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How To Keep Climbing Shoes From Smelling

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How To Keep Climbing Shoes From Smelling

If you’ve just got your first pair of climbing shoes – for the love of Ondra please read this before you experience the existential horror that is climbing shoe stank.

Whether it’s you or a friend, everyone has a smelly shoe story. It’s like a tequila story but without the memory loss.

It starts with a long day of climbing, shoving the shoes into a bag, forgetting said bag for the week, and finally opening the bag to retrieve the – now lethal – pair of climbing shoes. The experience is unforgettable.

Why Do Climbing Shoes Smell So Bad?

Climbing is a strenuous, sweaty activity – hence the shirtless stereotypes. Our bodies are covered in natural bacteria that eat sweat and dead skin cells, the acids produced in the breakdown cause the smell.

The same armpit funk is present all over our body, but especially in areas that sweat more or are covered up – i.e. your feet. When you climb, you sweat – and this gets trapped in your shoes.

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