What is Edging in Climbing, 4 Best Techniques For Edging?

What is Edging in Climbing


What is Edging in Climbing? Climbing is an exhilarating sport that challenges both the body and mind. It requires a combination of strength, agility, and technique to overcome the various obstacles on a climbing route. One essential skill in climbing is edging, which involves using the edges of footholds or handholds to maintain balance and control. In this article, we will explore what edging is in climbing, its importance, techniques, and tips to improve your edging skills.

Understanding Edging

Edging in climbing refers to the technique of using the edges of footholds or handholds to gain traction and maintain stability while ascending a route. It involves placing the foot or hand on the narrow edge of a hold, which provides a smaller contact area but better friction. Edging requires precise footwork and body positioning to distribute weight effectively and minimize strain on the muscles.

Importance of Edging in Climbing

Edging plays a crucial role in climbing as it allows climbers to navigate through challenging routes with confidence and control. By utilizing the edges of holds, climbers can maximize their grip and reduce the risk of slipping or losing balance. It is particularly vital on routes with small or sloping footholds, where edging enables climbers to find stable positions and execute precise movements.

Techniques for Edging

To excel in edging, climbers employ various techniques to optimize their footwork and balance. Here are some commonly used techniques:

  1. Smearing: Smearing involves pressing the climbing shoe against the rock surface, relying on friction rather than defined edges. It is useful on slab climbs or when footholds are scarce.
  2. Outside Edging: In outside edging, the climber places the edge of the foot on the outer edge of a foothold or ledge. This technique provides stability and allows for precise weight distribution.
  3. Inside Edging: Inside edging entails positioning the foot in a way that the edge rests on the inside edge of a foothold. It can enhance balance and control in specific situations.
  4. High-Step Edging: High-step edging involves lifting the foot higher than usual and utilizing the edge of the shoe to gain leverage on the foothold. This technique is beneficial for overcoming high steps or reaching distant holds.

Tips to Improve Edging Skills

Mastering edging requires practice, focus, and attention to detail. Here are some tips to enhance your edging skills:

  1. Develop Strong Foot Muscles: Strengthening the muscles in your feet can improve your ability to grip and apply pressure on edges. Consider exercises like toe curls, towel scrunches, or using a foot-specific training tool.
  2. Improve Balance and Core Strength: Enhancing your overall balance and core strength can significantly benefit your edging technique. Engage in exercises such as yoga, Pilates, or specific core workouts.
  3. Pay Attention to Foot Placement: Carefully study the holds and plan your foot placements accordingly. Seek out edges or features on the holds that can provide better support and stability.
  4. Practice Precise Weight Shifting: Learn to shift your weight smoothly and precisely between your feet. This skill will help you maintain balance and control while edging.
  5. Experiment with Different Shoes: Different climbing shoes have varying edging capabilities. Try out different models and find the one that suits your climbing style and preferences.
  6. Seek Professional Guidance: Consider taking climbing lessons or consulting with experienced climbers to receive personalized tips and feedback on your edging technique.


What footwear is best for edging in climbing?

The best footwear for edging in climbing is typically a climbing shoe with a stiff sole and a precise fit. The stiffness provides support and enhances stability on small edges, while a snug fit allows for maximum sensitivity and control.

Can edging be used in bouldering?

Yes, edging can be used in bouldering. Bouldering routes often require precise footwork and balance, making edging a valuable technique to navigate through challenging problems.

How can I prevent my feet from slipping while edging?

To prevent feet from slipping while edging, ensure that your climbing shoes are clean and free from dust or dirt. Brush the holds to remove any loose debris that may reduce friction. Additionally, focus on precise foot placement and distribute weight evenly on the edge.

Are there different types of edging techniques?

Yes, there are different types of edging techniques in climbing. Some common techniques include smearing, outside edging, inside edging, and high-step edging. Each technique has its advantages and applications based on the climbing situation.

What muscles are used in edging?

Edging primarily engages the muscles in your feet, lower legs, and core. The muscles involved include the calf muscles, intrinsic foot muscles, quadriceps, and hip flexors. Strengthening these muscles can improve your edging ability.

Is edging more important in indoor or outdoor climbing?

Edging is essential in both indoor and outdoor climbing. However, outdoor climbing often presents more varied and natural rock features, which may require more precise edging techniques. Indoor climbing routes are typically more consistent and predictable but still demand proficient edging skills.


Edging is a fundamental skill in climbing that allows climbers to maintain balance, stability, and control on challenging routes. By understanding the techniques and practicing diligently, climbers can improve their edging skills and tackle a wider range of climbs with confidence. So lace up your shoes, find some edges, and take your climbing to new heights!

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