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How To Care For Your Climbing Shoes And Extend Their Lives

Profile image Adam M.
May 6
Climbing Shoes
Get the most out of your climbing shoes with our care tips. Learn how to clean, dry, store, and maintain your climbing shoes for long-lasting performance.
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Climbing shoes take a lot of abuse, and proper care is crucial to extending their life and ensuring they perform at their best. In this article, we'll explore the best practices for caring for your climbing shoes and keeping them in great shape.

Article Contents

Why Proper Care of Climbing Shoes is Important

Climbing shoes are a significant investment for any climber, and proper care can help you get the most out of them. Neglecting your shoes can lead to several issues, including reduced grip, decreased sensitivity, and shortened lifespan. On the other hand, taking proper care of your climbing shoes can help you maintain their performance and extend their life. Here are some of the benefits of proper care:

The benefits of proper care

  • Longer lifespan for your shoes
  • Better grip and sensitivity
  • Improved foot health and hygiene
  • Cost savings from not having to replace your shoes as frequently

The risks of neglecting your climbing shoes

  • Reduced grip and sensitivity
  • Increased likelihood of foot odor and fungal infections
  • Weakened materials that can cause holes and tears
  • Reduced shoe performance and lifespan

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Cleaning Your Climbing Shoes

Cleaning your climbing shoes is an essential part of caring for them. Dirt, sweat, and oils can build up on the shoe's surface, reducing grip and leading to odor and fungal infections. Here are some tips for cleaning your climbing shoes:

What you need to clean your shoes

  • Mild soap or detergent
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Warm water
  • Towel

Step-by-step cleaning instructions

  1. Remove any dirt or debris from the shoe's surface with a soft-bristled brush.
  2. Fill a sink or basin with warm water and add a small amount of mild soap or detergent.
  3. Dip the shoe into the soapy water and use the soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the shoe's surface.
  4. Rinse the shoe with warm water to remove any soap residue.
  5. Gently squeeze the shoe to remove excess water.
  6. Stuff the shoe with newspaper or a towel to help it retain its shape and absorb any remaining moisture.
  7. Allow the shoe to air dry completely before using it again.

Tips for cleaning different types of climbing shoes

  • Leather shoes: Use a leather cleaner and conditioner to keep the leather supple and prevent cracking.
  • Synthetic shoes: Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they can damage the synthetic materials.
  • Suede shoes: Use a suede brush to gently remove any dirt or stains.

For more information on how to properly clean your climbing shoes, head over to our article on cleaning climbing shoes.

Drying Your Climbing Shoes

Proper drying is essential for maintaining the shape and integrity of your climbing shoes. Wet shoes can lose their shape and become less comfortable to wear. Here are some tips for drying your climbing shoes:

Why drying is important

  • Prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria
  • Helps the shoe maintain its shape
  • Reduces the risk of fungal infections

How to dry your shoes safely

  1. Remove any excess water from the shoe's surface with a towel.
  2. Stuff the shoe with newspaper or a towel to help it retain its shape.
  3. Place the shoes in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
  4. Allow the shoes to air dry completely before using them again.

Tips for drying different types of climbing shoes

  • Leather shoes: Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat sources, as this can cause the leather to crack.
  • Synthetic shoes: Can be dried using a low heat setting on a hairdryer or placed in front of a fan.
  • Suede shoes: Avoid using a hairdryer or direct heat, as this can cause the suede to shrink and become stiff.

Storing Your Climbing Shoes

Proper storage is another critical aspect of caring for your climbing shoes. Improper storage can lead to deformation and reduced performance. Here are some tips for storing your climbing shoes:

How to store your shoes

  • Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Avoid storing them in a damp or humid area, as this can lead to mold and mildew.
  • Do not leave them in a hot car or exposed to extreme temperatures.

Tips for storing different types of climbing shoes

  • Leather shoes: Store them in a cool, dry place and use a leather conditioner to prevent cracking.
  • Synthetic shoes: Can be stored in a breathable bag or container.
  • Suede shoes: Store them in a cool, dry place and avoid compressing them.

Maintaining Your Climbing Shoes

Regular maintenance can help you get the most out of your climbing shoes. Here are some tips for maintaining your climbing shoes:

How to maintain your shoes

  • Inspect them regularly for signs of wear or damage.
  • Repair any tears or holes promptly.
  • Rotate your shoes to prevent excessive wear on one pair.
  • Avoid wearing your climbing shoes for prolonged periods off the rock.

Tips for maintaining different types of climbing shoes

  • Leather shoes: Use a leather conditioner to prevent cracking and maintain flexibility.
  • Synthetic shoes: Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage the synthetic materials.
  • Suede shoes: Use a suede brush to remove dirt and stains regularly.

Related Articles
10 Ways To Stop And Prevent Bad Smelling Climbing Shoes
Climbing Shoes 101: How to Pick the Right Pair for You
Breaking in climbing shoes: How long does it take and what to expect
Maximizing your climbing shoe collection: How many pairs do you really need?
Painful Beginnings: Are Climbing Shoes Supposed to Hurt at First?

Conclusion

Caring for your climbing shoes is an essential aspect of being a responsible and safe climber. By following the best practices outlined in this article, you can extend the life of your shoes, maintain their performance, and save money in the long run. Remember to clean, dry, store, and maintain your shoes regularly, and you'll be able to climb with confidence and comfort for years to come.

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