Rock climbing shoes are a crucial piece of equipment for any climber. They provide the necessary grip and support needed to safely navigate challenging routes.
However, like any other gear, climbing shoes can become dirty and smelly over time. Proper cleaning and maintenance of your shoes are essential to keep them in good condition and ensure they perform as expected.
In this article, we will go over the tools and materials you will need, as well as the steps to properly clean your rock climbing shoes.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Mild soap
- Bucket or sink
- Optional: Leather cleaner for leather shoes
Cleaning rock climbing shoes is an important part of their maintenance and care. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean rock climbing shoes:
Remove Excess Dirt: Use a brush or your hands to remove any loose dirt or debris from the shoes. Gently tap the soles together to dislodge any stubborn dirt.
Prepare Cleaning Solution: Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water. Add a small amount of mild soap or specialized climbing shoe cleaner to the water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach as they can damage the shoe material.
Submerge the Shoes: Place the climbing shoes in soapy water and agitate them gently. Make sure the shoes are fully submerged. Allow them to soak for a few minutes to loosen up any grime or sweat.
Clean the Shoes: Use a soft brush, toothbrush, or sponge to scrub the shoes gently. Pay attention to the areas that come into contacts with the rock, such as the sole, rand (rubber edge), and toe box. Scrub in circular motions to remove stubborn stains or dirt.
Rinse Thoroughly: Once you’ve cleaned the shoes, rinse them under running water to remove any soap residue. Make sure to rinse both the inside and outside of the shoes.
Dry Properly: After rinsing, gently squeeze out any excess water from the shoes. Avoid wringing or twisting them, as it can damage the shoe structure.
Stuff the shoes with newspaper or a shoe insert to help absorb moisture and maintain their shape. Place them in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Allow them to air dry naturally. Avoid using a dryer, as the heat can warp the shoe materials.
Reconditioning (Optional): Once the shoes are dry, you can apply a specialized climbing shoe conditioner or a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the rubber soles. This can help restore grip and remove any residual oils or contaminants.
Storage: Store your clean and dry climbing shoes in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing them in airtight containers, as this can promote the growth of mold and odor.
Regular cleaning and proper maintenance will help prolong the life of your rock climbing shoes and ensure they perform at their best.
- Allow shoes to air dry before storing.
- Use a deodorizer or odor eliminator to keep shoes fresh.
- Store shoes in a cool, dry place.
- Regularly check for and repair any holes or tears in the shoes.
How often should I clean my rock climbing shoes?
It is recommended to clean your rock climbing shoes after every use to prevent the buildup of dirt and bacteria. However, if you don’t use your shoes frequently, you may not need to clean them as often. It’s also a good idea to clean your shoes before storing them away for an extended period of time.
Can I use regular soap to clean my rock climbing shoes?
Yes, you can use regular soap to clean your rock climbing shoes, but it’s best to use mild soap that is gentle on the materials of the shoe. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as these can damage the shoes.
Can I put my rock climbing shoes in the washing machine?
It is not recommended to put your rock climbing shoes in the washing machine. The agitation and high water pressure can damage the shoes and weaken the glue holding the sole in place. It’s best to hand-clean them using the method outlined in this article.
How do I dry my rock climbing shoes after cleaning them?
After cleaning your rock climbing shoes, it’s important to allow them to air dry. Avoid using a hair dryer or placing them in direct sunlight, as this can cause the shoes to shrink or warp. Instead, stuff the shoes with newspaper and let them dry naturally.
What should I do if my rock climbing shoes have a bad odor?
If your rock climbing shoes have a bad odor, it’s important to clean them thoroughly and let them dry completely before storing them. You can also use a deodorizer or odor eliminator specifically designed for shoes to help eliminate odors. Additionally, consider using shoe inserts that can absorb moisture and prevent bacteria from growing.
Cleaning your rock climbing shoes is an important part of maintaining them and ensuring they perform at their best.
By following these steps and regularly checking for wear and tear, you can extend the life of your shoes and keep them in top condition for climbing. Remember to always be safe and use proper gear when climbing.