Climbing shoe care
If you have the proper fit for your foot, not only will your feet be more comfortable, but your shoes will perform better. Taking into consideration these tips will improve performance and extend the lifetime of your shoes.
If the shoes are purchased as a very tight fit, then it takes some time until they reach their optimum climbing performance. The leather has to stretch to fit your foot and become softer. Avoid using new shoes straight away for difficult climbs or long days.
Also the soles need a few days to wear in to reach their optimum grippiness. A natural sign of use is the «dandruff» of the soles – sandpaper can be used to even out rough and uneven patches. Bits of rubber hanging off or a rubber seam on the edge of the sole can be cut or ground off. When climbing the soles should be absolutely clean and dry.
Give your shoes the same good storage conditions as a good wine: cool, dry, dust-free, dark. Direct sunlight and heat (coffee room!) damage the material. Some professionals swear by using a shoe tree, in order to avoid the leather shrinking when not used for a while.
Luke warm water and a cloth or a medium hard brush are the right tools - no washing machines. Dirty soles can be made grippy again with some alcohol on a rag. Soft brushing with a wire brush from the toes to the heel can help the roughness. If your shoes get wet due to washing or rain, they should be slowly dried before storing. Direct heat from ovens or fire is too rough.