Climbing Shoes

What Equipment Do You Need to Go Bouldering?

One of the things that I love most about the sport of bouldering is its simplicity. There are only a few things that you need to get started in your bouldering practice. In today’s post, we seek out to answer the question; what equipment do you need to go bouldering? Keep in mind that these…

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One of the things that I love most about the sport of bouldering is its simplicity. There are only a few things that you need to get started in your bouldering practice. In today’s post, we seek out to answer the question; what equipment do you need to go bouldering?

Keep in mind that these are items directed specifically for bouldering. Other forms of climbing require their own specified climbing gear. But for bouldering, only three items are needed.

Climbing Shoes

Climbing Shoes - Bouldering Equipment
Bouldering Equipment: La Sportiva Solution Climbing Shoes

The #1 item you need to go bouldering is your shoes. The sport of rock climbing uses specialized shoes simply known as “climbing shoes”. They are identified by their prominent arches and rubber toes which are used to getter grip the features of the rock. Climbing shoes come in many different colors and styles.

If you choose to purchase your shoes, they cost between $70 and $300. A survey we conducted found that climbing shoes cost $130 on average. I personally use the La Sportiva Solution Climbing Shoes which cost around $200. If you are indoor bouldering, you can also choose to rent from your gym which costs around $5 per use. However, it should be noted that choosing to rent costs you most in the long run.

When it comes to whether you should skimp or splurge on your climbing shoes, I defiantly say splurge. Just like your other clothes, if they’re ill-fitting and uncomfortable, it takes some of the fun away.

Bouldering Pads

Bouldering pads (also known as crash pads) are foam mats used to protect boulderers from falls (an inevitable part of bouldering). They vary in thickness, shape and colors.

Though bouldering pads can definitely be pricey (up to $500) but there are lots of budget options available. Bouldering pads can be rented from your local climbing gym for a small fee but as with the climbing shoes, renting them costs more in the long run. Buying used is a great option.

Personally, this is something I feel comfortable skimping on. In the several one’s I’ve tried, I haven’t seen a significant difference in their quality. However, there are a few key things you need to consider when purchasing a bouldering pad such as thickness and density.

Chalk

Chalk Bag - Bouldering Equipment
Bouldering Equipment: Black Diamond Black Gold Chalk + Black Diamond Mondo Chalk Pot

So many athletes use climbing chalk in their practice – gymnasts, powerlifting, rock climbing and more. Chalk helps to absorb sweat from your hands giving you a better grip on the rock.

Climbing chalk is definitely the cheapest of the items you need to get started rock climbing. Rock climbing gyms will try to rent you chalk for $5+ for one use, but to purchase your own is only a few dollars more for dozens more uses. I personally use the Black Diamond Black Gold chalk which runs for about $15.

With chalk being so affordable, why not splurge a couple extra bucks on something that could completely transform your climbing practice.

Optional Items

Mellow Hand Fan
Bouldering Equipment: Mellow Hand Fan

The three items that I mentioned are the only items that are needed in order to climb. However, there are many items that can make bouldering a more exciting experience for you.

  • Hand Care Items: Who would’ve thought that climbing rock would rough up your hands a bit? Hand care is an important part of any climber’s practice. Some items you might want to consider are lotion, liquid band aid and callus files.
  • Snacks/Hydration: Whether you’re spending long hours at the rock climbing gym or deep inside the woods ourdoor bouldering, snacks and hydration are must haves.
  • Hand Fan: One of the big issues rock climbers have are sweaty hands. On humid days, chalk alone doesn’t always make the cut. I personally use the mellow hand fan.
  • Boot Bananas: Boot bananas are lavender-scented shoe deodorizers that will not only get rid of sweaty smells but leave your shoes smelling amazing. I’ve been using mine for almost two years and my shoes don’t stink a bit. (My partner Kayla certainly appreciates these).
  • Chalk brush: Climbing is a delicate balance of not enough and too much chalk. Chalk brushes help with this issue by brushing access chalk off of holds. You can read my review on the Black Diamond Team Mondo Chalk Pot when you click HERE.
  • Chalk Bags: You can totally use the bag that the chalk initially comes with but chalk bags can be especially useful.

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