Let’s face it, it’s inevitable that your climbing shoes are going to need cleaning at some point.
Climbers usually delay for as long as possible. They try to avoid cleaning their climbing shoes simply because they’re afraid of ruining them.
…But they shouldn’t.
You see, cleaning your shoes will actually make them perform better, because all that dirt and grime acts like the opposite of chalk.
Even indoor climbers, who won’t necessarily get their shoes dirty, will still see some improvements in grip. Besides, eliminating that terrible “well-used climbing shoes” odor is easily worth it alone.
Anyway, there’s two really easy ways to clean your climbing shoes. One method is excellent for eliminating odor, and the other is for actually cleaning your shoes.
So, let’s take a look at them. First of all:
This is How to Eliminate the Odor of Stinky Climbing Shoes
Fill them with coffee beans, and leave them for two days.
I’m not joking. That’s actually it.
Coffee beans are amazing for absorbing odors. It’s not so much that the fresh smell of coffee makes your climbing shoes smell nicer, it’s that they actually do absorb and eliminate the bad odors.
Just don’t then make coffee with the beans you used. Ew…
When to Do This
This handy little trick is perfect for automatically removing the smell from your climbing shoes after you’re back from a climbing session.
Once you get home, fill them with coffee beans, and a few days later when you head out to climb again, pour the coffee beans away into your compost bin. They’re actually really good for compost. They add nitrogen if you’ve let them have at least 100 days or so to break down.
Another way to use this method without being wasteful is to save up your used coffee grounds and let them dry out. Then you can use those spent coffee grounds to deodorize your climbing shoes. Just make sure they’re completely dry first. You don’t want to actually brew a coffee in your shoes.
Okay, now onto how to actually clean your climbing shoes.
A Super Easy Method to Clean Your Climbing Shoes
Don’t use hot water, but you can use slightly warm water to speed things up a bit. I’m talking the “bread-making” kind of warm here. The kind of temperature you use when making bread dough so that you don’t kill the yeast. Gently warm.
If you brush your climbing shoes under running water, you’ll easily get them clean with a bit of gentle scrubbing.
If you need a shoe brush, then I really recommend this one. Most shoe brushes have an annoyingly narrow area where the bristles actually come into contact with the shoe, probably because they’re trying to get away with selling a brush that has less bristles.
Not this one.
This is the kind of quality brush you might have seen or imagined your grandfather using. And what’s more, is that it’s pretty cheap too. It’s a worthy investment for keeping your climbing shoes happy and grippy.