If you're in the market for a set of sport, bouldering or all-around climbing shoes, you may be asking, how should climbing shoes fit? Well it can be difficult to tell, but most climbing shoes should be tight to avoid excess foot movement within the shoe. Finding the right shoes can be difficult, but with a little preparation you can pick the right shoe to suit your needs.
Traditional, all-around climbing shoes for climbing in cracks, face and buildings are a little looser than sport or bouldering shoes. Your standard shoes will be more comfortable during the duration of along climb. The best place for buying climbing shoes is a mountain or climbing shop, which will come equipped with a climbing wall and a knowledgeable salesperson to help you in your selection. The salesperson will make sure the shoes are tight enough, comfortable and come with adequate protection for your ankles and toes. Buy all-around climbing shoes a little on the tight side to allow for stretching.
After you've cut your teeth in climbing, you'll have a better idea of how climbing shoes should fit. You'll be used to tighter all-around shoes, and getting used to sport and bouldering climbing shoes will not be too bad. They'll be tighter than what you're used to, especially in the heel. You'll be thankful for the additional discomfort, however, ensuring that the shoe will not slip when hooking into a foothold. Many people find that sport and bouldering climbing shoes are down a half size from their traditional climbing shoes.
When tying climbing shoes, it's important to remember that the eyelet panels along the front of the shoes should not touch each other when properly laced up. The laces and materials of the shoe will stretch and in order for you to tighten them periodically, you'll need space along the top of the shoe. When tightened, the climbing shoe should be tight all over the foot, but not uncomfortably so in one particular area. If the shoe remains tight in the toes or across the top of the foot, try a different brand for better climbing shoe fit.