When to Get New Climbing Shoes: 5 Tips Guide to Optimal Performance

When to Get New Climbing Shoes


Climbing shoes are an essential piece of equipment for climbers, providing the necessary grip, support, and sensitivity needed to tackle various terrains and challenges. Over time, climbing shoes wear out, and knowing when to replace them is crucial to maintain optimal performance and safety. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the signs that indicate it’s time to get new climbing shoes and provide expert advice on how to choose the right pair for your climbing style and preferences.

When to Get New Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes endure substantial wear and tear due to intense climbing sessions, exposure to harsh elements, and the nature of climbing itself. While they might still look fine on the outside, it’s essential to pay attention to certain indicators that suggest it’s time for a replacement.

1. Worn-out Outsoles

The outsole of a climbing shoe is the rubber sole that provides traction on the climbing surface. When you start noticing significant thinning or smooth patches on the outsole, it’s a clear sign that your shoes have worn out. Reduced friction can compromise your grip, making it harder to climb with confidence and increasing the risk of slips and falls.

2. Decreased Sensitivity

Climbing shoes rely on sensitivity to allow climbers to feel the texture of the rock or wall they’re climbing. As climbing shoes age, the midsole and upper materials can become less flexible, leading to decreased sensitivity. If you find it challenging to accurately judge your footholds or feel the nuances of the surface beneath you, it’s a strong indication that your climbing shoes are past their prime.

3. Excessive Stretching

Climbing shoes are typically snug-fitting to maximize performance and control. However, over time, the materials used in the shoes can stretch, causing them to become loose and less supportive. If you notice your climbing shoes have significantly stretched to the point where they no longer provide the necessary snug fit, it’s time to start considering a new pair.

4. Deformed Shape

Intense climbing sessions and prolonged use can lead to the deformation of climbing shoes. Whether it’s a misshapen toe box or a compromised heel cup, deformities in the structure of your shoes can negatively impact your climbing performance. If your climbing shoes no longer hold their original shape and fail to provide the support and stability you need, it’s advisable to invest in a new pair.

5. Sole Delamination

Sole delamination refers to the separation of the rubber outsole from the rest of the shoe. This can occur due to the accumulation of moisture, heat exposure, or simply wear and tear. A delaminated sole compromises the shoe’s integrity, reducing its effectiveness and durability. If you notice any signs of sole delamination, it’s a clear indication that it’s time to retire your current climbing shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQ 1: How often should I replace my climbing shoes?

Answer: The frequency of replacing climbing shoes depends on several factors, including the frequency of use, climbing style, and shoe quality. As a general guideline, most climbers replace their shoes every 6 to 12 months, but it can vary. Pay attention to the signs mentioned earlier to determine if it’s time for a replacement.

FAQ 2: Can I repair my climbing shoes instead of replacing them?

Answer: In some cases, minor repairs can prolong the lifespan of climbing shoes. However, repairs are not always possible or cost-effective, especially if the shoes have significant wear and tear or structural damage. It’s best to consult a professional or a reputable climbing gear store to assess whether repairs are feasible.

FAQ 3: Are there specific climbing shoe brands known for durability?

Answer: Different climbing shoe brands offer varying levels of durability, and it’s important to research and read reviews to find the best options. Some popular brands known for their durable climbing shoes include La Sportiva, Five Ten, Scarpa, and Evolv.

FAQ 4: Can I use climbing shoes for other activities?

Answer: While climbing shoes are designed specifically for climbing, some climbers use them for bouldering, gym climbing, or even certain outdoor activities. However, using climbing shoes for activities like hiking or casual walking can accelerate wear and tear, reducing their lifespan. It’s generally advisable to use climbing shoes solely for climbing purposes.

FAQ 5: How can I extend the lifespan of my climbing shoes?

Answer: Proper care and maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your climbing shoes. Avoid leaving them exposed to excessive heat or moisture, clean them regularly, and store them in a cool, dry place. Additionally, rotating between multiple pairs of climbing shoes can distribute wear and tear, prolonging the lifespan of each pair.

FAQ 6: Should I consider resoling my climbing shoes?

Answer: Resoling climbing shoes involves replacing the worn-out outsole while keeping the rest of the shoe intact. It can be a cost-effective solution, especially if the upper and midsole of your climbing shoes are still in good condition. Consult a professional resoler or a climbing gear store to assess whether resoling is a viable option for your shoes.


Knowing when to get new climbing shoes is crucial for maintaining your performance and safety while climbing. By paying attention to the signs of wear and tear, such as worn-out outsoles, decreased sensitivity, excessive stretching, deformed shape, and sole delamination, you can make an informed decision about when to replace your shoes. Remember, investing in a new pair of climbing shoes will not only enhance your climbing experience but also provide the necessary support and confidence to conquer new heights.

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