April 9, 2021

Can You Wash Climbing Shoes

by Jullie

Table of Contents

We have one question for you – can you wash climbing shoes? Have you ever tried to wash your climbing shoes? If you haven’t and you don’t know how to wash climbing shoes, we are here to guide you through the process.

A well-cared pair of climbing shoes is crucial for both rock climbing and gym climbing. Although they only indirectly offer safety, they define if your rock climbing experience was a success or a failure.

There is a wide range of climbing shoes out there, but no one can tell you the right one for you—only you can. And once you’ve landed on your right rock climbing shoes, you should try to do everything that will prolong the shoe’s life. 

There’s not much you can do about the shoe’s wear and tear as it comes with the climbing territory. But there are other important tips that you can follow to ensure that your shoes don’t age prematurely. 

What to Look when buying Climbing Shoes

The cream of the crop in these concerns is how you wash your rock climbing shoes. One of the questions that you might be asking yourself is, can you wash climbing shoes, or can climbing shoes be washed?

As you know, smelly climbing shoes are very common as many climbers undertake their climbing exercise without wearing socks with their climbing shoes. The sweat from the feet will attract some bacteria resulting in an extremely bad odor. 

Constant washing of your climbing shoes is not advised, but when times are desperate, you can turn to water and soap. So, the simple answer to this question, “can you wash climbing shoes?” is simple, yes, you can easily wash your climbing shoes but with great caution.

How to Wash Climbing Shoes

When you feel that things have turned bad and you need to wash climbing shoes, you only have two options—hand wash or machine wash. Always avoid the latter and turn to the former only in dire needs.

Below we have outlined some steps and tips on how to hand wash your climbing shoes. Read on to understand how!

1) Fill Your Basin or Tub with Warm Water

The water should be about 25 to 30% degrees Celsius. The warm temperature is ideal to do away with any form of dust and other forms of debris. Avoid hot water as it can easily damage your rubber sole, and cold water won’t be effective. 

How much do climbing shoes cost

2) Add Some Detergent

Mild detergent is essential in removing sticky dirt and sweat. If you use water without any detergent, it will be hard to reach the detergents, which might be hiding in the fine cracks and folds.

Avoid strong or concentrated detergents as they can easily damage your shoe liners and sole. Also, strong detergents can easily make your shoe tear up or even damage it.

3) Use a Brush to Dust off Your Shoe

Do this before submerging your shoe into the water. Brush the dust gently. You can also blow the dust with your mouth as you brush it off.

Remove the little rocks from the shoes by flipping them upside down and padding them.

Lightly toss the pair of shoes upside down and pad them gently to get rid of any stones, chalks, or rocks on the bottom side.

4) Scrub Your Shoe Gently

Now you can wet and wash your rock climbing shoes by scrubbing them outside with a small brush. Ensure that you wash the upper parts, the sole, and the tongue of your shoe. Don’t press the brush too hard, be gentle.

Remember, your main goal isn’t to damage your climbing shoes but to get it clean. The question that might be lingering in your mind now is, “Can climbing shoes be washed on the inside?” Yes, this is the subsequent step.

How climbing shoes should fit

5) Gently Clean the Inner Part

Using a small brush, gently scrub the inner part of your shoe. Ensure that you have thoroughly cleaned your brush off the outer part’s dirt before cleaning the inner part. Dip-rinse the shoe in warm soapy water multiple times to remove all the loosened dirt particles.

6) Now, Rinse It with Lukewarm Water

Drain the tub or pour the soapy water, clean, and rinse your basin/tub. Then refill it with lukewarm fresh water.

Dunk your climbing shoes into the fresh water and move them around. Turn them around until you make sure that the freshwater has entered all the holes to eliminate any soap leftovers.

7) Dry the Shoes Completely

Shake your climbing shoes to get rid of any water. You can use a clean duster or towel to wipe the shoe. Then place it in a warm room with a light breeze.

To accelerate drying, you can stuff them with clean old newspapers or towels. Don’t place the shoes in direct sunlight as it can easily damage them. Voila! Your climbing shoes are clean!

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About the author 


Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

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