Deciding When to Resole Rock Climbing Shoes

Woman Putting on Climbing Shoe
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You get attached to your rock shoes and hate to give them up, even for just a week while they get resoled. But you need to pay attention to the rubber soles and rands before they’re too worn to repair. If you wait too long, repairs can be costly or even impossible. Then you will have to buy new shoes.

When Should You Get New Soles?

So when should you get new soles on your rock shoes? Should you wait until your climbing shoes are almost worn out? The best advice is to get new soles when you need them and not to wait until it’s too late. Follow the tips below to determine if and when you need a rock shoe resole.

Check Your Shoes Regularly

Check your rock shoes regularly for wear. A good time is when you clean them after a day at the crag. Give them a quick eyeball; especially look at the high use areas on the shoe to see if any trouble spots are arising.

3 Tips to Check Your Shoes Out

Here are three tips to regularly check to determine how your climbing shoes are wearing and if you need to get them resoled. 

  • Look at the toe and front edges of the sole.The toe rubber wears down the fastest and the most because this is the part of the shoe that we use the most when rock climbing. If the toe rubber is worn down about 80% compared to the rest of the sole—time to get new soles. Likewise you need new soles if any small holes are beginning to form in the toe rubber. Don’t wait until the holes get too big and down to leather. Also look at the rounded edge of the sole around the toe box. Don’t wait until the rounded edge gets down to the rand rubber, which tucks under the sole. If you’re climbing on rand rubber, you will need to replace the rand as well as the sole.
  • Look at the rand.The rand is the strip of rubber around the shoe above the sole. Pay particular attention to the rand on the toe box. It usually gets worn when you scrape the shoe against rock or jam it into cracks. Holes will begin to form in the rand, so you will have to get a replacement rand. Also see if the rand is separating from the upper part of the shoe. Usually the shoe cobbler will squirt glue in the gap to keep the rand and upper together. Also look where the rand and sole meet to see if it is coming apart there.
  • Look at the rubber.Climbing rubber is sticky stuff, it adheres to the rock and helps us grip rock better with our feet. Look at the rubber on the sole. Is it getting thin? Does it have loose, ragged edges? Does it have a pitted appearance? Is the rubber soft and squishy on the rand on the toe box? Any of these symptoms might indicate the need for new soles.