The 3 Foolproof Ways to Clean Your Climbing Shoes That Works Great

Trying to get rid of that awful stench that constantly oozes from your climbing shoes? Learn how to clean your climbing shoes the right way so they last longer.

Are you even a climber if you’ve had to take your shoes off and your shoes don’t ever smell you to death? Or the moment you take off your shoes in public, you have people skitter away for safety?

Guess what? It happens to even the best of us – it’s allowed. It’s just an indication that your shoes are due for a wash.

By the end of this article, having to deal with dirty and smelly shoes would be history. You’ll learn how to wash your shoes right and get rid of odor, bacteria, and dirt for a squeaky clean look. Also, read how climbing helps to cut your calories and how you track them.

3 Ways To Clean Climbing Shoes

Climbing is one intense sports activity that gets your feet all sweaty; breeding odor-producing bacteria. These bacteria thrive in dark and non-ventilated places and are responsible for the dreadful smell that arises from our shoes.

There are various ways to go about cleaning climbing shoes that will eliminate these bad odors. And yet, have no impact on the structural integrity of your climbing shoes.

Check out the 3 foolproof ways to clean your climbing shoes so it doesn’t smell like an NFL changing room.

Hand Washing Technique

In the handwashing technique, you’d need:

  • Cold or lukewarm water
  • A soft brush (a toothbrush is ideal because you want to get into those nooks and crannies).
  • Antibacterial soap or detergent (optional).

Place your shoes under running water and with the help of a soft brush, gently scrub out all any dirt and grime on the outside and the inside.

Make sure your brush reaches every spot. Work your brush to reach the toe tips. If you choose to add soap, just a drop will do. Continue scrubbing till you start to see the dirty water turning clear. Finally, leave them out in the open to air dry.

Where soap is unavailable, you can opt for Vinegar or Baking Soda as an alternative.

Vinegar: You can make use of apple cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar. Use a dilution ratio of vinegar to water at 1:50 to dilute the vinegar. Insert your toothbrush into the diluted mixture and gently scrub the in and out of your shoes. Then wash off and leave to air dry. Don’t be afraid the vinegar will leave behind its smell. If diluted properly, the smell will be negligible.

Baking Soda: Pour 2 tablespoonfuls of baking powder into a cup or bowl. Mix with water so it forms a paste-like consistency. Using a soft brush, gently scrub the paste on every corner of your shoe. Let it sit for a day or two. Then wash off under running water and leave to air dry.

Use Of Washing Machines

For this technique, you’d need:

  • A washing machine
  • Soap
  • Towel
  • Cold or lukewarm water

It’s highly recommended that you use washing machines for synthetic shoes only. Evolv says washing leather shoes would stretch them out and leave behind a rainbow of colors on your feet. So it’s best to avoid washing leather shoes.

To begin, if your shoes have laces, loosen them up. If they’re the velcro shoes, pull the straps through the actual buckle and strap it down tight. This helps open up your shoes to allow proper washing and drying of the insides.

Dump your shoe in the washer together with the soap. Add a towel to the washer. The towel will help in proper washing, help muffle the noise, and prevent the material from wear and tear. Do not add bleach.

Set your washing machine to slow cycle and ensure the water isn’t hot. After the wash, take them out to air dry.

Note: Never use hot water to wash your climbing shoes. Otherwise, it would stretch and weaken the glue of the shoes.

Disinfectant Spray

For a safer and quick fix, disinfectant sprays come in handy. A lot of climbing gyms use a disinfectant spray to keep their shoe rentals fresh and clean. However, do not rely on disinfectant sprays to thoroughly clean out overly dirty shoes. They only work best when trying to maintain new shoes.

For this technique, you need:

  • Antiseptic Spray e.g Lysol spray
  • Paper towels or microfiber cloth

First off, you spray the in and out of your shoes with antiseptic spray. Ensure to get all corners. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Then wipe off the dirt and grime with a paper towel or microfiber cloth.

Drying Your Climbing Shoes

Essentially, you must dry your climbing shoes in a cool and dry place. And, ensure your shoe completely dries out before usage.

Never keep your shoes in direct sunlight or dry with a blow dryer. The heat generated will only degrade the rubber and weaken the glue of your shoes; causing them to fall apart. 

If you machine-wash or handwash, you can insert a paper towel, microfiber cloth, or any absorbent material to help hasten the drying time of the insides. Ensure to slightly squeeze out excess water too. This is crucial to reduce drying time.

For the most part, cleaning and drying your shoes the proper way will not only save you the stress and cost of having to buy a new one. But, it will get your shoes to last a little longer.

The Bottom Line

Above all, It’s best to always clean your climbing shoes to get rid of odor, dirt, and grime. Fail to do that and the inside becomes quite slimy and gross; influencing climbing performance.

Depending on how much you climb, on no account should you wash your climbing shoes a lot.

Also, ensure to keep clean feet before putting on your shoes. Because what is the essence of having to wash your shoes only to have dirty feet in them?

It’s only best to reward your climbing shoes for the role they play in our ability to send. Constant care of your climbing shoes will give them a brand-new feel and make them last even longer. And quite frankly, will stop them from torturing the life out of the other nearby climbers.

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