climbing shoes…how to keep them fresh and sticky

21 Feb

I have a problem with shoes, apparently this has made it’s way beyond my street shoes and into my climbing one.  I did an inventory of climbing shoes the other day and have discovered that I have 5 pairs.  Madness.  The staple shoe that I have three pairs of, is the 5.10 Anasazis.  They changed the woman’s design a few years ago and a whack of the old styles went on sale.  Only wee sizes were left (thank goodness I’m a size 5) and I scored two pairs for $35 each at Mountain Equipment Co-op.  Since the new Anasazi version is a whopping $149, I plan to keep my three pairs…..forever.

8-bit aztec graphic on the top? yes please!

I can’t be bothered to use foot powder or spray after every climbing session so I usually do some maintenance when I need them to get resoled.  I rarely wear the rubber out to the rand so resoling is not only cheaper but my shoes last longer….here are my tips to keep those toe crunchers fresh and sticky.

I feel guilty giving my ripe smelly shoes to a resoler so I usually give ’em a wash to avoid embarrassment in the shop.  My shoes are synthetic so I don’t know how this method would fair on leather shoes.

Clean ’em!

1.  Give ’em a scrub!  I use hot water with anti-bacterial hand soap in my shoes and give it a scrub inside and out with a toothbrush

2.  Soak ’em overnight!  Fill each shoe with soapy hot water and leave overnight….you have no idea how much smelliness you’ve embedded in your shoes

3.  The next I day I repeat step 1.  I then squeeze ’em out, jam a towel inside to absorb more moisture and set them over a radiator on a low setting to dry them out.  I never put them in the washer or dryer (although I’ve heard some people do it) in fear that it’ll ruin the shape of the shoes.

count 'em three pairs...what? these lovely ladies are drying on my bathroom's radiator

Resole ’em!

You can get resole kits at MEC and do it yourself but it’s a pain and the kits range from $40-$44.  For the same price or a few bucks more, you can pay a resoler to do it for you!  The price of the resole will depend on how far you’ve worn down the rubber.  If you have reached the rand, you’ll be paying a bit more to repair it than if you just wear out the sole.

Here’s a good graphic to show you the parts of your shoes.

courtesy of Andes Resoling's website

If you’re looking for a resoler in Toronto, Marco is your main man at Andes Resoling.  I have gotten several shoes resoled by him and not only is he fast (the longest was 2 weeks in the high season), he’s extremely convenient and reliable.  You can drop off your shoes for him at the Toronto MEC location or just give him a ring!  (I’ve met him at the Toronto Rock Oasis before to drop off and pick up my shoes from him but I’m not sure if he does this anymore)

In Vancouver, there’s an awesome cobbler on Dunbar and 17th called Gold Star Shoe Rebuilders.  The prices here are awesome, $40-$50/ pair depending on the thickness of rubber you choose.  They carry 5.10, C-4 and Vibram soles in varying thicknesses.  These guys do all kinds of outdoor shoe repairs including hiking boots.

Keep one pair of shoes on reserve while the other ones are getting resoled since it can take up to 2 weeks to get them repaired.  Happy Climbing!


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