The do’s and don’ts of looking after your climbing shoes

The do’s and don’ts of looking after your climbing shoes

Climbing shoes are THE most important piece of kit you’ll ever own for climbing and bouldering, and we want to tell you how exactly you can keep them in tip top condition. In this guide you’ll learn how to care for your climbing shoes, what to do, and what to avoid...

Caring for your shoes

It’s an inescapable truth that your climbing shoes will eventually develop a peculiar odour from the months of accumulated sweat, skin, dirt, and who knows what else! Other than buying a new pair of shoes every time they begin to whiff, what can you do to stop them selling and stretch their lifespan for as long as possible?

Well, here are some essential DO’s when caring for your shoes


  1. Give your shoes (and your feet) a rest between climbs - taking your shoes off between climbs will give them and your feet a chance to dry 
  2. After a session of climbing, use a damp cloth to wipe out the insole and shoe lining - let your shoes air dry, but avoid leaving them in direct sunlight, which can damage your shoes.
  3. Give the shoe uppers a regular clean with rubbing alcohol diluted with water (using a toothbrush will help clean those persistent areas) - avoid soaking the uppers as this could eventually cause the material to stiffen. 
  4. Use anti-fungal foot spray on your shoes to kill any germs that may accumulate
  5. Restore sole stickiness by wiping down the soles with rubbing alcohol 
  6. Get your shoes out of your bag as soon as you get home - this will stop mildew building up and minimise odour.
  7. Use a ‘shoe banana’ or odour stick to reduce shoe odour - check out our odour stick here
  8. An obvious one, clean the soles of your feet before putting your climbing shoes on! 
Here's a handy video of some more tips on how to clean your climbing shoes...

And now for some don'ts….


  1. Do not, ever, wash your leather climbing shoes in the washing machine!
  2. Leave your shoes in a bag and forget about them - the more time without air exposure, the more chance of developing a smell 
  3. When climbing outside or even at a climbing centre, try not to walk around in your shoes when you’re not climbing. In fact when outside climbing, it pays to get a small square of carpet to step onto before getting on to the rock - dirt on your shoes is very bad for stickiness!
  4. And finally, never leave your climbing shoes somewhere near or in intense heat, such as a hot car- heat can deform the all important rubber of your shoe
So there you have it, the do’s and don'ts of caring for your climbing shoes. Follow these tips and your shoes should stay in tip-top condition, odour free. However, if you’ve been a bit neglectful or simply out-worn your current shoes, check out our range of climbing shoes.

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