AN INTRO TO CLIMBING SHOE RESOLING
TIPS FOR PROPER CLIMBING SHOE CARE
Proper care of your climbing shoes extends their life, aiding your budget as well. To get the most use from your shoes before they need repairing or replaced, the Rubber Room offers the following tips:
- To preserve the glue holding the rand and sole to the rest of your shoe, keep them out of the heat as much as possible. That means no more tossing them into the back of your car and forgetting about them.
- Clean them before you climb. That maximizes friction and reduces wear.
- Don’t take them for long walks while on your feet.
- Take them off in areas not needed and use other shoes, such as approach shoes, when warranted.
- Store them in a dry area with adequate ventilation.
- Inspect them regularly for wear and tear. They will reach a “point of no return,” at which no one will be able to repair them. While repair of the rand is possible, it is preferable to fix the shoe before damage occurs.
RESOLE OR BUY NEW?
Despite giving your shoes the best possible care, at some point, they will need to be fixed or forgotten. Some climbers prefer buying a new pair, while others will resole.
How do you know which one is best? That answer depends on you. Many climber forums discuss this topic but the array of advice includes similar suggestions. SuperTopo summarized it best.
- You like the fit and style of your shoe and the upper is in good condition
- Resole cost offers big savings over buying new
- The model of your shoe isn’t available anymore
Buy New If:
- Waiting on a resole takes too much time
- You have a gear shop (or climbing shoe brand – wink) you like to support
- You found a new model of shoe you really like
If you choose to resole, you have the choice to let someone else do it or do it yourself. While many repair services exist, a little DIY resoling saves money and time.
So, what’s involved in resoling climbing shoes?
Repair falls into three categories: 1/2 Sole Repair, Rand Repair, or Both.
- Half-Sole Repair involves the front half of the rubber on your climbing shoe. You’ll need to remove the worn rubber and replace it with new.
- Rand Repair involves the toe cap. This also involves removing worn rubber, as well as sewing any holes, before adding new rubber. However, rand repair tends to alter the shape and fit of the shoe, as well as reducing the opportunity for subsequent resoles. It is best to have your climbing shoes repaired before rand damage occurs.
- Sometimes, both these things need repair. And of course, you may also need new straps or buckles.
Repair kits are available to aid in supplies and instructions. In general, if you want to tackle this project on your own, you’ll need the following:
- A sharp cutting tool to penetrate the rubber
- A heat source such as a hair dryer or heat gun
- Sand paper or power tool sander
- A rubber mallet or a cloth-wrapped hammer
Other tips when resoling
If you are going the DIY route, you should consider these points:
- Choose where to cut and mark the sole. A good reference point is the flex spot on the sole of the shoe.
- Use a heat source to soften the rubber and underlying glue.
- Once you can cut through the rubber, it helps to peel some of it away with the pliers and apply the heat directly to the glue.
- After discarding the worn rubber, use sand paper to remove any remaining dry glue or dirt.
- Use the worn piece of rubber as a template when cutting the new rubber. It is a good idea to cut the new piece slightly larger than the old piece. You can remove any overlap later.
- Glue the new rubber to the shoe with a heavy-duty contact cement. Most kits will supply this.
- Use the rubber mallet to attach the sole firmly to the shoe.
- Give the cement plenty of time to cure before doing any more work on the shoe.
- Use the power sander (such as Dremel Sander) to sand down any overlapping rubber.
- Let it set.
- Go climbing.
When it comes to resoling, the best advice is to know your limits. If you have the time, equipment, and skill, doing the work at home is a cost-effective option. However, if in doubt, find a skilled shop to resole for you, ensuring you don’t do more damage than repair.
For those who would prefer to buy new – check out the Butora Acro