5 Ways To Make Your Climbing Shoes Last Longer
Climbing shoes are one of the single biggest investments you will make as a climber and the odds are that if you're climbing regularly, you'll go through at least one pair a year! However, if you don't look after your shoes properly, you could well be replacing them far more often than is necessary.
With that in mind here are five simple tips to help you get a little more mileage out of your shoes.
1. Get the right shoes for the Job
This might seem like an obvious point, but it's amazing how many people overlook it (and how quickly they go through their shoes as a result). Don’t get yourself some super-tight, downturned, pointy things if you plan on climbing multi-pitch trad routes all day. Apart from being exceptionally uncomfortable, your pointy shoes won’t stay pointy for long if you're constantly standing flat footed on big ledges. Similarly, if you buy a shoe that is too small for you, you may find they wear out faster, especially the rubber around the toe.
If you're unsure about what shoes would best suit your climbing or how tight you should be sizing, you can get expert advice from one of our Gear Geeks in the EpicTV Shop.
2. Keep them clean
If all that fancy rubber is caked in dirt then it does no good for the rock, the longevity of the rubber itself or (most importantly) your climbing. Sometimes it’s impossible to keep your soles completely dirt free, but you should certainly try to give them a quick scrub before you set off on a route. There are plenty of ways to do this and many people carry beer towels or bits of carpet to the crag to help them clean their shoes before leaving the ground.
As far as I'm concerned though, the best way to clean dirt off your shoes while at the crag is to spit on them and rub in the saliva with the palm of your hand. It sounds pretty grim but I promise you it works!
3. Those boots ain’t made for walking
So don’t be walking around in them! The natural motion of walking will stretch your climbing shoes in ways they weren’t designed to stretch rendering them useless in double fast time. This is especially important to consider if your climbing shoes have an asymmetric shape.
As well as taking your shoes off between climbs outside, try to take them off more often when you're training indoors too. You don't need them on for campus board training after all! If you're multi-pitching, rap off rather than walking down or carry approach shoes with you for the walk off.
4. Let them breathe
Cultivating pungent climbing shoe aromas is a fine art, but it won’t do your shoes any favours. Your climbing shoes would greatly appreciate being given some air after climbing sessions so try not to be lazy and leave them in your bag. After all, they have been hugging your smelly feet for hours, surely it’s the least you can do?
Permanently damp climbing shoes can actually start to decay so try leaving them somewhere cool and dry. Be careful not to leave them out in the sun though as the heat can cause the rubber to warp.