No sport is characterized by such suffering sheepas climbing. This proves itself not only in mental terms – but also in terms of clothing. Frequently, heated debatesignite about whether or not a sock belongsin the climbing shoe. The answer is simple:it is JEIN.
Help for self-help
Can’t you take a post that starts like this seriously? Too bad, because then you will miss some important information. For example, why there is no hop or top or pro or contra when it’s a sock question, but at most a lot of pros and cons – from which you can pick out your personal favorites and remix them.
In fact, we cannot give a clear answer either; but at least we will illuminate the problem from several sides, so that you have the good feeling of being taken seriously and can decide on your own whether you wear socks in the climbing shoe or not.
With the shoe on you and you
But before we dare to take a look inside your climbing shoes, let’s look at them from the outside. Just as well as the meaning of socks, you could also question the usefulness of the shoes themselves. From a very factual point of view, they are more of a hindrance than a useful one, because they reduce the sense of the underground and narrow you down in several ways.
Still, few think of climbing barefoot. A good and carefully selected shoe does not have a restrictive effect – but supportive, stabilizing and warming. It protects your feet from injury and gives them the necessary grip. It also balances out what your body has lost in the course of evolution: tension and compressive strength.
For this to work, climbing shoes are “worked like a second skin”. Their material and cut ensure that you feel the condition and find support as if there is nothing between you and the ground. This in turn requires an optimal fit of the shoes – for which there is only one guarantee: trying on.
Important: Size and closure technology
The old wisdom of buying climbing shoes at least two numbers smaller than ordinary footwear is long outdated. The size specifications of the articles already take into account the body-related requirement. This is similar to pregnancy fashion, which is also chosen according to the usual clothing size instead of free muzzle from the plus-size department. And similar to this, climbing shoes have the possibility of post-regulation.
The closure allows you to adapt the shoe to your individual needs. Depending on the shape of the day or load, a width or “tightening” may be necessary. Lacing systems are more precise and effective in this respect than Velcro fasteners or slips. They also bring a slightly widened model back into shape.
6 good reasons to go climbing your socks
- Which brings us to the first and most common reason to put socks in the climbing shoes. With each use, the material is stretched a little more and adapts to the shape of the foot. Ideally, it follows the anatomical specifications to the point that the shoe becomes unmistakable because it exactly depicts your foot. Often enough, however, it is the decisive millimeter too much that the material yields. Then socks can balance and “anchor” the shoe back to the foot.
- Hand in hand goes another motive for socks in a climbing shoe. The vastness of the material is due to natural conditions: body heat and moisture. However, sometimes these two components have an undesirable side effect. When the foot starts to sweat in the shoe, it becomes slippery. The feeling for the underground is lost and is accompanied by an unpleasant feeling, which additionally disturbs the climbing. Socks trap the sweat where it is created and keep the inside of the shoe dry.
- The risk of foot fungus is closely associated with the formation of sweat. Wet-warm climate is an ideal breeding ground for microorganisms, which can attack the acid protective mantle of the skin and penetrate into deeper tissue layers. Here they cause itching and inflammation – and open the door to other pathogens. A circumstance that can be easily prevented by retracted socks and prevents the lengthy treatment of foot fungus.
- An almost equally dreaded factor in the barefoot carrying of climbing shoes is the formation of smell. It is also a side effect of foot sweat, which can be contained by socks. However, the same applies here as with the prophylaxis of fungal diseases: If the cause is outside the climbing shoes, socks do not use anything. When the pathogens or scent molecules are “introduced”, the feet suffer both clothed and naked.
- Speaking of which: Of course, there is probably the most profane reason to put socks in the climbing shoes – the need for warmth. It applies especially to alpine athletes or when the preferred climbing region is in low temperatures. In tight-fitting shoes, no air cushion can form that warms the feet, so that the toes freeze slightly. Since cold limbs lack the feel for the ground, socks in the climbing shoes are recommended in certain altitudeors or weather conditions.
- Last but not least, some athletes say they want to protect themselves from discoloration. On the one hand, this is understandable; on the other hand, a reverse conclusion. High-quality shoes must never stain- no matter what purpose they are intended for. If your feet have unwanted patterns after climbing, you should question the quality of the equipment instead of counteracting it with socks.
Each animal’s plaisier
But as individual and comprehensible as the motives for socks are when climbing, every additional position between the sole of the foot and the sole of the shoe is considered a no-go among professionals. They literally want to become one with the wall and feel it in all its facets. They often forget that they have completely different equipment at their disposal than beginners, amateurs or hobby climbers. Much of the experience they have is based on “learning by doing” – and the mistakes they make.
Undoubtedly, feeling when climbing is the be-all and end-all; but it also extends to well-being. If you feel safer with socks – because dryer, better protected or otherwise well equipped – then wear them. Especially at the beginning of the workout there are so many things to keep in mind that you shouldn’t worry about foot sweat, cold toes or anything like that. The need to feel more comes with increasing safety and makes the question of socks in the climbing shoe superfluous at some point.
Even without socks good walking
If you have decided AGAINST socks in the climbing shoe for personal reasons, the following tips will be helpful. They aim to combat what sock proponents want to avoid: smells, germs and premature wear.
Wash your feet before each climbing tour with a mild regreasing product and then dry them thoroughly with a towel or a hair dryer – especially in the toe spaces.
Then apply powder or deocream or spray. Pay attention to special foot care products, because the sweat glands of the feet work according to a different principle than the other parts of the body.
Let your climbing shoes dry and ventilate thoroughly after each use. Extend the entry opening as much as possible and fill the foot area with absorbent paper. But don’t forget to remove it after a short time! Otherwise, it acts like a moisture depot in the shoe.
Sprinkle baking powder or soda in your shoes. Its basic composition neutralizes the acidity of sweat and counteracts odour formation.
Care for your feet after climbing in the same way as before. Massage a few drops of tea tree oil into the skin. It has a fungicide and antibacterial effect, so pathogens have a poor chance of taking up their work.
Clean your climbing shoes at regular intervals with warm soapy water. If you don’t want to immerse them completely, treat the interior with a rag or a hand brush or toothbrush. For thorough re-drying, cloths or sheets of paper are suitable, which you change again and again.
For transport or storage are recommended so-called boot bananas – specially shaped deo pillows, which are filled with moisture-binding salt and aromatic substances. They discolor a little more through each use and thus indicate their maximum service life.
After being used in the shoe, you must let the boat bananas dry well over a heat source and then store them in an airtight plastic bag. Otherwise, they attract the moisture of the ambient air and become unusable.
Eyes on when buying socks!
Nevertheless, you should be very careful when choosing. As you have learned, socks are not a fashionable gimmick when climbing, but a tribute to the fit, health care, hygiene and safety. In order to meet these aspects, climbing socks must meet certain requirements.
On the one hand, of course, they have to be perfectly attached. Wrinkles can cause pressure or abrasion and affect the fit of the climbing shoes.
The same applies to material that is too thick. The optimal sock for the climbing shoe is thin as a pair of fine tights and fits seamlessly to the foot.
However, this must not be moisture-binding tissue. Classic cotton is not suitable for climbing. Ideally, you can use the regulating natural material silk or special functional stockings.
Make sure they don’t have a incisive cuff; wear also no socks in sneaker style. You could slip into the shoe by straining the toe area over the heel.