When to Resole a Climbing Shoe
Climbing shoes are one of the most essential pieces of equipment for any climber. They provide the grip and precision needed to tackle difficult routes and boulder problems. However, over time, the rubber on the sole of a climbing shoe can wear down and lose its integrity, grip, and even form a hole exposing your toes to painful pressure. This is when it becomes necessary to replace or resole your climbing shoes. While completely replacing your climbing shoes with a new pair can be easy, resoling will save you money, save the environment, and help support small local businesses. In this article, we will discuss the markers to resole your climbing shoes and where to get that done!
Understanding Your Shoe
It is common for climbers to wait to long to repair their climbing shoes. This can result in a more costly repair and a fundamental change to the fit of your climbing shoe. The number one cause of this is not understanding the mechanics and fragile spots to look for. So to start, let’s discuss the main areas to look at when considering a resole.
If you look at the toe tip of your climbing shoe, you’ll notice a seam between two sections of rubber. The section that wraps underneath the entirety of the shoe is called the sole and is made from climbing rubber. The rubber area wrapping over the top of the toe is known as the rand. The rand functions to provide better stability for the shoe and better protect the upper material.
When to Resole
Resole your shoes as soon as the seam between the rand and the sole begins to show wear or a wave pattern.
Now that you are able to identify the rubber anatomy of your climbing shoe, we can use this info to assess the necessity of a resole. The most common indicator of a needed resole is the wearing down of the seam between the rand and the sole. As this point often takes the most force and is easily dragged across the wall, the toe is typically where the major wear happens!
As the climbing rubber wears away, the rand is exposed, which is made of thinner rubber and is much quicker to be damaged. Plus, fixing a damaged rand on top of the climbing rubber adds expense and can fundamentally change the fit of your shoe. In short, you should try to have your shoe resoled before the rand sustains any damage itself.
The Dreaded Toe Cap
If the rand is damaged, whether it’s visible to you or not, the cobbler will likely add a toe cap. What is a toe cap? It’s a thin piece of rubber to replace the damaged rand. This is because a damaged rand will not adhere properly to your new sole. Hearing your shoes need a toe cap makes climbers’ stomachs drop! That’s because it adds cost and can change how your shoe feels on your foot. Toe caps are an inevitable part of a climber’s journey as we can’t always catch the damage before it’s done.
If you want to avoid the necessity of toe cap repairs, perfect your footwork! Sliding your toe across the rock is a quick way to damage the rand and prematurely wear your climbing rubber!
There are a few things you need to know about the resoling process to avoid having blindsided agitation.
- Resoling takes time. You will need to drop off or mail your shoes to a specialty cobbler. Depending on their workload, the process can take a few days to a few weeks!
- The cobbler may decide a toe cap is necessary even if you don’t think so. Trying to persuade the professional that it’s not necessary is a foolish endeavor. Always know there’s the possibility of additional cost when leaving your shoes for repair. They are the experts after all!
- Your shoe may feel different after resoling. This is especially true when a toecap is added, but any repair to you shoe may cause this.
In conclusion, resoling your climbing shoes is an essential part of the sport of rock climbing. Identifying the wear pattern on the seam between the rand and sole of your shoe and cleaning up your footwork can help you avoid premature and excessive wear. However, even the most diligent climbers will eventually need to resole their shoes. Approaching the resole process with patience and understanding, and utilizing the services of a professional climbing shoe resole services like Rock and Resole, can help ensure that your shoes remain in top condition and provide the necessary grip and protection for all your climbing adventures.