When is it time to resole climbing shoes?

So you bought a nice $150 pair of shoes the other year and now they’re starting to look pretty beat up. You’re not the most wealthy person and so you’re thinking about how your beer money is going to get consumed pretty quick if you throw down another $150 bucks right now.

Thankfully, your buddy told you about this one guy who resoles climbing shoes. Half sole? Rand job? Full sole? Patching? What are all these new terms? Thankfully, here at climb core, we got your back and we’ll explain what this weird thing resoling entails.

Do i need a resole?

Chances are, if you’re asking this, yes. That said, here’s when when you should resole you shoes:

IMGP1260.JPG
Top shoe shows the wear pattern

Essentially, you can think of a climbing shoe as two principal parts: the rand and the sole. The sole is the part one the bottom which generally takes wear as you step on holds with the bottom of the shoe. The rand attaches the sole to the rest of the shoe.

In the above picture, you can see that there is a noticeable dip in the sole. That shows that there is no sole left on the edging side of the shoe and the rand is getting climbed on.

You do not want to climb on rand or damage the rand as it is the most expensive part to fix as you cannot re-rand or do a toe cap to a shoe without taking off the sole. On top of that, it shouldn’t be required as the rand shouldn’t be what is being used to climb.

So, with the shoes above, if they were resoled, a half sole resolve would be good to fix them up and they would be in top shape to start climbing on again.

Generally, half soles are the only type of resoling needed for climbing shoes. It is almost never needed to resole the entire shoe as the wear is concentrated to the toes.

Other cases of shoes:

I think knowing when to resole is also a function of knowing when not to resole. Here are some common examples of things that don’t need a resole:

IMGP1268.JPG
Yes or no? here’s an easy one

So the above shoes are brand new. Obviously, do not resole these yet. If you don’t see a dip in the sole, don’t resole! You’re still climbing on the sole so you’re still good!

 

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Old shoes! Time to resole?
Here’s another example of an older shoe that has had some use and seems pretty old. Does this need a resole? Maybe your feet are blowing off more often and you think it could help? In this case I’d say no, as there is no visible dip in the edge. As soon as that dip starts, yes, but until then shoes are very okay to continue climbing on. Your poor footwork or blowing off your feet is only related to your technique, and not the amount of rubber left on the soles (to a certain point, if you see your toes sticking out, obviously that’s a toe).

IMGP1270
Some wear above the sole… time for a resole?

The above example is a classic case of natural end of life shoe. This shoe was resoled but now is having problems staying together in the rand. To the touch, the rand feels thin and the toes hurt when brushing against the wall. What to do? Resole?

In this case, i’d advise against a resole right this second. If you climb well you may be able to not need to re-rand before the resole, giving it a second resole. However, one or two resoles is generally the max amount of resoling before a shoe starts coming apart.

If these are priceless to you, you’re grandfather’s shoes or what not, I’d say resole and re-rand them immediately. If you can afford new shoes, i’d say buy new ones and use these as a warm up or beat down shoe (when you don’t care about performance).

IMGP1255
These guys again?!

So, these ones above this sentence you’re reading right now? Death sentence? A plea for more rubber? These, in my opinion, aren’t worth the time. Sure, your sole and rand are going and both could be resoled, but this will be a huge job, cost a lot of money and will have a lower performance than buying a new shoe.

Again, you can resole but i wouldn’t decide on resoling these as you didn’t catch them fast enough and the work will be in the order of $75-85+ dollars  at most cobber’s shops, which is more than half way to a newer shoe. Rock and Resole says probably in the order of $55 with toe caps, but this would have to be only be if it was 100% your favorite shoe ever or if it was a pair of TC Pros or some other very expensive shoe.

Final Words

Resoling is a personal decision. Obviously, you get much more consistency from buying new shoes every single time. But, if you climb as much as I do, you should resole. It’s better for the environment, for your wallet and for local cobblers. If you don’t like your shoes after, you can even sell them with that extra little bit of rubber at a higher price. I’d buy resoled shoes for $100 if they were in good condition, that’s for sure.

Anyhow, if you’re living in the US, both the rubber room (Bishop, California) and rock and resole (Boulder, Colorado) have been known to do good work and do mail orders. Canadians, you have to search but Gold Star Cobbler’s in Vancouver does mail orders and also is reputable. For Alberta, check out Kumpfy Shoes in Canmore. If you know any other cobblers who do good work, shoot me a message and I’ll add them here.

 

chicken soup for the climber’s re-soul,

-CC

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