower while on your shoes

Turn on the shower and leave the water to warm up before soaking your shoes.

Step 3: Slide your feet into the water to soak the shoes

In this particular step, leave your feet in the water for close to 2 minutes. This is to ensure that all the areas of your shoes get wet.

Step 4: Walk around with the shoe on

Wiggle your toes while walking around to get the shoes to stretch more and better. The longer you do this, the faster the shoes get stretched.

Step 5: Stuff the shoe with newspaper,  socks, washcloths, or paper towels

Remove the shoes and tightly pack newspaper, socks, washcloths, or paper towels inside them, especially in the toe cavity. This will prevent your shoes from shrinking back as they dry.

Step 6: Leave the shoe to dry

Leave the shoe for about 24 to 48 hours to dry fully. After they must have dried, put them on to see if they are fit or not.

What to Consider While Buying Your Climbing Shoes

Before buying your climbing shoes, getting the right size is more important. That’s the one that will be the right length and will also fit you comfortably without causing any discomfort in your toes. Thereby, allowing you to be comfortable while climbing.

As a climber, comfort is the major factor you must consider because it’s related to the fitting and sizing of the shoe. However, know that you can’t stretch all shoes, especially the synthetic ones.

Another thing to consider is to avoid buying climbing shoes that have much space between your toes and the inside of the shoe. Also, avoid ones that you find difficult to slip them on your foot as well.

In Conclusion

We established the fact that stretching your shoe is not difficult using any method that was discussed in the post to find the best fit for yourself. Always remember to be careful when using any of the steps mentioned to avoid damaging your climbing shoes.

Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

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