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What To Wear Bouldering And Rock Climbing Indoors

Updated By Sam on 11th Nov 2023

If you are new to climbing, don’t think you need to rush out and stock up on brightly-colored mountaineering pants just yet, the chances are your regular old gym clothes will do the work just fine. Here’s our complete beginners guide to climbing clothes. 

So, you’ve got a bad case of the boulder bug, huh? Welcome to the club! You’re about to dive into the exhilarating world of climbing and trust us, it’s going to be an addictive whirl of fun. Your launching pad? Likely an indoor rock climbing or bouldering gym – nowerdays, there’s more climbing than you can shake a chalk brush at, and these indoor sancturies make for the perfect place to get a grip (literally!) on your new hobby.

Wondering what to rock on the rock wall? Here’s the lowdown on gearing up for your indoor climbing escapade.

What To Wear Rock Climbing Indoors: The Short Answer

what to wear bouldering and rock climbing indoors-min

You, my friend, are about to get hot, sweaty, and chalky. Therefore, when rock climbing indoors and bouldering you should wear comfortable workout clothes.

If you are new to climbing, don’t think you need to rush out and stock up on brightly-colored mountaineering pants just yet, the chances are your regular old gym clothes will do the work just fine. Whatever indoor climbing outfit you choose, make sure it checks a few of these boxes:

  • Your clothes should be loose-fitting and allow for non-restrict movement around your shoulders, hips, and knees (shorts, tank tops, and leggings are popular choices) 
  • It’s about to get hotter than a Victoria’s Secret runway show. Make sure your clothes are breathable and don’t overlayer.
  • Bring a removable layer like a hoodie or fleece to keep warm during rests or belaying.

Of course, you need climbing shoes too, but you can hire these at your gym until you are ready to invest in your own pair.

What To Wear bouldering: The Long Answer

Like every sport, serious climbers have clothing designed to help to give them an extra edge. After all, you wouldn’t see Michael Phelps wearing a pair of boardshorts to break the 50m freestyle record. Every year, manufacturers bring out new rock climbing apparel designed to be lighter, more breathable, and better looking than your worn-out gym pants.

The chances are you already have plenty of suitable clothes for climbing in your wardrobe. Nevertheless, if you are looking for some stylish climbing clothes that will give you an extra edge in style, then you have come to the right place!

Men’s Rock Climbing Clothes

Like most occasions, men’s indoor bouldering clothes is pretty simple. For the top half of the outfit, short-sleeved t-shirts or vests are almost exclusively worn, while on the bottom you can opt for sport shorts or pants. 

Patagonia

Cap Cool Graphic

Patagonia climbing shirt

The North Face

Sunriser Tank

North Face Vest

VESTS AND TOPS

There’s no shortage of choices when it comes to climbing tops and vests. Most climbers opt for a cotton top, similar to the one you are probably wearing now. If you really want to get serious, you can opt for a polyester sports t-shirt, made of breathable and lightweight fiber like a soccer top. You can also get climbing sports tops, but these are usually worn by competition-level climbers.

If you are one of those dudes who just love an extra tight shirt, it’s probably a good idea to leave them at home for your first trip to the bouldering gym. Those skin-tight tees will certainly impede your ability to move freely and climb at your best. Instead, why not put the gun show in a vest instead?

CLIMBING PANTS

Prana

Vaha Pants

Mens what to wear climbing

Prana

Super Mojo

PrAna Climbing Shorts

Men’s rock climbing pants come in a range of styles. If you want to keep it simple, you could opt for some simple jogger pants. These will do the job fine, although thick material will make you overheat faster and become less comfortable the more you sweat.

If a simple pair of joggers isn’t your style, there are plenty of climbing-specific pants you can opt for. Many men’s climbing pants use mountaineering/hiking styles for inspiration. These climbing-specific trousers are usually made from fast-drying and hard-wearing fibers, as well as use a reinforced knee design to minimize wear and tear from rock climbing.`

ROCK CLIMBING SHORTS

Climbing in shorts is great for a hot and sticky gym and is the most popular choice on what to wear bouldering indoors. The main factor to be aware of when looking for rock climbing shorts is that the crotch shouldn’t be so low cut that it hinders lower body mobility. Trust me, there are a few things more frustrating than not being able to make the next move because you’re shorts aren’t letting you do that split kick.

Bonus Tip: I somettomes wear liner shorts, also known as undershorts. These keep everything in place while helping keep me warm. If I’m climbing in a hot gym, or in a tropical climate, I tend to give the undershorts a miss.

WOMEN’S ROCK CLIMBING CLOTHES

For the ladies, your bouldering outfit can be a little more varied. And luckily for us, there’s no shortage of fashionable athletic wear to choose from. Women’s indoor climbing attire comes in many forms and your style can take inspiration from yoga, gym, and outdoor apparel, So long as your climbing apparel allows you to move freshly – anything goes!

WOMEN’S ROCK CLIMBING VESTS AND TOPS

An oversized and loose-fitting t-shirt or a vest is the most common top you will see women wear indoor rock climbing. It’s certainly not uncommon to see girls climbing in crop tops and sports bras either, sports bras have become a popular choice in recent years, offering more breathability with less layers of fabric.

Patagonia

Trailfarer Shorts

Patagonia Trailfarer

Stoic

Brushed Twill Joggers

Stoic Brushed Twill

WOMEN’S ROCK CLIMBING PANTS

When it comes to bottoms, ladies have the same choice as men, with the addition of some snazzy leggings and cycling shorts. Leggings are by far the most popular option here, with many opting for a snazzy pattern or eye-popping colors. 

Important: Shorts are great, but be careful how low you go. If your shorts are really small, they are going to get bunched up under your harness and will become a real pain in the ass, literally. 

Climbing Clothes Faq

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