Footwear : How to Keep Your Climbing Shoes in Ideal Condition
Footwear… There’s nothing like a fresh pair of climbing shoes. Climbing shoes are precious to each and every climber. They’re expensive and a literal pain to break in. It’s tough to say goodbye to a blown-out pair that’s so perfectly molded to our feet. So how do we prolong the life of our greatest performance enhancing tool ? – Instead of buying a new pair.
Prolong the life of your footwear begins with the very first time you step onto the wall. Use your feet as if they were precision surgical tools. Each misplaced foot that has to slide into position is rounding your sharp new edge. For this reason, La Sportiva’s No Edge technology, in the Genius and Futura shoes, is a great option for gym climbers as no edge means you don’t have an edge to wear out.
Regardless of the shoe you choose, using your feet accurately is the number one action you can take to prolong the life of your shoes. Set your feet gently, engaging your core to slowly lower your foot to a hold, rather than letting gravity pull your foot towards the hold. When you take the time to place your feet slowly and mindfully, they won’t make a sound. While quiet feet require increased effort at the outset, precise foot placements will feel second nature.
Footwear : Do you walk around the gym in your shoes ?
Next, consider how often and where you wear your shoes when you aren’t on the wall. Do you take them off immediately when you lower to the ground or hop off a boulder? Great! Do you walk around the gym in your shoes to look for routes? How about to the bathroom or the grocery store? These are no gos. Footwear is important.
When you wear your shoes around the gym, your sticky rubber picks up all the chalk dust and grime from the gym floor. The coarse gym carpet can also buff your shoes over time, wearing that fine friction texture into a glossy sheen. And how about those folks who tromp around the gym with their heels out of their shoes? Are you guilty of this one ? Though it’s a hard no!
This nasty habit deforms the shape of your shoe’s heel and stretches the sides of your shoes into a “baggy” fit. The same applies when climbing outside. Don’t walk around the base of the crag or belay in your climbing shoes, it’s not worth the wear and tear they will rapidly accumulate. Bottom line, when you’re not on the wall, your shoes shouldn’t be on your feet.