When is the Right Time for a Climbing Shoe Resole?

Climbing shoes are an essential piece of equipment for rock climbers, providing the necessary grip and precision on various surfaces. Over time, however, the rubber soles of climbing shoes wear out, compromising their performance and safety. Knowing when to resole your climbing shoes is crucial to maintain optimal performance and extending their lifespan. In this article, we’ll explore the signs that indicate it’s time for a climbing shoe resole and provide guidance on how to make that determination.

Climbing shoes undergo significant stress during use. Whether you’re tackling challenging boulders, ascending towering walls, or navigating technical routes, your climbing shoes are subjected to repeated friction and abrasion. As a result, the rubber soles gradually wear down, reducing their ability to provide reliable traction and compromising your climbing experience.

Resoling your climbing shoes involves replacing the worn-out rubber soles, and restoring their grip and functionality. However, it’s important to note that resoling is not always necessary or beneficial. In some cases, resoling may not be cost-effective, especially if the shoes are already extensively worn or damaged. Therefore, understanding the signs that indicate the right time for a resole is essential.

By paying attention to specific indicators, you can make an informed decision about whether your climbing shoes are due for a resole. In the following sections, we’ll explore the key signs that suggest it’s time for a climbing shoe resole. Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional shoe resoler or a climbing gear expert to assess the condition of your shoes and determine the most appropriate course of action.

Join us as we delve into the factors to consider when determining the right time for a climbing shoe resole, enabling you to prolong the life of your climbing shoes and continue pursuing your passion for climbing with confidence.

1. Loss of Friction

One of the most evident signs that your climbing shoes need a resole is a loss of friction. As you climb, the rubber soles gradually wear down, resulting in a diminished grip on the rock. You may notice that your shoes no longer stick to the surface as effectively as they used to. This decrease in friction can significantly impact your climbing performance and compromise your safety on challenging routes.

Imagine attempting to smear your foot on a small foothold only to find that your shoe slips off due to lack of traction. Such situations not only hinder your progress but also increase the risk of accidents. If you experience a noticeable decrease in the shoe’s ability to adhere to the rock or if you find yourself slipping more frequently, it’s a clear indication that a resole is in order.

2. Visible Wear Patterns

Regularly inspect your climbing shoe soles for visible signs of wear patterns. Examine the edges, toe area, and ball of the foot. Ideally, the rubber should be evenly worn across the entire sole. However, with regular use, certain areas tend to experience more wear than others.

Look for flat areas or exposed fabric on the soles. These are indicators that the rubber has worn down significantly in those specific spots. Additionally, pay attention to any smooth, shiny areas, as they suggest that the original texture and grip of the rubber have eroded. Visible wear patterns are a strong indication that your climbing shoes are in need of a resole.

3. Decreased Performance

As climbers, we rely heavily on the performance of our shoes. The right shoe can provide the edge we need to conquer difficult climbs. However, when the rubber soles wear down, the shoe’s performance is compromised. You may find it more challenging to execute precise footwork, maintain stability on small footholds, or generate sufficient friction for smearing.

If you notice a significant decline in your climbing performance, particularly in situations where you previously felt confident and secure, it could be a sign that your shoes are in need of a resole. Restoring the grip and precision of your shoes through a resole can help regain the performance you once had, allowing you to tackle challenging routes with renewed confidence.

4. Thin Soles

Another important aspect to consider is the thickness of your climbing shoe soles. Over time, constant use and wear will naturally thin them out. If you notice that the rubber on the bottom of your shoes has become noticeably thin, it’s a strong indication that a resole is needed.

Thin soles not only compromise the durability and longevity of your climbing shoes but also affect your ability to feel the rock. Sensitivity plays a vital role in climbing, allowing you to gauge the texture, edges, and irregularities of the surface. When the soles become too thin, this tactile feedback diminishes, making it harder to assess and adapt to the terrain. Resoling your shoes in a timely manner can restore the appropriate thickness, enhancing both comfort and performance.

5. Delamination

Delamination occurs when the rubber sole starts separating from the upper part of the climbing shoe. This can be caused by prolonged use, excessive moisture exposure, or improper storage. If you notice any signs of delamination, such as a visible gap or a separation between the sole and the shoe, it’s crucial to get a resole as soon as possible.

Delamination not only affects the shoe’s performance but also poses safety risks. A sole that is peeling away from the upper can cause instability, discomfort, and potential tripping hazards. Continuing to use shoes with delaminated soles can lead to further damage, rendering the shoes irreparable. Addressing delamination through a resole in its early stages can extend the lifespan of your climbing shoes and ensure your safety on the rock.

6. Toe Rubber Wear

Climbing shoes often have a reinforced rubber toe area to enhance durability and provide extra grip for toe hooks and edging. Due to the nature of climbing movements and the pressure exerted on the toe, this rubber tends to wear out faster than the rest of the sole.

Inspect the toe area of your climbing shoes regularly. If you notice significant wear or damage to the toe rubber, it’s a good indication that your climbing shoes are due for a resole. A worn-out toe area can compromise your ability to execute precise toe hooks, reducing your overall climbing performance. Resoling the toe area can restore the necessary grip and ensure your shoes remain effective for a longer period.

7. Personal Comfort

While the technical signs mentioned above are essential considerations, personal comfort, and performance are also key factors in determining the right time for a resole. Each climber has different preferences and tolerances when it comes to shoe wear.

If you find that your climbing shoes no longer fit comfortably or have started causing discomfort or pain, it might be an indication that the rubber has worn down. Over time, as the soles wear out, the shoe’s ability to provide proper support and cushioning decreases. This can lead to discomfort and even foot-related injuries.

Pay attention to any changes in how your shoes feel on your feet. If you notice a decrease in overall comfort or experience pain or discomfort that you didn’t previously have, it’s worth considering a resole. A properly resoled shoe can restore the necessary cushioning and support, allowing you to climb in comfort and reduce the risk of foot-related issues.


Determining the right time for a climbing shoe resole is crucial for maintaining optimal performance, safety, and longevity. By paying attention to signs such as loss of friction, visible wear patterns, decreased performance, thin soles, delamination, toe rubber wear, and personal comfort, you can make an informed decision.

Regularly inspect your climbing shoes and consult with a professional shoe resoler or climbing gear expert to assess the condition of your shoes. They can provide guidance on whether a resole is necessary and offer advice on the best course of action based on your specific needs.

Resoling your climbing shoes when needed will not only enhance your climbing experience but also save you money in the long run by extending the life of your favorite pair of shoes. By maintaining the grip, performance, and comfort of your climbing shoes through timely resoling, you can continue pursuing your passion for climbing with confidence and enjoy the thrill of each ascent.

Leave a Comment