Footwear designed specifically for rock climbing is called a climbing shoe. Sport rock climbing shoes shoes allow for precise foot placements on small foot holds and lets the climber to use their lower body strength to push confidently off to ascent.
Rock climbing shoes are typically lined with a type of sticky rubber sole and rand (around the heels and toe box) for extra grip and friction on the holds and wall. It is meant to be fitted to your feet to focus the pressure on the front of your foot and should only be worn during climbs and not for walking around to prevent wearing down the rubber and causing discomfort to your feet. Improper footwear such as wearing sandals or sports shoes can lead to clumsy footwork and compromise the safety of the climber, causing premature slips and falls.
Why you need climbing shoes?
Most climbing gyms in Singapore require you to wear climbing shoes and will make shoes available for rent. However, they can be ill fitted, unisex, uncomfortable and worn down in various areas by previous climbers, compromising on optimal performance. As foot shapes and sizes vary widely from individual to individual, it is best to find a pair that is the most comfortable and well fitted for your needs. Rock climbing shoes will stretch and conform to the shape of your foot and the rubber inevitably wears down over time, and will either need to be re-soled or replaced as the climber improves and may need a more specific shoe with specific features.