Step-by-Step Guide to Machine Washing and Cleaning Rock Climbing and Bouldering Shoes

Only use this method on synthetic climbing or bouldering shoes. If you try to machine wash leather shoes, they will be destroyed!

Step 1: Brush off dust before shoes get wet

Before getting your shoes wet, use a small brush to gently remove dust from the surface. This will prevent chalk and dust particles from getting into the shoes and turning into mud or paste. You can blow air over the shoes with your lips to remove any remaining dust particles.

Step 2: Turn shoes upside down and pat them to remove debris and small rocks

Turn your shoes upside down and pat the toe box lightly to remove any little bits of chalk, rocks, or stones that may have gotten inside. This will help to prevent damage to your washing machine.

Step 3: Set your washing machine to a gentle washing cycle

If your washing machine has a program for synthetics or delicates, use this program. Avoid using anything above 1000 rpm as synthetic climbing shoes can handle a gentle wash. The best temperature for washing is between 30-40°C (85 to 100°F).

Step 4: Add some mild washing detergent. Don’t use bleach

Choose a mild detergent suitable for synthetic materials. Avoid using bleach or anything too strong. Leather shoes should never be machine washed as it can ruin them. Set your washing machine to a synthetic or delicate cycle if possible.

Step 5: Rinse your rock climbing or bouldering shoes with lukewarm fresh water

fter the washing machine has finished, rinse the shoes with cold water to ensure any remaining detergent is removed. Sometimes the washing machine can leave behind residues.

Step 6: Completely dry the shoes – no hot dryer

Do not use a hot dryer to dry your climbing shoes as it can damage the soles and rubber. Remove any excess water by shaking the shoes and using a clean towel to absorb moisture. Open the laces and velcro as much as possible and place the shoes in a warm room with a light breeze. Stuff the shoes with newspaper or clean paper towel to speed up the drying process, but avoid direct sunlight as UV rays can damage the material. In winter, place the shoes near a radiator but not directly on top of it. Allow the shoes to dry completely before wearing them again.