October 26, 2020

How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last?

by Bernice

Climbing shoes can last around 3-8 months on average, though it all depends on the quality of the shoe, your footwork, and the general climbing environment you use them for. If you’ve got terrible footwork where you are scraping too much, your shoes could only last you around 4 months at best.

Essentially, if you’re looking to get the most out of your climbing shoes, you’re going to want to make sure you buy a high-quality pair of climbing shoes and combine that with good footwork to help them last longer.

Getting your shoes resoled is also a good option if you’re looking to increase their life span. Though the key to this would be to find someone who isn’t going to do a bang-up job of resoling your shoes, as this could ruin your shoe and cost you more money than it’s worth.

Anyway, let’s see how you can make your climbing shoes last longer.

Table of Contents

How to Make Climbing Shoes Last Longer?

As mentioned, the more you scrape your shoes, the more they will be worn down due to friction.

The wearing down of a climbing shoe is a natural part of climbing. After all, you can’t expect them to last you a lifetime if you’re going out on the rocks every other day.

However, to ensure their longevity, you will have to ensure that you are using proper footwork techniques throughout your climbing sessions so that you do not unnecessarily scrape your climbing shoe.

Although this may seem hard as a new climber since you’re going to have poor footwork technique to begin with anyway.

Being more mindful of it while climbing will enormously help to increase the lifetime of your shoe. And once you start getting better and better, you will find that your shoes will begin to last longer and longer.

Related Article: How Tight Should Climbing Shoes Be?

Do Not Misuse Your Climbing Shoes

Beyond buying a high-quality shoe and adopting the correct footwork techniques, you’re going to want to stay mindful of how you use your climbing shoes.

Some people enjoy wearing their climbing shoes when they are out and about, say for walking or jogging, which is completely fine if you don’t mind unnecessary wear the rubber on the soles down.

If you want your climbing shoes to last longer, it would be in your best interest to only use them when climbing and use another utterly different shoe to go about your other outdoor activities.

Also, make sure that you learn how to clean your climbing shoes properly.

Resole Your Climbing Shoes

As mentioned initially, you can make sure your climbing shoe lasts longer by resoling once the rubber soles begin to wear down. However, make sure you get this done before it affects the rand.

Once the rand is affected, it will change your climbing shoe’s overall structure, which will impact the performance. We would recommend only ever replacing your sole twice and your rand once.

After that, it would be best to look into investing in a new pair of climbing shoes if you want to ensure that you’re always climbing with a good performing shoe on your feet.

How Long Does Climbing Shoes Last on Indoor Walls?

Indoor climbing walls are created to replicate most outdoor rocks best, as they have been made with a textured design to help do this – allowing your climbing shoes actually to grip something. This is all fine until you find a wall that is glassy and isn’t great for smearing.

This sort of texture will wear down the rubber quickly if you drag your feet up or down the surface, so once again, ensure that you are using the correct footwork to help prevent some of this wearing.

If you’re someone who exclusively climbs indoor walls, it would be good to purchase a pair of climbing shoes made for this, as this will allow them to last much longer.

How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last

Related Article: How to Break in Climbing Shoes?

How Long Does Climbing Shoes Last on Different Types of Rock?

Your climbing shoe lifespan depends on what sort of environments you use them in. It would be too hard to pinpoint typical life spans for every type of shoe used on every kind of rock.

But generally, you’re going to want to purchase a shoe that is fit for the particular climbing you like to do.

So, as a rule of thumb, make sure to buy a high-quality shoe that fits you and the climbing you like to do.

This will help ensure that you have a pair of climbing shoes that will last plenty of climbing sessions on your favorite rocks inside or outdoors.

Related Article: Most Durable Climbing Shoes

Frequently Asked Questions about the Longevity of Climbing Shoes

How long does climbing shoe rubber last?

While most climbing shoe manufacturers claim that their footwear lasts for a year, the rubber incorporated in climbing shoes will typically serve you for 3 to 9 months. By this time, the toe box is worn out, and you have to resole the shoe and perhaps do some work on the toe rand. Multiple things impact this. 

How much is it to get climbing shoes resoled?

If it’s already time to resole your climbing shoes, you’ll be glad to know that it’s not expensive. Typically purchasing new climbing shoes is about $200. On the other hand, resoling will cost you $45 to $50. 

Make sure you resole your climbing shoes before it’s too late since this way, you can wear them for an additional 12 to 37 weeks. What’s more, you can resole your climbing shoes several times; however, this will depend on how often you wear them and how you use them. 

Why do climbing shoes smell?

Your climbing shoes will smell since your feet are enveloped with bacteria. To decrease these bacteria from your feet, wash them frequently, once or twice daily. Precisely, before you go climbing and after you’re done. 

When should I resole my climbing shoes, Reddit?

The right time to resole your climbing shoes is before your sole starts “dipping.” Do not wait till the dip is noticeable since you have already begun deforming the rand layer beneath the sole by this time. 

Do you wear socks when rock climbing?

Yes, it’s okay to wear socks with your rock climbing shoes if you feel comfortable. Most climbers don’t feel comfortable when they wear their shoes without socks, and at times they don’t fit properly without them. 

Should you wear climbing shoes to break them in?

Climbing is fun, but breaking into your climbing shoes is not fun at all. Most of the time, these shoes tend to be very painful when breaking in that you find yourself removing them between routes.

Again, a properly fitted climbing shoe can be rigid when new, thus needing a short break-in period. 

Breaking in typically takes approximately 6 to 8 sessions. When breaking in the climbing shoes, begin by wearing them when you’re warming up, and don’t wear them for a long time without breaks. 

How long do climbing shoes last indoors?

How long your climbing shoes last relies on how often you climb. For instance, if you climb twice or thrice a week, your footwear should serve you for 3 to 9 months.

By this time, the toe box is worn out enough to require a resole and perhaps some work on the toe rand. 

Multiple variables affect this, though if you have your climbing shoes resoled before they’re badly damaged, they’ll be good for another 3 to 9 months. 

What is the most aggressive climbing shoe?

The climbing shoe market is filled with multiple shoes that claim to be the best. However, the most aggressive ones include Scarpa Vapor V, La Sportiva Miura VS, 5.10 Quantum, Butora Acro, La Sportiva Katana, and Evolv Shaman

How many times can you resole climbing shoes?

On average, climbing shoes are typically resoled up to three times and approximately 1 rand repair; any more than this, they will lose their shape.

Again, if you properly take care of the rand and top material, it’s possible to do a maximum of 6 resoles on some climbing shoes. But a resole won’t fix a bad smell.

What is a rand climbing shoe?

Your climbing shoes’ rand is the backup rubber surrounding the toe and sides of the shoe. Besides, it is linked to the shoe’s rubber. This rubber layer wraps across the upper and bottom to help keep its features and shape. 

Why do shoe soles split?

PU features extended polymer chains which progressively split due to moisture. Consequently, PU loses versatility and slowly becomes stiff. As your climbing shoe ages, it could show signs of deformation within the sole. 

What is resoling a shoe?

The previous stitches are eliminated when resoling your climbing shoe, and the outer sole is separated from the upper, insole, and midsole. The part where the stitches link to the uppers and outer sole will be prepared and cleaned for the new sole and welt to be fastened. 

When should I get aggressive climbing shoes?

Usually, aggressive climbing shoes are more suitable for professional and advanced climbers who don’t climb for extended periods.

This is due to their downturned profile and tight fit, precisely on the heel. Also, it provides ample power all through your foot when you’re climbing. 

Related Article: Ocun Ozone Bouldering and Rock Climbing Shoe

Should my toes be straight in climbing shoes?

When climbing, your toes should be comfily curved or flat so that your toe joints aren’t excruciatingly bunched against the uppers. Also, the heel should fit snugly. Different people bend their feet differently, though it might be smaller if a climbing shoe is painful to fit. 

How tight should new climbing shoes be?

Normally, climbing shoes are supposed to have a snug fit and leave no dead spaces or gaps since it will decrease sensitivity.

Spaces beneath the arch and on the heel can lead to the climbing shoe slipping, especially when you’re trying to jam in a crack or heel hook. All the same, do not go for climbing shoes which are too short. 

Can you superglue climbing shoes?

Yes, you can superglue climbing shoes. After using glue, you have to attach the parts to get optimal bonding strength.

On the other hand, do not go for shoe goo. STR adhesives do an incredible job, but they are majorly utilized on conveyor belts. 

How do you tell when climbing shoes are worn out?

It’s noticeable when the rubber starts aging since it gets a glossy sheen. As opposed to an even, matte black, the climbing shoe rubber begins to look sparkly.

What’s more, it becomes stiff and hard. However, climbing shoes normally wear out before getting this old. For this reason, you should check them often. 

How do you clean climbing shoes?

If you’d like to wash your climbing shoes, it would be best to wash them using Luke-warm water and a small amount of detergent, like this:

  • Fill a bucket, or sink with Luke-warm water. This temperature is ideal for eliminating dirt. Don’t utilize hot water, as it will ruin the rubber, and cold water won’t properly remove the dirt. 
  • Use light detergent as it comes in handy in eliminating dirt and sweat. If you don’t use detergent, it will be difficult to eliminate the dirt and sweat since the water alone won’t access the niches and cracks of the climbing shoes. Nonetheless, don’t go for strong detergents since they harm the soles and uppers. 
  • Brush off your climbing shoes before putting them in the water. This way, you don’t have to work on smaller dust particles when they turn into paste and mud. Brush them lightly and blow them with your mouth to remove dust. 
  • Turn your focus to the bottom. Pad the bottom part lightly, especially on the toe box, to ensure you remove the small stones, rocks, and chalks. 
  • Scrub the exterior lightly. Wet your climbing shoes, then with a small brush, scrub the exterior. Ensure you also clean the sole, tongue, and uppers. The brush effortlessly eliminates the tough stains. Don’t brush them too hard as it might ruin the shoes. Also, clean the sole by totally soaking them to remove bacteria and germs that lead to bad smells. 
  • Clean the shoe’s interior. Using your brush, scrub the interior gently. But, first, clean the brush before cleaning the inside to avoid transferring the dirt from the exterior to the inside. Clean the hard-to-access areas on the uppers and toe box, and scrub them several times if necessary. 
  • Rinse them with warm water. Pour the dirty water, rinse the sink or bucket and fill it with clean, warm water. Now put your shoes in the water and begin rinsing them by swishing them around. Do this three times, and make sure there’s no soap or dirt left. 
  • Dry the shoes completely. Remove your climbing shoes from the water, and dry them with a clean towel. Also, open the Velcro straps, remove the shoelaces, and stuff your shoes with a newspaper to speed up the process. 
  • However, don’t place them in direct sunlight because the UV rays will damage the material. If you’re cleaning them in the winter, it will help if you placed them close to a radiator though not on top of it. Give them some time to dry completely, and don’t wear them before they’re completely dry. 

Why are rock climbing shoes so expensive?

There are three main reasons why climbing shoes are so costly; manufacturers utilize top-quality materials, are handmade, and are bad economies of scale. Typically, rock climbing shoe prices are from $50 to $200, with overpriced aggressive climbing shoes. 

Related Article: Best Climbing Shoes Under $100

Can La Sportiva Solution be resoled?

Yes, La Sportiva Solution can be resoled. This climbing shoe is wrapped in tacky Vibram XS tacky rubber. Plus, these shoes are significantly downturned, featuring a heel cup and the untested P3 platform that holds its downturned profile. That being said, this impressive climbing shoe will allow you to climb better and harder.

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About the author 


Bernice often jokes that she is better at climbing than walking. With avid parents of climbing, her first encounter with the high vertical rock walls was at the age of one. Her favorite style of climbing is bouldering.

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