October 26, 2020

When to Resole Climbing Shoes? Complete Guide to Repairs

by Brad

Are you a passionate climber who likes to go and frequent adventures?

If yes, you probably encounter many situations where your shoes seem to wear off in a couple of months after buying them.

As expensive as climbing shoes are, they don’t last too long, especially if you are an adventurous individual.

When the sole of your climbing shoe starts to become thin and weak, the rubber at the front (the rand) also starts to lose its shape. Overall, they don’t look or feel nice. So, what do you do in such a situation? You will have to resole your climbing shoes.

If you don’t know what resoling shoes mean, we’ll discuss everything about when to resole climbing shoes.


Table of Contents

What Is Resoling?

Resoling shoes is precisely what it sounds like – adding new soles to your old shoes.

Since soles get worn off with excessive, rugged, or heavy use, you should remove the old ones and add new soles to your climbing shoes.

This hack is pretty much the best way to revive the shoes.

The Cost of Resoling Climbing Shoes
When to Resole Climbing Shoes? Complete Guide to Repairs

What Is a Climbing Shoe Rand?

A thin layer of rubber on the front side of the climbing shoes is known as rand.

You can look at the condition of the rand to decide when to resole climbing shoes.

It is hard to see the rand in shoes without wear.

You may see it when there is wear on the top layer of the front of the shoe.

This rubber cannot bear the weight of the climber’s toe as he puts all his body weight on the toe during climbing to balance his body.

When the front part of the sole is wearing, it will also cause damage to the rand.

You cannot stop the rand from wearing if there is no sole layer covering it.

Rand is the final layer that can hold the wall during climbing.

You will put a leather layer on the shoes when there is no rand layer.

It does not provide friction and makes climbing hard.

When to Resole Climbing Shoes?

So, how should you know that it’s time to resole your climbing shoes? There are a few apparent signs that hint you to change the soles. When you start to feel like the rubber under your feet is too thin, has rough patches, or tiny holes in it, it is an obvious sign that your shoes need resoling.

First of all, the sole under your big toe will start to wear down.

Why? Because climbers use their big toe the most while they’re active.

Thus, this front space within the shoe is affected first. Then, the rand and soles’ thickness will start to vary around the shoe.

In some places, where your foot exerts the most pressure, you’ll feel that the sole is thinner than the rest of the shoe and that rand is coming apart.

On average, the process of wearing down takes about 3 to 9 months after you buy a fresh pair and start using it.

After six months, you must take a close look at your climbing shoes to make sure they don’t need resoling.

What Is Rand Repair/Re-rand/Toe Cap?

The rand layer is thinner than the rubber layer at the sole. Rand is usually two millimeters thick. It is thinner than the sole rubber layer, with a width of four to five millimeters. You may need to repair/re-rand/toe cap the shoes if wearing causes thinning of the rand layer.

These all terms mean the same thing.

You need to replace the old worn rand layer with the new one.

You can do it at the time of sole replacement.

It will cost you almost ten dollars extra than replacing the sole alone.

Some people only want to replace the rand without replacing the sole.

It is impossible as the rand layer starts from the sole of the climbing shoes.

You can only replace the rand during the resole process.

The shoe repair technician will stretch the sole rubber layer to make the rand layer.

When the technician uses force to fit the rand, the shoe gets downward stress.

It also causes a downward curve on the climbing shoe tips.

You cannot take these shoes to an inexperienced cobbler for repair as an expert technician who understands how the climbing shoe works can resole them.

How to Resole Climbing Shoes?

You don’t have to resole your shoes at home.

Resoling professionals are sitting in various areas of your city that can do the job for you and do it better than you.

You can submit your shoes to them, send them in, and receive the shoes looking good as new in a couple of days.

However, if you still want to do it yourself, or if you’re just curious about how resoling is done, below you can read about the process of resoling climbing shoes.

There are two categories of resoling climbing shoes

  • In the half sole repair, you remove the front (worn out) rubber. Then, you replace this old rubber with a new one.
  • Rand repair refers to the fixing of the toe cap. Even though it’s not technically the sole, and you can’t precisely call it resoling, the rand is also a part of the process most of the time. See, when your shoes start to wear off, their rand becomes affected as well.

Remember, if you want to do it yourself, you must have the proper repair kit for climbing shoes.

After repairing, you can read about how to clean your climbing shoes.

The kit for resoling climbing shoes includes the following items

  • A cutting tool that is sharp enough to help you penetrate and move through the rubber.
  • A significant heat source, like a heat gun or hairdryer.
  • Sandpaper (or electric sander).
  • Pliers.
  • A hammer wrapped up in cloth or a rubber mallet.

Once you have the kit for resoling ready, here are the steps you need to take to resole your climbing shoes

  • Select and mark the area where you want to cut the sole. The flex spot on the shoe’s sole is the standard reference point.
  • Then, use your selected heat source and use it until the glue and rubber become soft.
  • Peel the rubber away using pliers.
  • Now that the rubber is out of the way target the heat directly towards the glue.
  • Once the glue is mostly soft and gone, use sandpaper to remove any residual dry glue.
  • Use the rubber you just removed and create a template. Doing this will help you cut the exact size of the new rubber.
  • Use glue to attach this new rubber to the shoes.
  • Use contact cement of heavy-duty power to attach the rubber to the shoe.
  • Now, it’s time to use the rubber mallet. It will help you make sure the sole is firmly stuck to the shoe.
  • Allow the cement to dry before you try wearing the footwear.
  • If you notice overlapping rubber, you can use the electric sander for sanding it down.
  • That’s it! The shoes are ready.

What Are the Types of Climbing Shoe Resoles – 1/3rd, Half, Full?

Most climbers do not see wearing in the entire climbing shoes.

Most wear is at the tip of the shoes as it comes in contact with the climbing wall.

The climbing shoe’s tip also handles the most weight.

If your shoe only has damage on the tip area, you can use the 1/3rd resole.

You only need to repair the third portion of the shoe near the tip area.

Some also call it the half resole when they have to replace more portion of the sole and rand.

In some cases, the entire sole may come off from the climbing shoes.

You need to get the full resole service to repair the shoes.

You can find a repair technician who can source authentic shoe parts from the manufacturers.

He can get the rand and soles with perfect symmetry.

The pre-trimmed rubber will fit perfectly to the specific shoe model.

Repairs will last longer when you have access to authentic shoe parts from manufacturers.

You can also buy split sole shoes.

These shoes only have soles at the front half.

You can replace the entire front sole at a lower cost.

What Happens If I Don’t Resole My Climbing Shoes?

If you don’t resole the shoes with minor damage, it can lead to severe shoe damage.

Shoes change shape when you wear them for some time to fit your feet.

A severe damage repair will alter the shoe’s shape.

You will not feel the same comfort with shoes that undergo major damage repair.

Some technicians may not take the job when you do not resole early.

You may also have to pay more for the damage repair.

These are the harmful effects if you do not resole at an early stage.

Knowing when to resole climbing shoes can save you money and time.

What Is the Best Rubber to Get?

You can get different types of rubber for your shoes.

The type of rubber depends on the shoe’s function.

If you have to climb a wall with thin edges, you can get stiff rubber.

Stiff rubber will allow you to hold the edges of the wall precisely.

When climbing larger boulders, you need more friction.

A softer rubber can do it by increasing the surface area of the shoes touching the boulders.

Most brands produce climbing shoes with stiff rubber.

You can use the rubber from the same brand when you want stiffness in your climbing shoes.

You can also get softer rubber from the market.

Vibram XS Grip 2 and Five Ten Stealth Mi6 are the software rubbers.

Vibram XS edge is an example of stiff rubber.

Can No-Edge Climbing Shoes Be Resoled?

It is possible to resole the No-Edge climbing shoes.

All technicians do not have the expertise to repair them.

Some may not take the task due to complexity.

No-Edge shoes are the latest innovation of the La Sportiva company.

They have one piece of rubber on the entire shoe.

The rubber goes from the toe to the bottom and top of the climbing shoes.

It will give a shoe without seams or hard edges.

As there are no extra layers of material, your feet will stay near the rock or wall during climbing.

There are three ways to resole the No-Edge shoes.

  • Best Method. The technician removes the damaged sole and replaces it with the authentic No-Edge sole from the company.
  • Average Method. Add an extra part to the climbing shoes to keep the No-Edge feature while repairing it.
  • Losing the No-Edge Abilities. Use a traditional sole to replace the damaged one and lose the No-Edge feature.

How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last?

Your climbing shoes can last from three to nine months before you resole them. It depends on your use and the shoe brand.

Resoling shoes at the right time may keep the shoe structure intact.

Climbing shoes can last for many years with regular resoling.

What to Do With Old Climbing Shoes?

If you think your climbing shoes are old now, there are plenty of things you can do instead of throwing them away in the trash.

You can do the following things with your old climbing shoes

  • Resole them and use them further.
  • Recycle them if they’re too worn out.
  • Donate them if they’re slightly worn out but you don’t want to use them anymore.
  • Sell them if they still look good. You can even resole climbing shoes first to increase their life and usability. Then, you can sell them.

Where to Get Climbing Shoes Resoled?

To find where to get your climbing shoes resoled, you’re going to have to do some research.

Go onto Google maps and look for the nearest re-soler in your area.

Then, search up reviews (if any) and make sure you pick a resoling professional who is reliable and affordable.

How Much Does It Cost to Resole Climbing Shoes?

Depending on the type of your original shoe, your resoler, and the extent of the shoe damage, a simple climbing shoe resoling without the upper part can range from $30 to $60 per pair. 

Rand repair alone can range from $5 to $12. The funny thing is that when you are residing in some countries, it’s cheap to ship them for repair than to do it locally.

Remember, rand repair can’t be carried alone without resoling as the rand is underneath the sole.

To access the rand for repair, you must remove the sole too. Normally, not the whole part gets replaced, only the front wedge.

When resoling your shoes, depending on your pocket, you can decide on the type of sole you want.

You can go for gripper or softer options than before.

Other forms of climbing shoe repair include re-laminating the shoes if the rubber is tearing apart, straps repair, stitching or repairing holes in the toe rand, and repairing closures.

These minor repairs can be done locally and should not exceed $7.

How Many Times Can Climbing Shoes be Resoled?

There’s no clear-cut answer to this question. It all depends on how you take care of your rock climbing shoes in between resoles.

Generally, you can expect to resole climbing shoes four to five times.

But if you take good care of your pair of shoes, you can get even six or more resoles.

Which is the Cheapest Way to Ship Your Climbing Shoes for a Resole?

The most common and cheapest way to ship your pair of rock climbing shoes for a resole is through a padded USPS envelope.

An envelope that can comfortably fit a pair of climbing shoes can cost around $7.50.

Remember, the return cost is not included in this cost. So, always keep this in mind when conglomerating your cost.

Also, USPS flat rate envelope is the method that’s preferred by most resolers. 

Which is the Best Place to Get Your Climbing Shoes Resoled?

As rock climbing sport is increasing in popularity, so do the options of repairing and purchasing the climbing gear.

Today, there are many small shops offering climbing shoe repairing services as well as large companies.

If you have landed in one large company in this industry, scrutinize their services, and you will get a list of their resoling outlets near you.

Some of these companies are respected resolers where you can mail your climbing shoes and get the job done.

A full shoe resole with some of the well-known USA companies will cost around $60 to $80, including the extras.

When is the Best Time to Resole Your Climbing Shoes?

If you notice that your climbing shoes are getting rough and the rubber has been eaten up to 80%, then it’s time to resole your shoes.

This is a cost-effective way of making your climbing shoes last longer.

Resoling your climbing shoes also goes a long way in restoring the life of your old pair of rock climbing shoes.

Can Rubber Soles be Repaired?

Fortunately, it’s possible to repair rubber shoes.

Repairing the rubber sole could be a good way of making the shoes as great as new if the remaining is in good condition.

With just a few minutes, experts can replace the worn-down soles, repair loose soles or holes, and put them on in about 24 hours with some sandpaper and adhesive for your shoe sole.

Is It Worth Getting Shoes Resoled?

Yes, it’s worthwhile to resole your shoes.

However, it’s not worth fixing a shoe if the top portion of the footwear cracks or dries out.

A $20-$30 repair can extend the life of your boots by several years and make you feel like you’re wearing brand new shoes.

Choosing a suitable shoe cobbler is a convenient and straightforward way to save money in this situation.

It is cost-effective to resole your shoes with a sole close to the old ones.

Custom resolving shoes are almost the same price and indeed add more comfort.

Final Thoughts on When to Resole Your Climbing Shoes

Resoling is a practical, popular, and affordable way to add more life to your climbing shoes.

The resoling procedure we have described in this article only takes a few hours or a couple of days, but it can help you obtain your money’s worth from your climbing shoes. We all know how expensive they can be.

Hopefully, all the information above will help you understand how to resole climbing shoes.

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About the author 

Brad

Brad is a professional climber in the discipline of traditional climbing. He often jokes that he can get a book to read during the long climbs. Of course, it always goes well with a good cup of coffee. Drinking coffee is his safer hobby.

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