How to Condition Leather Climbing Shoes

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Every climber has a pair of leather shoes because they’re durable, comfortable, and last for years without requiring much maintenance. However, you might not know that there are many ways to properly condition these shoes for them to retain their durability and comfort.

Why Condition Your Leather Climbing Shoes

Conditioning your climbing shoes is essential for longevity and improved performance. Here are some reasons why:

  • Leather shoes are susceptible to dryness, peeling, and cracking. Conditioning them helps protect them from these issues.
  • Conditioning also nourishes the leather, which in turn enhances its elasticity and resilience. This makes your shoes more comfortable to wear and prevents them from stretching out over time.
  • Conditioning also helps keep oils in the leather, which improves their grip and extends their lifespan.

How to Condition Your Leather Climbing Shoes

There are a few things that you can do to condition your leather climbing shoes. You will need some water, leather conditioner, a soft cloth, and a brush. Start by soaking the leather in water for about an hour. After the hour is up, mix the leather conditioner with enough water to make a slurry. Apply the slurry to the cloth and rub it all over the shoe. Be sure to work it into the creases and seams. Leave the shoes to dry for about 24 hours. Finally, brush off any excess conditioner.

Disadvantages of Not Conditioning Your Climbing Shoes

Conditioning leather climbing shoes can prevent them from wearing out prematurely and make them last longer. Climbing shoes are typically made of a composite material, such as leather, with a thin layer of rubber on the bottom. The composite material is thin and prone to wear and tear. If not conditioned, the leather will break down over time, creating holes in the shoe that can cause discomfort when walking or climbing.

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There are a few ways to condition your climbing shoes. You can use a conditioning cream or spray, soak the shoes in a water and oil mixture, or put them in the oven at a low temperature for an hour or two. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks. Conditioning creams and sprays are easy to use but may not be effective if the shoes are dirty. Soaking the shoes in water and oil mixture can be effective but requires time and effort. Putting the shoes in the oven may be time-consuming but it is an effective method for cleaning the shoes and conditioning them at the same time.

Tips for Successful Conditioning

Conditioning leather climbing shoes is an important part of keeping them in good condition. Follow these tips to ensure your shoes stay in good shape:

-Warm the shoes before conditioning. Allow them to warm up in your hands for a few minutes before applying the conditioning treatment. This will help soften the leather and make it easier to work with.

-Apply a thin layer of conditioner to the shoe’s surface. Work the conditioner into the leather with your fingers, then use a brush or cloth to buff it into the surface. Make sure to apply enough pressure so that the conditioner gets deep into the pores of the leather.

-Let the shoes sit for a few minutes so that the conditioner can work its magic. Then, rinse them off with cold water and let them dry completely before wearing them again.

-For stubborn spots, you can use a leather stripper to remove built-up layers of conditioner. Be sure to wear gloves and avoid contact with your eyes and skin.

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