Do You Wear Socks with Climbing Shoes & Explain the Reasons

Do you wear socks with climbing shoes? Do you know when to wear socks and when not?

Here is a complete guide that explains when it’s convenient to use socks with climbing shoes and when not. It also mentions the most appropriate kinds of socks for climbing.

Without a doubt, climbing isn’t all about muscles. It’s also about comfort. Therefore, your climbing gear must be soft, light and ergonomic. When you’re climbing, most of your body weight is supported on a single point. When that happens, pressure, heat and friction can damage your skin.

Therefore, some climbers prefer to wear socks with their climbing shoes. Socks protect your skin, absorb moisture and improve the movement of the foot inside the shoe. However, they also have a negative side. They decrease sensitivity.

In this guide, you’ll learn when it’s convenient to use socks with climbing shoes and when not. Here, you’ll also learn what type of sock is best for best choices climbing shoes.

What Kind of Socks You Use with Climbing Shoes?

There’s no a golden rule to know what kinds of socks to use with climbing shoes. You’re free to choose the pair of socks that gives you perfect fit and maximum comfort. However, here’s a list with useful types that can help you make the best decision in different circumstances.

When Using Rented Shoes

Some climbing gyms offer climbing shoes for rent for those who want to have fun and don’t have appropriate footwear for this purpose. In cases like this, it’s convenient to use antimicrobial socks to avoid contracting fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot.

Usually, workers on climbing gyms spray these shoes with antibacterial substances that don’t completely eliminate the fungus. Therefore, there’s a high risk of infection if you wear rental shoes with your bare feet.

When Your Climbing Shoes Are Too Big

Over time, heat and humidity tend to stretch your climbing shoes. When this happens, your shoes end up way too loose and tend to slip off your feet when you wear them. Also, friction can cause blisters.

To prevent this, it’s convenient to use thick socks to fill the free space. That way, you’ll have more stability and your shoe won’t slip off your foot so easily.

When Your Feet Are Too Sensitive

Usually, beginner climbers have overly sensitive feet. In some cases, a comfortable shoe isn’t enough to reduce pain. In these cases, it’s convenient to wear socks temporarily while your feet get stronger.

It’s also convenient to use socks when you’re trying out different types of climbing shoes for the first time. For example, when you’re changing your old neutral shoes for aggressive ones.

When You’re Crack Climbing

Crack climbing is a risky discipline. You can easily twist your ankle if your foot gets stuck in a crack. Wearing thick socks while you’re crack climbing can easily help you get out of trouble if your foot gets stuck. Your foot will slide more easily into the shoe, allowing you to escape the crevice effortlessly.

Do You Wear Socks with Climbing Shoes?

The answer is simple. Yes, you can wear socks with climbing shoes if you want. However, most expert climbers prefer not to. Why? Because socks tend to decrease sensitivity. You depend on your foot sensitivity to recognize the terrain and determine the best spot to support your foot.

Most modern climbing shoes are designed so that you don’t need socks. In fact, some models are designed to work like socks, adapting to the shape of your feet. Climbing shoes are also flexible and extra-thin to improve foot mobility. Thick socks may prevent your feet from bending and moving in different directions.

However, if you’re taking your first steps as a climber, it’s recommended that you wear socks to prevent injuries. If your feet aren’t strong enough, you’ll end up with sore feet after every climbing session. You can start wearing thick socks and gradually reduce the thickness until finally you no longer need them.


You’re free to decide whether wearing socks with your climbing shoes or not. Although sensitivity is essential to recognize the terrain, protection is also important. So, if your feet are prone to injury, then it is good to you always to wear socks.

Also, socks can protect you from fungal infections and other problems. So, as you can see, wearing socks with climbing shoes has many more pros than cons.

James Smith

James Smith, along with an army of foot soldiers, personally tries and reviews some of the most revered products and brand in almost every imaginable category of footwear.

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