Is Water Bad for Climbing Shoes?

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Can you use water shoes as climbing shoes?


Rock climbing is a tough sport that requires you to be on your A-Game, both physically and mentally. Having good rock climbing shoes can really help you out and make your rock climbing experience much more rewarding. Like your climbing shoes take care of you on your adventures, you have to take care of them to make sure they don’t get ruined for some petty reason. Which brings me to today’s question, is water bad for climbing shoes? Let’s find out!

Is water bad for climbing shoes?

So, is water bad for climbing shoes? No! Climbing shoes can handle water just fine. Not only can they handle water, you can safely wash and soak them in water. The leather upper in these shoes (if there is one), might lose its shape for a bit, but then it’ll come back to where it’s supposed to be. So don’t worry about water while climbing!


Did you know? The rubber soles that are used in climbing shoes were specifically invented for these shoes?

Should you shower with climbing shoes?

Absolutely! A common method to break in climbing shoes is to stretch them out in the shower or bathtub. This is a really simple, fast, and effective way of getting your climbing shoes to fit you perfectly.

To begin, wear your climbing shoes and step into a bathtub or hot shower. Wiggle your toes around and try to stretch the shoes out properly in multiple ways. You have to repeat this for the next five to ten minutes.

After a while, exit the shower or bathtub and continue wearing the shoes. Further, break-in and stretch out the shoes by walking around in them for around twenty minutes. You could also go out and climb some easy rocks with them to really break them in while they’re in this mouldable state!


Once you feel comfortable with what you’ve done to the shoes, take them off and stuff some dry rags into them to absorb all the excess water. You don’t want the water to remain inside and cause the shoes to smell later, now do you? Replace the now wet rags with dry ones and leave your shoes in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight to dry completely. After a few repetitions of this process, you’ll find that your shoes will be perfectly stretched out for you!

Can you wear socks with climbing shoes?

Yes! Climbing shoes are designed to fit really tightly onto your feet to give you confidence and support you while climbing. However, this can get uncomfortable, with the constant friction leading to rawness, rashes and blisters after prolonged usage. Wearing a thin pair of socks is a good idea to prevent this unwanted side effect.

Can you rock climb barefoot?

You absolutely can! It’s what our ancestors used to do back in the day. However, we’ve come a long way from that and we’ve invented many things to make our lives easier, just like rock climbing shoes make climbing easier. While you can always climb barefoot, it’ll be tougher and much riskier than climbing with the appropriate gear.

Can you use water shoes as climbing shoes?

Now, you might think that water shoes would make good climbing shoes, right? After all, they provide great grip around water.

Unfortunately, water shoes are not useful at all when it comes to rock climbing. An essential component of rock climbing shoes is that they have a rigid sole that supports you while you’re climbing and the shoes fit onto you really tight. Water shoes don’t do either of those things! You should be able to balance your entire weight on your toes while rock climbing, which is what the rigid sole on rock climbing shoes is for.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the answer to your question; is water bad for climbing shoes, is no. Water is not bad for climbing shoes. In fact, you can use a hot shower to break in your climbing shoes and mold them according to what’s most comfortable for your feet! Remind yourself to pack some linen socks for your next climbing adventure to prevent chafing and unnecessary pain. Remember, water shoes can’t be used as climbing shoes. Happy climbing!

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Jenny Schmidt

Jenny Schmidt

As an avid swimmer and kayak lover for decades, I know how important it is to get the right shoes to keep your feet healthy.
I'll let you in on some secrets only a few know...

About Me

As an avid swimmer and kayak lover for decades, I know how important it is to get the right shoes to keep your feet healthy.
I’ll let you in on some secrets only a few know…

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