Academy: Use Your Toe on Footholds

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

Tags: Footwork, Beginner

With a few exceptions (heel hooks, for example) you should place your foot on a hold using only the toe of the shoe. Using the toe increases sensitivity and allows you to spin your foot on the hold if necessary.

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Key points are

  • Place side of toe on hold
  • Use big toe side for front-step placements and pinkie side for back-step placements

Practice Drill:

Use only toe placements during warmup boulders. Force yourself to rotate on every single foothold, even if the climb doesn’t demand it. Don’t worry about staying on a particular route. Use all footholds that allow the spin to happen. Traversing works well for this.
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