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How can I keep my shoes from smelling?


Prevention is better than the cure. Here are the top five steps you can take to keep your boots from smelling like a diaper full of Mountain House.

  1. When you get home from climbing, let your shoes breathe. Don't keep them trapped in a bag, otherwise your sweat can't dissipate into the air.

  2. Keep your shoes clean by wiping them down with a damp paper towel, especially if you've been climbing outside.

  3. Keep your feet clean!

  4. Spray Lysol or Febreeze into your shoe after climbing. The gyms do this very thing, and for a good reason.

  5. Insert a dryer sheet or activated charcoal inserts into the toebox.

If smelly bacteria has already fortified its position in your shoe, you can try a few things.

First try misting them with some white vinegar and letting them dry. If that doesn't do the trick, upgrade to a dilution of rubbing alcohol.

A last resort option is to wash your shoes with laundry soap, but this may have the effect of shrinking the upper and changing the fit. Avoid, if possible.

Options that do not work include any sort of "natural" spray, commonly sold with eucalyptus, mint, tea tree oil, etc. These are nothing more than perfumes. Talc powder and baking soda also do not work well and actually tend to slime up the situation, reducing friction inside your shoe and reducing your performance as well.


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