Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Membership now as great as the outdoors!
Already a member? Take a look at the Co-op Members section of the community.
Ready to join? Explore all of the benefits here.

How to get over rock climbing shoes rubbing against the ankle back?

I just bought new shoes, this will be my 2nd pair. I've been climbing for about 6-7 months and all this time I have climbed with socks. I never was interested in not using socks because I was not willing to sacrifice the comfort of socks just to be in pain from the shoes. It has gotten to the point where I need to stop wearing socks while I climb. But for me, the toughest part of breaking in new shoes is the tightness and the rubbing on the back of the ankle (where the Achilles is). In my opinion, it is the most unbearable feeling in the world and I can't climb half a belay route without complaining about the back of my ankles. What can I do to get over this pain so I can move on?

3 Replies

Tape the affected area.  There is some break in tie required for new shoes.  of course, by that time they may not be useful for really exacting climbs...

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.


Thanks for reaching out, however, we're sorry it is because you are experiencing pain in your Achilles. @hikermor is correct that taping your achilles area may provide some relief, as will breaking the shoe in fully (although, depending on how often you are climbing, 7 months may have broken in the shoe already). One suggestion may be to visit with a shoe fitter at your local REI store or set up a virtual outfitting appointment to talk through different climbing shoes and how they fit in their heel. Depending on the shape of your foot and whether you have a narrow or a wide heel, it could be that a particular brand may fit your foot better than another.

Hopefully this helps, thanks!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

I used to have this issue as well for a while to where I couldn't even keep my shoes on for long at all. I bought heel blister bandaids and it helped some to wear during and after climbing. I also took my shoes off as soon as I wasn't climbing. Other than that, mostly just time helped. Honestly if you were wearing socks with your climbing shoes before, that might be part of what caused it too since it puts even more pressure on already tight shoes. It's better to climb in your climbing shoes without socks IMO! Hope it heals soon!