Alright so everyone asks me how the hell I can afford to have shoes all the time that don’t have holes in them. Well let me tell you, I don’t think if i were paying 150+$ every time that I’d be able to make ends meet. Why is this? Well climbing shoes don’t last me that long and I often want something that fits really well but I prefer something that fits my budget.
Take my last purchase: The Evolv Shaman. My last two pairs, in order, were both 70$ and 25$. I saved about 200$ on climbing shoes in two purchases! Wow. What a beast. All because I wasn’t an idiot and jumped on deals pretty quick.
So, yeah, how does one do this? Here’s the guide.
Size every single shoe at the climbing store
Bring a notepad. Size yourself in every single shoe. Figure out which ones would be pretty good for you. figure out which ones you hate. That’s basically it. While you’re at it you may as well size runners too if you need some or whatever else you would want.
Head over to Craig’s list or Kijiji or Ebay Classified
There are a ton of things on these websites. As I said, both Shamans (160$ + tx new) that I bought were both much less than half the recommended price. The second pair was brand new! What a steal. Anyhow, just basically either go on every once in a while or you can set up notifications that will let you know when you have something you want. However, a lot of people selling rock shoes are pretty dumb so they don’t know models. Often times I just search “climbing” and browse. Kinda fun.
Ordering from Ebay is easy and plus generally you have a recourse if someone tries to screw you. There are a ton of climbing shoes on there that people try to sell, but if they don’t sell, generally they just try going lower in price. Plus maybe you’ll find a piton for a good price.
Local Gear trade
So in my town we have a gear store that sells second hand stuff. However, this is pretty dependant on where you live and so if you live in Boulder, Jackson Hole, Denver, SLC, Sacramento, North Conway, Slade or some other big city that is keen on the mountains, you’re in luck! If not, well that sucks.
Again, you have to go often to get deals since people will grab cheap gear quickly. But hey, you may be able to find a pair of viper BD ice axes for 120$ like i did!
There’s also the MEC gear trade which is a bit better but very slow and hard to get anything good off of.
Asking the local gear shop for last pairs of things
One time I walked into a gear store, asked the owner if he had any 70$ climbing shoes and got a pair of pythons for 70$. Were they the best shoe? No. Did they work for a bit? Yes very much so. Sometimes just asking will be enough. However, don’t barter if that’s not the norm in your country, but asking is alright.
However, once I asked a CD store if I could have 2 used CDs for 10$ instead of 10$ each, and the guy was quite insulted. Too bad, he probably bought them for a dollar and was selling them with 9$ mark up. I got the same CDs off the internet for 8$ total.
If all else fails, wait for sales
Sales are OK. But generally at big store like EMS, MEC, REI or whatever, the sales are on trash quality gear. Never on real stuff. So, if all these other tips don’t work then try this. Sometimes you may get lucky, but generally I find that everything that is being blown out at MEC is garbage.
So why would you buy something full price?
Because you need that thing at that moment or else you are going to have a bad time. If you just cut your rope, then buy another at full price. But if not, then what’s stopping you from looking around for a while and jumping on good opportunities? Obviously be cautious and know what you are doing, but don’t just spend money like everyone else if there are good second hand or discount options. Your money is the time you have earned, monetized. When you buy something, you are selling a small chunk of your life! Remember that!