Anyone who has stepped foot inside a rock climbing gym knows there is a smell that lingers. Worse, if you store your rock climbing shoes in your car, you will quickly regret it. Due to the nature of rock climbing shoes, they quickly become dirty and smelly. Fortunately, with preventive maintenance, you can avoid the stink and help your shoes last as long as possible.
Cleaning Your Rock Climbing Shoes
Your rock climbing shoes are typically made of combination leather, nylon, and rubber. Each brand has its own blend and specifications. Additionally, some brands are even producing vegan rock climbing shoes with synthetic leather.
In order to preserve the integrity of the shoe, your rock climbing shoes must be dry washed. A light damp rag and gentle rubbing is all you need in order to clean your shoe.
You should clean your shoe every time you go climbing. While this can seem tedious, it will ensure your shoes last for years to come. Simply leave a rag in your climbing bag, so you never forget to clean your shoes before you leave.
When you are cleaning your shoe, you are simply removing any dust, dirt, or chalk that has attached itself to your climbing shoes. Some staining is normal, so don’t fret. In fact, it shows others you have been around a crag a time or two!
If you have sweaty feet, you will also want to dry out the inside of your shoe. The easiest method is to stick the rag in the shoe and pat the sweat away. Depending on how sweaty your feet were that day, you may need more than one rag to help dry out your shoes.
What To Avoid
Your rock climbing shoes are not like any other shoe you have owned. These cannot be put in the washing machine or rinsed down with a hose. If you completely soak your shoes, you risk using the glue and seams that keep the shoe together.
Additionally, you should avoid using soap at all costs. Even if you are only using a rag and a small amount, you do not want to leave any soap residue on your shoes. This could hinder you from being able to keep your foot on the wall next time you climb.
How To Get Rid Of The Stink
When your feet are sweating so much in a tight space, they are bound to start stinking up your climbing shoe at some point. Climber’s feet is a real thing, and it isn’t pleasant for anyone to smell.
The best way to prevent the funky smell is to get in the habit of deodorizing your shoes at the end of your climbing session. By doing so, the smell won’t have a chance to form and (worse) linger.
There are a myriad of products available to tackle smelly shoes. Many climbers opt to use a deodorizing spray. Others use a deodorizing shoe ball or two per shoe.
There are also more natural methods for helping to get rid of the stink that comes with being a rock climber. Activated charcoal inserts, baking soda, and green tea bags can all be inserted into the shoe to help fight the smell. How well they work will vary depending on the level of stench you are trying to combat.
Some individuals have smellier shoes than others. It all depends on the amount of bacteria growing in the shoe. You can even use an antiseptic spray (like Lysol or equivalent) to help fight the smell.
Treat Your Rock Climbing Shoes With Care
In addition to cleaning your shoes and helping mask the smell, you need to treat your shoes with care. When you are done climbing for the day, don’t just throw your shoes in the back of your car. This can easily damage them and put them at risk for getting dirty.
The best way to care for your rock climbing shoes is to use a bag. Not only does this give you an easy place to store your shoes, but it also protects them from UV rays.
You can easily clip the bag to your normal climbing bag or harness. It also helps them stay clean after you wipe them down with a rag.
Some brands will provide a bag when you purchase your rock climbing shoes. If you didn’t receive one, you can find your preferred one online. You can also use any general gym shoe carrying bag.