How To Clean Climbing Shoes?

Cleaning your climbing shoes is essential for keeping them in good condition. Not cleaning them can lead to cracking and premature wear. This step-by-step guide will show you how to wash climbing shoes effectively.

how do you clean climbing shoes

We’ll also provide some tips on extending your shoes’ life. So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, follow these steps and keep your shoes looking and performing their best!

What Is a Climbing Shoe?

what are climbing shoes

You can’t go rock climbing without a good pair of shoes! Even bouldering in sneakers is hard. So let’s start by discussing what makes a climbing shoe so special and why you need one if you want to boulder or scale any climbs successfully.

A Brief History of the Climbing Shoe

The first recorded use of a climbing shoe dates back to the early 20th century when Italian climberofi Cerro wrote about using “stiff-soled shoes” in an ascent of the Petit Dru in the Alps. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that modern day climbers began using purpose-built shoes with rubber soles specifically designed for traction and comfort while ascending. 

climbing history mountain

Nowadays, there are all sorts of different climbing shoes on the market catering to everyone from beginner climbers (like the whole Footweardrobe team) all the way up to experienced professionals. But what exactly makes a climbing shoe so different from a regular ol’ sneaker? Let’s take a look.

What Makes a Climbing Shoe Different? 

Climbing shoes have several features that make them uniquely suited for rock climbing and other types of ascents. For starters, most climbing shoes have a very tight fit in order to minimize dead space inside the shoe and maximize contact with the foot. This tightness can often times make them uncomfortable to wear for extended periods, but it’s crucial for maintaining precision while toeing into tiny footholds. 

In addition to their snug fit, climbing shoes also have sticky rubber soles that provide unparalleled grip and friction. This is important for obvious reasons – you certainly don’t want your feet slipping off small holds while you’re trying to make your way up a wall! The rubbers used in climbing shoe soles are also much softer than those found in regular sneakers, which allows them to conform more easily to irregularities in the rock surface and provides even more grip. 

take good care of your climbing shoes

All of these combined factors make climbing shoes an essential piece of gear for anyone looking to get into rock climbing or other types of ascents. Trust us, you’ll be glad you have a pair when you’re halfway up a cliff face with nothing but small holds to cling onto! 

Conclusion: A good pair of climbing shoes is an essential piece of equipment for anyone looking to get into rock climbing or other types of ascents. They provide a snug fit, unparalleled grip and friction, and are essential for anyone looking to make it to the top safely. So what are you waiting for? Grab a pair of shoes and start your next climb today!

How to Care for Your Climbing Shoes

The best way to care for your climbing shoes is by regularly cleaning them with a damp cloth. You should also avoid exposing them to excessive heat, as this can cause the rubber soles to crack and wear down prematurely. It’s also important to store your climbing shoes in a cool, dry place when they’re not in use.

If you take care of your climbing shoes and use them sensibly, they should last anywhere from six to twelve months. However, if you use them heavily or expose them to extreme conditions, they may only last for a few months. So be sure to take good care of your shoes and they’ll last long enough for you to tackle any climb!

Why It’s Important To Clean Your Climbing Shoes

As any climber knows, having the right gear is essential for a successful climb. And of all the gear a climber uses, none is more important than the shoes. Not only do they provide traction and support, but they also help to protect the feet from sharp edges and abrasions.

keep climbing shoes clean

However, clean climbing shoes can quickly become caked with dirt and mud, making them difficult to use and increasing the risk of injury. That’s why it’s important to clean your shoes regularly. But with all the nooks and crannies, it can be tough to know where to start.

 How To Clean Your Climbing Shoes (Step-By-Step Guide)

As anyone who has climbed knows, your shoes are your most important gear. They keep you connected to the wall and need to be in good condition to perform at their best.

Unfortunately, outdoor climbing shoes can get pretty dirty after a day of climbing. Indoor climbing shoes get smelly, unfortunately. And if they’re not cleaned properly, they can start to degrade more quickly and also lose some of its stability (which is crucial for gripping with your toes). Fortunately, cleaning climbing shoes is relatively easy and only takes a few minutes. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

 Remove The Laces From Your Shoes

Removing the laces from your shoes is the first step in cleaning them. This will allow you to get at the dirt and grime that has built up on the shoe’s surface. Once the laces are removed, you can use a brush or cloth to wipe down the shoes.

Be sure to pay special attention to the areas around the toes and heels, as these are usually the dirtiest parts of the shoe. If your shoes are particularly dirty, you may need a cleaner or soap to remove all the build-ups.

Fill A Bucket Or Sink With Water And Add Some Mild Soap

Rock climbing shoes are an exhilarating sport that challenges your strength and agility. To perform your best, it is important to have well-maintained gear, including your climbing shoes. Here is a step-by-step guide to cleaning your climbing shoes and keeping them in tip-top shape.

Soak Your Shoes For About 30 Minutes

Having a great pair of climbing leather shoes is essential for anyone who loves to scale a good rock face. But as any climber knows, those shoes can quickly become caked with dirt and grime. Luckily, cleaning climbing shoes is relatively simple, as long as you follow a few basic steps.

 Start by soaking your shoes in a bucket or sink full of water for about 30 minutes. This will help loosen any dried-on mud and debris.

bouldering shoes

Use A Soft-Bristled Brush To Scrub Away Any Dirt Or Debris       

Climbing shoes are essential for any climber, but they can be difficult to keep clean. Here is a step-by-step guide on cleaning your climbing shoes and keeping them in good condition.

First, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub away any dirt or debris. Brush the entire shoe surface, including the rubber soles and sides. Next, use a damp cloth to wipe down the shoes. Ensure the cloth is not too wet, as you don’t want to damage the shoes. Finally, allow the shoes to direct sunlight to dry completely before storing them away.

Rinse Your Shoes Thoroughly With Clean Water

Rinse your shoes thoroughly with clean water. This will remove any dirt or odor.

If you still haven’t got rid of all stains, mix a mild detergent soap with some warm water and use this solution to scrub the shoes. Pay careful attention to the areas around the sole and toe, as these are typically the dirtiest parts of the shoe.

Rinse The Soap Off of The Shoes With Clean Water

Once they’re dry, you can brush off any dirt or debris with a soft brush. If your shoes are particularly dirty, you can spot clean them with a mild soap and water solution. Rinse the soap well and allow the shoes to air dry completely before using them again. These simple steps will help keep your climbing or bouldering shoes clean and free from harmful and stinky bacteria.


After a long day of climbing, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time washing synthetic climbing shoes. Luckily, a simple and effective way to clean your shoes will not take up too much of your time. First, remove any debris outside the shoes with a brush. Next, carefully remove the insoles and set them aside.

Then, please bring a small amount of water to boil and pour it into a bowl. Add a few drops of mild dish soap or baking soda to the water and stir to combine. Place the shoes in the bowl and let them soak for 10-15 minutes. After they have soaked, use a brush to scrub away any dirt or mud still on the shoes.

Finally, rinse your clean rock climbing shoes with clean water and allow them to air-dry overnight. With this step-by-step guide, you can easily clean your climbing shoes and get back to enjoying your favorite hobby.

Patricia Merken

Interior design blogger

Neat freak and shoe lover. American expat in Switzerland.
Blogger and mom. Blogs at Footweardrobe.

Frequently Asked Questions About Climbing Shoes

How long should climbing shoes last?

Rock climbing shoes are designed to provide a tight and precise fit, as well as unparalleled grip and friction on the rock surface. They are also made with soft rubber soles that easily conform to irregularities in the rock, providing even more grip. Because of these features, it is important that you take good care of your climbing shoes in order to maximize their lifespan.
If you’re a frequent boulderer, you probably need to buy new climbing shoes every other year. If you a frequent outdoor rock climber, you will probably need one pair of new climbing shoes per year.

Do you wear socks with climbing shoes?

No, you typically do not wear socks with climbing shoes. The tight fit of the shoe is meant to create a close connection between the foot and the rock surface, and wearing socks can prevent this from happening. Additionally, socks can become wet and muddy and can cause the shoes to wear out more quickly.