With the popularity of indoor rock climbing skyrocketing in recent years, you most likely have at least one friend who loves the sport. Maybe you are that friend, trying to convince your other friends to spend their day at an indoor climbing gym with you. Whatever the case may be, we hope that this article will help you decide what clothes are right for you for indoor rock climbing.
How Do You Prepare for Indoor Rock Climbing?
Indoor rock climbing is a sport, so you should prepare accordingly. Make sure that you are well-rested and well hydrated before you go climbing. Bring enough snacks and water to keep your body fueled for the whole time you’ll be climbing.
Since rock climbing is a sport, you should make sure your body is well prepared. Take some time to warm up either with an exercise like jumping-jacks or on an easy route on the wall. Stretching after you climb is also a great way to help your body recover better.
Rock climbing is no different from anywhere else, where if you are dressed wrong, you are likely to be miserable. Take some time to find the right clothes for you to wear rock climbing. It doesn’t matter what your friend says they love, find what works, and is comfortable for you.
What Should You Wear Indoor Rock Climbing?
The general rules to abide by for what to wear for climbing indoors is just the same as any other workout that you might be doing. Wearing comfortable clothes that are easy to move in is key, but there are some things that can make clothes better for indoor climbing than others.
The main thing to think about as a possible added benefit of certain clothes for rock climbing indoors is the material that the clothes are made from. Clothes made from synthetic materials tend to be the most comfortable, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule.
Wearing clothes that allow you to move easily is the most important thing to think about when choosing what to wear when climbing indoors. You should also think about how the clothes fit. Baggy clothes can make it hard to see your feet well, and they can often lead to you feeling pretty exposed when others walk past below you while you’re climbing, so picking something that isn’t too tight, but fits your body well is usually a good idea.
Climbing shoes can often be rented in climbing gyms, so don’t feel like you can’t go climbing indoors if you don’t have your own shoes. If you do want to get yourself a pair of shoes to wear to your local indoor climbing gym, there are a few things to think about.
If this is your first pair of climbing shoes, you might want to choose a base level shoe. These are shoes like the La Sportiva Tarantula and Trantulace, the Black Diamond Momentum, or the FiveTen Anasazi. These are all made by reputable brands and are a good selection of some of the best starter shoes for indoor rock climbing.
Climbing Shirts: Short-Sleeve vs. Long-Sleeve
The short-sleeve versus long-sleeve debate ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some people feel that they can’t move as well in a long-sleeve shirt as they can in a short-sleeve, but others find that they scrape up their arms too much in a short-sleeve shirt. The main thing to think about is how comfortable you will be and how easy it is for you to move in your chosen shirt.
Another thing that may contribute to your shirt choice for climbing is the temperature. Be aware that while indoor climbing gyms are often air-conditioned, the heat does rise, and so the top half of most top-rope routes will be much hotter than the boulder problems down below. Climbing gyms try to keep their spaces a good temperature, but with such a large open space, it can be hard to make sure it’s all perfect.
Climbing Shorts vs. Pants
The shorts versus pants debate is similar to the shirt sleeve debate in that it mostly comes down to personal preference. If you are only bouldering, then what length of clothes you wear on your lower half is totally up to personal preference, comfort, and ease of movement. If you plan on spending your day in a harness, take some time to think about what clothing is the most comfortable for you to wear under your harness.
Chalk and chalk bags are one of the first things that come to mind when people think of climbing accessories, and while chalk is nice, it isn’t always necessary. Some climbing gyms provide chalk, but many don’t. Many climbing gyms do have rules about the type of chalk that you can use since loose chalk can cause a lot of powder in the air, which is not good for your respiratory system.
If you have long hair, making sure you have a hair tie or some way to keep your hair out of your face can be both safe and super helpful. You don’t want anything getting caught up in a belay device, including your hair. Hair can also prevent you from seeing your feet as you climb, so keeping it tied back is best.
Along the same lines, you should minimize the amount of jewelry that you are wearing. Dangly necklaces, bracelets, and earrings are not safe to wear while climbing. Make sure to remove any rings, as rings can sometimes get caught up on holds while climbing.
Climbing Shorts vs. Pants: Which is Better for Indoor Rock Climbing?
Climbing in shorts or pants is completely a personal preference. Unlike outdoor rock climbing, where having long pants can help protect you from scrapes, sun exposure, and bugs, indoor rock climbing is a controlled environment. This means that you can choose whatever is the most comfortable for you.
The main thing you want to think about when choosing what to wear on your legs while indoor rock climbing, or rock climbing in general, is how your clothes are going to cover you from below. If you wear super loose pants, you may end up with people being able to see up your pants as you climb, and the same goes for loose shorts.
Some people like to climb in tight-fitting clothes, such as leggings or spandex, while others prefer looser athletic shorts or pants. Either option is totally fine. Many companies make climbing-specific pants, and many of these pants are full-length or ¾-length with loose legs and elastic ankles to keep the pants tight at the bottom.
Along the same lines as the elastic ankles, many climbing-specific pants are made with wide, smooth, elastic waists. This minimizes the amount of things around your waist that can rub under a harness. Some people like to climb in jeans, but others really don’t. Climbing in pants, such as jeans, that have a defined waist area is a better option for bouldering than it is for roped climbing since jeans can sometimes rub under a harness.
5 Tips on Choosing Indoor Rock Climbing Clothes
Here are some guidelines to think about when choosing the clothes you want to wear the next time you go indoor rock climbing. This is also a great list for someone just starting out climbing.
1. Wear clothes that you can move in easily.
You want clothes that don’t impede any of your joints’ ability to move. Many people like to climb in a tank top for this reason, but any top that doesn’t impede your shoulders’ ability to move is great. The same goes for your choice in pants or shorts, just make sure you can move easily.
2. Synthetic clothes are best, but not essential.
Synthetic clothes or athletic clothes are designed to help keep you cool while you’re working out, so these are your best choice, but you can totally go climbing in a cotton shirt. The clothes that you wear should not be the limiting factor preventing you from starting climbing. Indoor rock climbing gear and climbing gear, in general, can be pretty pricey, so don’t feel bad if you just wear some old shirt from the back of your drawer, but if you can get yourself some nice synthetic clothes, you may be happier in the long run.
3. Wear easy to get on and off street shoes.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule but is something that will make indoor rock climbing more enjoyable, especially for a beginner or someone who is just starting out. You need to have street shoes to wear into the bathroom at an indoor climbing gym, and many people like to have street shoes for walking around the gym. Just make sure they are clean and dry if you are going to step onto the mats with them.
4. Take off any jewelry or just leave it at home.
Make sure you have nothing dangling down that could impede your view of your feet or get caught up in a belay device. Take off any rings you might wear, since rings can get caught on holds and really hurt your fingers. Jewelry that fits tight against your wrist can be left on, such as a watch, but anything that dangles should be removed.
5. Keep your hair out of your face.
For the same reasons that we don’t want dangly jewelry when we’re climbing, we don’t want our hair all over the place either. Make sure that your hair isn’t at any risk of getting caught in a belay device, since this can be a pretty painful experience.
Wrapping Things Up: What to Wear Indoor Rock Climbing?
The main thing to think about when choosing what clothes to wear indoor rock climbing is if you will be comfortable making all the moves that climbing requires in your chosen clothes. Making sure that you can see what you’re doing and are freely able to move are super important. Regardless of if you prefer shorts or pants, long-sleeved shirts, or tank-tops, there are clothes out there for you to climb in.
Since you read this post, you might also like to read our post on what to wear when rock climbing here.
Looking for climbing gear? Then make sure to check out our reviews on the best climbing gear: