That climbing shoe smell

Oh god. Climbing shoes can stiiiiiiiiink. The more plastic they are, the worse the smell. Locking sweaty feet in very poorly ventilated shoes for hours makes for some musty footwear.

There's two basic strategies for containing the stink:

  1. Mask the odour
  2. Remove or kill the bacteria

Air after use

This is key to keep the smell down. Arie often forgets and leaves them in the gym bag. That makes the problem a lot worse — because now the bag also reeks. Leaving them out so they can dry already helps a lot.

Nuking them in the sun

Putting your climbing shoes in the sun for a few hours can help kill off some of that stink in our experience.

Spraying inside with alcohol

Common disinfecting tactic for rental shoes: spray some vodka in there. Though cleaning alcohol would probably be cheaper and work better 😜. It helps a little, and keeps the shoes from getting wet, as the alcohol evaporates fast.

Boot bananas

We also use Boot banana’s for the worst offenders. We do recommend you buy them. Lieke has sown our first few, using a lavender filling. They are good, but when the shoes are really nauseating, they just don’t cut it. The commercial ones are a lot better at absorbing moisture and smells than our home-made ones.

Handwashing them

We don’t know if manufacturers recommend this, but we do it anyway for the most desperate cases. The important bit is to not let them dry on a heater or in the sun. That may cause leather parts to harden and crack. It's less of a problem with our synthetic shoes.

All posts

  1. 21 days of yoga

  2. Here's to staying strong

  3. Second COVID lockdown

  4. Another 6 week plan

  5. Footwork is afoot

  6. First time climbing with a trainer

  7. The 5C Pump Challenge

  8. The risk pyramid

  9. Ardennes Multipitch Course

  10. In defense of Black Diamond Circuit approach shoes

  11. Zlagboard Pro 2.0

  12. Mammut Gym Workhorse Classic rope

  13. Updated 6w plan

  14. Lead Climbing Course Done

  15. Beta spraying

  16. Second alpine fitness test

  17. Marking gear

  18. New grade FTW 💪💪💪

  19. That climbing shoe smell

  20. Training without climbing

  21. Problemsolver Triangle

  22. Ardennes ⛰ part deux

  23. Theragun, updated

  24. Lead climbing class

  25. A thought

  26. Petzl Spirit Express Quickdraws

  27. Petzl Connect Adjust

  28. First day back on the ropes

  29. Theragun

  30. Black Diamond Circuit approach shoes

  31. Climbing gyms are reopening!

  32. Ardennes

  33. New 6w training program

  34. Alpine fitness test

  35. A plyo box arrives

  36. The COVID Wall