Rock Climbing & Your Feet

Shoe Fit

In general, rock climbing shoes should not be torture chambers for your feet. Shoes should fit snuggly, but should not be painful. The majority of climbing related foot problems are related to shoes that are excessively tight.  

Having too tight shoes can lead to:

  • Ingrown nails 
  • Painful calluses
  • Subungual hematoma 
  • Morton’s neuroma 
  • Peroneal tendon dislocation 
  • Bunion irritation
  • Chronic foot pain 
  • Ankle sprains

Styles of rock climbing shoes based on the type of climb:

  • Long, multi-pitch climbs

    • Flatter
    • Looser fitting
    • Good shoes for beginners
  • Bouldering and sport climbs

    • Downturned
    • Tighter
  • Crack climbing
    • Toes lay more flat


Typical injuries we see include:

  • Contusions
  • Ankle sprains
  • Lacerations
  • Ankle fractures
  • Talar fractures
  • Calcaneal fractures

The most frequent factor contributing to lower extremity trauma in rock climbing is a fall. Having improper fitting shoes can cause distracted climbing and is dangerous. We recommend you take a look at product reviews and trial shoes at a pro shop or outdoor center prior to purchasing. Safety first! On Belay? Belay on!

Other online shoe resources:

We are your Seattle area Foot & Ankle Specialists, we treat the full spectrum of forefoot conditions simple to complex, including bunions.  Whether you are in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Bothell, Arlington, Mount Vernon, or Whidbey Island call us today to make an apointment and we can educate you foot problems and better yet solutions!

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