what to wear for indoor rock climbing

What Should I Wear My First Time Indoor Climbing?

Indoor climbing continues to gain popularity year after year as it is a thrilling and physically rewarding activity. Brooklyn Boulders, a renowned indoor climbing facility with locations in Chicago and New York City, offers an excellent opportunity for newcomers to experience the vertical world. But if you're new to rock climbing, figuring out what to wear can be a bit puzzling. Fear not, because we'll unravel the mystery of what to wear for indoor climbing at Brooklyn Boulders, ensuring you have a comfortable and enjoyable climbing experience.

Comfort and Mobility: The Foundation

Before diving into the specifics of clothing and gear, it's crucial to understand that comfort and mobility are the foundation of any climbing outfit. Rock climbing requires a wide range of motion, and you'll often find yourself in challenging positions. Therefore, choose clothing that allows for unrestricted movement. Opt for breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics that help regulate your body temperature and keep you dry.

Climbing Shoes: The First Priority

When it comes to climbing gear, your climbing shoes are your most important investment. Climbing shoes are specially designed to provide grip and precision on climbing holds. At Brooklyn Boulders, you can rent climbing shoes if you don't have your own. However, if you plan to make climbing a regular hobby, consider investing in a pair of comfortable, snug-fitting climbing shoes that provide good support to your feet.

Clothing for Upper Body

For the upper body, consider wearing a moisture-wicking, fitted, and breathable shirt. Avoid baggy clothes that may restrict your movement or get in the way of harnesses or other equipment.

Bottoms: Pants or Shorts?

For your lower body, you have the option of wearing climbing-specific pants or shorts. Climbing pants are designed with stretchy and durable fabric, making them ideal for indoor climbing. If you prefer shorts, make sure they are knee-length or longer to protect your legs from scrapes against the climbing wall.

Climbing Harness: Essential Safety Gear

Every climber needs a harness to attach themselves to the rope when top-rope climbing or lead climbing. Brooklyn Boulders provides harness rentals for those who are just starting out. Make sure the harness fits snugly but not too tight, and that all the buckles and straps are securely fastened.

Chalk and Chalk Bag

Chalk is an essential accessory for climbers as it helps absorb sweat and improve grip. You can find chalk stations at Brooklyn Boulders to apply chalk to your hands before your climbs. Many climbers prefer to have their own chalk bag, which attaches to their harness for easy access during climbs.

Accessories: Helmet, Gloves, and More

While helmets and gloves are not always necessary for indoor climbing at Brooklyn Boulders, they can provide additional protection if you're climbing on routes that involve overhangs or if you're bouldering at heights. If you're unsure, it's a good idea to consult with our staff or experienced climbers at the facility.

The Importance of Proper Fit

Regardless of what clothing and gear you choose, it's essential that everything fits properly. Ill-fitting shoes, harnesses, or clothing can not only affect your performance but also your safety. Take the time to try on gear and clothing to ensure they are comfortable and secure.

Layering for Comfort

Indoor climbing facilities like Brooklyn Boulders maintain a controlled environment, but the temperature can vary depending on the day. To adapt to different conditions, consider layering your clothing. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add an insulating layer if needed, and finish with a lightweight jacket that can easily be removed when you warm up.

Additional Tips

  • Don't forget to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated during your climbing session.
  • Avoid wearing jewelry or accessories that may get caught on climbing holds or equipment.
  • Consider bringing a small bag or backpack to carry your essentials and snacks.
  • It's advisable to trim your fingernails and toenails to prevent scratches and damage to climbing holds and mats.


Climbing at Brooklyn Boulders is an exciting and accessible activity for newcomers and experienced climbers alike. Proper attire and gear are essential for a safe and enjoyable experience. Remember to prioritize comfort and mobility, invest in a good pair of climbing shoes, and choose clothing that allows you to move freely. Brooklyn Boulders provides a welcoming and supportive environment for climbers of all levels, so don't hesitate to ask for advice or guidance from the staff or fellow climbers. With the right clothing and gear, you'll be ready to conquer the walls and reach new heights on your climbing journey.