Worn out climbing shoes
Jo Richards
Jo Richards

When to Resole Climbing Shoes – How to Repair Your Aging Pair

A shoe’s soles are a good first indicator that the pair is getting old, this is especially true for climbing shoes. This is because climbing shoes leave a little rubber on the rock with every step taken. While buying a new pair is most people’s go-to move, knowing how and when to resole climbing shoes can save both the shoes and money.

Don’t know how to resole shoes or even what that is? Then you’ve come to the right place! This comprehensive guide will give you the lowdown on everything resoling. All climbers, from the experienced to those who’ve just started climbing, can reap the benefits of resoling.

How Long do Climbing Shoes Last?

Answering this question can be quite tricky because there are a number of factors to consider. Brands often market their shoes as lasting around a year or so. Most climbers say their shoes last between 3 months and a year.

While those claims may be somewhat true, the truth is that a climbing shoe’s lifespan depends on how frequently they’re used. A good rule of thumb is that they normally last between 3 to 9 months if you climb twice a week. If you climb more frequently, they will age quicker and vice versa.

Person rock climbing

Additionally, your footwork and the environment in which you climb in is also a factor to consider. Regardless, the best way to know when your climbing shoes are nearing their demise is by regularly inspecting them for wear and tear.

Resoling Climbing Shoes: What Does It Mean?

In short, resoling shoes means replacing your old sole with a brand new sole. The process of getting climbing shoes resoled isn’t that different from the resoling of normal shoes. However, it’s better to get your shoes resoled by someone who’s got experience with resoling climbing shoes.

This is because of the unique anatomy of climbing shoes. Climbing shoes have a sole, like other shoes, but they also have a climbing shoe rand (toe cap). The rand is the thin rubber that wraps around the front of the toes and the side of the foot.

Wearing out the rand often happens when people continue climbing even when the sole is basically done for. Other instances of rand wear happen because of toe dragging.

When Should You Resole Climbing Shoes?

Climbing shoes with people in the background

If you resole too early, you’ll be wasting money and a good sole. Resole too late and you’ll likely pay a lot more for a resole, or worse, the shoe may be beyond repair.

Apart from noticeable wear and tear signs like holes, there’s a way to tell when you’re due for a climbing shoe resole. The most telling sign is the line that separates the rand and the outsole. When the rubber below that line starts getting thin and the sole recedes, it’s a sign the shoe needs to be resoled.

Another key indicator that the shoes need resoling is when the rubber starts feeling thin when the shoe’s on foot. The most telling area is the ball of the foot. The ideal time to resole is before the rand is worn out, as rand repair adds an extra cost.

How to Resole Climbing Shoes?

In today’s day and age, climbing shoe resoling is really easy. This is because there are a number of resolers in the world who cater specifically for climbing shoes. You can find resolers locally or ship your shoes to professionals around the globe and get them back in no time.

Climbing shoe

Alternatively, if you’re a handy person, you can even do it yourself with a little help from Youtube. You can purchase a climbing shoe resole kit locally or on the internet and start bringing your shoe back to life. However, a professional resoler is the best person for the job.

Resoling climbing shoes costs between $40 and $60 on average, although repairing the toecap can cost more. The turnaround time varies depending on proximity to the resoler and the amount of work they have to do. It generally takes between 1-8 weeks. If you’re going to use this time to take a break from the crags, why not watch some great climbing flicks.

Whether you do a bit of DIY or get a pro to resole, there are two categories of resoling that get shoes back in climbing condition.

Types of climbing shoe resoles

The two types of climbing shoe resoles are a partial resole and a full resole. Which resole is used for your shoe depends on how far the shoe has been damaged. Some climbing shoe resolers use the original manufacturer’s rubber parts that fit perfectly in terms of shape and size.

  • Partial resoles

A patrial, also called a 1/3rd or half resole, is the most common resole. In this repair, the shoe’s old front rubber is removed and replaced with a new one.

  • Full resoles

A full resole happens when the shoe’s entire sole is removed and replaced.

While technically not a resole, rand repair also falls under this category.

Person wearing grey jeans rock climbing

How Many Times Can Shoes Get Resoled?

Climbing shoes can get resoled several times. According to Rock and Resole, a well-known resoling company, you can resole your shoes 3+ times. This is possible if you resole your shoes regularly and follow the proper care suggestions.

Washing climbing shoes and regularly inspecting them is the best way to care for your shoes, helping extend their lifespan. Shoes generally lose their shape over time and resoling affects the shape too. When the shape’s changed a little too much, resoling may then be pointless.

Final Words on When to Resole Climbing Shoes

Resoling is an invaluable part of climbing shoe repair that can breathe new life into your favorite shoes. It helps save both your shoes and money and can be done several times.

Just remember to get the shoe some help once it starts showing signs of wear and tear. This includes holes, the thinning of the rubber’s soles, or toe caps being worn out. It’ll help keep your shoes going for longer and save you some money.

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