October 26, 2020

How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last? (You Will Be Surprised)

by Bernice

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

How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last?

How long climbing shoes last relies on how often you climb. 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.

Getting your shoes resoled is also a good option if you’re looking to increase your climbing shoe 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 Long Do Climbing Shoes Last
How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last? When to Replace Climbing Shoes?

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.

1. 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.

2. 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?

How long 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

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 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.

When to Replace Climbing Shoes?

Although you can resole the climbing shoe multiple times, it’ll come a time that you need to replace it altogether.

What are the signs that can tell when to replace climbing shoes?

1) Rubber is Damaged or Worn-out

The rubber on the toe end is mostly prone to wear as you always dig your toe into the crag whenever you’re climbing.

Remember, the rubber is situated under the seam where it meets the rand.

Always check your climbing shoes to be sure that the rubber isn’t worn out.

If you realize that the rubber is more than 80% worn out, it’s time to go for a new pair.

Also, holes in your climbing shoes’ rubber can highly compromise the rand.

If your shoe climbing rubber is damaged beyond resole, it’s time to replace it. 

2) The Rand is Damaged, Worn-out, or Blown

Climbing shoes’ rand refers to the rubber located over the climbing rubber.

Its thick layer is meant to protect the upper part of your rock climbing shoes.

Also, it provides a sticky surface for the required hooking friction.

So, if the shoes’ rand is worn out, it can easily result in a hole in the upper part. 

If the rand is blown, the then upper part is damaged.

A blown rand means that there’s a hole in the rand.

If it’s the first time, you can opt for a repair.

But if it happens more than three times, it’s time to replace it.

Blowing a climbing shoe rand is very common as you can always hit a sharp rock.

A complete heartbreaker is when you blow the rand of a new pair of climbing shoes.

3) Delamination

Your climbing shoes are tearing apart at the seams?

The most probable thing is that the glue that binds everything together is wearing out.

You don’t want to experience them falling apart in the middle of your climb.

You can try laminating it one or two times.

But if it persists, it’s time to replace your climbing shoes. 

4) Damaged or Worn-out Sole

If your shoe soles get damaged or completely worn out, it’s the end of your rock climbing journey.

But the good news is that if you have only damaged the sole and the rand is still in good condition, you can easily resole it.

Resoling can help you to push the replacement dates before a replacement. 

But this is a clear indication that you should start setting aside some coins for a replacement that’s around the corner.

Unfortunately, if you have damaged both the sole and the rand of your climbing shoes, it is time to go for a new pair. 

5) Toe Box is Worn-out

After every climb or cleaning, check the edges of your shoebox.

This is the area that is around the toe.

This part is worth the concern as it’s the part that is the first to hit the rock.

Also, as you always use your toes when rock climbing, it’s very important to keep them in top-notch condition.

If there is extensive damage in this area, there’s always no better fix than going for a new pair. 

Frequently Asked Questions about How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last

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. 

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. 

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About the author 

Bernice

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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