How To Take Care Of Your Climbing Shoes

To take care of your climbing shoes, clean them regularly and store them in a dry, cool place. As a climber, your shoes are your most essential equipment.

They give you the grip and traction to ascend challenging routes. However, all that pressure on the shoes takes its toll, making them need frequent care and attention. Not paying adequate attention to your shoes could lead to a shorter lifespan and subpar performance.

Thus, this article will guide you on the importance of caring for your climbing shoes, proper cleaning procedures, common maintenance techniques, and storage tips. By the end of this article, you’ll know the steps to take to keep your climbing shoes in tip-top shape so you can enjoy more days on the rocks.

How To Take Care Of Your Climbing Shoes


Understanding Your Climbing Shoes

Understanding your climbing shoes:

Climbing shoes are an essential equipment for every climber. They provide you with greater traction and help you climb with more precision. A suitable pair of climbing shoes can greatly enhance your experience of climbing. However, to make the most out of your climbing shoes, it’s important to understand how they function and how you can take good care of them.

Different types of climbing shoes:

Climbing shoes come in various types, each with unique features suitable for different styles of climbing.

  • Neutral climbing shoes: These types of shoes provide a comfortable fit and are ideal for all-day climbs. They have flat soles and are suitable for beginners.
  • Aggressive climbing shoes: These shoes come with a downturned toe box and curved shape that provides greater precision while climbing and are perfect for overhanging climbs.
  • Moderate climbing shoes: These shoes are perfect for intermediate climbers. They are designed to offer a balance between comfort, precision, and support.

How climbing shoes work:

Climbing shoes work by providing superior grip and traction to aid your climbing. They have rubber soles which enable you to grip on to tight spaces and small crimps. Climbing shoes also provide improved sensitivity, allowing you to feel the surface as you climb.

This is essential for gaining the required accuracy and precision to climb effectively.

Anatomy of a climbing shoe:

A climbing shoe comprises of various components, including:

  • Upper: The upper part of the shoe is made of synthetic material or leather that wraps around the foot for support and holds the laces in place.
  • Toe box: The front part of the shoe, called the toe box, has a rubber patch that helps to grasp small edges and ledges.
  • Outsole: The outsole is made up of durable rubber that provides excellent traction on the surface.
  • Midsole: It’s the cushioning between the insole and outsole that provides support and comfort while climbing.
  • Insole: This is the part of the shoe that comes in contact with your foot. It offers comfort and support to your foot.

Caring for your climbing shoes:

Taking good care of your climbing shoes is essential to increase their lifespan and performance.

  • Store your shoes in a cool, dry place to prevent odor and bacteria.
  • Avoid exposing your shoes to heat. Drying them in sunlight or near a heat source can cause damage to the rubber of the sole.
  • Clean your shoes regularly with a damp cloth. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleaches as it can cause damage to the material and compromise the rubber.
  • Use climbing chalk to keep your feet dry and avoid sweating. Sweating can cause the shoes to smell and reduce grip.
  • Make sure to replace your climbing shoes when they become too worn or damaged.

Remember, understanding your climbing shoes and taking good care of them is vital for a comfortable and successful climbing experience. Choose the right type of shoes, wear them correctly, and follow these simple tips to enjoy your climbing journey to the fullest.

The Dos And Don’Ts Of Climbing Shoe Care

Climbing shoes play a crucial role in enhancing your climbing performance and keeping you safe while scaling the heights. However, taking care of these shoes can sometimes be overwhelming. If you’re wondering how to take care of your climbing shoes, then continue reading to learn the dos and don’ts of climbing shoe care.

Dos: How To Clean Your Shoes After A Climb

Cleaning your climbing shoes after a climb is a vital step in maintaining their condition and maximizing their lifespan.

  • Brush your shoes: After each climb, use a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt, debris, or chalk from your shoes. Start with gentle strokes before increasing the intensity as required.
  • Use mild soap and warm water: Once you’ve brushed off the dirt, wash your shoes with a mild soap and warm water mixture. Make sure the soap doesn’t contain bleach, and avoid using hot water as it could damage the glue that holds your shoes together.
  • Air-dry your shoes: After washing, let your shoes air-dry naturally. Avoid using a dryer or placing them directly under the sun as the heat could damage the synthetic materials.

Don’Ts: What To Avoid When Taking Care Of Your Shoes

Taking care of your climbing shoes isn’t rocket science, but knowing what to avoid can prevent unintentional damage.

  • Don’t leave your shoes in a hot car or direct sunlight: High temperatures can weaken the adhesive that holds the shoes together, leading to separation or cracks.
  • Don’t put your shoes in the washing machine: Washing machines are too harsh for climbing shoes, and the rough cycle could damage your shoes’ materials.
  • Don’t store your shoes in an airtight container: Storing your shoes in a sealed container can trap moisture, leading to odor buildup and mold formation.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals or bleach to clean your shoes: Harsh chemicals and bleach can damage your shoes’ materials, leading to cracks, separation, and discoloration.
  • Don’t wear your shoes outside of climbing: Walking in your climbing shoes can cause unnecessary wear and tear, so avoid wearing them outside of the climbing gym or outdoors.

By following these simple dos and don’ts, you can take proper care of your climbing shoes and keep them in great condition for many climbs to come. Remember to be gentle when cleaning them and never expose them to harsh conditions that could affect their adhesive or cause damage to the shoe.

Maintaining The Shape And Function Of Your Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes play a significant role in determining the success rate of any climb. Like any equipment, regular maintenance is essential to ensure that they stay in good shape and function properly. If you’re wondering how to keep your climbing shoes in optimal condition, here are some essential tips to consider.

Resoling Your Shoes

Resoling is a process that involves replacing the rubber sole of your climbing shoes. Climbing shoes are designed to be worn out – hence, resoling is one of the best ways to maintain the longevity of your shoes.

  • The frequency of resoling: How often you need to resole your shoes depends on how frequently you use them. Generally, most climbers resole their shoes every six months to one year, depending on the usage and damage.
  • Resole professionals: Resoling requires skill and expertise, so you must find a reliable climbing shoe resole professional to do the job.
  • Types of resoling: There are two types of resoling: half and full. Half resoling involves replacing only the front rubber of the shoe sole, while full resoling involves replacing the entire sole. For most cases, half resoling is sufficient and cheaper than full resoling.

Repairing Wear And Tear

Climbing shoes are susceptible to wear and tear, especially in the areas where they come into contact with rocks and surfaces. Regular inspection is essential to spot and fix any damage.

  • Wear and tear symptoms: Some common signs of wear and tear are holes, cracks, peeling, and tears.
  • Fixing the damage: If you notice any wear and tear signs, it’s best to repair the damage as soon as possible. You can use rubber glue or shoe repair glue to fix any minor damage. However, for more significant and complex damage, consider seeking the help of a professional cobbler or climbing shoe repair expert.
  • Prevention: One of the best ways to prevent wear and tear is to climb with proper techniques. Try to avoid dragging your feet on surfaces and use your footwork to ensure maximum shoe life.

Preventing Holes And Tears

Prevention is always better than cure, and the same applies to climbing shoes.

  • Proper fit: It’s essential to choose a climbing shoe that fits well. An ill-fitting shoe can cause your toes to squeeze and stress the shoe material, leading to tears and holes.
  • Avoid overuse: Avoid using your climbing shoes for purposes beyond climbing to reduce the wear and tear rate.
  • Footwork technique: Climbing requires proper footwork technique – use care when placing your feet and avoid dragging your feet to minimize holes and tears.

Keeping Shoes Smelling Fresh

Frequent use of climbing shoes can make them smell.

  • Use odor eliminators: Odor eliminators are specially designed products that dissolve bad smells. You can spray or insert these products into your climbing shoes to remove any bad odor.
  • Alternative shoes: Consider using another pair of shoes while your climbing shoes dry, or after your climbing sessions.
  • Drying your shoes: After every climbing session, it’s best to dry your shoes as soon as possible to prevent bad odor. You can use a fan or air dry them, but avoid direct sunlight or heat sources that can damage them.

Caring for your climbing shoes is an effective way to ensure they last longer and function optimally when you need them the most. With these tips, you can keep your climbing shoes in excellent shape and enjoy many more exciting climbs ahead.

Storing And Transporting Your Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes are one of the most crucial pieces of equipment climbers rely on, ensuring proper technique and grip during climbs. If neglected, they can quickly lose their effectiveness and deteriorate faster.

How To Store Your Shoes When Not In Use

  • Keep your climbing shoes in a well-ventilated area, preferably in a dry, cool place away from the sun and moisture.
  • Store them in a breathable bag, such as a mesh bag, to allow air circulation and prevent odor and bacteria build-up.
  • Avoid squishing them in a stuffed backpack or leaving them inside a hot car for extended periods, as this can damage the rubber and reduce the shoes’ effectiveness.
  • Do not store them near sharp objects or chemicals that can damage the shoes’ materials.

How To Transport Your Shoes To And From The Climbing Gym Or Crag

  • Use a specific climbing bag or backpack to protect your shoes and other climbing gear from wear and tear during transportation.
  • Avoid strapping your shoes to the outside of the backpack, especially during the rainy season, to protect them from moisture and debris.
  • Keep a towel to wipe off dirt, moisture, or sweat from your shoes after a climb, to keep them dry and clean during transportation.
  • If you’re travelling by plane, put your shoes in your carry-on bag to avoid damage or loss, and place them in a resealable plastic bag to prevent odor transfer to other items.

By following these simple tips, you can significantly prolong your climbing shoes’ lifespan and maintain their effectiveness, saving you money and hassle in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Take Care Of Your Climbing Shoes

How Often Should I Clean My Climbing Shoes?

It’s recommended to clean your climbing shoes after every climb. This will help extend the life of your shoes and prevent any build-up of dirt or bacteria that may affect the shoe’s performance.

Can I Wash My Climbing Shoes In A Washing Machine?

It’s not recommended to wash your climbing shoes in a washing machine as it can damage the shoe’s materials and weaken the glue holding the shoe together. Instead, hand wash your shoes with mild soap and water and allow them to air dry.

How Do I Prevent My Climbing Shoes From Smelling Bad?

To prevent your climbing shoes from smelling bad, air dry them after each use, avoid wearing them for extended periods of time, use foot powder to absorb moisture, or place them in a sealed bag with fresh coffee grounds or baking soda to absorb odors.

How Tight Should Climbing Shoes Be?

Climbing shoes should fit snugly but not painfully tight. Your toes should be curled slightly and your heel should not slip out of the shoe when climbing. It’s important to try on different brands and styles to find the best fit for your foot shape.

How Do I Resole My Climbing Shoes?

To resole your climbing shoes, take them to a professional shoe repair shop or send them to the manufacturer. Attempting to resole your shoes yourself can damage the shoes and affect their performance.


As a climber, taking care of your climbing shoes is crucial to maintain their functionality, longevity and efficiency on the wall. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your climbing shoes and save you money in the long run.

Remember to always check for any damages or signs of wear and tear and have them professionally repaired as soon as possible. Investing in a good pair of climbing shoes is just as important as taking care of them. Follow these simple tips to keep your climbing shoes in top shape and ready for your next climb.

Your feet and your wallet will thank you for it! Happy climbing!