What To Wear Bouldering 

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When you’re new to a sport, it’s hard to expect what would be appropriate clothing to wear when bouldering unless you go there first to check it out.

But even then, it can take a lot of work to get a read on what you should be weaning.

So, if you want to ensure you have the right equipment for your first day of bouldering, don’t go anywhere.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about “what to wear bouldering” so you can hit the gym on the right foot immediately.

Let’s take a look:

What Clothes Should You Wear Bouldering

women in rock climbing tops

In this section, I wanted to introduce you to the clothes you should wear while bouldering. But instead of giving you specific items to buy, I wanted to show you what you should be looking for instead.

What Makes A Good Bouldering T-Shirt?

woman climbing using rock climbers muscles

A good bouldering t-shirt should prioritize comfort, freedom of movement, moisture-wicking properties, and durability. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a t-shirt for bouldering:

  • Material: Look for t-shirts made from moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics like synthetic blends (e.g., polyester, spandex) or merino wool. These materials help keep you dry by wicking sweat away from your body, preventing discomfort and chafing.
  • Fit: Choose a t-shirt with a relaxed fit that allows for a full range of motion. Avoid overly baggy or tight-fitting shirts that can restrict your movements.
  • Stretch: An excellent bouldering t-shirt should have some stretch, which can enhance your mobility while climbing and reaching for holds.
  • Seams: Pay attention to the seams. Flatlock seams are ideal because they reduce chafing and discomfort, especially when wearing a harness or backpack.
  • Durability: Bouldering can be tough on clothing due to abrasive surfaces and constant movement against rocks or climbing holds. Look for a t-shirt with reinforced stitching and durable fabric that can withstand the rigors of bouldering.
  • Sleeve Length: Sleeveless, short-sleeve, and long-sleeve options are available. Choose a sleeve length that suits your personal preference and the weather conditions.

At the end of the day, the best bouldering t-shirt will depend on your personal preferences and the conditions you’ll be climbing in. 

But the above will set you in a great direction to find the perfect climbing T-shirt. Trying multiple pieces to find something that fits you comfortably and meets your needs is a good idea.

What Makes The Perfect Clothing For Your Bottom Half?

heel hook climbing technique

One of the biggest dilemmas boulders face when choosing clothing for their bottom half is whether they should wear shorts or trousers.

But it’s not quite as simple as that:

In my opinion, there are three things you need to think about:

1. Material: The material of the item of clothing you are going for is vital to the performance; try to look out for these things:

  • Flexibility: Choose trousers or shorts made from stretchy materials like nylon or spandex blends. This allows for unrestricted movement while climbing.
  • Durability: Bouldering can be tough on clothing due to abrasive surfaces, so opt for a tough fabric resistant to tears and abrasion.
  • Moisture-Wicking: Look for materials that wick moisture away from your skin to keep you dry and comfortable during intense climbs.

2. Fit and Design: If you’re going to be climbing all day, you need to make sure what you’re wearing is comfortable:

  • Articulated Knees: Trousers with articulated knees are designed to follow the natural bend of your legs, enhancing mobility.
  • Gusseted Crotch: A gusseted crotch provides additional room and flexibility in the groin area, preventing seams from restricting your movement.
  • Adjustable Waist: Many climbing trousers have an adjustable waistband to ensure a secure and comfortable fit.
  • Shorts vs. Trousers: The choice between shorts and trousers depends on personal preference and the weather conditions. Shorts provide more freedom of movement and breathability but may expose your legs to scrapes and abrasions.

3. Pockets and Features: Features are a great thing to look for in trousers or shorts. They might not be necessary, but they certainly can make your life easier:

  • Pockets: Consider the number and placement of pockets. Some climbers prefer minimalistic designs with fewer pockets to avoid interference while climbing, while others may prefer more storage options.
  • Brush Holders: Some climbing trousers have built-in brush holders for cleaning holds and maintaining grip.
  • Chalk Bag Loop: Look for a loop or clip for attaching your chalk bag to access chalk while climbing quickly.
  • Elastic Ankle Cuffs: Trousers with elastic ankle cuffs can help keep them in place and prevent them from interfering with your footwork.

Again, it will all come down to personal preferences regarding your choice, but hopefully, this section has helped guide you in the right direction.

What You Shouldn’t Wear Bouldering

confused woman

Before leaving you, I think discussing some of the stuff you shouldn’t wear when bouldering is important.

It’s all good knowing what you should wear, but it can be easy to fall into a trap if you don’t know what to avoid.

Let’s take a look.

Cotton Clothing

Cotton absorbs moisture and does not wick sweat away from your skin effectively. This can lead to discomfort, chafing, and prolonged wetness, making you feel cold in cooler conditions.

Baggy Or Loose Clothing

Excessively baggy or loose clothing can get caught on holds, rocks, or climbing gear, leading to potential accidents or injuries. It can also limit your range of motion.

Jewellry Or Accessories 

Avoid wearing jewelry like rings, bracelets, or necklaces while bouldering, as they can get caught on holds or climbing equipment and can cause finger degloving (check Google; it’s gross). It’s also best to remove watches or fitness trackers with protruding features that might interfere with handholds.

Non-Climbing Footwear

Regular sneakers or shoes with thick rubber soles designed for other sports may not provide the precision and grip needed for climbing. Invest in climbing shoes for better traction and support.

Excessive Layers

Layering can be important, but wearing too many bulky layers can restrict your movement and make you overheat. Dress appropriately for the weather, and consider removing or adding layers as needed.

Final Thoughts & Takeaways

boulderer with instructor

Finding the ideal clothes for a bouldering session is never easy when you’re just starting out. That’s why I thought it was important to write this article; no one likes feeling the odd one out, and I’m hoping this article will solve the problem.

The most important thing to remember is to find something that meets the requirements above, but more importantly, it needs to be something you feel comfortable in.

If you’re feeling stuck, check out some climbing brands like Prana, Patagonia, Black Diamond, Mammut, and many more. Their clothes are designed to be used outdoors, making your life much easier. 

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