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Rock Climbing For Beginners - What To Wear

Liquid Chalk Michael Rock Climbing

Everyone is a beginner rock climber at one point in their lives. What should you wear?


Do not turn up to your local rock climbing centre naked! Go for loose, lightweight, flexible clothing. You will become grubby and chalky though, so save your brand new Nike tee for lesser sports.

Rock Shoes

Remember when you first went bowling? On your first trip to the climbing centre they might advise you to hire a pair of grimy, sweaty stock shoes. While not ideal it is certainly preferable to a pair of loafers.

Naturally you should bring some grippy soles. Rigid trainers work better for newbies over soft trainers. Think Stan Smith over Nike Free.

Once you decide to buy your first pair of rock shoes, make sure they are super snug and comfortable. You also have the choice of rigid or soft shoes. Stiff shoes are great for balancing on footholds, whereas softer shoes are useful for smearing - when you use the friction on the sole of your shoe for grip because there are no footholds.


Chalk is used to remove sweat and support grip during tricky manoeuvres. It is is essential for climbers of all levels, and climbing experts will go to even greater lengths to enhance grip. Superglue included.

Chalk comes in a few forms - loose powder, balls and liquid chalk are quite common. Loose chalk or chalk balls can be carried in a waist bag so you can chalk your hands mid-climb. Liquid chalk can only be applied when you are on the ground or at a breakpoint, but tends to last longer than loose chalk.

That's it for the newbie - everything else will be taken care of by your local climbing centre. Next up we'll talk about advanced rock climbing gear such as helmets, harnesses, belays and ropes.

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