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How to Clean Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes become filthy quickly as you climb. Their soles become covered in dirt, chalk and dust particles.

Eventually, your shoes’ soles will lose grip and you won’t be able to use them anymore. Maintaining them clean is essential for their longevity as well as for successful climbing sessions.


Climbing shoes are essential for any climber, and keeping them clean helps them last longer and prevents damage from occurring.

One of the best ways to keep your climbing shoes clean and looking their best is by hand washing them. Not only does this simplify cleaning your shoes, but it will also increase their lifespan!

To wash your shoes, fill a basin or sink with warm water and a drop of dish soap. Submerge your shoes completely in the water, swishing them around for several seconds to remove any dirt or debris. Then use an old toothbrush to scrub both inside and outside of the shoes. Let soak for several minutes, then dry them using paper towel or cloth.

Some people also like to spray their shoes with bacteria-killing spray, like Lysol, after every climb. This helps reduce the amount of odor-causing bacteria that grows in your shoes.

Another way to keep your shoes smelling fresh is by air drying them after each climb. This helps them release their smell more naturally, which is an ideal way to prevent unpleasant odours from accumulating in your footwear in the first place!

Additionally, this will reduce the potential for mold and fungus to grow inside your shoes, which can be an unpleasant, unattractive, and hazardous issue to have.

Your shoes’ rubber soles can break down quickly if you don’t keep them clean. This is especially true if you go on frequent outdoor climbs where the soles get exposed to rocks and ground as a result of constant friction.

Overuse can wear away at the adhesive holding your shoes together, so resole them periodically to help them remain in good condition for an extended period.

Climbing shoes are some of the most expensive shoes you’ll own, so it’s essential to keep them as clean as possible. Not only will this extend their lifespan, but also ensure they provide optimal comfort while climbing!


Climbing shoes often stink due to sweaty feet. To keep climbing shoes smelling fresh and clean, make sure you wash them periodically.

Climbing shoes differ in that they don’t have an opening to let air in or out, leaving sweat trapped inside and bacteria to grow. Unfortunately, this leads to unpleasant odors as bacteria feed off of substances found in foot sweat, making climbing shoes smell bad.

The initial step in cleaning your shoes is running them under running water. Use lukewarm water (not cold or hot!) for this step, then rinse again until the water runs clear.

Next, use a brush or soft cloth to thoroughly clean the exterior of the shoe. Be gentle as you rub as this could damage its delicate leather fabric.

Once you’ve cleaned the shoe, rinse it once more with a light soap solution (a small amount of dish detergent will do). This should remove any residues and kill any bacteria that might be lurking.

If you want your shoes really clean, a mild bleach solution can also help remove any stains or odors that you have.

This process will eliminate odors and bacteria, but be mindful that it also weakens the adhesive holding your shoe together. That is why some manufacturers recommend not washing your shoes at all.

Alternatively, you can soak the shoes in warm water for around an hour to loosen any dirt or grime before cleaning them. If unsure how to do this, consult the manufacturer’s website for instructions.

Shoes can also be washed in the washing machine, though leather should not be subjected to this process due to it stretching the leather and causing colors to bleed out.

Finally, never put climbing shoes in a dryer as this will destroy the glue holding them together and may cause the rubber soles to delaminate or melt. For best results, ventilated spaces should be used and then air dry your footwear; stuff them with microfibre cloth or newspaper to expedite this process and ensure shape when dry.


Rock climbing shoes should fit your feet snugly, offering grip and dexterity as you move around on the wall. Unfortunately, no matter how well-made your shoes may be, they’ll get dirty and smelly over time due to sweat and bacteria accumulation inside them.

When this occurs, your climbing shoes begin to emit an unpleasant odor that’s unpleasant for everyone around you. This odor comes from bacteria feeding off sweat and dead skin cells from sweat-soaked shoes; the more time spent in them, the greater their growth and ability to cause unpleasant odors.

That is why it is essential to regularly clean your climbing shoes. Doing this reduces the amount of bacteria trapped inside them and stops them from becoming overly stale.

When cleaning climbing shoes, use only warm water and a gentle detergent. Steer clear of harsh chemicals as these could damage the materials used in making your footwear.

It’s wise to get a soft brush and use it to scrub away any dirt or grime embedded in the rubber of your climbing shoes. After that, immerse them in a bucket filled with water for cleaning.

After cleaning your shoes, store them in a dry location to avoid mold or smells. Keep them away from direct sunlight for best results.

Another thing you can do is regularly spray your shoes with deodorizer or leave them with a dryer sheet when not in use. This will help eliminate any unpleasant odors present and avoid future discomfort for you.

When cleaning climbing shoes, always use a soft brush and bucket of warm water. This will prevent any damage to the shoes and help them last longer.


Unfortunately, climbing shoes tend to get dirty and smelly over time – especially if you do your climbing outdoors. The abrasive rock and dirt make it difficult for climbers to keep their footwear clean, plus bacteria buildup causes unpleasant foot odor!

Good news! There are a few simple methods to keep your climbing shoes clean and smelling nice. One way is wearing socks before you climb; they absorb sweat and eliminate unpleasant odors from your feet.

Another way to combat stink is by washing your shoes immediately after climbing. Not only will this help eliminate odors, but it may also extend the life of your climbing shoes by keeping them less likely to rust and wear out.

A quick and effective shoe wash can be accomplished with just some warm water, some soap, and some scrubbing. This can be done in either a bucket or sink – whatever works best!

Some people prefer dryer sheets for their shoes. Although these can be a convenient option, be sure that they are completely dry before storing them away as moisture can cause the rubber parts of your shoe to shrink or crack.

Finally, adding essential oils to your shoes can help control odors and destroy bacteria responsible for them. Popular essential oils include tea tree, eucalyptus and clove.

If you don’t have access to essential oils, table salt can still help combat odors and bacteria in your shoes. Simply sprinkle some on before going climbing, leaving it overnight to destroy any odour-causing microorganisms.

If you’re searching for a long-lasting solution to odour control, climbing socks may be worth considering. While this might not be an obvious choice among climbers, they can be very beneficial and help keep your shoes fresher for longer.


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