How Can I Make My Climbing Shoes Last Longer and Smell Fresher?

How can I make my climbing shoes last longer and smell fresher? —Anonymous

Don’t you hate it when, after sweating in your lined rock shoes, they end up stiff and crinkled? Or when your slippers still feel slimy a few days later? How about when your friends can smell you before they see you? Thankfully, these issues are easy to avoid. It’s all about properly drying and storing your rock shoes, after you take them off after the last pitch or problem of the day. When you're finished climbing, stuff your shoes with a small chamois—any cheap cloth will do, or even newspaper—to fill their volume. This helps wick moisture from the shoe and preserves its shape when  crammed into a pack or gym bag. Once home (whether a house, car, or tent), allow your rock shoes to completely dry out. Remove them from your pack or gym bag as soon as possible, then loosen the laces or hook-and-loop closures and take out the chamois to let them breathe in a cool, dry environment. If shoes must be stored in your car (not recommended) make sure they’re in the coolest part of the vehicle, like a shaded trunk or an insulated cooler. This will help keep all the rubber, uppers, and liners from becoming crusty or brittle. —Chris Weidner

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