How to Make Climbing Shoes Sticky Again?

Climbing shoes are notorious for getting dirty and slippery, but it doesn’t have to be that way! There are a few ways you can clean and maintain your climbing shoes so they’ll stay sticky as ever when it’s time to climb. In this article, I’ll be going over a couple of different methods on how to make climbing shoes sticky again.

Grip Maintenance Rules

There are a few things you should know about grip. First, your climbing shoes’ grip will fade with use. Climbing shoes are designed to stick once in place, but they lose their stickiness with time and a lot of foot movements.

Second, you should never get your climbing shoes wet or worn down from overuse. The rough texture on the sole is what gives you that maximum level of grip on smooth surfaces like indoor gym walls and outdoor rock.

When these textures wear away, it’s only a matter of time before your awesome pair of climbing shoes turn into slippers!

Cleaning products There are so many different types of products available for cleaning your climbing shoes (I’m looking at you Metolius).

From better-known brands such as Scrubby and Sink the Stink to home remedies like toothpaste, it’s hard to find the right way to clean your climbing shoes.

7 Tips for Restoring the Stickiness of Your Climbing Shoes

These are 7 tips on how to make climbing shoes sticky again!

Tips on How to Make Climbing Shoes Sticky Again

First of all, you have to realize that your climbing shoes are going to get dirty, so don’t think that you can wear them and not get any dirt or grime in them. They will still need to be cleaned no matter what. However, there are things you can do to help alleviate the problem!

1. Clean off the soles

After using your climbing shoes and they have gotten all dirty and dusty, you need to clean off the soles of the shoe as well because these are what actually make contact with the rock face!

So if there’s dirt or grime on these, then it will reduce their stickiness. You can buy a special scrubber pad that is made specifically for this purpose, but if you aren’t wanting to get something like that, then you can just use a toothbrush. Just go at it with the brush to get all of the dirt and grime off.

2. Resoling climbing shoes 

Climbing shoes will wear out over time; once they do, it’s okay to change them! You don’t have to keep wearing the same pair of shoes no matter what.

There are plenty of climbing shoe manufacturers who actually offer re-soling services where you can send in your old climbing shoes so they can put good rubber on top of them again.  Resoling climbing shoes is one of the best ways to improve your climbing shoes.

3. Scuffing 

When you first get a new pair of climbing shoes they’ll feel very smooth and slick on the rock face, but after using them some you can actually file down certain parts of the shoe’s sole if it’s too slippery.

You don’t have to do this all over the shoe because that would ruin the shoe entirely, focus on specific slippage points like where your toe hooks or heel hooks are pressed up against a wall.

So basically what you’re doing is taking some sandpaper and filing away at those little points so there will be more friction for your foot when you press against a wall with them.

4. Warm the shoes:

You can actually make your rock climbing shoes sticky again if you heat them up first. This is how they work when they’re just out of the box, so why not try to do it this way?

The heat from a hairdryer or even a heater can help get the rubber malleable and soft so that it’s ready to climb on.

Just get a hairdryer and blast it at the climbing shoes, but don’t keep it too close to them or you could end up melting the rubber! You can warm them up until they’re good and sticky again this way.

5. Sand them down:

If you feel like this is too much work, then just cut the soles down as low as possible. This will make them a lot more comfortable for climbing because they won’t be as thick and heavy.

Then, take some sandpaper and rub it on the bottom of the shoe so that it’s smooth. This is how new shoes are when you buy them! You’ll climb better without these extra layers on your feet anyway.

6. Buy a new pair of rock climbing shoes

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to make your old pair of climbing shoes sticky again, then there’s no shame in buying a new pair!

We all have our limits and we just can’t keep wearing sandpaper on our feet! So if cleaning them isn’t working out for you, then just buy another pair.

The best way would be to not even buy online but instead, go into a store where you can get your hands on the actual product before purchasing it.

That way, if they’re not good quality or aren’t what you expected, you’ll know immediately so that it doesn’t take up room in your home. You could also cut the original soles off and add some new ones.


Climbing shoes can get dirty and hard to climb in, but you don’t have to throw them out! There are plenty of ways to clean your climbing shoes and make them good as new.

Try using a scrubber pad to clean the soles off, resolving them, or even just sanding them down if they’re too thick. If none of these things work, then it might be time to look into buying a new pair.

Remember that climbing is a life-long sport so you can always upgrade your shoes. Don’t stop until you reach the top!

Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

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