How To Extend The Life of Your Climbing Shoes

How To Extend The Life of Your Climbing Shoes

  • Omatseye Edema

Climbing does not have to bankrupt anyone.

Developing a good maintenance culture with your climbing gears could add up in time to save you a fortune. Here are how you can extend the life of your climbing shoes and make those shoes go further. Literally.

Yes.  It’s an inevitable moment for every climber. And it happens every few months. You take off your tennis and grab a shoe. As you’re unstrapping the Velcro or loosening the laces, you see it, that little hole. Damn. It won’t be long before you really can feel the rock through your shoes, and you die a little on the inside.

Okay, okay, so it’s not really a big deal, but it’s only been three months…again. 

Follow these tips to help conserve the rubber on your climbing shoes. 

It won’t make them last forever, but in the long run you can at least save a little money.

  •  Like regular shoes, make sure they are cleaned after each use and kept dry
  •  Do not leave your climbing shoes out in the sun for an extended period of time – it would get damaged by the sun.
  •  Only wear your shoes when you’re climbing. I know it sounds a little OCD, but you’d be surprised at how the little things add up in the end. Walking around in your shoes between climbs, especially if you’re hopping around on your talus can have a significant effect on the life of those toe edges.
  •  Keep in mind that climbing shoes (especially cambered ones) aren’t designed to last while supporting your full body weight, so the simple act of taking off your shoes after a climb can buy you weeks.
  •  Get a separate pair for the gym. The gym is for training. Don’t get me wrong, I love climbing in the gym and we always have a great time in there, but climbing outside is better. I’ve never met anyone who is more psyched on a gym problem than a boulder problem, so save your sending shoes for the sending that counts! Some of those little jibs can be even sharper than rock crystals, and can even make the small slices that cause those little flaps to appear.
  •  You don’t need the best shoes to train. The best thing to do would be to get some shoes designed to be super durable, like the Five Ten Coyote or La Sportiva Cliff (not to say these aren’t great shoes for outside too).
  •  You can even save more money by resoling your last pair of blown out shoes, which usually costs around $55. Then you’ll have a super-comfy pair of gym shoes that you can wear for long sessions. These options may not be quite as precise as your Talons, Boosters, Anasazis, or Solutions, but training in them will make your footwork that much better when you’re ready to send.
  •  Train your feet. I promise I’m not dissing your style. I agree that it can be more efficient to cut your feet when changing body positions, yada yada. For some people though, footwork comes second to bearing down on small holds. 

Think about the skin on your fingers. Your pads last longer when your fingers aren’t sliding off the holds. Flappers happen on the send much less frequently than a flail. Shoe rubber is no different.

I guarantee that the life of climbing shoes is directly related to the amount of effort put into good footwork, so just give it a shot.

The next time you go climbing or to the gym, give an extra amount of attention to your feet. 

Every single time you move your foot, don’t just stick it on the jib or hold, place it in exactly the position you want it, even if it costs you more energy. Not only will your shoes last longer, you’ll become a stronger and better climber.

Somebody needs a trade-in!

Happy Climbing!


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