What to Wear Bouldering

When it comes to what to wear bouldering inside, there are lots of options. However, there are some things you should wear and some you shouldn’t! In the following paragraphs, we will detail some of the most obvious to the most obscure options.

One thing we would like to highlight is:

  • It’s your own choice. There are no rules!

What to Wear Bouldering Inside

As you can imagine what you wear bouldering inside may differ slightly from outside. Even so, there aren’t too many differences other than the number of layers you may wear! The base outfit should be very similar. The main rules are flexible clothing and ones the can protect your knees!

If you are in a bouldering gym, then normally gym clothing is perfectly acceptable. It is always nice to check if there are any policies. In some gyms in England football shirts aren’t allowed. In others, you aren’t allowed take your shirt off – which you wouldn’t normally do at a fitness studio anyway!

A Few Tips for What to Wear Bouldering

What you wear bouldering is, at the end of the day, a personal choice. Nevertheless, our experience means we know what can work and what doesn’t. We advise you to test a few variations out and see how it works. We will now list some easy tips to follow when deciding what outfit to wear when bouldering.

Focus on Flexibility – Bouldering Trousers/Shorts

Sometimes we see people wearing stiff jeans and think, ‘what are you doing?’ Surely this would restrict their movement – but each to their own.

Even so, we recommend clothes that offer freedom of movement. Although it is not a must, specifically designed bouldering trousers or shorts can really be a benefit when you are on the wall. This is particularly pertinent when you are outside. Inside, the walls are not as abrasive, so you can get away with thinner materials.

Inside, especially in the summer, you can also wear shorts. They offer a full range of movement and even if you get a few scrapes it won’t be so bad.

Once you go outside it is imperative you get thicker clothes that have been tailored for climbing. This will benefit your knees in the long run!

T-Shirts Are Fine

Wearing a t-shirt or something similar is totally fine. They should be fairly baggy so you can move around, but also not to the point where it can get in your way. At the end of the day, it is not a fashion show, just wear something you feel comfortable in and don’t care if it gets ruined. You can choose ones from climbing companies if you want to be cool.

Bouldering Shoes – Obviously!

Bouldering clothes and a rock
This may seem obvious, but it is also fair to say that you should wear bouldering shoes when you partake in the sport!

There are some shoes that perform better inside and some outside, and some climbers like Magnus Mitbø only wear certain climbing shoes. We’d recommend testing a few pairs out and see which one fit you best. If you are completely new you can always rent a pair.

Our top tip: if you are renting a pair wear some socks! Otherwise barefoot is the way to go.

Bring Layers – Something Warm

If you are bouldering outside, you definitely need to layer up. When you are resting between climbs you need to keep the heat in. The same can be said when you are inside, particularly in the winter.

The big gyms can be difficult to keep warm, so take care of it yourself and bring a jumper and a small jacket for when you are resting. You’ll be thankful and everyone else will be jealous!

Should I Wear a Chalk Bag?

No. You are not sport climbing! The routes are not long enough that you are required to wear a chalk bag. Even so, you will still need a bouldering chalk bag to get your hands chalked up. Instead of wearing them, you will carry them around and they look like a bucket. They are essential, so even though you won’t wear it, don’t forget it!

What to Wear Bouldering? – Whatever You Want!

At the end of the day, the sport of bouldering is not a fashion show. Wear whatever suits you. Yes, we can and do make recommendations, but it is up to you if you feel comfortable or not. We recommend that flexibility and protections should take precedent. But what to wear bouldering indoors is not that important.

When you go outside you have to consider your options more. But until then you can enjoy the indoors how you want!