We surely take them for granted, but socks are part of our daily wardrobe for many good reasons. They give our feet cushioning, so they do not rub directly against a shoe lining. Socks also help to keep our feet warm and dry.
Feet exposed to prolonged moisture are prone to fungus infections. Keeping feet clean and dry helps eliminate any bacteria and dead skin that could develop into an infection. Some specialty socks even aid circulation.
Socks also serve to be another clothing piece that allows us to express our individuality.
Climbing Shoes with Socks
Although socks are part of almost any wardrobe, there are a few instances when they may not be necessary or even a hindrance. Some sports present this kind of situation. For instance, do you wear socks with climbing shoes? (Read How to Break in Hiking Boots)
Many rock climbers (but not all) choose not to wear socks. The reason for not wearing them comes from a functional point. The claim put out by these climbers is that they do not have as much sensitivity in the toes and sole of the foot.
Rock climbing athletes need to feel the most subtle details and function of their foot muscles.
To Wear Socks or Not
To further strengthen the case for not wearing socks, climbers say they make it harder to get into the shoe (climbing shoes are a tight fit). Furthermore, as climbing shoes have developed and improved, most of them are built so that they do not require socks.
If your climbing shoes fit properly (which is snug), then you will not need to wear socks to fit into them.
Why Do Some Climbers Still Wear Socks?
Few climbers still wear socks. Fort his group of athletes, there are specialty rock climbing socks that cater to the sport’s specific needs. Here are some of the main reasons why going sockless is not an option.
A stretched pair of climbing shoes benefit from socks. Since the climbing shoes’ material will expand after prolonged use, socks could bring back a tight fit.
The climbing region is also another reason why some sportsmen wear socks. Cold and icy conditions will prompt climbers to wear socks out of necessity. Toes too cold will not have sufficient sensitivity for reading the underground.
Sweaty feet is another reason why climbers wear socks. A bare foot will sweat in tightly fitting climbing shoes.
A foot becomes unstable and more slippery with excessive sweating. When climbing shoes are not sufficiently snug, the foot will slip back and forth, which can be very dangerous. (Read How to Use Hiking Poles)
Another reason why some chose to wear socks is for proper hygiene. Climbing shoes are often prone to odor when used without socks.
Toe Shoe Socks – An Alternative
Toe shoe socks are socks knitted so that each toe is individually encased, akin to fingers of a hand glove. For sport, toe socks lessen the abrasion and rubbing between toes and shoes. These socks provide a layer of fabric separating each toe.
Their design and benefit for athletes are to prevent hangnails, blisters, and other foot issues that result from toes rubbing on shoe interior or other toes.
The Importance of the Right Shoe
In the case of climbing shoes and their functionality and safety, the fit is king. I can ignore all the reasons given for wearing socks if I buy the right climbing shoe. That would be a pair that fits on the tight side (some climbers purchase two sizes smaller).
The many new climbing shoe models also provide adequate ventilation to avoid excessive sweat.
The materials are breathable and are not prone to moisture build-up. Take your time in selecting an appropriate shoe, and you will not have to wrestle with the decision to wear socks or not. (Read How to Clean Hiking Boots)
Seasoned climbers say shoes should fit like a second skin.
A Final Word
So there you have it. There are equally good reasons to wear socks or not when climbing. It all depends on the external conditions, your gear (specifically your shoes), and your own personal preferences.