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What You Should Wear While Climbing

What You Should Wear While Climbing

Whether you are going on a date climbing or just going with friends, you may be wondering what to wear bouldering. I know when I went climbing for the first time, I didn’t know what to wear.

So what should women wear? Generally, the clothes that you wear to exercise will work. Just make sure that your limbs can move freely while keeping anything that you may want to be covered up, secure.

More details and recommendations for what to wear is included below.

Hair

How we recommend styling your hair is going to be dependent on what kind of climbing you are doing. 

If you are rock climbing (climbing with a rope and harness) then make sure that your hair is in a bun or braids. Long ponytails or long loose hair, can get stuck in the rope and anchors or other gear and that won’t end with your luscious hair being safe.

If you are bouldering (climbing shorter routes without a rope or harness) then long hair is safe, but it will get in your way. Often times you will be moving your head or the angle of your body and your hair can prevent you from seeing the climbing holds around you.

With that being the case, consider putting your hair in a ponytail or at least wear a headband.

Since climbing is a physical activity, consider what your hair looks like when it is sweaty and plan accordingly.

Jewelry

Earrings 

Earings will probably be fine, but the risk of getting the earing caught on something and tearing your ear should be considered. I know plenty of women that wear stud earrings while climbing and they are perfectly fine.

Rings

Rings aren’t ideal for climbing, no matter what kind of climbing it is. It is common for rings to get caught on the rock. Even rubber rings are discouraged as they can cause blistering. 

In addition, your fingers swell while climbing and cutting off circulation to the tips of your finger or getting a ring stuck on your finger is not worth the extra bling.

Necklaces

I frequently see women with necklaces tucked under their tank tops. As long as the necklace isn’t out where it can get caught on something, it is probably fine.

Bracelets

Loose bracelets aren’t ideal because they may get caught in gear or on climbing holds. Other than that, its more of personal preference. I see many women wearing watches or fitness trackers that don’t have a problem.

I wear an apple watch and track my climbing sessions with it. There have been plenty of times where the watch band rubs against a climbing hold (large slopers, for example), which is why I changed my band to a velcro band. That way it doesn’t come undone or dig into my forearm.

With rubbing in mind, it probably isn’t a good idea to wear your great-great-grandmother’s priceless 20k gold bracelet that you inherited from her as a child.

Bras

Sports bras of any brand are ideal. 

There have been so many times that I forget my sports bra and have worn a bra with wire lining under it. Not only is it uncomfortable, but I didn’t feel like my boobs were secure enough.

Any movement in your body can change your center of balance and trust me, you don’t want to have to worry about your boobs while your climbing.

Bottoms

Most women wear leggings or flexible pants. Ideally whatever you wear as bottoms will be stretchy so that you can move your legs in whatever direction necessary.

At the climbing gym I go to most often, there is a part of the gym where you slide on your butt to get down. Because of this, many of my leggings have additional wear on my backside.

I recently got my hands on a pair of climbing pants from Black Diamond and they are made with a material that doesn’t wear out as easily and I love them. But if this is your first time climbing, it is probably a good idea to make sure you like it before investing in new pants.

Black Diamond Notion Pants – My favorite

Since writing this article, I’ve purchased five additional pairs in different colors.

You can see them in action in my videos on YouTube where I almost exclusively wear these pants.

Here is my YouTube Channel

See the price from Black Diamond here.

See the price from Amazon here.

Tops

I would just recommend wearing something that is comfortable and allows full movement in your shoulders.

Most women wear tank tops because they allow your shoulders full movement. 

How tight or lose your top is doesn’t really matter because in bouldering you don’t have to worry about it getting caught in gear and in rock climbing, you will tuck your shirt under your harness anyway.

Craft Sports: Tank Top

I love the fit and material on this tank top – you don’t have to worry about it snagging on a hold and it has a cool breeze.

Check price from Craft Sport Here.

Shoes

To get to the gym, it doesn’t really matter what you wear. You can even wear a pair of high heels. At the gym, you will either carry your shoes around with you or place them in a cubby so make sure you are ok with them getting a little dust on them.

For climbing outdoors, however, you will want shoes that are good for walking or hiking in.

For actually climbing, rent a pair of climbing shoes. Climbing shoes are built in a way that makes it easier to climb and will make your experience more enjoyable.

Generally, climbing shoes are smaller than your street shoes but they shouldn’t be painfully small.

Final Thoughts

Whatever you wear, make sure you are comfortable in them and that you can move your limbs freely. Also, consider that you may get sweaty so wear something that you can still be comfortable in while sweaty.

A lot of women wear workout clothing such as leggings and a tank top. There are pants that are specific for climbing, but until you know that you like climbing, consider just wearing what you have instead of investing in new clothes.

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