Resole Climbing Shoes: How To Guide & Best Resolers for 2023

Last Updated on: 11th May 2023, 08:56 am

Everyone has a favorite pair of climbing shoes that just seem to fit like magic. But when the rubber starts to wear and the liner starts to show, we’re struck with dread at the thought of dropping another $200 and having to break in a fresh pair of kicks. But fear not, there is an answer: resole climbing shoes.

From how to find a cobbler to when to look to getting your shoes resoled, we have all the info you need to give your favorite shoes a second life.

Table of Contents

What is resoling a climbing shoe?

Resoling is the process of replacing the rubber sole of a climbing shoe. This can be done when the rubber on the toe starts to wear down and holes start to form. By replacing the rubber, you can extend the life of your shoes and improve their performance.

Gear fix on climbing shoe resoles

Normally when people think about the sole of a shoe, they think about the bottom. With climbing shoes, the sole stretches up and around the toe box. 9 times out of 10, it’s the big toe that is going to get a hold first.

When to resole climbing shoes

You should consider resoling a shoe when the rubber starts to wear through. Normally, you’ll be able to see the inner fabric of the shoe start to show, generally on the big toe. At this point, you’ll want to stop using them to avoid further wear. If you tear through the fabric, it might be harder or impossible to resole them.

climbing shoe ready for resole
Shoe ready to be resoled

When you climb, you’re inevitably going to put wear and tear on your shoes. The rubber on climbing shoes is built to last for a while, but over time all that friction against rock and gym walls will cause it to tear. The longer you climb, the better you get at telling when your shoes are about to go. Eventually, you’ll be able to tell when the toe is wearing out before you wear through all the rubber. Doing this will allow you to resole you shoes multiple times.

Why resole your climbing shoes

Love the environment? Enjoy more money in your pocket? Hate breaking in climbing shoes? Welcome to the top 3 reasons to resole your shoes. Throwing out shoes puts more stress on the environment and resoling allows you to give your shoes a second life. A new pair of shoes can often cost between $150-$200 dollars, while resoling can be done for $50-$60.

And of course, after all that trouble making stiff shoes comfortable, why throw them out when you can simply slap some new rubber on and keep climbing.

Scarpa V climbing shoe fresh toe
Fresh toe on the Scarpa Vs

Does resoling climbing shoes affect fit

Not all climbing shoes do as well with resoling. Some shoes have a more complex construction that makes resoling difficult. There are climbers out there that say resoling a shoe changes the way it fits, but I’ve never experienced that. Usually if you resole a shoe once, it will fit fine. The more times you resole it, the higher the chance a different part of the shoe will start to wear out. So if your planning on doing your 4rth resole, you might run into some problems.

The longer you wait to resole a shoe, the more likely it is the fit will feel different. Make sure to get your shoes sent to the cobbler before your toe is popping out the front.

How to find a climbing shoe resoler near you

Finding a quality resoler can be tough. Unless you live in a big climbing town, there’s probably not even a store around where you can do it. And even if you do, it can be hard to find people that do a good job. It’s not uncommon for climbers, (myself included) to mail shoes to a cobbler you trust. I live in Portland, and send my shoes to Dave the Cobbler in Seattle. He does a great job and comes in at around $50ish a pair depending on the damage.

Gear fix in Bend, Oregon is another good one. I’ve met them at climbing festivals before and they are super rad folk that know there way around shoes. There are other great cobblers out there, but here are two that you know you can trust.

If you’re looking to save some cash, try finding friends that also need resoles can save you some money on shipping. Usually turn around time can be anywhere from 2 – 5 weeks depending on how busy they are. Most climbers have two pairs of shoes so when one is getting fixed they have something to climb in.

What brands resole climbing shoes for free

Most of the time, you’ll be on the hook for resoling your own shoes. But Evolve does have one shoe the Yosemite Bum that comes with one free resole! At a price point of $205, that’s a pretty great bargain. Plus, it’s a solid shoe.

yosemite bum climbing shoes resole
Yosemite Bum shoes

How to tell if the toe is blowing out too early

Like we’ve talked about, climbing shoe takes a pretty big beating. Depending on how often you climb, where you climb, and your technique, you can go through shoes as quickly as 3 months. A general rule of thumb is if you climb less than 3 times per week and a pair of shoes wear through the rubber in under 3 months, there may of been sort of defect. This is extremely rare and even when it does happen, it is often due to poor technique or spending time on routes tough on shoes like slab.

If you believe your shoe was defective, it can be really hard to convince a retailer like REI or a manufacturer to send you a new pair of shoes or refund you your money. However, if you have a receipt that proves the shoes are less than 3 months old, sometimes you can make your case.

What’s more common is stitching, straps, or laces that fail. Often times, these are covered under warranty and you can get a new pair of shoes.

How to make climbing shoes last longer

If you’re finding that you go through shoes faster than your friends, chances are poor footwork is the culprit. If you drag your toe across the wall while moving between footholds (aptly named toe dragging) then you’re going to go through shoes a lot faster. Try moving from hold to hold with intention and placing your toe down rather than dragging it there. You may find this not only makes your shoes last longer, but improves your climbing as well.

Wrap up

In conclusion, resoling your climbing shoes is a great way to save money, reduce waste, and maintain the fit and performance of your favorite pair of shoes. By following the tips in this post, you’ll be able to find a resoler, determine when to resole your shoes, and keep your shoes performing at their best. So get out there and climb on!

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