How To Clean Climbing Shoes That Climbers Should Know

Climbing shoes are usually designed specifically for muddy trails. That doesn’t mean you can finish using them, though, and toss these “companions” in your shoe cabinet, ignore them, and forget about them. To keep your shoes looking like new for years to come, put in the effort to clean them thoroughly. Read this article, you will surely know how to clean climbing shoes. 

Proper shoe cleaning helps prolong the life of your shoes – saving you a fortune on buying new shoes, or you simply want your shoes to be clean, decent because it’s a companion. and have quite a few memories with you. The cleaning of climbing and trekking shoes is similar to a normal pair of sports shoes, but depending on the design, material, and characteristics of the shoes, this cleaning has special features.

After each trekking trip “crossing the forest and wading streams”, your beloved climbing shoes will cling to a lot of mud and if not handled properly, the quality of the shoes will decrease quickly. Do not leave your travel companion in a corner after the trip, instead of clean your shoes with the simple and effective ways below. Now, we will show you how to clean climbing shoes. 

Here  are a few ways and some criteria that help you understand how to clean climbing shoes:

  • Ways to clean climbing shoes
  • How to store climbing shoes
  • Small tip

How To Clean Climbing Shoes

Way 1: Wash

Washing shoes is a must after every trip. Because after the journey, at least your shoes will stick to dust, more than the soil, mud, …. clinging to the shoes. Sometimes a little bit of road dust after the journey will make your shoes look real, very dusty – although you are very happy with the shape of the shoes, it will make your shoe age faster, reduce shoe life, even damage, and possibly odors.

Step 1: Get the mud off the climbing shoes

Start by getting the mud off the uppers of your shoes, by slamming the shoes, or using something to pry them open. If your shoes don’t stick to the mud, skip this part!

Next, clean the dirt, plants, and gravel that accidentally stick to the groove in the sole of the shoe. This helps maintain the grip of the shoe because the accumulation of dirt in the soles of the shoe will cover the spikes – the grip supports part of a pair of trekking and climbing shoes.

Step 2: Clean the grove

Then use a medium-hard brush, water, and mild detergent to clean the outside of the shoe. Limit the use of strong detergents, because it will affect the glue, if your shoes are waterproof or leather shoes, the more you have to limit the use of strong detergents.

Don’t forget to remove the laces and insoles to clean hard-to-reach brush parts, and to wash the laces separately to make sure they’re clean!

With a pair of climbing shoes, you need to clean the dirt and mud outside. What needs to be cleaned on the inside is sweat and odor. You can soak the shoes for a short time, then use a mild, scented detergent to clean the inside of the shoes. 

Step 3: Dry your climbing shoe

The best way to dry shoes is to let them dry at room temperature, or dry in the sun and wind. For shoes made from special materials such as leather, the effect of heat will reduce the life of the shoes, so if you use a pair of leather shoes or imitation leather, you should pay attention to this issue!

  • Drying shoes in sections will help shoes dry faster, especially drying shoes in parts.
  • If you want the shoes to dry quickly, you can use paper or a towel stuffed inside to absorb water, then dry in normal conditions.
  • Note that shoes should be left in ventilated places, do not leave shoes or dry shoes in secret, airtight tunnels.

Method 1: Separate into many parts to dry

You can separate your shoes into many parts such as shoelaces, insoles, shoes, … this increases the surface contact area, speeds up the drying process of the shoes.

Before drying your shoes, squeeze out the water as much as you can.

This method can be used for all types of shoes, but is often used on dry days, hot weather, and easy to dry shoes in normal conditions. Or your shoe is a drainage shoe, which is extremely easy to dry.

Method 2: Using water-absorbing items

You can use effective water-absorbing and dehumidifying items to get the water out of your shoes quickly. It can be a dry towel, or newspaper, good absorbent dry paper.

First, you squeeze the water out of the shoes, try to squeeze as dry as you can. Then insert newspaper (use newspaper or dry, crumpled paper) or dry towel inside the shoes, paying attention to insert so that the part of the newspaper is in contact with the shoe fabric as much as possible so that they absorb water from the shoes. the most effective. 

After inserting, wait for a while, when the paper or towel inside is wet, take it out and replace it with another paper, or if you don’t have a paper to replace, you can wring out the old paper or towel, dry it and then re-dry it and tuck inside the shoe. 

Way 2: Use laundry detergent 

Step 1: Choose the right cleaning and maintenance agent for leather climbing shoes

Leather climbing shoe products often use full-grain natural leather or raw leather such as suede (also known as nubuck leather). Therefore, read the product description carefully before purchasing and use a cleaning, curing, or waterproofing agent suitable for the shoe material. Note that full-leather shoe care kits will also renew the water-repellent coating (DWR), restoring water-repellent performance. For suede or raw leather, simply cleaning and recoating the waterproofing (DWR restoration) is enough.

One measure that was once the standard of waterproofing but is less common today is wax waterproofing. The reason for less use is that wax residue on the shoes can interfere with the ability of a new adhesive to bond with a new sole. Therefore, you should consider carefully when intending to use wax.

If your shoe has a Gore-Tex® waterproof membrane or similar waterproof/breathable membranes, there is no need to service those areas, just clean the fabric there. You can also use additional maintenance products designed for use on leather/canvas shoes. 

Step 2: Moisten your climbing shoes

Maintenance and waterproofing products work best on shoes that have been thoroughly washed and soaked in water (wet). Because dirt will affect the coverage and penetration of shoe care products, and moisture in the outer layer of the shoe helps the waterproof layer to fully penetrate the inside of the shoe. 

Step 3: Apply a waterproofing or curing product on top of leather climbing shoes

  • Make sure the water has fully penetrated the leather. For best results, apply a protective or waterproof coating immediately after cleaning the shoes.
  • If your hiking boots dry out or don’t absorb enough water (moisture) after cleaning, wrap a wet towel around them and place them in the sink for a few hours.
  • Once the water has fully penetrated the inside of the shoe, apply a curing or waterproofing product to the shoe. Read and carefully follow the instructions for use of the shoe care products. 

Step 4: Drying and storing climbing shoes

  • Let the shoes dry naturally in a place with normal temperature and low humidity. Do not use heat to dry shoes, such as dryers, heaters, wood stoves, radiators, etc. A fan can be used for faster drying.
  • You can also stuff newspaper in your shoes to speed up drying; Remember to change the paper regularly when the paper has soaked in water.
  • Store shoes in a place where the temperature is stable and normal. Do not store shoes in an attic, garage, trunk, or any other place that is prone to moisture, heat, or unsanitary conditions. 

Tips: How to store climbing shoes indoors

The average active climber can wear two pairs of hiking boots in a year. Fitness climbers may experience three or more pairs in a year. Following some basic indoor shoe care guidelines can help them last longer and perform better.

  • Wear a pair of shoes that fit and fit properly. Inappropriate shoes perform poorly and wear out faster.
  • Only wear them when climbing. Dirt and mud on hiking trails wear rubber early. Dirty soles also have little grip when you’re on the rock. And never walk around with only your toes sliding inside. This will damage the heel of the shoe.
  • Strive to clean feet. The cleaner your footing, the less wear and tear on the shoe by using the softer rubber part of the shoe on rough surfaces.
  • Use a shoe bag. It keeps your shoes clean and protects them from direct sunlight. 

Keep your rock climbing shoes clean and odor-free

A small precaution can help keep your shoes looking and smelling clean. As for the approach, keep your feet clean by wearing closed shoes, not sandals. While waiting to climb, don’t walk around barefoot. Wear a tarp to keep your shoes and bare feet off the ground. 

When you get home, prevent mold and odors by taking your shoes out of your bag. 

Use a damp cloth to clean the soles and insoles; Leave the shoes to dry naturally, do not expose them to the sun to avoid UV rays that damage the shoes. Use a foot powder or spray if your shoes are smelly. Treat fabric stains topically with alcohol or a little water. Do not use too much water as it can damage the fabric prematurely. 

Storing the soles and tops of climbing shoes indoors

The sole and instep (the part of the rubber above the sole that wraps around the shoe) is where the rubber will meet the rock, so do everything you can to keep the rubber grip clean and in good condition:

  • After climbing, scrub the sole and gently scrub with a wet rag, removing as much dirt as possible; then, dry them.
  • To restore performance, gently use coarse sandpaper or a thin brush on areas where grip has been lost. This can cause the shoes to wear out prematurely, so use caution.
  • Never leave shoes in a hot car; High temperatures can deform the rubber, melt the glue and the pubic part. 

How to repair climbing shoes indoors

Keep an eye out for high wear areas of your sole and insole, looking for thin or pitted areas, and loose areas. Areas prone to wear include:

  • Where the sole and the pubic part meet
  • Toe bones
  • Area near toes

How to fix the rubber of shoes

You can fix small dents and partially repair the instep using an adhesive such as gel shoe glue. When repairing the instep, remove any dirt on the shoe.

If the soles of your shoes wear out first (this is a fairly common situation) consider repairing/replacing the soles of your shoes. They will be cheaper than new shoes. Most repair shops resell for half the price of a new pair of shoes and often use a medium quality rubber blend.

Ask your local store or other climbing shops for repair shops that specialize in sole repair. Save money by having your friends replace the soles of your shoes together; you can break down shipping costs and some stores offer volume discounts. If you want convenience, you can also purchase a self-repair and sole replacement kit. 

If you have no idea when reading our article about how to clean climbing shoes, let watch this video:

In Conclusion: Everyone Can Easily Clean Their Climbing Shoes

As a close companion on every trip, climbing shoes must be cherished by us. Through the above two sections, we have shown you how to clean climbing shoes and store them to increase life and preserve the quality of shoes after each use.

The trails often have a dry and rough surface, so walking often encounters a lot of difficulties. So even the sturdiest leather boots will look a bit tattered after the ride is done. In addition to the problem of scratches, leather fabrics are also prone to drying and cracking. So, to help your shoes last longer and perform better, you need to know how to care for your climbing boots properly.  

When you clean your climbing shoes, we think other items should be in need. Those are climbing ropes, rope protectors,s and climbing shoes. And now, our article is finished. Let’s clean your climbing shoes.

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