That Nasty Smell of Climbing Shoes


Original Post
Rees LaBree · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0

Hi Mountain Project Community,

I've been hitting up the gym this week for the first time in months, and after leaving my climbing shoes in a duffel bag, in my car all day they have a horrible odor coming from them. I recognize that my shoes have never smelled good, but they have never smelled this bad. I have tried to use Lysol Disinfectant spray to no prevail, and was wondering if anyone knew of any ways to kill this odor. I was considering trying to freeze my shoes in the freezer overnight, but was wondering if anyone had some radical smellicide options to try before this.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 136

let them air out outside for a day then stuff them with dryer sheets.

Tim Lau · · Hendersonville, NC · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 0

Nothing in the world smells worse than wet hockey gloves. Walk into any ice rink locker room and your eyes will water from the funk.

Climbing shoes are very similar - soft leather, synthetic material, etc.

What I found to work very well on gloves was to hold them over a pot of boiling water and steam the funk out. You have to kill the bacteria. Use a stick, tongs, whatever to hold them right in the steam for several minutes. Gloves, I would drop right in the boiling water sometimes, but I'd probably avoid that with rubber soled shoes.

Then, be sure to air them out and dry completely.

Faulted Geologist · · Lawrence, KS · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 8

Nothing will ever kill that. A soak in bleach might destroy both odor and shoe. Always biner them to the outside of your bag.

Bruce Hildenbrand · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2003 · Points: 880

Wear socks. It really doesn't make a difference in how hard you can climb.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15
Always air out your shoes after climbing in them. Don't leave them in a bag or a pack.
Eric Kuenstner · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 25

sprinkle some baking soda in them and let them sit overnight. it may seem like an old wives' remedy, but the bicarb. kills some bacteria. be careful not to do it too often since it's also a poor desiccant that can dehydrate leather with repeated use.

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 25

The save technique we use with socks. Wash 'em.

LL2 · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

First off, don't kick around in the moon dust in your flip flops all day. Dirty feet going into your climbing shoes is the sure path to them becoming rank. If you don't shower before a day at the crags, at least wash your feet in the morning. Clean feet are happy feet. Pull your shoes out of your pack after a day climbing. As for the pair you're talking about, throw them away and take my advice with the next pair :)

grubbers · · Mass. · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 0

Always let them air dry after the session and take them off in between climbs in the gym so they don't get fully drenched with sweat in the first place. I've also had some luck using Mirazyme to take care of nasty smelling shoes.

Abdullah Mourad · · Elk Grove, CA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0

After experiencing this with my old climbing shoes, I have been putting balled up newspaper in my new climbing shoes since day 1 and have no issues with smell at all. May be worth a try for you.

Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 90

Have you tried going vegan?

Seth Jones · · New Lenox, IL · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 5
Tim Lau wrote:Nothing in the world smells worse than wet hockey gloves. Walk into any ice rink locker room and your eyes will water from the funk.
This is a fact. My wife never understood why hockey players facewash each other until I let her smell my gloves.
Stephen C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

Dry Pointe inserts help dry the shoes and get rid of some of the stink ( drypointe.com/climbing-shoes/). I always let my shoes air out also. I don't typically leave them stored inside of a zipped/closed bag.

Also, the 5.10 synthetic and Evolv shoes achieve a stink level not possible in a leather or leather/synthetic shoe. I won't buy all synthetic shoes because of the stink (and often times the shitty fit).

Ashort · · Tacoma, WA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 25

Wait....it's nasty? I kind of like it

Seth Jones · · New Lenox, IL · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 5
Ashort wrote:Wait....it's nasty? I kind of like it
Ahh, you have learned to embrace the stink. You are one step closer to enlightenment.
JulianG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 5

First is the smelly shoes, followed by the fungus toenails. It is part of the climbing just embrace it.

You can make the climbing shoe companies rich and couple pairs of shoes and rotate them. Socks does help but only if the shoes are already on the large size.

JulianG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 5
Stephen C wrote: Also, the 5.10 synthetic and Evolv shoes achieve a stink level not possible in a leather or leather/synthetic shoe. I won't buy all synthetic shoes because of the stink (and often times the shitty fit).
I'v noticed that about 5.10 and evolve, Scarpa and La Sportiva are a lot better
eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 136
Seth Jones wrote: Ahh, you have learned to embrace the stink. You are one step closer to enlightenment.
this. my shoes smell better than roses
Arlo F Niederer · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 305

The real answer is socks. You can wear thin ones - they keep your shoes cleaner and reduce the bacteria which makes your shoes smell.

John Bachar, the free soloist of the 80's, wore gym/basketball socks - and free soloed really hard stuff for the era.

Dave Jones · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 12

Wear thin cotton socks! You will actually get purchase of your foot inside your shoes.... and your shoes will not stank.
"You got STINK FOOT!
STINK FOOT, darlin'
Your STINK FOOT puts a hurt on my nose!
STINK FOOT! STINK FOOT! I ain't lyin',
Can you rinse it off, d'you suppose?"
-FZ

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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