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:
- Mask the odour
- 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.
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.
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.