Background: Many rock climbers wear ill-fitting and excessively tight footwear during activity. However, there is insufficient evidence of the extent or harms of this practice.
Objectives: To investigate footwear use in rock climbers with a focus on issues surrounding fit.
Methods: A cross-sectional study with active rock climbers of over one year of experience completing a survey on their activity and footwear.
Additionally, the authors quantified foot and shoe lengths and sizes alongside demographic data.
Results: Ill-fitting and excessively tight footwear was found in 55 out of 56 rock climbers. Foot pain during activity was also commonplace in 91% of the climbers. A mean size reduction of almost 4 UK shoe sizes was found between the climbers' street shoe size and that of their climbing footwear using a calibrated foot/shoe ruler. There is an unfortunate association of climbers of higher abilities seeking a tighter shoe fit (p< 0.001).
Conclusion: With the elucidation of footwear use amongst rock climbers, further investigation may aim to quantify its impact and seek a solution balancing climbing performance while mitigating foot injury.
- Foot injury
- Rock climbing