Climbing Shoe Care Guide – All You Need to Know

Yes, you want to get the most out of your climbing shoes; it is important to take care of them properly. That is why tricks, trips, and precautions regarding climbing shoe care are a serious look out of every climber- be he an aspirant or pro climber. The two most popular practices that reach the ritual level include cleaning them regularly and airing them out after every use.

But there are other practical and effective ways suggested by climbers, shoemakers, and experts in the industry to include in your how to care climbing shoes guide.

Why should you give a damn?

They are an important piece of equipment for any climber as they provide the traction and stability desperately needed to ascend rocks and boulders. So, you must take intensive care for them in every possible way, not merely to prolong their lifespan but to keep them optimized to yield the best.

So, read on to keep the most informed about the climbing shoe care tricks, tips, and precautions.

Climbing Shoes Care: Tricks, Tips, & Precautions

The common climbing shoe materials are leather, synthetic fiber, and hybrid. The rigor the climbing shoes go through makes them wear and tear faster than other climbing gears. But regular and expert care guarantees both extended shoe life and improved performance during the sport. And informed care is expert care.

Taking care of climbing shoes are initiatives to keep them in good condition so far so good you can. We categorized the initiative or efforts into three phases considering the time when you should and can be caring to them pre-use care, using with care, and repair.

Pre-use Care: Consider the Types and Size of Climbing Shoes

You will be wrong to think that caring for climbing shoes starts during or after you have completed the first climbing session long after you have purchased your target shoes. No, it should start at the purchase. Let’s know why.

Commonly, there are three types of climbing shoes: downturned, flat, and hybrid. Downturned climbing shoes are designed to give the climber a better grip on the rock. They curve slightly downward at the toe, which allows the shoe to dig into the rock’s surface. This type of shoe is typically used for climbing routes rated as difficult or extreme.

Flat climbing shoes are less aggressive than downturned shoes and are ideal for beginners or climbers who prefer more stability. These shoes provide more support and tend to be more comfortable than downturned shoes.

Hybrid climbing shoes combine features of both downturned and flat shoes, making them a good choice for climbers who want a versatile shoe that can be used for both difficult and easy routes.

The first lesson on climbing shoe care starts by determining the perfect type of climbing shoes for your target or intended climbing. Common sense, wrong selection will affect both shoe performance and life.

If you take flat shoes for aggressive climbing, they will not yield the desired result. But if you walk along a long stretch of approach with downturned climbing shoes or take long hiking, the curve design of the shoe will be damaged beyond repair.

Likewise, shoes that don’t fit your feet will wear out faster. So, learning how to find the right size and type of climbing shoes is the first care, if not the foremost.

Make Cleaning a Regular Ritual

If you’re a climber, you know the importance of keeping your gear in good condition. Climbing shoes take much abuse, and they need to be cleaned regularly to maintain their performance.

Find a few different ways to clean climbing shoes. Some people use a shoe brush and some soap and water. Others use a cleaner product. We’ve used both methods, and they both work well. Some people prefer using cleaner products because they’re really easy to use and don’t require any scrubbing.

You have to put a small amount of the cleaner on your shoe brush (or your hands) and rub it all over your shoes. It doesn’t take long for the cleaner to work, and it’s ready to use again.

Regular cleaning will free you from the tasking hand-washing or machine washing. But if ever you need to wash the shoes, learn how to wash climbing shoes in washing machine, but hand-washing is the safer and easier option here.

Keep clean of dirt and dust

Your climbing shoes are an important piece of gear, and they should be kept clean to ensure good performance. Make sure to brush off any dirt or dust after each use, and occasionally clean them with a damp cloth. Climbing shoes that are not properly taken care of can develop bacteria and fungus, leading to foot odor and other health problems.

Monthly Coat of Polish

Applying a thin coat of silicone-based shoe polish every few months will keep them nearly pristine condition. These polishes are available from shoe stores and can be applied to shoes’ uppers at home. When used in this way, silicone-based shoe polish protects the leather of the climbing shoes by sealing out moisture, dirt, and other elements that may cause damage to the surface.

Doing so will help protect them from moisture and abrasions also.

Prevent Rope Burn

Climbing shoelaces can be one of the most important equipment for a climber. Belaying or leading, good quality climbing shoelaces are essential to prevent rope burn and even accidental falls. It is important to ensure that the climbing shoelaces are long enough and spaced far enough apart for a comfortable fit to prevent rope burn. If not, the rope can rub against the shoe as it passes over the foot or ankle, resulting in rope burn.

Do not Keep the Shoes Wet

The number one enemy for both the climber and the shoes are getting wet from whatever source. Wet shoes lead to cold feet, blisters, and a miserable experience. Climbers often take their shoes off at the end of a climb and put them in their backpacks or on the ground next to them. This can lead to wet shoes if it rains or snows.

To make sure your shoes are completely dry before putting them away, follow these simple steps:

  1. Place your climbing shoes in a bag or bucket of water.
  2. Let the shoes soak for at least 30 minutes. This is enough time to thoroughly saturate the inside of the shoe and make it completely dry.
  3. Air-dry your shoes by hanging them from a tree branch or setting them in front of an air conditioner.
  4. Store your shoes in a dry place and check for moisture again before using them the next time you go climbing.
How to dry climbing shoes

Make Air-drying a Ritual

Ensure that you always allow your shoes to air dry thoroughly after each use. And then, keep your shoes in a cool, dry place when you’re not using them. Doing so will ensure soaking of the moisture and sweat that is damaging both for you and the shoes.

Shoes that remain moisturized for long wear and tear sooner than those aired out regularly. Moreover, Regular airing out will prevent your climbing shoes from developing bacteria and fungus. You can also sprinkle them with baking soda or spray them with a disinfectant like Lysol to kill any lingering bacteria or fungus.

Cleaning shoes with baking soda at home is a traditional but effective climbing shoe care trick.

Keep free of grit and sand

It is important to keep your climbing shoes free of grit and sand as it can cause them to wear down more quickly. If you find that your shoes are caked in dirt, take a moment to clean them off using a stiff brush or water. Be sure not to use too much force when cleaning as this can damage the rubber on your shoes.

It is important to avoid sharp objects when cleaning your climbing shoes. Sharp objects like broken glass, rocks, blades, knives, and other small projectiles can cause damage to the rubber on your shoes.

Store in a Cool and Dry place

If you’re not using your climbing shoes, store them in a dry place. Storing them in a dry place will help to keep them in good condition. Climbing shoes should not be worn when not climbing and walking along with the approach. If you’re not climbing while outdoors, wear appropriate footwear, such as hiking boots or trail runners.

Post-cleaning Leather Conditioning

Climbers often take their shoes on long multi-pitch routes, where the shoes can become caked with grime. This can be remedied by simply cleaning the shoes with soap and water and scrubbing with an old toothbrush. The leather should then be conditioned using leather conditioning products.

Keep Laces and Velcro Loose if Not Using

It is wise to store climbing shoes with their laces and Velcro straps loose. If the laces are tied too tight, they can damage the shoe’s toe box. Climbing shoes are made of leather, closed-cell foam, and synthetic materials.

The toe box is where the climber’s toes touch the ground. The shape of the toe box will vary depending on what type of shoe is being used.

Milder Drying Alternatives

Care Climbing Shoes
Airing Out After Use

To keep your climbing shoes in the best condition possible, it’s important to air-dry them after washing. It helps the shoes maintain their shape and stiffness, as other drying alternatives may prove seriously detrimental to the shoes.

If you’re short on time, you can speed up the drying process by using a blow dryer on a low setting. Be sure to keep the airflow directed away from the soles of the shoes, as this can cause them to become brittle and crack. You better master the tricks on how to dry your climbing shoes to make the best of caring for your footgear.

Do not Allow Them Under the Sun

You must take care that the scorching sun is not taking its course on your precious climbing gears. They can damage the shoe beyond repair as rubber rand and the sole can brittle not to bear with the pressure at climbing more. Moreover, sun-heating will weaken the glue leading to the lifespan of your shoes being prematurely cut short.

Another culprit is a hot car to avoid, not only that leaving your shoes there disturbs you and your co-travelers with choking smell. On its top, the heat may weaken the bond between the sole and upper shoe, and that glue-bound and split-prone binding will fall apart due to melting the glue.

So, if ever you have no other alternative but to sun-dry your wet climbing shoes, keep them in the comparatively shaded location and check them every minute.

Wearing Socks

There’s no doubt that your shoes will start smelling while climbing. And while it may be tempting to go barefoot, wearing socks can help keep your shoes smelling better and keep from getting wet. When your feet sweat, the socks will absorb moisture instead of the shoes.

This helps keep the shoes from getting too wet and sweaty, which can cause them to start to smell bad and the materials to break down, crack, and wear consequently. So if you want to keep your climbing shoes in good condition, wear some socks.

But when wearing socks, try to arrange ones that are seamless in the toe-box as this is the spot going through the toughest pressure.

Sand the Shoe Rand and Sole

If you find the rubber rand and sole have developed stubborn dirt and dust build-up and your shoes lose the traction and grip gradually, sand the part with grime and caked dirt with sandpaper. This is advisable as water-washing damages both leather and synthetic upper of your shoes.


how to clean climbing shoes reddit

If you’re a climber, then you know climbing shoes can take a beating. Your shoes stay constantly exposed to the elements from sweaty feet to muddy conditions. And while most climbers take good care of their gear and clean it regularly, one area that often gets overlooked is the deodorizing process.

Deodorizing your climbing shoes may seem unnecessary, but trust us, it’s worth it. It will help keep your shoes smelling fresh, but it will also protect the leather and prolong the life of your gear.

There are several ways to deodorize your climbing shoes, but we recommend using a shoe deodorizer spray or powder. These products work by killing bacteria and absorbing moisture, which helps to eliminate bad odors as they neutralize the bacteria that cause the smell.

So it’s a great way to freshen up your climbing shoes. You need to spray a little bit inside each shoe and let it dry overnight.

Resole Your Climbing Shoes

If you have a pair of climbing shoes that you love and have been using for a while, but the rubber on the bottom is starting to wear down, it might be time for a resole. Resoling your climbing shoes can help them last longer and perform better, and it’s not as expensive or complicated as you might think.

The first step is to take your shoes to a cobbler or shoe repair shop. They will remove the old rubber from the soles and replace it with new rubber. They may also add a layer of foam or other cushioning material to the soles, making your shoes more comfortable to climb in.


How to know that my climbing shoes are resolable?

A climbing shoe’s soles can last many years with proper care, but eventually, they will wear down and need to be resoled. Here are a few ways to tell if your climbing shoes need to be resoled:

-The tread on the soles is completely worn down

-The soles are peeling or bubbling

-There are holes in the soles

If you’re not sure whether your climbing shoes need to be resoled, bring them into your local outdoor shop and have them looked at.

Do you need to clean climbing shoes?

Climbing shoes, like any other type of shoe, need to be cleaned regularly. This will help them to function better and last longer. There are a few different ways to clean climbing shoes.

The simplest way is to just wipe them down with a damp cloth after each use. This will remove any dirt or mud that may have accumulated. If the shoes are really dirty, you can use a mild soap or detergent and some water to give them a more thorough cleaning. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly afterward to remove all the suds.

Another option is to use a special shoe cleaner or deodorizer. These products are designed specifically for climbing shoes and remove any built-up sweat or bacteria. They also usually contain ingredients that will help keep the shoes smelling fresh.

How can I extend the life of my climbing shoes?

Climbing shoes are an important piece of gear for any climber. They provide the grip and support you need to make your way up a rock face. Like all gear, however, they eventually wear out. But with a few simple tricks, you can extend the life of your climbing shoes and get more use out of them.

One way to prolong the life of your climbing shoes is to avoid wearing them on long hikes or walks. This will help prevent the soles from wearing down prematurely. Another trick is to alternate between different pairs of climbing shoes. This will help spread the wear and tear evenly across all shoes’ surfaces.

You can also clean your climbing shoes regularly with a damp cloth. This will remove any dirt or debris that can cause damage over time.

How many times can climbing shoes be resoled?

Climbing shoes are an important part of a climber’s gear. They provide the grip and stability needed to make it up a rockface. Shoes that have been resoled provide the same level of performance as a new pair of shoes, making them a cost-effective investment. Climbing shoes can be resoled multiple times, but how many times they can be resoled depends on the type of shoe and the quality of workmanship.

Resoling is most commonly done when the soles are worn down to about 1/4 inch thick. Once the soles are thinner than that, they will begin to wear through the shoe’s uppers.

Some climbing shoes can be resoled up to five times, but most can only be resoled two or three times.

Are my climbing shoes Resolable?

A resoling job replaces the entire sole of a climbing shoe, whereas a rubber patch is simply glued over a worn-out section. It’s up to the individual whether or not they want to send their shoes in for a resoling job, but it’s important to be aware that resoling will completely change the feel and performance of your climbing shoes.

If you’re not too attached to your current pair of climbing shoes and are looking for an excuse to upgrade, then go ahead and send them in for a resoling job. But if you’re still within the wear-and-tear window and are looking for ways to squeeze some more mileage out of your current pair, consider giving them a rubber patch instead.

How long do Resoled climbing shoes last?

There is no definitive answer to how long resoled climbing shoes last. Anecdotally, many climbers report that their shoes last for around six months or so before the soles start to wear thin and the shoes become uncomfortable. However, this will vary depending on the type of climbing and the frequency of use.

The best way to maximize the life of your resoled climbing shoes is to take good care of them—regularly cleaning and drying them after use and avoiding exposing them to extreme temperatures. If you do notice signs of wear on the soles, it’s best to get them resoled sooner rather than later, as they will only continue to wear down with further use.

Why do my climbing shoes wear out so fast?

A pair of climbing shoes can last anywhere from a few months to a year, but there are several reasons why they might wear out faster.

The first reason is that the shoes constantly rub against the rocks and dirt, which wears down the rubber. Climbing shoes also get hot and sweaty, which can cause the rubber to break down more quickly.

Another reason is that climbers often use their shoes for other activities, such as hiking or scrambling, which can wear them out more quickly. And finally, some people have harder-soled shoes that wear out faster than others.

So if you’re noticing that your climbing shoes are wearing out more quickly than usual, there are several things you can do to prolong their life.

Why do my climbing shoes wear out so fast?

When you’re new to climbing, it’s easy to think that your shoes are just wearing out too fast. But the truth is that many factors go into how long your shoes will last.

The type of climbing you’re doing is one of the biggest factors. If you’re mostly doing routes, your shoes will last longer than bouldering or doing much outdoor climbing. The style of climb and the holds you use also play a role in how long your shoes last.

Your shoes can also wear out more quickly if they’re not fitted properly or don’t have enough support. Climbing in wet conditions can also speed up the wear and tear on your shoes.

So, what can you do to make your climbing shoes last longer?

How do you clean boulder problems?

Cleaning boulder problems is important for keeping them safe and fun to climb. There are a few different ways to clean a problem, but the most common is with a brush and soapy water.

To start, brush off any loose dirt or dust from the problem. You can use a standard household broom or a special bouldering brush if you have one. Next, mix up some soapy water in a bucket or spray bottle. Depending on how dirty the problem is, you may need more or less soap. Dip your brush in the water and scrub the holds until they’re clean.

Be sure to rinse off all the soap before you finish. A quick spray from the hose should do the trick, but if you have access to a pressure washer, that’s even better! Let the holds dry completely before climbing on them again.

What Are the Best Climbing Shoe Care Initiatives?

By following these tips tricks and taking the precautionary measures mentioned, you can keep your climbing shoes in good condition and help them last longer. But the best way is to clean them regularly not to let dirt, dirt, and other elements sit across the surface of your shoes for a long time to get stubborn and caked.

However, you cannot stop aging as time will take its course on everything that the climbing shoes care suggestions cannot tackle. But repairing is the last resort to use them any longer, and that is where resoling comes to be the best way possible.

Proper care of your climbing shoes can keep the shoes nearly pristine in terms of look and performance for a considerable length of time. And all the suggestions talked of in this article are tested tricks to show the result claimed in the article.

Afzall Rahman

Afzall Rahman is a college teacher by profession and is a rock-climbing enthusiast from his early childhood. So, anything on climbing keeps him glued to for hours - be it a movie on or related to climbing, book on or by climbers, article or podcast on climbing destinations, skills, gears, or the likes.

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