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How to Wash Climbing Shoes

how to wash climbing shoes

We all know the importance of having the right shoes in every climbing activity. Whatever type of climbing you are doing, climbing shoes can indirectly contribute to your safety during the climb. The climbing shoes can also have a direct impact on your performance that will let you succeed or fail during the climb. However, as time goes by, the climbing shoes you own can get dirty and produces some foul odor. This situation is actually normal but washing your climbing shoes is the best way to eliminate the foul odor and the dirt.

But how to was climbing shoes? Some brands differ in their positions when it comes to washing climbing shoes. Some brands claim that it is not right to was climbing shoes at all while others claim that it is normal for the shoes to be wash and clean. With the varying opinion, this article will show that it is normal to wash climbing shoes and there are specific ways to do it.

The Importance of Washing Climbing Shoes

Did you know that some brands differ in their opinion in allowing to wash climbing shoes? For example, the brand Evolv does not recommend to was climbing shoes at all. They claimed that washing climbing shoes will help in the faster breakdown of the shoes and the glue to peel quickly. They also claimed that washing can also stretch leather shoes and has a negative effect on its colors.

Meanwhile, the Scarpa brand said not to be afraid of washing climbing shoes because it will help prolong the lifespan of the shoe. The salt and other chemicals coming from the climber’s sweat can reduce the elasticity and strength of the fabric. This means it is essential to wash your climbing shoes from time to time. As for me, I have done washing my climbing shoes for a number of occasions and somehow washing can help in so many ways. Please find below some reasons why it is essential to wash your climbing shoes:

It will help in preserving the rubber’s stickiness

As a climber, the grip is important for you to cover longer distances in climbing. However, the accumulation of dirt in the sole of the climbing shoes can deteriorate the quality of the grip of the climbing use. However, one way to remove the dirt is to wash your shoes if needed.

It will help in preventing odors

It is normal for a climbing shoe to stink. With the way it is designed and the way it is used, a climbing shoe will eventually produce a foul odor in the long run. Climbing shoes are designed to have poor ventilation while it is also made to be used barefoot. Meaning, the sweat of a climber can accumulate in the interior which can produce bacteria the causes the shoes to have a foul odor.

Again, one way to control the bacteria is to wash the climbing shoes. Doing this action will help eliminate all the bacteria inside and the foul odor it produces. Of course, there are also other things that you can do to prevent the smell, such as air-drying your shoes every after usage or using baking soda to kill all the bacteria inside.

It helps promote longevity of the climbing shoes

The lifespan of every climbing shoe will all depend on how we take care of them. And washing them when it is needed can help to prolong their lifespan. Removing the bacteria and preserving the shoes’ grip can also help make the climbing shoes last longer than expected.

How to Wash Climbing Shoes?

the importance of washing climbing shoes

When you can see dirt accumulation in your shoes or the foul smell can never be tolerable, I suggest washing your climbing shoes immediately. There are two potions to wash your shoe: do a handwash or a machine wash. But my preference is always doing hand washing to your shoes because it gives the user several upsides when cleaning the shoes.

For one, hand washing the shoes will give the user complete control of what he will do to the shoes. He can be very gentle so as not to damage the shoes physically and figuratively. Also, when washing the shoes, water plays an essential role in keeping them clean. Avoid using hot or boiling water because it can bring some adverse effects to the shoes.

You can use lukewarm water while using a gentle brush to reach difficult parts of the shoes. Please continue to gently brush the shoes until such time that the water becomes clear and all the possible dirt in the shoes is removed. After washing, let them air dry, or you can use a microfiber cloth to help them dry faster.

However, I will not recommend machine wash your climbing shoes. For one, you have no control over the washing process, and it might damage the physical structure of the shoes. Although some synthetic shoes have the possibility of being machine washed, it is still not highly recommended.

Washing Dirty Soles

A dirty sole can be the cause of a slippery foothold when doing climbing activities. The accumulation of dirt can also significantly reduce the grip of the shoes if not taking care of. In connection with this situation, washing the dirty sole can go a long way in preventing slippery foothold and maintaining the effectiveness of the grip. Again, washing the sole means using some watch and gently scrubbing it to remove the dirt. Let them air dry after.


Learning how to wash climbing shoes can bring a lot of upside to your precious climbing gear. Cleaning the shoes can be a great way to maintain their effectiveness in terms of their grip and foothold. Also, washing your climbing shoes also helps eliminate the foul odor that usually comes with the frequent usage of the shoes as it can remove the bacteria living inside. Lastly, the washing process can also help prolong the lifespan of the shoes and help prevent the effects of wear and tear.

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