Climbing is a very young sport that has branched out into various different disciplines in the last few years. But climbing is more than just a sport, as people live out the sport as their lifestyle and as a form of individual expression. The disciplines vary greatly, just as the clothing required to do each individual one does as well. Brands like Chillaz and E9 offer urban active wear that also fits right in at any street café. Red Chili, Moon Climbing and Salewa also produce clothing to meet the widest variety of needs. Hall climbers have different needs for their sports clothing than Alpine multi-rope climbers who are faced with much more brutal weather conditions. While "shirtless with shorts" tends to be the dress code for sports climbing regions in the south of France, big wall climbing or winter disciplines like mixed climbing need a whole different set of gear.
A question of style - indoor climbing as an urban lifestyle
The average indoor climber is in a student environment or is at least part of a young and active lifestyle. They wish to show off their casual and individual personality outside of the climbing halls too. That is why clothing that works both for doing sports as well as giving off a groomed and more elegant vibe is very sought after. What is important: a certain amount of coolness, a subtle: "check it out, the mountains are my way of life". An indoor climber's perfect training outfit is a pair of 3/4-length shorts, preferably trousers that are good for moving around in and are made of a stretchy fabric. Any trousers and T-shirts - HE might like to leave the latter out sometimes to "make better use of the body's own air conditioning" - should be very breathable. Tailored for a performance and looks, certain models also incorporate style elements from sport climbing from the glory days of the 80s.
From the gym to the rocks
Anyone who takes the leap from plastic to rock is also mentally moving towards nature. Suddenly it is not just the hand movements that are important, but the weather conditions and height can greatly influence the right clothing choices. The more Alpine the surroundings become, the more suited climbing gear becomes for high altitude Alpinism. Although multi-rope routes require good sun protection, helmets and sometimes appropriately insulated clothing, multi-day climbs can also require additionally insulating as well as water and windproof clothing. Beanies and gloves are - for security and heat conservation - also very useful. This clothing follows the so-called "onion principle". A T-shirt as a base layer, then an insulation layer and a softshell or waterproof jacket for outside. Alpine weather changes can become quite demanding on clothing. When in doubt, the correct clothing choices can become a more existential question much quicker than anticipated.
Big wall and winter sports
Big wall climbing as well as mixed climbing play a special role. For one, because of the sometimes multi-day ventures on the wall, but also because of extreme cold and wintry conditions. The nights can still get quite cold in the summertime, so cosy down jackets are part and parcel of big wall climbing gear. The climber should also think to bring enough changes of clothes. For any unpleasant changes in weather, they can then wear several layers of clothing over one another. If the tour is taking you through rock and ice in the winter, then the clothing needs to be functional and completely waterproof. This expedition equipment has little in common with the clothing used by indoor climbers. It is technically cut and comes with all of the most practical features that can help to organise equipment and keep the body protected against the cold and moisture. The equipment can of course also not restrict the body's movement when doing mixed or ice climbs. The sturdy outer fabrics are therefore made of stretchy fabrics, which make the clothing flexible.