If you love climbing as much as we do, then you know how important it is that your gear looks good and smells good. If you’re like us, your climbing shoes are, next to your belay device, one of the most crucial pieces of gear you own.
Good smelling climbing shoes mean that you’ll smell good while you’re climbing and while you’re not, which means that they will be taken out on the town with you more often. That would be a good thing!
Why Did They Get Dirty?
You can only climb in your climbing shoes for so many hours before you begin to smell them. That’s a given. If you climb often, you’ll need to wash your climbing shoes more frequently than others.
One thing that happens to most people is that the shoe gets dirty from leading or fairly aggressive climbing. The climbing hard edges and the occasional heel hooking will quickly build up dirt and grime on your shoes. When you climb outdoors, you’ll soon learn that when you’re skinning a little too much, your feet will also be dirty.
Climbing shoes are a durable type of footwear, but they aren’t indestructible. They are made of leather and synthetic materials like Lycra, which is why they need regular cleaning.
Cleaning Your Climbing Shoes:
Step 1: Remove the Laces and Additives:
First things first, remove your laces from the shoes. While you’re at it, you’ll want to remove any shoelaces that have shoe goo on them. While washing your climbing shoes, the water inside can loosen and dissolve the glue keeping your shoelaces in place. Replace your shoelaces if that happens. Let your climbing shoes dry completely before you put them back on again.
Step 2: Hand Wash
When it comes to cleaning your climbing shoes, hand washing is the only way to go. You’ll need an old toothbrush and some good old soap. Begin by brushing the dirt and loose debris from your shoes with the toothbrush. Then, pour some warm water into your shoes and add about a tablespoon of unscented soap.
Soak them for about 10 minutes. The water can start to fill up the footbed, but don’t soak too long or you’ll flood your shoes with water. After soaking your shoes, use some paper towels to wipe out as much water from the shoe’s interior as you can. When your shoes have had enough time to air dry, remove them from the wash and let them dry completely before wearing them again.
Step 3: Clean the Soles
The soles of your climbing shoes can get dirty quickly. One cause of this is from climbing outside on trails that have dirt packed into them. As you hike to the crag, dirt will be worn away from the bottom of your shoes and will sink in between your toes in a very uncomfortable way.
For that reason, you’ll need to wipe down the soles of your climbing shoes after every soft session at the gym. You can use any type of detergent that you have in your closet, like shampoo or dish soap. While the detergent will loosen up dirt and grime from the soles, you’ll want to remove it before putting on your shoes. Go back over the soles with a soft scrubbing brush or soft toothbrush to get all of the dirt from between your toes.
Step 4: Remove the Smell
So now that your shoes are clean and you’ve removed any stinky smells, you need to keep them that way. That’s why you’ll want to add some odor-neutralizing spray to your shoes when they are completely dry. Let the spray soak into the material of your shoes before wearing them. You can also do this before storing your climbing shoes, but if they get wet again during storage, you’ll have to treat them all over again so it’s better just to do it while they’re dry.
Climb Shoes Care: Keeping Climbing Shoes Clean and Smelling Fresh
The following list is a summary of some basic cleaning tips that will make your climbing shoes last longer and smell better.
The most important thing in keeping your climbing shoes relatively clean is to try not to get them too dirty. This might be impossible, but try to avoid getting your shoes muddy or even just filthy dirty. If you can avoid the mud, then you won’t have to focus on cleaning them as much during the off-season.
Subsequent cleanings should be focused on removing odor. Use a shoe deodorizer spray after cleaning and drying your shoes. These sprays are usually easy to get at any local climbing shop. The spray will soak into the material of the shoes and neutralize any foul odors. Doing this regularly will keep your shoes smelling clean and new smelling all year long.
To get your climbing shoes looking new, you’ll need to wear them out of the box. You’ll want to take your time putting your climbing shoes on and getting them all snug. This will prevent dirt and grime from collecting on the seams, which can make the shoe slippery when you’re wearing it.
The best way to keep dirt and grime off of your climbing shoes is to wear them on routes that don’t get a ton of friction or small edges. You’ll also want to keep your feet clean by washing your shoes off with soap and water before you head out the door. Your climbing shoes will stay cleaner for longer if you do these things.
To Sum Up!
So there you have it, the basics to keeping your climbing shoes looking and feeling new. The best way to keep your climbing shoes clean is to avoid getting them dirty in the first place.
Beyond that, washing and cleaning your shoes is crucial for their long-term life. You shouldn’t have to replace your climbing shoes very often if you take care of them properly. Now that you know how to prevent dirt, grime, and smells from getting in your way, you can take full advantage of the climbing gear and gear services that Outdoor Gear Exchange has to offer.
Question & Answer
Q-1: How to clean climbing shoe rubber?
A : Wash climbing shoe rubber with warm soapy water then use a soft toothbrush to clean out any caked on dirt and mud
Q-2: Can climbing shoes get wet?
A : Yes, climbing shoes can get wet but you should allow them to dry completely before wearing them
Q-3: How to keep your climbing shoes from smelling?
A : You can use shoe deodorizer spray or baking soda to keep climbing shoes smelling fresh
Q-4: How to clean rock climbing shoes?
A : You can clean climbing shoes just like all other shoes. If they get dirty, you can use soap to wipe off any dirt and you should air dry your climbing shoes completely after cleaning
Q-5: Can you wash climbing shoes regularly?
A : Yes, you should do this at least once a month to keep climbing shoes fresh and ready for any type of activity. You can use a regular washing machine to wash your shoes but they should be dry before wearing them again.