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!