April 11, 2021

When to Replace Climbing Shoes

by Bernice

Table of Contents

It is always very hard to let go of your favorite accessory or item, especially when it comes to your comfortable but old pair of rock climbing shoes.

But ultimately, all shoes undergo wear and tear. You might be wondering when to replace rock climbing shoes, but based on the amount of climbing you’re doing, your rubber sole will run thin.

You can still choose to resole your climbing shoes to prolong their life. This is a good move as it’s cheap to do and it extends the shoes’ life by around four to ten months. A new pair of quality rock climbing shoes can cost as high as $250 but resoling the shoe can cost approximately $30 to $50—do your mathematics. 

Although you can resole the 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?

How should fit climbing shoes

Top 5 Hints to Tell You When to Replace Rock Climbing Shoes

Rock climbing can be challenging without quality climbing shoes. So, to be sure that your shoes are up to the required standards, always thoroughly check them after every climb. Also, rock climbing shoes in their best working shape and order can highly improve your safety. 

Thus, keeping a close eye and knowing when to replace climbing shoes is imperative. That said, here are the top signs that will tell you when to replace rock climbing shoes. For the most curious, we have also explained how are climbing shoes made.

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. 

Best Neutral Climbing Shoes

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. 

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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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