Academy: Match Foothold Angle

Part of our "Toes to Knows" Climbing Academy series--covering climbing from footwork to mental preparation.

Tags: Footwork, Intermediate

Not slipping off a foothold is the most important aspect of a foot placement. Increasing the surface of the your shoe on the hold will help maximize the friction. To accomplish this, match the angle of the hold you're using with your shoe angle. This will vary for every hold, but a few rules of thumb are:

  • For slopers, drop your heel until the bottom of your shoe matches the angle of the sloper
  • For pockets, raise your heel so you can toe down into the pocket--matching the angle of the inside of the pocket with your toe
  • On crimpers, a neutral heel should help you match the angle of a flat hold
  • For holds facing away, you may need to raise your heel a lot to bend your foot around to the flat surface
  • Another choice for holds facing directly away is to use a heel to pull inward on the backside of the hold

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Practice Drill

On warmup boulders, exaggerate this motion. Drive hips and balance to allow yourself to always match the hold angle. Use both toes placements and heel placement. Practice on all different types of holds (pockets, slopers, edges, heels).

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