A lot of effort goes into finding the right shoes and molding them to fit your feet! This is why we want to help you make your climbing shoes last for as long as possible. Discover all the advice from Matthieu, our engineer, and Louison, a team SIMOND athlete. Smells, cleaning, storage, transport… You'll find out all you need to know to take care of your shoes!
Extend the Lifespan of Your Climbing Shoes in Three Steps!
Air the Shoes as Much as Possible
The first thing to do to reduce the development of unpleasant odors is to air the shoes as much as possible. For example, you can attach them to your backpack using a carabiner if coming home by bike! But this isn't recommended if you're taking the train or underground. You can also stuff newspaper into the shoes to dry them out and help maintain their shape.
You can also try baking soda to kill the bacteria that cause the unpleasant smells. You'll first need to thoroughly dry your shoes. Then put two teaspoons of powdered baking soda into them. Next, shake your shoes to spread the it around inside. Leave it to work at least overnight. Make sure you thoroughly remove the the baking soda (e.g. with a vacuum cleaner) before using your shoes again. Otherwise, it will combine with sweat to form a kind of paste, which isn't very nice for your feet!
Deodorant sprays are a simpler option, but just as effective, and very practical when you want a quick solution. Spray deodorant into your shoes after every climbing session will do the trick! However, you'll still need to air and dry them to ensure that the product works optimally!
Do you really want to avoid bad smells in your shoes? Climbing socks can prove useful. They don't enjoy unanimous support amongst climbers, but they are designed to go unnoticed, and are more hygienic over the long term.
Carry and Store Your Shoes Correctly
Maintaining their arched shape is important if you want to perform at your best! By following these tips, you'll be able to maintain their shape for longer! First of all, make sure to always place them on top of your bag. If they're at the bottom, the shoes risk being crushed by your other belongings. This damages their heels and arched shape. The golden rule when storing your shoes is to close the velcro straps after you've dried them. This prevents dust, twigs and grains of sand from getting into your shoes when they're not being used. And of course, if you're not planning to use your shoes for some time, you'll need to store them in a dry, temperate place (avoid leaving them exposed to the sun in your trunk, otherwise the heat risks damaging the glue on the sole).
Make Sure You Change Shoes Between Boulders or Routes
There are those who like belaying at the foot of a route with their feet half in, half out the shoe! OK, it might be practical but doing so really deforms the heels and arched shape, and it's not great in terms of safety. If you'll be belaying, we recommend taking some clog-style shoes or plastic sandals that are comfortable and provide a secure fit. They are generally very lightweight and so very easy to carry. However, Louison stresses that flip-flops must absolutely be avoided: "Flip-flops won't stay on your feet … imagine something happening to your climbing buddy – you'll be flung against the wall."
And What About Cleaning Them?
The golden rule for cleaning climbing shoes is to never machine-wash them. Whether made of leather or synthetic microfiber, a washing machine risks shrinking them, distorting their arched shape, and damaging reinforced parts.
Did you walk through a muddy puddle? Wait for them to dry then brush with a hard-bristled brush to remove the mud.
If you want to clean the upper part of the shoe, use warm soapy water and a small brush and brush the parts of the shoe you want to clean. When clean, allow them to dry in the open air out of the sun. Avoid drying near a heat source.
Last but not least, here's a final tip: remember to regularly check your shoes, and get them resoled if needed! They will last a lot longer. This is a cost-saving, environmentally friendly and comfortable solution (avoids the foot pain when new shoes are molding to fit you).