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Taking Care of Rock Shoes

3 Tips for Rock Shoe Care

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Taking Care of Rock Shoes
Mark Doliner/flickr/CC BY 2.0

To ensure that your rock shoes last, follow these three tips every time you go climbing and your shoes will have a long and happy life on the rocks.

Dry Your Shoes After Use

After every climbing session, take your climbing shoes out of your pack and thoroughly air dry them. This keeps bacteria from creating thriving colonies, avoids mildew, and helps keep the rank smell of sweaty feet to a minimum. It’s also a good idea to use an odor-eating shoe powder every few weeks. Just buy something at the local drugstore, even baby powder, and dust the inside of the shoe. You can also use deodorizing sprays.

Don’t Store Shoes in Sunlight

Don’t store your shoes in hot places like the trunk of a car or in direct sunlight. The heat weakens the glues that bind the rubber sole and rand to the upper, while sunlight dries and damages the shoe’s upper, particularly if it’s leather. It’s best to store your shoes and the rest of your climbing equipment in a cool dry place. I use a nylon shoe bag, which came with my La Sportiva Mythos, to store my shoes in.

Clean Your Soles

Clean the soles with soapy water if they’re dirty. Bits of sand and grit grind into the sole if you wear your shoes on a descent or if you’re walking around at the base of a cliff. To clean them, take a wet rag and scrub the sole, then wipe dry. If grit is impacted in the sole, take a small wire brush or coarse sandpaper and brush the sole. It’s best to start from the shoe’s toe and work back to the heel. Don’t brush too vigorously or you’ll remove too much rubber. You can also wash the entire shoe from time to time. Put them in soapy water, wash by hand, and air dry.

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