/ Socks or no socks

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Davidwi - on 03 Dec 2017
So, when I’m climbing I personally never wear socks with my rock shoes but everyone I climb with does. What’s the consensus here?

My reason for no socks is I feel more in touch with the rock without them on.
springfall2008 - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

I have read technically it doesn't matter, but do whatever you feel comfortable with.
Grumpy Old Man - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

Your boots don't smell half as much when you wear thin socks, and this makes little difference if the boots are a good fit.
GridNorth - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

Your feet can move within the socks and the socks can move within the shoe so I think it is better to eliminate one of those potential movements. I do however wear socks when my feet are likely to feel cold as I have poor circulation and I'm prone to chilblains. On the plus side that means that my feet hardly sweat, even in warm conditions, so my shoes do not smell and the inners look almost new even when several years old.

Al
tom_in_edinburgh - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

Thin socks to put a barrier between my feet and the shoes because shoes can't be washed after a day like socks.. With no socks 'smelly feet' bacteria on your foot get transferred to the shoe and bacteria in the shoes get transferred to your feet. Makes it really hard to get rid them of because you need to get them in both places at the same time or they just come back.

My wife would shoot me if my climbing shoes stank the way they used to before I started using socks.
thepodge on 03 Dec 2017
I wear very thin bamboo socks, I'm not climbing at a level where any benefits of no socks would come into play.

Have thought of sizing down on my next set of shoes and leaving out the socks but having watched an old guy climb with more style and skills in his football socks, I'm not sure it really matters.
Andy Hardy on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

It's entirely personal. Since I started climbing shoes have just got wider and wider and w i d e r. Therefore to stop them rolling about on my feet I wear socks.
jonnie3430 - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

No socks, to stop them from getting smelly put some foot powder in after use.
Fraser on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

I hardly ever wear socks unless my feet are likely to be very cold. Slight aside: I think Dave Mac always wears socks with his rock shoes.
Bulls Crack - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

Noen or Very thin socks depending on boot/age of boot. I have vert thin feet and just need to wear them sometimes
SenzuBean - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

I wear very thin, no-stretch, originally for running, socks. They are cut to match each foot (i.e. a left and a right, eliminating excess fabric), and quite snug once put on. They are sadly discontinued, and I will eventually run out
SenzuBean - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to GridNorth:

> Your feet can move within the socks and the socks can move within the shoe so I think it is better to eliminate one of those potential movements.

I disagree. By that logic you wouldn't ever use glue in any application.
The friction between sock and moist foot is very high, as well as the friction between sock and smooth shoe inner if done up well. I conjecture that overall, a well-fitted sock makes your foot much less likely to slide.
olddirtydoggy - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

I wear them just for hygene and find it slightly more comfortable.
elliott92 - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

I'd say that logic was a bit odd. Fair enough if you wanna wear socks and in reality the difference on friction is very little. But I use to wear them and I have definitely had slippage of my toes when on sloper foot holds even with tight fitting shoes. That's why now I go without the socks
keith-ratcliffe on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:
I normally wear thin socks for indoor climbing but note that I am in the minority with my climbing mates. I recently forgot my socks and tried climbing without them and floundered on climbs I had done previously. It may be the shoes were too slack but I also think that a soft sock can even out the spaces in the fit of the shoe and create a more solid combination.
SenzuBean - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to elliott92:

> I'd say that logic was a bit odd. Fair enough if you wanna wear socks and in reality the difference on friction is very little. But I use to wear them and I have definitely had slippage of my toes when on sloper foot holds even with tight fitting shoes. That's why now I go without the socks

I've had the opposite My feet used to slip without socks, but now foot slippage is never a problem. I recently forgot my socks and had to re-acquaint myself with foot slippage.
As mentioned though, I suspect I had very good socks. If socks are stretchy, or not totally snug, I'm sure they will slip.
jezb1 - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:
Wear socks or don’t wear socks, but if your feet are slipping in rock shoes without socks, the shoes don’t fit right for wearing without socks.
Post edited at 21:17
purplemonkeyelephant - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

Thin socks. I get why people prefer no socks when you're smearing on tiny crystals etc but for easy stuff it's just more comfortable and way cleaner.

I find the biggest downside of wearing socks isn't reduced sensitivity but a glut of idiots telling you how it's detrimental to your climbing and how unfashionable you look.
elliott92 - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

I think as jez says it all comes down to fit. I have narrow feet and I compensate with shoes that are ever so slightly on the too tight side on length to get a better width fit
stp - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

I agree with you. I never wear socks because I want to maximize feel on the rock. Interestingly I can't think of anyone I know who does either.
Offwidth - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

You forgot to add that friction between feet and a slimy shoe (due to months of build-up of nasty shit from your feet) isn't great. Wearing thin socks has so many advantages its a complete no-brainer* to wear them unless footwork is super critical at high grades. Even then, some top climbers wear/wore socks... most famously Ron. Powder gives the slimy shit a bit of cement... you need to wash shoes more often if you don't use socks and that reduces their lifetime.

*stop your shoes stinking, makes them last longer, keeps feet warmer, protection from midges, stops slippy disgusting slime bulid-up, pads out any tight spots, and shows you think about things and are not a fashion victim.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

I often wear socks.
Gordon Stainforth - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

When I started climbing I always wore thin socks (in Masters and EBs) and then, when sticky boots came out, gave them up and found I climbed better. I don't know if it was purely psychological, but it seemed I could 'feel' the rock better. Probably bollocks.
LeeWood - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

The question of fit has changed radically over the last 20yrs. I regularly climb in company of folk who *must* remove their boots at the end of a pitch - to end intolerable discomfort / pain. All for reason of reducing sloppiness ... 'feeling' better ??? And yet I climb next to these folk in my Asolo Canyons, wearing socks inside, never remove them during a multipîtch (recently 220m at Vilanova, up to 6b+) ... enjoying all the necessary performance with comfort.

The Emperors new clothes, I'd say.

Slop is definately out however - I own some more recent Boreals, but alas on the day I shopped they didn't have the right size - too big. So I wear socks inside. Even that leaves some play which I reduce by inserting pads at the heel. This holds significant advantage ex. on another certain multipitch the pads were in place for the crux pitch a delicate 6c, but in my pocket for the other 7 pitches. Comfort with performance for all day climbing
jon on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to LeeWood:

> And yet I climb next to these folk in my Asolo Canyons

So have you finally binned your Cragratz, then?

GrahamD - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

There is no consensus, nor does there need to be. Do whatever works for you.
L rubertm on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

I prefer to wear socks to keep my feet dry.
mouseliveson - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

No socks 100%.

I've tried with socks purely to avoid the smell and to keep my feet warm, but I just don't get the sensitivity in the toes for small footholds, and my feet slip on moves like aggressive heel hooks. If you wear your shoes tight I find it a nightmare getting them on/off.

If you only climb easy stuff on big footholds it probably doesn't matter, though as other have mentioned you probably need the right socks so the seams don't irritate you.
Andy Hardy on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to mouseliveson:

[...]

> If you only climb easy stuff on big footholds it probably doesn't matter, [...]

Like this chap http://www.supertopo.com/photos/4/89/170456_4575_L.jpg ;)

mouseliveson - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to Andy Hardy:
Interesting historical artifact you have there. Though I get your point, it works for some, and is probably also dependent on the type of shoe you are using.

For aggressive downturned shoes (which I tend to use) socks are not really viable for the reasons I have mentioned, in my opinion.
Post edited at 10:24
Andy Hardy on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to mouseliveson:

did you miss the winky face?
GridNorth - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

I think everyone wore socks back in the days when climbing footwear extended as far as the ankle and was more of a boot than a shoe. As often as not the socks were a thick hiking style. I think sock less came in about the same time that shoes appeared but I don't know if it was a fashion or a practicality issue. Around about the same time it also became fashionable to not wear socks with trainers etc. and wearing socks with shorts was considered a fashion no no.

Al
Davidwi - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to GrahamD:
Graham your right, there doesn’t need to be a consensus. I suppose I was more curious.
I like how everyone has here own reasons for and against although I have to say my shoes don’t smell. I just powder my feet before I go out.

Also I wear my climbing shoes a half size smaller than my normal footwear an I think adding socks would make them too uncomfortable to wear.
mouseliveson - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to Andy Hardy:

Sorry Andy I missed that, I was furiously attempting to be diplomatic there.
Doug on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to GridNorth:

Sure fashion played a role but I can remember myself & friends wearing EBs without socks in the mid to late 70s
LeeWood - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to jon:
No, still got the Superatz - in better shape than the canyons 2yrs older - and still good for 6c

You were in Collegats - Cine recently; how did you like the crag of desperate starts ?
Post edited at 13:24
stp - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

> Also I wear my climbing shoes a half size smaller than my normal footwear an I think adding socks would make them too uncomfortable to wear.

Only half a size smaller! I used to be 3.5 sizes below my normal shoes, keen to stand on the smallest footholds. These days I'm a bit more relaxed and mostly 1.5 sizes down, or for indoor bouldering just -1. Though different brands use different sizing and some shoes stretch more than others.

These days it seems like such precision is not needed as much. For indoor use and steep outdoor, like Kalymnos, I think more comfy shoes are a good idea.

Back on the topic of socks it would interesting to see if any pro climbers wear socks. I suspect it's probably none.

baron - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to Andy Hardy:

He's wearing those bloody boots made by Clog (or some similar short lived brand) and he's not even leading!
What's he ever done on grit?
Or anywhere for that matter!
1poundSOCKS - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to stp:

> Back on the topic of socks it would interesting to see if any pro climbers wear socks. I suspect it's probably none.

Depends what they're climbing. Don't the Wide Boyz wear socks for their offwidth stuff?
Andy Hardy on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to baron:

good points, I think he did do a few things on grit, but here's one of him on the sharp end for once ;) https://www.mountainproject.com/photo/111137318

Same footwear - maybe he had poor circulation and needed cosy socks?
Rog Wilko on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> when sticky boots came out, gave them up and found I climbed better.

One of the first rules of scientific experiments is to change only one thing at a time. ;o)
Gordon Stainforth - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to Rog Wilko:

It wasn't a scientific experiment. Just felt better climbing that way.
Davidwi - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to stp:

Perhaps someone on here can shed light on whether or not pros wear socks. Tbh I never pay attention when I watch a video I may do next time.
BrendanO - on 06 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

Er... I wear one sock, as one foot is a halfsize smaller, so it evens them up without having an uncomfortable foot. Perfectly comfy with Boreal Jokers, and MUCH cheaper than buying odd sizes off Boreal. Looks really sh!t though ;)

When going for it, on limit or tiny footholds, switch to Evolv Bandits, no socks, but can only wear them for 20-30 min. That's as "performance shoe" as I get. I admit it may be psychological, but changing shoes can focus my mind on using feet and fighting harder!
JoeFoster59 - on 06 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

Personal preference isnt it
LeeWood - on 06 Dec 2017
In reply to BrendanO:

> When going for it, on limit or tiny footholds,

At which grade / style / angle is this choice made ?
Stefan Jacobsen - on 06 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

On cold climbs socks keeps your feet warm(ish), and if you need to cross slippery sections, you can always wear the socks outside the climbing shoes for better traction.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 06 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

Tried climbing without socks a few times because people I know insist you can feel the rock better.
On each occasion I have found the opposite to be true... for me.
mouseliveson - on 06 Dec 2017
In reply to stp:

I suppose this is a very subjective topic due to a massive range of foot shapes out there but I am lucky enough to have found comfortable enough shoes to go 3 sizes down from my street shoe size.

I can have these on for 30 mins without much discomfort when pushing on the smallest footholds - again I suppose the perception of comfort is also very subjective. I suspect though if anyone is pushing only a half size lower that they are not climbing on small footholds (or if they are - badly) or the shoe is not the correct shape for their foot.
mouseliveson - on 06 Dec 2017
In reply to stp:

Though I should reiterate that this applies more to softer downturned shoes in my experience.
Duncan Bourne - on 06 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

depends on how cold it is
mike1979 - on 06 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:
I like climbing in shorts. My legs are hardly my best feature but with climbing shoes and socks! No, no.
Stefan Jacobsen - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to mike1979:

Yes, socks or no socks is also about the current fashion. Remember when it was “allowed” to wear socks in your flip flops?
L Stellar Meteor on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to Davidwi:

Two pairs of rock shoes, one for hard trad, one for long mountian routes, socks in latter ;)
BrendanO - on 08:50 Tue
In reply to LeeWood:

> At which grade / style / angle is this choice made ?

Ok, thus could be embarrassing: E1/6b outdoors, 6c or V4ish indoors ...though for some boulder comps in the last year I've stayed comfy, and not switched. I also switch if I perceive that pointier precise toes will be more useful, or more overhanging. I do think it's at least 50% psychological.

It also helps at a comp to get someone to come over and shout at me!! Embarrassing but true!

alanblyth - on 09:33 Tue
In reply to Davidwi:

I have never had shoes sized for 'with socks', and since I have never had any problem with either gunk or smell, there has never been a reason to try socks...
mutt - on 09:53 Tue
In reply to Davidwi:

I've never considered wearing socks .... until now. But having though about it for a while, I'd say that good footwork is absolutely essential to hard climbing and particularly bouldering, and yet it is so often the underappreciated and weakest element of exhibited climbing skills. for instance , how often are Toe Ins used effectively? Personally I'd not want to put anything that isn't absolutely essential in between my feet and the foot holds. Maybe it is possible to have good foot technique and wear socks, but how would you know? better to eliminate any source of insensitivity and insecurity, and then be as good as you can be.
thepodge on 10:28 Tue
There are some odd comments on here.

It seems to be that some would wear shoes so tight that they can only wear them for a short amount of time but would never wear socks because it hinders their climbing.

For me, I'd imagine my feet being uncomfy would have more of a negative effect on my climbing than half a millimetre of cotton between skin and shoe.
Martin Bennett - on 12:12 Tue
In reply to LeeWood:


> And yet I climb next to these folk in my Asolo Canyons, wearing socks inside, never remove them during a multipîtch (recently 220m at Vilanova, up to 6b+) ... enjoying all the necessary performance with comfort.

If only my footwork was good enough for my Asolo Canyons to have lasted till now! I was climbing in Spain last week with a friend of 45 years standing who'd brought his Cragratz along - I was envious of his comfort too.

LeeWood - on 12:45 Tue
In reply to BrendanO:

I begin tightening my laces (or changing up) at 6b if the rock is steep slab / wall - esp for small pockets. Otherwise 6c is the limit - surprising what goes without precision. And as for climbing walls - well I'm obviously just not climbing hard enough to merit any suffering :D

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