Can You Wash Climbing Shoes?



Can You Wash Climbing Shoes?

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Yes, you can wash climbing shoes. However, it is important to do it correctly to avoid damaging the material or structure of the shoes. Improper washing techniques can shorten the lifespan of your climbing shoes, affecting their fit, comfort, and performance.

Synthetic climbing shoes are the most common type of shoe on the market, and they’re typically made from materials like nylon, polyester, and elastane. These materials are durable and resistant to water, which means that they can handle a good wash. However, there are certain dos and don’ts to keep in mind when washing synthetic shoes.

On the other hand, leather climbing shoes require more specialized care and attention, as they’re more sensitive to water and can easily become damaged if not washed correctly.

Understanding the proper techniques for washing your climbing shoes is crucial for maintaining their functionality and extending their lifespan.

Understanding the Materials of Climbing Shoes

Get a feel for the texture and durability of the materials used in those rubbery things that cling onto the rocks.

Climbing shoes are typically made of synthetic or natural leather, which is tough and durable. The rubber soles are the most important part of the shoe because they provide the grip needed to climb.

The upper part of the shoe is usually made of leather or synthetic materials and is designed to be snug to the foot. The snug fit makes it easier to feel the rock and provides support for the foot.

Knowing the materials used in your climbing shoes is important because it can help you understand how to care for them, including washing them when they get dirty or smelly.

Dos and Don’ts of Washing Synthetic Climbing Shoes

Taking care of your synthetic climbing kicks can be tricky, but knowing the dos and don’ts of washing them can go a long way in preserving their performance and longevity.


  • To begin, do remove any excess dirt or debris from your shoes before washing them. This can be done with a soft-bristled brush or a damp cloth.
  • Use a mild detergent and cold water to wash them by hand. Gently scrub the shoes with a soft-bristled brush and rinse them thoroughly.
  • Let them air dry in a cool, shaded area.


  • Don’t put your shoes directly in the washing machine as it can damage the materials and affect their performance.
  • When it comes to washing your synthetic climbing shoes, don’t use harsh detergents or bleach as they can break down the materials and weaken the glue holding the shoes together.
  • Once washed, don’t put the shoes in the dryer or expose them to direct sunlight as this can cause the materials to shrink or deform.

By following these dos and don’ts, you can keep your synthetic climbing shoes clean and in top condition for your next adventure.

Cleaning Leather Climbing Shoes

Maintaining the quality of your leather kicks is essential, so let’s explore the proper cleaning techniques. First and foremost, avoid using any harsh chemicals or detergents. These can damage the leather and cause it to dry out, which can lead to cracks and tears over time. Instead, use a gentle soap or leather cleaner that’s specifically designed for footwear.

When cleaning leather climbing shoes, it’s important to be gentle and avoid scrubbing too hard. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt or debris from the surface of the shoe. Then, dampen a cloth with water and gently wipe down the entire shoe. Be sure to avoid getting the leather too wet, as this can also cause damage.

Finally, allow the shoes to air dry completely before wearing them again. With proper care and maintenance, your leather climbing shoes can last for many years to come.

Specialized Rubber Soles and Proper Washing Methods

If you want to ensure that your climbing kicks perform at their best, it’s essential to understand how to properly care for their specialized rubber soles and avoid damaging them during the washing process. Here are some tips to help you clean your climbing shoes without ruining their rubber soles:

  • Use a mild soap: Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach-based cleaners as they can weaken the rubber and cause it to degrade faster. Instead, opt for a gentle soap that’s suitable for delicate fabrics and materials.
  • Scrub gently: Use a soft-bristled brush to gently clean the rubber soles. Avoid using abrasive materials or excessive force, as this can cause damage to the rubber and shorten its lifespan.
  • Air dry: Instead of using a dryer, let your shoes air dry naturally. Drying them under direct sunlight or using heat can cause the rubber to crack or shrink, which can affect their performance and durability.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your climbing shoes looking and feeling like new for longer. Don’t forget to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for specific cleaning instructions, especially if you’re dealing with a specialized rubber compound.

Tips for Maintaining Clean and Functional Climbing Shoes

To keep those kicks of yours looking and feeling great, it’s important to know how to care for them properly.

First, always make sure to remove any dirt or debris from the shoes after each use. This can be done by using a soft brush or cloth to gently wipe down the shoes. Avoid using harsh detergents or abrasive materials, as these can damage the specialized rubber soles.

Secondly, make sure to store your climbing shoes in a cool, dry place. Avoid leaving them in direct sunlight or in a damp area, as this can cause the shoes to deteriorate faster.

If you do need to clean your shoes, use a mild detergent and warm water. Gently scrub the shoes with a soft brush or cloth, and then rinse thoroughly with clean water. Allow the shoes to air dry completely before wearing them again.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your climbing shoes stay clean, functional, and looking like new for many years to come.


So there you have it, you can wash climbing shoes! Understanding the materials of your shoes is key to properly washing them.

For synthetic shoes, stick to the dos and don’ts outlined above, while leather shoes require a bit more care. And don’t forget about specialized rubber soles, which need to be washed with a gentle touch.

By taking the time to properly clean and maintain your climbing shoes, you’ll not only extend their lifespan, but you’ll also ensure that they perform at their best on the wall.

So go ahead and give your shoes a good wash, and get ready for your next climbing adventure!

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