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I've been climbing off and on for about 3 years now, but only started going regularly in the last 6 months. I've had the same pair of shoes for about 2 years now. My brother recently pointed out that the toes of my shoes are starting to get seriously worn down. The seams haven't popped yet, but there is a noticeable lack of a clean edge to my shoes compared to a new pair. I feel like this may be affecting my climbing ability, but I have no real way to tell without buying another pair of shoes, going through the process of breaking them in, comparing how I climb in each, and that takes a good bit of time and money.

Is there any way to definitively tell when it's time to replace a pair of shoes that aren't obviously completely destroyed already?

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    If you could add a photo, that might help in your specific case. – Jan Doggen Jun 12 at 15:11
  • Yeah, that would be useful for this specific case. I'll try to grab a few after work. But I am also looking for general rules and things to look for when considering replacing shoes. – DohnJoe Jun 12 at 15:29
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    You don't need to replace them if you're fond of them, you can get them resoled as long as you haven't gone right through. – Separatrix Jun 13 at 8:36
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Generally speaking, newer shoes are going to be better and more effective and yet as you well know that costs money. So what it really comes down is a cost/benefit analysis that's going to be up to the individual.

If it gets to a point where you are slipping and the shoes are falling apart at the seams then it becomes a safety issue, short of that its just a matter of whether you want to spend the money. There are non-profits I know of that haven't replaced their climbing shoes since the early 90s (while newer shoes would work better, the old ones are still effective).

The other thing to look into is just getting the soles redone, this should be cheaper and bring the rubber back to a sticky state.

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    "it becomes a safety issue" maybe if you're free soloing... – endolith Jun 13 at 17:43
  • I think this answers most of my question, I'm now just curious as to where I would get my soles redone. Is it something a "normal" cobbler/shoe repair place would handle? Most of my search results are for DiY kits, and I'm having trouble finding specialty shops that aren't half way across the country. – DohnJoe Jun 18 at 12:51
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Whether a rounded edge is a problem strongly depends on your climbing level. In my experience, for normal people this is not much of an issue as footholds are big enough to step even with a rounded edge, especially on plastic. Adam Ondra on the other side stated in this weeks video that he used 7 pairs of shoes on the dawn wall as holds are so small.

I personally watch my shoes and resole them in case of strong wearout at the tip to the point that the rubber is just down and a (very small) hole starts to appear in your tip (in one of the shoes). As a beginner this was the only sign that a shoe has done its duty. The wearout at the tips is mostly caused by scratching along the wall before hitting the foothold. Thus a good footwork can help to lengthen the life of your shoes.

  • Do you resole them yourself, or get them done somewhere? Is it something a "normal" cobbler/shoe repair place would handle? Most of my search results are for DiY kits, and I'm having trouble finding specialty shops that aren't half way across the country. – DohnJoe Jun 26 at 17:55
  • My gym collects the climbing shoes and sends them once a month to a specialized climbing shoe resolving service on the internet for about 35€. You can send them in for about the same price plus shipping yourself. After 3 to 4 weeks the shoes come back. – Manziel Jun 26 at 18:33

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