Every heard of resoling climbing shoes!? One of the most frustrating things about climbing shoes, other than the breaking in period, has to be the speed at which the soles run through.
Instead of forking out for a brand new pair of kicks there’s always the option of resoling your climbing shoes. This is a great and cheaper alternative to splashing out on something new and allows you to get the most out of each pair.
How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last?
Once you’ve been through your pair of beginner climbing shoes you may be wondering whether all climbing shoes wear through this quickly?
There’s one good thing to bear in mind:
- As your footwork improves your shoes will last longer and longer!
One of the aims of having the stickiest rubber out there is to have tons of friction between your shoes and the wall. Unfortunately this means you’ll definitely be leaving some rubber on those footholds and your shoes will always eventually run through.
If you’re climbing consistent approximately 3 times a week your pair of shoes may 6-9 months, depending on:
- The type of rubber on your shoes
- The thickness of the rubber
- How good your footwork is.
If these were a brand new pair then, other than the sole, the rest of the shoe may be in very good and still usable condition.
Enter resoling climbing shoes. This allows you to get your moneys worth from those 180€ Geniuses!
Why Should I Resole My Climbing Shoes?
The part of the climbing shoe that wears out the fastest is generally the point of the sole towards your big toes. This is the area that gets the most friction as you climb.
When on the wall you’re constantly placing, pushing and smearing with this part of the shoe. All this friction leaves tiiiiny little pieces of the rubber sole behind and they will ultimately wear through.
So, instead of forking out another 100-200€ on a brand new pair why not instead spend 30-40€ on simply resoling your climbing shoes?
Resoling climbing shoes means:
- No breaking in period. Given that the whole shoe has already been broken in, getting them resoled means you keep the comfort of a pair of shoes that have already been shaped to your feet.
- Less waste. As only a small part needs replacing, if you’re changing the whole shoe, a lot of still useable parts are wasted.
- Save money. It could be much more cost effective. If you’re spending over 150€ per pair, then 30€ for resoling your climbing shoes is an absolute bargin. Especially if you can get another year out of them.
- More eco-friendly. If we’re all buying less climbing shoes, this means less production and ultimately a smaller impact on the environment.
When Should I Start Resoling Climbing Shoes?
This is clearly finding the sweet spot between resoling too early when you still had a fair amount of rubber to run through and resoling too late when you’ve worn through the sole, rand and destroyed the upper and linings.
You want to wear your current pair down to a max, where they’re still fixable for a minimum cost.
This means getting them fixed before you damage or wear through the front rand completely. In this case you can just get a half resole, putting you back around 30€ plus post and packaging.
So how can you tell if you’ve started to wear through the sole completely?
When you’re still using the sole there’ll be a straight and visible line around your shoe where the sole has been stuck to the shoe. This seam creates a small edge.
Once this edge is worn away this line move downwards and becomes irregular. This means you’ve worn through the sole and are now on the front rand.
Congratulations you can now get a half-resole!
The rand, which will start to wear out next, is equally rubber but if you wear through it too much it means you’ll also need a toe cap replacement, generally adding on another 15€ to your shoe resoling journey.
What Type of Resoling Can Be Done?
Climbing shoes are made up of the following main parts:
- Uppers and lining.
The first three can be fixed and the heel is generally replaced when you get a full resole.
If the uppers are destroyed with your big pinky sticking out these are beyond repair! Or once the stitching is damaged then unfortunately your bad boy’s are too far gone.
So depending on the wear and tear you need either:
- A half resole. The front half of the sole is simply replaced. The cheapest option and the one to aim for.
- Full resole. The whole sole must be replaced. The rear part of the sole generally wears through much more slowly than the front half as it gets less friction. If you’ve already had a half-resole once the next time may require a full resole.
- Toe cap. If you’ve worn through the sole onto the rand then this may need a partial replacing. With a toe cap and full rand replacement you also need to get at least a half-resole given that they need to remove part of the sole to replace the rand…
- Full rand. This is the most extensive work that can be redone to the shoe. The whole rubber section that runs from the side of the shoe, all the way around the front toe cap is replaced. The whole sole must also be replaced in this case. Mucho trajabo!
How Many Times Can You Resole Climbing Shoes?
Once you know how to recognize the pivotal moment when you only need a half-sole replacement, plus you take care of your shoes you can easily get a pair resoled 3 times.
If you’re taking really good care of them and they’re not too smelly (and let’s face it this is often a factor to consider) you can aim for 5.
You can even keep going until your resoler tells you that it’s time to lay your battle-wounded bogs to rest!
What Type of Rubber and Thickness for Resoling?
For thickness, the gold standard is generally 4mm. You can ask for more or less depending on the sensitivity you want.
If you want a pair of durable shoes for gym training, you can get 5mm to make them last longer. Bear in mind that when you do this the sensitivity will change. But hey, if they’re just for destroying in the gym, it may be worth it.
In terms of rubber the standards are Vibram and Stealth. Five Tens would be replaced with Stealth rubber though you can get different non-standard rubbers placed on a different shoe; the results can vary though.
Equally since the Adidas takeover there are echos that resolers are finding it more and more difficult to get Stealth rubber.
For Vibram there are the following rubbers:
- Vibram XS Grip 2
- Vibram XS Edge
It’s always best to check with your resoler what he’ll be using beforehand so you don’t get any nasty surprises.
Where Can You Resole Climbing Shoes?
If you want to save on post and packaging you should ask around at your gym if they know any resolers.
Otherwise there are the following online.
Within the EU:
In the US:
The Bottom Line – Is It Really Worth It?
If you pay attention to the wear-and-tear on your soles then it’s definitely much cheaper to get a half resole when needed.
This means you can get the most out of your regular gym shoes instead of forking out on a brand new pair every 6 months.
It starts to be less financially sound when you leave it too long, need additional stitching on the uppers or in addition a full rand and complete sole replacement.
With post and packaging in this case you could be looking at 70€. If a new pair costs 100€ it may not make much sense to get them fixed.
Another thing to consider is the material of your uppers. Unlined leather uppers will stand the test of time better as they resist more against sweat and bad smells. They will stretch more though so after a few resoles may be a bit baggy.
Like most things the truth is probably somewhere in the middle:
- Take care of your shoes and aim for 2 or 3 resoles at first. You’ll be saving a few dollars in the process.
- Once those bad boys smell so bad you have to keep them in an airlock bag, it’s probably best to forego the resoling and invest in a pair of sweet spring-time smelling climbing kicks.
What’s the most times you’ve resoled a pair of climbing shoes?