What makes a good pair of climbing shoes? Well, there are of course many things that add up to a pair of shoes that will last, but foremost among them is their ability to withstand the significant physical strain and wear that climbing exerts upon your feet. Perhaps even more so than running shoes, climbing shoes are subject to the most trying underfoot conditions. Forget a muddy forest path or a stretch of tough gravel, climbing shoes are made to withstand tough craggy ledges and the sharp shards of rock that jut out from cliff faces. Truly, climbing shoes have to be the toughest footwear going.
Accordingly, climbing shoes are built to last and to withstand more than any other type of footwear. Nevertheless, it is wise to remember that – as tough as they are – even the most high-end climbing shoes will eventually break down. And yet, while you will, no-doubt, get years of use out of a good pair of climbing shoes, they are still a serious investment. And if you take to the rock face with any type of regularity, it is wise to avail yourself of a good shoe-care routine that will help your shoes withstand the toughest of terrain for as long as possible.
And it isn’t just the dangers of wear and damage that a good shoe-care routine will protect you from; caring properly for your shoes will also help combat the smell. And seeing as climbing shoes are typically worn for extended periods of continual exertion, that smell is no small matter. You might want to try out something like ShoeFresh, an excellent shoe deodorizer which, with a single spray, can have your climbing shoes smelling fresh for weeks.
Tips for Climbing Shoe Care
No matter how they smell though, you’re going to want to make sure your climbing shoes don’t fall apart prematurely. Here follows then some of the top tips for making them last:
Cleanse the Sole
Climbing shoes aren’t worn to look pretty – and they’re certainly not fashion items. You might wonder then why cleaning the sole of your shoes is so important. The truth is that doing so will not only make your shoes last longer but will give you a better grip too. Mud and chalk can build up on the sole of a climbing shoe and getting them off can be a challenge. A good approach is to make use of a damp cloth and a toothbrush to get the muck out of the many grooves on the sole.
This is something of a controversial point as many climbers feel that wearing socks creates a slippage between the foot and shoe – something that can be a drawback for climbing. Nevertheless, if you go with a thin pair of socks with no seam at the toe, then this problem can be eliminated. The advantage of wearing socks with your climbing shoes is simply that they absorb moisture. Extended contact with moisture can degrade your climbing shoes, so it’s wise to do something about that.
Resole Your Shoes
When your climbing shoes start to show signs of significant wear and tear, a great way to give them a new lease of life is to have them resoled. For one thing, this is much cheaper than buying a new pair. The trick is to do so before any holes begin to develop because, by the time that happens, your shoes will only be good for the trash.
Climbing shoes are built to last for a long time in any case, but by following these tips, they can last for an exceptionally long time.