Buying your first pair of climbing shoes

New to climbing? If you’re a member of our gym, you’re probably enjoying your first free month of rental gear. Although you can certainly continue to rent all the gear you need for climbing here, you may be thinking about purchasing some of your own gear soon.


As you know already, climbing shoes are unlike other shoes. They’re designed to help your feet make stable contact with tiny outcroppings. As a result, they are not known for their comfort.

As a new climber, it’s smart to start with a pair of shoes that aren’t too aggressive. This means you’ll want shoes that are flatter, and sized so that your toes curl just a bit (if at all), and aren’t terribly uncomfortable. As you continue as a climber, you may decide that you want several pairs of shoes, suited to different sorts of climbing. For now, make sure that you have shoes that leave you relatively comfortable as you work on building your technique.

To this end, it is very important for new climbers to try on their first pair of shoes before buying. While it’s easy to find tempting deals online, it’s very hard to know how the shoes will fit, so it’s best to take some time trying on multiple styles and sizes.

Additional reading

To get an idea of the range of possibilities when it comes to choosing shoes, you might want to look at these articles:

Member benefits

Remember, as a member of the River Rock, you get a 10% discount at both Outdoor Trails and Backcountry Ski & Sports.  Go to either of these fine establishments, and you’ll be able to try on shoes and harnesses, and ask all your questions. Who knows — You might even run into some of our River Rock staffers there!

Climbing Destination: Kalymnos, Greece

Photo: Mikey Bean


Our snow this weekend might have some of you dreaming of warm escapes. Maybe it’s time for some armchair tourism — imagine yourself in a gorgeous warm setting, known for excellent climbing…


“Climbing on perfect limestone with an amazing landscape behind you…”

“It’s a paradise.”

Feast your eyes on some more fantastic views here.

In the meantime, remember — we always have perfect weather and great climbing conditions inside at the River Rock!

Week 1

Climbing CoveSuccess!

Thank you to everyone who came out for a wonderful first week of climbing here at the River Rock. After months planning and creating this space, seeing it filled with bodies is a thrill!

It’s one thing to dream of creating such a place, and quite another to see the reality unfold — and that’s something we couldn’t do without the support and enthusiasm of the community. Thank you!

Come, one and all

One of our goals is to provide a place that is engaging and welcoming to all.

This week we welcomed complete beginners into the gym alongside seasoned climbers. Some visitors tried on climbing shoes for the first time and were guided through climbing their first route. Others came equipped with their own gear, ready to tackle some of the most difficult bouldering problems we had available.

Seeing climbers of all ages and levels scaling the walls of our gym side by side is one of the greatest measures of success that we could hope for!

Even me?

We’ve had a lot of people asking if they have to be incredibly strong or physically fit to try climbing. Our answer? Nope! If you think you’re too out-of-shape or old or weak for it, just know you aren’t the first to feel that way and give it a try anyway!

If nothing else, come by and take a tour of the gym — we’ve got friendly staff just waiting to show you around and answer your questions. You could even fill out an online visitor agreement right here, to get a head-start on your climbing adventure!

Thinking about membership?

Take a peek at our null page. If you’re interested in outdoor gear, yoga classes, or tasty food and beer, I think you’ll find that there are some nice perks to joining!