What is Resoling?
The rubber is the most important part of any climbing shoe, good luck trying to toe in when you have a toe sticking out. The resoling of a climbing shoe is the process of replacing the worn out rubber. The most common climbing shoe resole is done to the toe area to replace the worn out outsole and rand.
Climbing Shoe Resole Process
The process begins by removing the old rubber and prepping the shoe for a new rubber to be bonded. Contact cement is used for bonding new rubber to your climbing shoe. The rubber is then trimmed and sanded to best mimmic the original shape of the toe.
The Bishop, CA based resoles, The Rubber Room, have an insider video which shows parts of the climbing shoe resole process, you can check it out below.
When to Resole your Climbing Shoes?
It is ideal to resole your climbing shoe before you have worn through the rand. The rand is the rubber just above the sole; it is also referred to as the toecap.
During the resole process the rand is sanded a bit to prep the surface for glue, so it is best to resole before there is too much abrasion on the rand. Wearing through the rand makes it more difficult to resole your shoe and it is best avoided because the rand repair will not be as good as the original. If the rand is able to be repaired it usually cost ten dollars extra on top of the resole. Also, since the rand sits about a quarter inch below the sole, a resole must be done if the rand is being replaced.
Is it too Late to Resole?
If you have worn through the rand and the stitches that hold the shoe together come apart, most resole companies will turn away the repair. Resole companies might still attempt to repair a blown out toe with a ton of extra rubber, but in some cases it might be better to just buy a new pair of shoes.
Why Resole your Climbing Shoes?
Depending on how well you take care of your climbing shoes they can reasonably see three resoles and maybe upwards of six if you are very keen to delicate footwork. So the upside is that you can save a more than half the money you would spend on a new shoe while maintaining that worn in fit, and also save the extra waste from one more shoe being tossed.
Also, most resolers provide different rubber options and thicknesses. That means you can combine different brand options and end up with something like 4mm Stealth C4 rubber put on a La Sportiva Miura.
Turn Around Time
Typically a climbing shoe resole has a four week turnaround and during busy seasons, it can take upwards of eight weeks before you get your shoes back. It is best to have more than one pair of climbing shoes, so you won’t hesitate to rotate them out for a resole.
Most of the resole companies also do small shoe repairs. So if you blow out the strap on your La Sportiva Solutions or get a small hole in the upper, you can get these fixed either during the resole or independently.
Where to Resole your Climbing Shoes?
Here are some resole companies from West to East:
The Rubber Room
Buena Park, CA
Joshua Tree, CA
Black Rainbow Resoles
Las Vegas, NV
Rock and Resole
Lost Soles Climbing
New England Resole
Plattsburgh Shoe Hospital