It may be time for a resole and/or rand repair if you are noticing that the soles of your rock climbing shoes are starting to get worn down. I did some research to see when getting a shoe resole and/or rand repair is worth it and when you should just buy a new pair of climbing shoes.
As a general rule, it is worth it to get your climbing shoes resoled if they cost over $100 and you have a second pair of climbing shoes. Resoling a pair of climbing shoes (with shipping) costs between $49 and $70. On average, the resole process takes between 2 to 8 weeks depending on the shop.
There are additional hidden fees and drawbacks that are associated with a climbing shoe resole. In the article below I detail these drawbacks and the added benefits of getting a pair of climbing shoes resoled.
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10 Quotes for Climbing Shoe Resole and Rand Repair Cost
The table below details the shoe resole and rand repair cost of 10 popular climbing shoe resole shops in the United States.
|Climbing Shoe Resole Shop
|Half-Sole Resole Cost
|Rand Repair Cost
|Yosemite Bum (Tustin, CA)
|Pro Deal Resoles (Pueblo, CO)
|Positive Resoles (Joshua Tree, CA)
|$35 to $44
|Peach Cobbler ATL (Atlanta, GA)
|Sole Slingers (Chattanooga, TN)
|The Rubber Room (Bishop, CA)
|Plattsburgh Shoe Hospital (Peru, NY)
|Rock and Resole (Boulder, CO)
|Crescent Resoler (Charlottesville, VA)
|The Gear Room (Cottonwood Heights, UT)
The half-sole resole cost was used instead of the full-sole because the half-sole is the most common type of resole. Climbing shoe rubber preferentially wears out in the high use area of the front of the foot (underneath the big toe and ball of the foot). This causes climbing shoes to need a resole just in the front of the shoe, not the entire length.
Analyzing the Cost of Climbing Shoe Resole Quotes
The table above details the base cost to resole and repair the rand on a pair of climbing shoes. Not included in the table are the shipping costs. It is on you to pay for shipping the shoes to the resole shop. The shops will ship back your shoes for an additional $8 to $12. This basically doubles the price of shipping.
On average, a climbing shoe resole costs between $30 and $50 without shipping. Round-trip shipping costs an additional $16 to $24 depending on the resole shop location and shipping service used. In total, resoling a pair of climbing shoes was found to cost between $49 and $70.
This price increases if a rand repair is needed as well as a resole. Rand repairs are needed when the sole has worn out and the rand has started to become damaged. The rand is not designed to be directly climbed on which causes it to wear and damage quickly. The best way to avoid this is to check your climbing shoes for wear before every use.
On average, a rand repair adds an additional $7 to $20 to the cost of resoling a pair of climbing shoes. In total, it was found to cost between $59 and $85 to resole, repair the rand, and ship a pair of climbing shoes round-trip.
Drawbacks of Getting a Climbing Shoe Resole
Besides just the initial cost of getting the pair of shoes resoled, there are other drawbacks that go along with it as well.
Hidden Costs May Be Included with the Resole
As noted above, shipping can cost between $16-$24 on top of the normal resole cost. This is just for standard shipping, if you decide to have it overnighted this price can skyrocket. But shipping is not the only potential hidden fee.
Some shoe resolers may add extra to the resole/rand repair cost if the damage is excessive. That is why it is important to take care of your shoes before they get too bad. They also might charge extra if you request them to have your shoes expedited and put to the top of their list.
Potentially Different Shoe Shape and Fit
Shoe resolers have access to the prefabricated soles provided by the shoe manufacturers (La Sportiva, Scarpa, Butora, etc.). This allows them to replace the worn down sole of climbing shoes with a new sole in the exact shape and size of the previous one. Although this is as close to new you can get, the same pair of shoes may not fit the same after being resoled.
Although resole shops can do fantastic work, there is only so much they can do. If you have not taken care of your shoes properly, they will not be able to fix the long-term damage done to them.
On top of this, some resolers do better work than others. A bad shoe resoler can mess up your shoes causing you to waste money. For this reason, I recommend going to a resoler that is well known for doing good work. Rock and Resole is commonly touted as one of the best shoe resloers in the business.
I personally recommend only using resolers that are authorized by the manufacturer to repair their shoes. To see what resolers are authorized for La Sportiva, Scarpa, and Butora shoe repair check out Weigh My Rack’s article written by Alison Dennis linked here: 22 Great Places to Resole Your Rock Climbing Shoes (US, Canada).
Shoe Resoles Take Awhile
Throughout my research, I found that most resolers have a wait time between 2 and 8 weeks. The most common wait time was around 1 month to resole a pair of climbing shoes. This is an incredibly long time to be without a pair of climbing shoes. Especially if it is your only pair.
It was noted that shoe resolers are typically busier in the spring months right before the summer climbing season kicks off. I recommend planning ahead and sending in your shoes during mid-winter (January and February) when the resloers are typically at their slowest.
Resoling Does Not Remove Odors
The same smelly climbing shoes you send in will be coming back just as smelly. Shoe resolers are only going to repair your shoes, they are not going to deodorize them. If your shoes are getting to the point of being too smelly, I recommend purchasing a shoe deodorizer to save not only your nose but your climbing buddy’s as well. My favorite one to use is the Boot Bananas (check out their current price on amazon linked here)!
Benefits of Getting a Climbing Shoe Resole
Now that we have gotten the drawbacks out of the way, let’s get into the benefits of a shoe resole.
One of the main benefits of getting your shoes resoled is the cost savings. Not only will you save money resoling your shoes the first time, you will save the money every time you get a resole.
As a general rule, the amount of times you can resole a pair of climbing shoes depends on how well you maintain your shoes and the skill of the resoler. On average, climbing shoes can be resoled approximately 3 to 5 times by a professional resoler if you have taken care of them properly.
For example, let’s say you bought a pair of $180 climbing shoes and have been taking good care of them. You notice that the sole is starting to wear out and the rand is starting to show. Being proactive, you send them in for a resole. You get them back from the resoler at a total cost of $60 once everything is all said and done. You repeat this process (climbing, wearing them out, resoling them) 5 more times before they crap out on you.
Throughout the 5 resoles, you will have spent a total of $300. If instead you decided to buy 5 new pairs of the climbing shoes, this would have been $900. In total, you would have saved $600. That’s at least 3 new pairs of shoes!
Allows You To Change The Rubber
One of the overlooked benefits of a climbing shoe resole is the ability to change out your shoe rubber. If you bought climbing shoes that were softer or stiffer than you would like, you can change this.
Most resolers will allow you to choose the thickness and which type of rubber to resole your climbing shoes with. This gives you the option to opt for a stiffer feel for edging or a softer feel for smearing.
In general, most climbing shoe soles are 4mm thick. You can opt for a thicker sole if you want your shoes to be more durable and have better support. If you do this however, you will be sacrificing the amount of feel in the shoes.
I recommend having a 5mm beater shoe for the gym and having a thinner shoe for sending projects and climbing outside where feel is more important.
Reduces the Amount of Waste
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
The climbing community should be especially environmentally conscious because we are constantly climbing in it. We should make an effort to reduce the amount of waste we produce to help this earth and appreciate everything it has gifted us (climbing included).
Resoling climbing shoes is basically recycling them for future use. In the multiple-resole cost saving example above, 5 pairs of shoes were saved from going into the trash. Getting your shoes resoled can dramatically reduce the amount of climbing waste you produce.
When it is Worth it to Get Your Climbing Shoes Resoled
So … let’s put this all together.
A climbing shoe resole and/or rand repair is only worth it if your climbing shoes cost over $100 and you can afford to be without your shoes for up to 8 weeks.
If you have a climbing trip coming up in a week and you need a resole, don’t waste your time or money on it. The fees for expediting the resole and shipping will most likely cost the same as a new pair of shoes. Only do this if you really do not want to break in a new pair of shoes on the trip.
If you have a pair of cheaper beginner shoes ($70-$90) I recommend upgrading your shoes to a new pair that might justify a resole in the future. You will likely spend just as much on getting a resole as those shoes are worth. And even if you save $20 by getting a resole, is $20 really worth it to be without climbing shoes for up to two months?