Resole Your Climbing Shoes: Yay or Nay?

To a climber, climbing shoes are what wings are to birds. So, it goes beyond saying that your precious climbing pair need to be checked on a regular basis. There are some basic questions which come to our mind when our climbing shoes have run a good course. Whether you are thinking to resole your climbing shoes or you don’t know when to resole them in our article on - Resole Your Climbing Shoes.

The questions are all related to a single one and that is if it is time yet to resole your climbing shoes. In this article, we will try to guide you in our article - Resole your climbing shoes through all the answers for you to make an informed choice. 

What is resole

Climbing shoes are not inexpensive. The rubber in the sole starts to wear out due to the aggregated pressure while the shoe is still in good quality. The sole can be replaced to get more wear out of the pair.

You can go frugal with this option of resoling and can hold on to your favorite pair for a longer time. If you own an aggressive model, it may take a lot of time and effort to break in. In that case, you can enjoy the fitting and comfort even after resoling your climbing shoe.

One may not have issues with money yet they would want to get a resole. Because this helps to keep the environment clean from an unnecessary pile of garbage. 

Construction and structure of climbing shoe

The construction of climbing shoes can be basically categorized into two which are lateral shape and vertical shape. The main difference between the two is in the tension which is built into the shoes for certain purposes.

If you have a lateral shaped shoe then the maximum weight of your body is put into a smaller point, precisely on the toes. So, the sole wears out slowly in comparison to the down-turned or vertical shaped ones which put more pressure on the knuckles.  

Structurally climbing shoes have mainly two parts the rand and the sole. But an important factor that is quite often overlooked is the upper material. If the upper material is made of pure leather without a lining fabric then the shoe will stretch with time. Getting a new sole with an extra stretched upper part will not give you the fittings you need. 

How long usually climbing shoes last

The durability of the climbing shoe mostly depends on the type of climber you are and how often you climb. On average, a climbing pair last 3-9 months if you climb once or twice a week.

This time frame is not fixed, however, you’ll need a resole, sometimes along with a rand work around this time. Climbing on even after a visible sole starts to happen, can fully damage the rand layer. And this can curb the lifespan of climbing shoes. 

Resole Your Climbing Shoes: When to resole?

A climbing shoe is made for sticking on the surface. The rubber material in the sole is the key performer of a climbing pair. Now, the question is when you will understand that you need a resole. While climbing if you feel you are not getting much grip then check out the pair thoroughly. It can be in any of the following three conditions:  

  • When you’ll observe the thickness of the sole, you’ll notice the rubber around the bottom part is somewhat rough and in the toe box area, it’s completely worn out. And if you hadn’t noticed it earlier then possibilities are there that the line between the rand and sole has receded. In that case, you might also need to repair the rand along with resoling.  
  • If you are cautious enough then you’ll notice that the sole of your climbing shoe is almost worn out. There is a little thickness of rubber left in the toe area. Do not wait to exhaust this little thickness because that can damage the mold of the shoe, the rand. Your shoe will be brand new with a new sole and you can continue to use it for years. One can resole at least 3 times and still have a good performance out of a climbing pair if they do it in this stage.  
  • The last condition is where you have already climbed on for many days on the rand. If the sole had worn out, the rand has lost all its shape and formed a hole on rand rubbers then probably the inside shape of the shoe changed a lot. In this case, it’ll require a resole, rand repair, and stitching too.  

To get the answer to the question on when to resole, understand the condition of your shoe. It is highly recommendable to resole when there’s a little rubber left.

Expenses to resole

There are two options when you want to get a resole. A full resole and a half resole. A half resole is the basic one which most company offers. If you can do it in the neighborhood then the cost will be around 30$-40$. It is difficult to find places that do it in 30$ because 38$ is the standard price most of the places charge.

If you have to ship it to the company, then you have to bear a two-way delivery charge which might cost you around 20-25$. In that case, it is wiser to send more pairs from your colleagues or friends together so that you can split the shipping cost.  

If your pair needs to have a toe-cap or rand repair then it’ll cost you around 10$ extra. But not all places offer a rand repair as it is a complicated process. Companies only repair rand which is in good condition, not worn out completely.

If the edges are long gone and the rand has formed a hole, the pair may be beyond repair. Rand repair can damage the fittings of the shoe and can minimize the performance of the shoe. 

How long resole take

The time duration of the whole process is a big concern because it can take up to six to eight weeks to resole depending on the proximity to a resoler. The resoler’s backlog, time taken for shipping, etc. affects the time needed to complete the process.

If you do not have another pair then you can’t continue climbing for weeks which is a drawback. So, it’s good if you can send one pair to resole just after buying a new pair. If you think you can carry on with ordinary sports shoes for few days, then you are too impulsive to have this thought. 

Where you can resole  

If you have a nearby resoler then you can try it because it’s cost-efficient and hassle free. But you don’t have one then stick to the well-known companies. The extra shipping cost will make up for the quality of the repair.

There is authentic resoler of the famous brands such as La Sportiva, Madrock, etc. You can get the exact shape of the model and size from resolers that have access to the original manufacturer.

The recommendations from fellow climbers in the community can help you to find a place that will do a good job. If the quality of the resole is not good, then your shoe will not fit properly and form a weird shape. So before spending your money research well and select a resoler with good review.  

Thickness and type of the rubber

Resolers will offer you rubber with different thicknesses and types of rubber. If you are getting resoled for first time, then choose 4mm thickness which is the standard one. Any size more than that will make you feel having less control over the shoe. While choosing rubber go for the same rubber as the original shoe to get the comfortable old setting. Stiff rubber wears out slowly than soft rubber. 

Resole or replace?

While the choice is absolutely yours to make, we can give you a comparative idea between resoling or replacing your climbing shoe. Good quality of climbing shoe costs around 180$-200$.

There are other pairs which start from 70$. Resole is absolutely worth the money depending on two factors. The first one is the condition of your shoe and the second one is the availability of a resoler nearby you. If you have only worn out the rubber and you have a resoler that won’t cost you an extra shipping charge, then yes, resole it. The expense of shipping and getting your resole done will cost you around 75-80$. You can purchase a new pair with this amount but with a less lot in quality. 

Conclusion

A pair of climbing shoes will not last forever. However, by properly taking care of the pair one can use them for years. Walking with climbing shoes on, wearing them for a long time without letting the pair dry out, etc. can damage the shoe earlier than time.

You can also read: How to Remove the Security Tag from Your Shoes 

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