What To Wear When Rock Climbing Indoors (Men & Women)

what to wear when rock climbing indoors

When it comes to what to wear when rock climbing indoors, there are a few key things to remember.

The first is that you need clothes that will allow you to move freely and climb comfortably.

The second is that you need clothes that will protect you from falls and the third is that you need clothes that will keep you warm.

In this article, we will be focusing on the essentials of indoor rock climbing attire, providing recommendations for both men and women.

Looking for rock climbing attire recommendations for bouldering? Check out my article here.

What To Wear When Rock Climbing Indoors – The Short Answer

If you want to feel comfortable while rock climbing or bouldering indoors, dress in breathable layers. On top of that, you’re going to want to wear clothes that won’t restrict your movement whilst you’re on the artificial wall, such as shorts or leggings and a tank top or t-shirt.

You’ll also need supportive climbing shoes that make it easier to grip the walls while climbing. To finish off your look, consider wearing a lightweight and breathable headband or bandana to keep your hair out of your face.

You don’t need to buy expensive climbing gear unless you’re already part of the advanced climbers crew. Regular gym clothes will do the trick for now whilst you put your full focus into your climbing skills.

Whatever indoor rock climbing outfit you choose, make sure it checks a few of these boxes:

  • While picking out your climbing clothes, make sure they’re not too tight and that you’ll be able to move your shoulders, hips, and knees freely. (Some common choices are gym shorts, tank tops that allow your skin to breathe, and leggings.)
  • Use fabrics that won’t make you sweat (aka moisture wicking), and don’t go overboard with the layers to stay cool while looking put-together.
  • Bring a warm, removable layer like a hoodie or fleece to avoid getting cold while resting or belaying.

Just like finding suitable clothes, You don’t need to purchase your own climbing shoes right away. Most gyms allow you to rent climbing shoes.

My Two Cents: Personally, I would invest in a pair of comfortable climbing shoes as rental shoes can hurt your experience if you can’t find something that fits you snugly.

Looking for recommendations when outdoor climbing? Check my article out here.

What To Wear When Rock Climbing Indoors: For Men

Indoor rock climbing is a great workout (just like climbing outdoors), but you need to be comfortable in order to focus on the task at hand.

The best way to dress for this activity is in shorts or leggings with a tank top or t-shirt that allows your body to breathe.

The main things men should be wearing at the indoor climbing gym:

  • Men’s Rock Climbing T-Shirt – For Men a Tank Top or T-Shirt is Perfect.
  • Men’s Rock Climbing Pants – Flexible pants that don’t restrict movement are important when climbing indoors.
  • Men’s Indoor Climbing Shoes – Climbing shoes with good grip will give you better control, specifically designed for indoor climbing gyms.

Men’s Indoor Rock Climbing Tops + Vests

When my male friends ask me what to wear indoor rock climbing, I’d advised wearing light and breathable fabrics like cotton or polyester. For maximum arm movement, many indoor climbers opt for tank tops.

If you’re serious about rock climbing, you should invest in a climber’s vest or harness. They provide extra support and protection against falls.

Men’s Indoor Rock Climbing Pants

When picking pants for indoor rock climbing, prioritize stretchy material that won’t limit your movement. Spandex, nylon, and polyester fabrics will let you bend and twist however you need to without being uncomfortable.

Since you’re indoors, you’re more than welcome to wear shorts if that is what you’re going to be more comfortable in. However, you may not be as protected against scrapes and bumps, so keep that in mind when choosing your indoor rock climbing outfit.

Men’s Indoor Rock Climbing Shoes

Your shoes are actually the most important piece of your rock climbing outfit. When choosing a pair, make sure they fit snugly and provide enough grip on the wall.

There’s no reason to go ahead and spend hundreds of dollars on a brand-spanking new pair of climbing shoes, but you should be in the market for a decent pair that are ideal for indoor climbing.

What To Wear Rock Climbing Indoors: For Women

To keep cool and safe while rock climbing indoors, women should choose airy, lightweight breathable clothing like shorts, a breathable tank top or t-shirt, and leggings.

The main things I recommend wearing when at the climbing gym:

  • Women’s Rock Climbing Shirt – Tank Tops and a Long Sleeved Shirt are great options.
  • Women’s Rock Climbing Sports Bra – Look for a sports bra that is breathable and provides full coverage. It should also be supportive enough so it won’t move or shift while on the wall.
  • Women’s Rock Climbing Pants – Flexible pants that don’t restrict movement are important when climbing indoors, both for men and women.
  • Women’s Rock Climbing Leggings – Leggings or tight-fitting shorts are great for women as they provide support and help avoid any wardrobe malfunctions when climbing.
  • Women’s Indoor Climbing Shoes – Climbing shoes with good grip will give you better control, specifically designed for most indoor climbing gyms.

Women’s Indoor Rock Climbing Shirts

There are a few different types of shirts that women can wear when rock climbing indoors. The first is a tank top, which is great for keeping cool and providing breathability.

A long sleeve shirt is also a good option, as it will help to protect you against scrapes and bumps when you’re inevitably going to bang your arms against the artificial indoor climbing walls.

Women’s Indoor Rock Climbing Sports Bra

When you’re rock climbing, it is crucial to find sports bras that will not shift during your climb. If your bra moves too much, it could be very hazardous. To avoid this issue, look for a material that is both comfortable and permeable so you can stay concentrated on your ascent.

Additionally, make sure the support is enough to keep everything in place and give you full coverage.

Women’s Indoor Rock Climbing Pants

When looking for long pants to wear rock climbing indoors, prioritize materials that are stretchy and won’t limit your movement. Fabrics like spandex, nylon, and polyester are great options as they provide you with flexibility when reaching, stretching, or twisting during your climb.

Yoga pants are great options if you don’t want to spend money on new clothes.

You’re more than free to wear shorts, but as I said in the previous section for men, you will lack the proper coverage that will protect you against the inevitable bumps and scrapes you’re going to experience when climbing on an artificial wall.

Women’s Indoor Rock Climbing Shoes

For women, it is important to wear climbing shoes that fit snugly and give you the grip needed to stay secure on the wall.

Similar to men’s rock climbing shoes, there is no need for you to go out and buy a pair of brand-new climbing shoes as long as you find something comfortable and with a good grip, for now, worry about getting a shiny new pair later on when you’re really into climbing.

What Else Should You Bring When Indoor Rock Climbing?

Before your first big climb, in addition to picking out the perfect outfit, there are a few other items you will want to bring along.

  • Water – Staying hydrated is crucial for any type of exercise, and bouldering is no exception. People at the Bouldering gym make it look easy, but it’s actually quite physical activity which means you’ll sweat a lot. In order to avoid burning out, make sure to take breaks often and drink lots of water.
  • Climbing Chalk (and Chalk Bag) – People often underestimate the power of chalk, especially beginners. So don’t forget your chalk bags!
  • A Jumper, Hoodie or Fleece – When you’re taking a break from climbing, it’s likely that you’ll be resting your arms or helping a friend climb. If you’re in a colder climate, remember to bring along a hoodie to the gym–there’s nothing worse than being cold before starting to climb.
  • Trainers or Slip-on Shoes – In addition to a good pair of climbing shoes, make sure you have a pair of comfortable trainers or slip-on shoes so you can wear shoes when you’re not participating.

Final Words

There you have it, the essential climbing clothing for men and women. Remember, it’s important to stay cool and comfortable while rock climbing indoors but also protect yourself from any bumps or scrapes that come with scaling an artificial wall.

To make sure you’re set for your next indoor climb, grab a pair of shoes, a few shirts, and some flexible pants. Keep in mind that the most important item is a good sports bra for women, as it will provide you with proper coverage and support during your climb.


Can I Wear Jeans Rock Climbing?

Yeah – sort of. Most climbers you see wearing ‘jeans’ are wearing climbing jeans that have been made usually from lycra or spandex, not a simple pair of skinny jeans. These climbing pants are specifically constructed to provide extra flex and sizing while still allowing you to look good.

Do Climbers Have To Wear Socks?

No, you don’t have to wear socks. Most climbers will prefer not to wear them as it allows their feet to stick better onto the wall and avoid slipping. However, if you do decide to go sockless, make sure you’re wearing shoes that fit snugly and won’t rub against your skin while climbing.

Do I Need My Own Climbing Shoes?

It’s not necessary to have your own pair of climbing shoes. Most indoor gyms do provide rental ones, however, if you rent shoes they may not be optimal in terms of fit and grip so it is recommended that you purchase a decent pair if you plan on going rock climbing more often.

Can You Wear Shorts Rock Climbing?

When climbing, you’ll have more freedom of movement in shorts, loose pants, or leggings. For women who might want to consider what they’re wearing ahead of time, a loose t-shirt with a sports bra underneath is an always comfortable and popular option (that you likely already own!).

As for fabrics, we suggest light and airy materials that breathe well and won’t restrict movement.

What Should I Wear To A Rock Climbing Date?

The most important thing to keep in mind when picking out an outfit for a rock climbing date is comfort. Make sure to wear something that you can move freely in, like walking shorts and a tank top or t shirts.

It’s also a good idea to layer if the temperature inside the gym fluctuates or if you plan on going outside afterward.

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