How To Wash Scarpa Climbing Shoes?
A girl putting on her climbing shoes.

While summer has its many charms, scorching hot temperatures are not one of its loveliest features. If you like to be active and go climbing in the summer, you may have already experienced your climbing shoes smelling kind of funky after a long, hot, summer session.

Some climbing shoe manufacturers don’t recommend washing your shoes. On the other hand, Scarpa encourages it. So, how to wash Scarpa climbing shoes?

It’s perfectly fine to wash your Scarpa climbing shoes. You can gently wash them using a light detergent and lukewarm water. Use a rag or soft bristle brush. Always rinse them thoroughly and let them air dry in the shade. Doing this every now and then will do your Scarpa climbing shoes a world of good.

Stick around and we’ll give you more tips on how to care for your climbing shoes the right way. Make sure to also check out our blog for useful tips on how to break in your rock climbing shoes.

Table of Contents

How to clean Scarpa climbing shoes?

When it comes to cleaning climbing shoes, machine washing is rarely recommended. To be on the safe side, rather opt for hand washing. Remember that exposure to heat is an arch-enemy of your Scarpa climbing shoes. That being said, only wash them in lukewarm water. Under no circumstances should you leave them to dry in direct sunlight.

Follow the next three simple steps to clean your Scarpa climbing shoes.

Step #1 Gather your cleaning equipment

Climbing shoes absorb a lot of sweat, which can reduce the elasticity, as well as strength of the fabrics. To wash your Scarpa climbing shoes you will need a few pieces of cleaning equipment:

  • A soft brush or an old toothbrush
  • A rag or cloth to rub more delicate parts of your climbing shoes
  • A light detergent
  • Room-temperature water

For more info on how to clean quickdraws and other climbing gear, check out our blog.

Step #2 Start cleaning

Once you’ve gathered all your cleaning supplies, start with the cleaning process. You can clean your Scarpa climbing shoes in a shower or sink. Make sure that you do it using lukewarm water, as hot or boiling water can damage your shoes. Find more tips on how to clean rock climbing shoes without ruining them in our blog.

Adding a light detergent is optional, depending on how dirty your shoes are. Rinse your shoes with copious amounts of water to get rid of any remaining soap. We don’t ever recommend using rubbing alcohol on your Scarpa climbing shoes. It can cause the glue that holds your shoe together to dissolve.

Step #3 Drying

Once your Scarpa cleaning shoes are squeaky clean, you can give them a quick wipe-down with a dry towel or microfiber cloth. Stick a cloth inside your shoes and press them gently. The cloth will absorb a lot of water from your shoes and help the shoes dry quicker.

When your shoes are no longer soaking wet, you can stuff them with paper or clean microfiber cloth. This will help them dry quicker and retain their natural shape. Put them somewhere warm to air dry. Never dry your Scarpa climbing shoes in direct sunlight or where it’s too hot.

How do you take care of climbing shoes?

Properly cleaning your climbing shoes is just a small portion of your climbing shoes’ overall care. Here we present you with some tips that can help keep your shoes in immaculate condition for longer. Check out our blog to find out how many pairs of climbing shoes you need.

Clean your feet and keep them dry

All the cleaning of your climbing shoes is in vain if you put dirty, sweaty feet in them. Not only do dirty feet contribute to an unpleasant odor of your shoes, but they also negatively affect the surface grip inside your shoes. Sweat increases the unwanted movement of the feet inside your shoes.

If your feet get extra sweaty, you can bring a rag or towel to wipe them up. Consider purchasing boot bananas that you can place inside your footwear when not in use. These shoe deodorizers neutralize odors and absorb moisture.

Some people even apply a bit of chalk to their feet, as chalk has the same effect on your feet as it does on your hands. You can learn if climbing chalk is different from regular chalk in our blog.

Never leave your rock climbing shoes in the car

The temperature in your car can increase to more than 50 degrees in a matter of minutes when in direct sunlight. Leaving your rock climbing shoes inside your car in such heat is a recipe for a disaster. Rock climbing shoes are composed of heat-activated glue, among other things. If you leave them in your car in the summer, heat will reactivate the glue, which will basically cause your shoes to fall apart.

Even after a long day of climbing, don’t yield to the temptation to leave your rock shoes in your car and sort them out in the morning. Morning can easily turn into the afternoon. By the time you remember to take your shoes out of your car, the heat will have already loosened everything up. If that happens, you can kiss your beloved climbing kicks goodbye.

Take good care of rubber soles

Scarpa climbing shoes are built to last. However, it is inevitable that they wear down with use. The good news is that Scarpa offers a full re-sole service. Resoling your climbing shoes is cheaper than purchasing a new pair. Plus, it reduces waste.

Avoid waiting too long to get your Scarpa shoes a resole, as it can end up costing you more money if your shoes need toecap or rand repair. Waiting for too long can damage your soles beyond repair.

To extend the lifespan of your shoes, you should also regularly clean your soles. Footholds are often slippery due to a dirty sole that has a thin layer of chalk or dirt on it. Wipe your shoes off prior to your every climb. Every now and then, a little bit of water and a good scrub can do wonders for your soles.

A climber wearing downturned climbing shoes.

How much do Scarpa shoes stretch?

Most rock climbing shoes are bound to stretch over time. Scarpa, similar to other climbing shoe manufacturers generally recommends getting a pair of climbing shoes that is from 1/2 to 2 full EU sizes smaller than your typical street shoe size. The amount of stretch depends on several factors:

  • A synthetic upper material generally stretches less.
  • A leather upper material is expected to stretch more.
  • The frequency of use greatly affects how much the shoes will stretch. The more you use your Scarpa shoes, the more they will stretch.
  • Tightness is another important factor to consider. If you wear climbing shoes that are too tight, you will apply more force to the upper material, causing it to stretch more.

Generally speaking, Scarpa climbing shoes can stretch from zero to one full EU shoe size, which is 0.26 inches. A shoe’s upper material plays a massive role in stretching. The amount of stretching varies from model to model. Always remember that synthetic shoes stretch less and take longer to break in.

How do you stretch Scarpa climbing shoes?

First and foremost, you should know that Scarpa climbing shoes don’t stretch noticeably in length, but rather in width or height. That being said, you can usually successfully stretch a leather shoe. However, if prior to climbing, you notice that your synthetic shoes run a size smaller, return them and go a size up.

If you can’t bare how tight your shoes are, these are the things you can do to stretch them out:

  • Wear them on a long climb – it may sound gross, but your sweat combined with the swell of your feet can do wonders when it comes to stretching your shoes.
  • Freeze your shoes – this may sound even weirder, but you can try to place sealable plastic bags filled with water into your shoes. Then, place your shoes in the freezer overnight. After a couple of nights of freezing, your shoes should fit perfectly.
  • Wear thick socks and heat your shoes – Use a hair dryer to warm your feet, socks, and shoes for a couple of minutes. Be careful if your shoes have metal parts, so they don’t overheat and you end up burning yourself.

Where are Scarpa boots made?

Scarpa is an Italian company that manufactures not only climbing shoes but also ski boots, mountain hiking boots, and mountain lifestyle gear. It started in 1938 and is still a family-owned company with its headquarters in the Asolo / Montebelluna region. 

80% of Scarpa’s production comes from Italy. Scarpa also opened its North American headquarters in 2005. Interested to find out more about Scarpa boots? Read our blog to discover if Scarpa boots have a wide toe box.


Your Scarpa climbing shoes will last you many years if you choose the right fit, take care of them, and clean them properly. We hope that our article has provided you with the type of info that will help you do just that. If you follow our recommendation, you will definitely prolong the lifespan of your Scarpa shoes.

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