Climbing shoes are an important piece of equipment for any climber, providing the necessary grip and support to navigate challenging routes. But like any other gear, they can get dirty and smelly over time.
Maintaining clean climbing shoes not only improves their appearance but also has health benefits for your feet. In this article, we will go over the steps to properly wash your climbing shoes and keep them in top condition.
How do you wash climbing shoes?
Properly washing climbing shoes is important to maintain their performance and prolong their lifespan. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to wash climbing shoes:
Remove Excess Dirt: Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any loose dirt or debris from the climbing shoes. Gently brush the outer surface, paying attention to the crevices and seams.
Check Manufacturer’s Instructions: Before proceeding further, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or recommendations for cleaning the specific type of climbing shoes you have. Some shoes may have specific cleaning instructions to follow.
Hand Washing Method: Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water, as it can damage the shoes.
Add a small amount of mild detergent or a specialized climbing shoe cleaner to the water. Stir the water to create a soapy solution.
Submerge the Shoes: Place the climbing shoes in soapy water and submerge them completely. Use your hands to gently agitate the shoes, ensuring the water and soap reach all areas, including the interior.
Spot Cleaning: If there are stubborn stains or areas that require extra attention, you can use a soft-bristled brush or an old toothbrush to gently scrub those spots. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this can damage the shoe’s material.
Rinse Thoroughly: Once you have cleaned the climbing shoes, rinse them thoroughly with clean water to remove all traces of soap or detergent. You can either rinse them under a running faucet or use a separate basin with clean water.
Removing Excess Water: Gently squeeze the climbing shoes to remove excess water. Avoid twisting or wringing them, as this can distort their shape. You can also pat them dry with a clean towel to absorb moisture.
Air Drying: Allow the climbing shoes to air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
Placing them in direct sunlight or using a dryer can cause the shoes to shrink or warp. Stuffing the shoes with newspaper or a shoe tree can help retain their shape while drying.
Odor Control: To control odor, you can sprinkle a small amount of baking soda or use specialized shoe deodorizers inside the climbing shoes after they have dried.
Post-Drying Maintenance: Once the climbing shoes are completely dry, it’s a good practice to inspect them for any signs of wear, loose stitching, or delamination. Address any issues promptly or consider resolving them if necessary.
Remember to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or recommendations specific to your climbing shoes, as some shoes may require unique care instructions.
Maintaining Clean Climbing Shoes
Cleaning your shoes is only half the battle. To keep them in top condition, it’s important to regularly remove dirt and debris after use.
Applying a waterproofing or protective spray can also help to extend the life of your shoes. When not in use, store your shoes in a cool, dry place to prevent the growth of mold or mildew.
What kind of detergent should I use to wash my climbing shoes?
A: You should use a mild detergent specifically made for washing athletic shoes or a mild laundry detergent. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as these can damage the materials of the shoes.
Can I put my climbing shoes in the washing machine?
A: It is not recommended to put climbing shoes in the washing machine as it can cause damage to the shoe and also the machine. It’s best to hand wash the shoes using a basin or tub.
How often should I wash my climbing shoes?
A: It depends on how often you use them and the conditions in which they are used. It’s a good idea to clean them after every use, especially if they are exposed to dirt, sweat, or other contaminants.
Can I dry my climbing shoes in the dryer?
A: No, it is not recommended to dry climbing shoes in the dryer. The high heat can cause the shoes to shrink or warp. It’s best to stuff them with newspaper and allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area.
How can I prevent my climbing shoes from smelling bad?
A: Proper cleaning and drying is the best way to prevent bad odor in your climbing shoes. Also, it’s a good idea to use a shoe deodorizer or foot powder after each use to keep the shoes fresh. Avoid storing your shoes in a damp or poorly ventilated area.
Cleaning and maintaining your climbing shoes is an important part of being a responsible climber. Not only will it improve their appearance and longevity, but it will also promote healthy feet.
By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your climbing shoes are always ready for your next climb.