How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last?Factors Influencing Their Lifespan

How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last? Factors Influencing Their Lifespan

Key Takeaways

  • Use, Style & Quality: Frequent and aggressive climbing wears shoes faster. Higher quality shoes last longer.
  • Replacement Indicators: Worn-out soles, poor fit, decreased performance, internal damage, and persistent odor signal it’s time for a new pair.
  • Lifespan Extension: Care for shoes properly, alternate pairs, resole when needed, and store appropriately to extend lifespan.
  • Resoling: Shoes can generally be resoled 2-3 times, saving money and being more sustainable.
  • Sustainable Disposal: Donate, recycle, or repurpose old climbing shoes.
  • Climbing Environment: Indoor climbing tends to be less harsh on shoes; different rock types can also affect shoe wear.

So, you’ve invested in your first pair of climbing shoes and you’re probably wondering, how long do climbing shoes last?

Well, the truth is, the lifespan of your shoes can greatly vary. Several factors come into play.

However, the short answer to the question is 3 months to 9 months but well-maintained shoes can last up to 1 year or longer.

Now let’s take a closer look, at how to make them last longer.

Related Post: How to clean your Climbing shoes for prolonged lifespan

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Climbing Shoes

Understanding the factors that affect the lifespan of your rock climbing shoes is key. It’s like the mystery of an unfolding story; each chapter, each page reveals a new twist.

Firstly, frequency of use is a biggie. If you’re climbing every day, your shoes are going to wear out much quicker than if you’re only hitting the rocks once a month. That’s simply the way it is. It’s like driving a car—the more miles you put on it, the quicker it’ll need servicing.

Secondly, your climbing style makes a huge difference. Are you a graceful climber, making precise moves, or do you have a more aggressive approach? The latter will put more stress on your shoes, meaning they’ll wear out quicker.

Lastly, let’s not forget about the quality of the shoes themselves. Not all shoes are created equal. Investing in a high-quality pair may cost you a bit more initially, but it can pay off in the long run.

When to Replace Climbing Shoes

 We’ve looked at factors influencing the lifespan of climbing shoes, and now let’s consider when it’s time to replace them.

Here are some signs that might suggest you need to replace your shoes:

  1. Worn out soles: The most obvious sign is if the soles of your shoes are worn down or even have holes in them. Climbing shoe soles provide the grip you need to stay on the wall or rock, so if they’re worn down, they’re not performing their essential function.
  2. Toe rand exposed or worn through: The toe rand is the rubber that wraps over the toe box of your climbing shoes. If this is showing signs of wear or you’ve worn through to the actual shoe material, then it’s time to replace your shoes.
  3. Uncomfortable fit: If your shoes have stretched out and no longer fit as snugly as they used to, this could affect your performance. They should fit tightly but comfortably. If they’ve become too loose over time, you might need a new pair.
  4. Deteriorated performance: If you’ve noticed a drop in your climbing performance and you’ve ruled out other factors, your shoes could be to blame. If you’re slipping more often or find it harder to stick to small holds, it might be because your shoes aren’t providing the grip they once did.
  5. Internal damage: Check the inside of your shoes for any signs of wear and tear. If the inner lining is torn or the insole is coming apart, these are signs that your shoes could need replacing.
  6. Persistent odor: They can develop an odor over time from sweat and bacteria, especially if they’re not properly aired out after use. If you’ve tried deodorizing your shoes and the smell persists, it may be time to get a new pair.

Tips on Extending the Lifespan of Climbing Shoes

Now, let’s move on to the tips on extending the lifespan of climbing shoes.

Climbing Shoe Care TipsDetails
1. Take Good CareMany climbers overlook the importance of this. Proper care can significantly prolong the lifespan of the shoes.
2. Alternate Between PairsLike athletes need rest days, shoes also benefit from a break. Alternating gives each pair a chance to recover.
3. Consider ResolingAn economical method to lengthen the lifespan, especially if the upper parts of the shoes are still in good condition.
4. Proper StorageStore in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent the rubber from degrading and to prolong the shoes’ lifespan.

How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last

The big question, how long do rock climbing shoes last, isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. 

As previously discussed, several variables such as usage frequency, climbing style, shoe quality, and care practices influence their lifespan. 

High-quality shoes with moderate usage can last anywhere from 6 months to a year before they need a resole. But don’t forget, proper care can extend their lifespan even more!

Lifespan of Climbing Shoes

How Many Times Can I Resole Climbing Shoes: The Resole Cycle

So, you’ve hit the point where the rubber on your shoes is wearing thin. You’re considering resoling them. But you might ask, how many times can I resole climbing shoes? 

Well, the rule of thumb is around two to three times. However, it largely depends on the condition of the shoe’s upper part.

 As long as it’s still in good shape, you’re in business for a resole. 

Remember, each resole takes a bit of the shoe’s original material. So, there’s a limit to how many times it can be done.

Watch the video below to know when to resole your climbing shoes in detail.

How Much Does It Cost To Resole Climbing Shoes? The Price Perspective

Another significant question arises, how much does it cost to resole climbing shoes? This is like the final chapter in a book – where all the pieces fall into place. 

The cost of resoling typically ranges from $30 to $50, but it can vary based on the type of repair and the specific shoe model. 

Cost comparison of resoling of climbing shoes in ($)

What to Do with Old Climbing Shoes: A Sustainable Approach

When it’s time to say goodbye to your well-loved climbing shoes, you might wonder, what to do with the old shoes.

Firstly, if they’re still usable, consider donating them. Various organizations collect used climbing gear for those who can’t afford their own.

Recycling is another option. Some companies specialize in recycling climbing shoes, transforming them into useful products like crash pads.

Lastly, get creative! Old pair of shoes can be transformed into unique planters, artsy wall decor, or even a funky doorstop. 

Your worn-out shoes might have retired from the crag, but they can still embark on a new adventure!

How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last On Indoor Walls: The Indoor Saga

Shifting gears to a related topic, you might be curious, how long do climbing shoes last on indoor walls? Indoor climbing tends to be less abrasive on shoes than outdoor climbing. 

However, frequent foot-dragging and aggressive toe-ins can speed up wear. On average, with regular training in the climbing gym, a good quality shoe can last from 6 months to a year.

How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last On Different Types Of Rock: The Geological Impact

Lastly, let’s consider how long do climbing shoes last on different types of rock. The type of rock you’re climbing significantly impacts your shoes. 

Softer rocks like sandstone are less harsh on your shoes than harder rocks like granite. Additionally, climbing in wet conditions can deteriorate your shoes faster. 

Therefore, understanding these factors can help you manage your shoe’s lifespan and optimize your climbing experience.

Lifespan of climbing shoes on different surfaces


In conclusion, the lifespan of climbing shoes is a complex narrative, influenced by usage frequency, climbing style, shoe quality, and care practices. 

With proper care and occasional resoling, a high-quality pair of climbing shoes can serve you well for up to a year or even longer.

Remember to store your shoes properly and consider sustainable options when they’re past their prime. 

Ultimately, understanding these factors and implementing effective care practices can extend your shoes’ lifespan, enhance your climbing experience, and contribute to a sustainable climbing community.


How Do You Know If Your Climbing Shoes Are Worn Out?

To determine if your rock climbing shoes are worn out, observe the soles.
If they have holes, thin areas, or the original texture has worn smooth, it’s time to replace them. Moreover, discomfort and reduced performance are also tell-tale signs.

Do Climbing Shoes Expire?

Unlike food, climbing shoes do not have a definite expiration date.
However, with constant use, their performance will inevitably decline. If stored properly and used occasionally, they can last for several years.

Do Climbing Shoes Lose Grip?

Yes, climbing shoes can lose grip over time. As the rubber soles wear out, the shoes lose their friction. This is a gradual process and regular climbers will typically notice a difference in their performance.

Should You Shower in Your Climbing Shoes?

Showering in your climbing shoes is not advisable. Water can degrade the materials and compromise the shoes’ fit and performance. Instead, clean them as per the manufacturer’s instructions to maintain their longevity.

Do More Expensive Climbing Shoes Make a Difference?

More expensive climbing shoes often provide better performance and durability.
They tend to have superior materials and construction, offering better grip, precision, and comfort. However, the best shoes for you always depend on your personal fit and climbing style.

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