How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last?

Are you an enthusiastic climber who is ready to push yourself to the limit and reach new heights? Or maybe you’re a newbie to this thrilling adventure and are looking for solutions to all of your gear-related queries.

Today, we’ll go deeply into the lifetime of climbing shoes, which are a necessary piece of gear for each climber. We have all the information you need, from what influences their durability to how to prolong their life.

So, how long do climbing shoes last?

While dedicated climbers may go through three or more pairs of climbing shoes in a year, the typical active climber can only wear out two pairs. The main component that affects how long climbing shoes endure is the rubber on the soles. Depending on how frequently you climb, how well you footwork, and how soft your shoes are, a decent pair of shoes should last until the rubber wears out.

The kind of climbing (indoor or outdoor), the exact methods used by the climber, the frequency and intensity of usage, and other variables all affect how long climbing shoes last.

While some individuals can climb for a year without changing their shoes, others can only use them for a few months. To illustrate, a Reddit member said that after six months of weekly climbing, their Scarpa Vapour V shoes were still going strong. While their La Sportiva Katana lasted them around 4 months, another UKC customer said that their Five Ten Anasazi shoes lasted them 8–10 months before developing a hole on their big toe.

You may need to get new shoes if they are no longer sticky or if your grip isn’t as good as it once was. You may also get the problem fixed or have your shoes resoled.

How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last?

Climbing shoes usually have a lifespan of 3-9 months, but this can vary depending on how often and how hard you use them. Numerous factors can affect the longevity of climbing shoes.

  • Frequency and intensity of use: The more frequently and intensely you climb, the quicker your shoes will wear out. This is because the rubber sole is exposed to more friction and abrasion.
  • Type of climbing: Different types of climbing can also impact the lifespan of your shoes. For instance, bouldering shoes tend to wear out faster due to the constant pressure and impact on the rubber sole.
  • Quality of materials: Higher quality brands typically use better materials, resulting in longer-lasting climbing shoes. Cheaper shoes may show visible signs of wear sooner and need to be replaced more frequently.
  • Proper care and maintenance: Taking proper care of your climbing shoes can help extend their lifespan. This includes keeping them clean, dry, and away from extreme temperatures. Regularly checking for damage and repairing when necessary can also help prolong their life.

When it comes time to replace your climbing shoes, it’s important to pay attention to signs of wear and tear. Some common indicators that it’s time for a new pair include significant wear on the sole or upper part, decreased performance, and discomfort while climbing.

Aside from purchasing new climbing shoes, you also have the option to resole them or recycle them. Resoling can be a cost-effective way to extend the life of your shoes, while recycling is a more environmentally friendly choice.

To summarize, how often you should replace your climbing shoes depends on various factors such as frequency and intensity of use, type of climbing, quality of materials, and proper care and maintenance.

Extending the Lifespan of Climbing Shoes

Familiarize yourself with the typical longevity of climbing shoes and the various factors that can impact it Take note of how frequently you use your climbing shoes and the types of rock surfaces you climb on, as these can have an effect on their lifespan.
Be attentive for visible indications of wear and tear Regularly inspect your climbing shoes for worn-out soles or torn uppers, which can affect their performance and safety.
Properly maintain and clean your climbing shoes Dirt, chalk, and sweat can cause premature deterioration, so it’s important to clean them regularly and store them in a cool, dry place.
Learn how to properly clean and dry climbing shoes without compromising the adhesive rubber Using incorrect cleaning methods can affect the stickiness of the rubber, so it is essential to research proper cleaning techniques.
Switch between multiple pairs of climbing shoes If possible, alternate between multiple pairs of climbing shoes to distribute wear more evenly and prolong their lifespan.
Recognize when it’s time to replace climbing shoes for safety reasons Don’t hold onto old climbing shoes for sentimental value; if they are no longer safe to climb in, it’s important to replace them.
Consider environmentally-friendly disposal methods for old climbing shoes If you need to replace your old climbing shoes, think about recycling or donating them instead of throwing them away.
Invest in top-quality climbing shoes with advanced construction techniques The use of the highest-quality materials and construction methods can make a significant difference in the durability and lifespan of climbing shoes.
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When To Resole Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes typically require resoling every 6-12 months, but this can vary depending on how often you climb and what type of climbing you do.

Keep in mind that the following are general guidelines and individual circumstances may affect the timing.

When to Resole Climbing Shoes:

It’s time to resole your climbing shoes when the original sole wears down to a point where it no longer offers enough support or traction for safe climbing.

This can happen gradually over time or more suddenly if the shoes are used frequently and/or for challenging climbs.

Factors to Consider:

  • Type of Climbing: The type of climbing you do will greatly impact how quickly your shoes wear down. If you primarily climb on rough outdoor surfaces or boulder, your shoes will deteriorate faster than if you climb indoors on artificial walls.
  • Frequency of Use: The more often you use your shoes, the sooner they will need to be resoled. If you climb several times a week, you may need to resole more frequently compared to someone who only climbs once a week.
  • Shoe Construction: Certain climbing shoes have a sturdier sole that can withstand multiple resoles, while others have a softer sole that wears out faster. It is important to research the materials and construction of your particular shoe model to determine its durability.

Tips for Prolonging Climbing Shoes’ Life

Tips for Prolonging Climbing Shoes’ Life Details
Store your climbing shoes properly. To ensure your climbing shoes last longer, store them in a dry and cool place away from direct sunlight. This will prevent premature deterioration of the materials used.
Regularly clean your climbing shoes. Make it a habit to clean your climbing shoes regularly to maintain their longevity. Use mild soap and water to remove dirt, chalk, and sweat, but avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the materials.
Rotate between multiple pairs of shoes. If possible, consider investing in multiple pairs of climbing shoes and rotating them. This will help distribute wear more evenly, extending the lifespan of each pair.
Consider resoling your climbing shoes. If the upper part of your climbing shoes is still in good condition, you may want to consider resoling them instead of buying a new pair. Look for reputable resoling services or DIY resoling kits as a cost-effective option to extend the life of your shoes.
Pay attention to signs of wear and tear. As with any type of footwear, it’s crucial to pay attention to signs of wear and tear on your climbing shoes. Worn-out soles, peeling rubber, and torn uppers are clear indicators that it’s time to replace your shoes. Reduced edging capability, diminished sensitivity, and decreased friction are also signs that it’s time for new shoes.
Incorporate proper foot care into your climbing routine. To keep your climbing shoes in good condition, make sure to dry your feet before putting them on. This will prevent excess moisture that can cause bacteria and odors. You may also want to consider using foot powder or anti-bacterial spray to keep your feet dry and comfortable during climbs.
Choose quality materials and construction. Investing in high-quality climbing shoes can greatly impact their lifespan. Look for shoes with durable materials and solid construction to ensure they can withstand the wear and tear of climbing.
Practice safe climbing techniques. Avoid dragging your feet or scuffing them against rough surfaces, as this can cause premature wear and tear on your shoes. Instead, focus on precise footwork and proper technique to minimize damage to your shoes.
Consider sustainable disposal methods. When it’s time to replace your old climbing shoes, consider donating them or recycling them instead of throwing them away.
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Quality vs. Cheap Climbing Shoes

The biggest difference between expensive and low-cost climbing shoes is how long they last and how durable they are. Usually made with better materials and expert craftsmanship, the more costly kind has a longer lifetime and performs better overall. However, less expensive choices could not provide the same degree of quality or durability, so novices or casual climbers who aren’t pushing themselves as hard might be better served by them.

A good climbing shoe should be able to resist the wear and tear of frequent usage. They often have strong, long-lasting materials that can withstand the rigors of climbing, such tough uppers and rubber soles. Conversely, less expensive climbing shoes could be made of inferior materials that might not last as well over time. The shoes may have a shorter lifetime as a consequence, requiring more frequent replacements.

In addition, premium climbing shoes may contain extra characteristics that add to their longevity. For the best results over steep boulders, this has strengthened toe patches and heel cups. Cheaper shoes, on the other hand, could not have these characteristics, which would make them less useful for difficult climbs.

Combatting Climbing Shoe Odor

Climbing shoes are a must-have for any climber, but they can quickly develop a strong odor due to the combination of sweat and bacteria. Not only is this unpleasant for you and those around you, but it can also cause damage to your shoes. To keep your climbing shoes smelling fresh and in good condition, here are some effective ways to combat and eliminate odor:

Air them out after every use

After climbing, make sure to remove your shoes and let them air out before storing them away.

This will help dry out any moisture in the shoes, preventing bacteria growth.

Use a specialized foot spray

How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last-2

Investing in a specialized foot spray can effectively eliminate odor-causing bacteria in your climbing shoes. Look for one that is specifically designed for athletic footwear and follow the instructions for best results.

Sprinkle baking soda inside

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that can absorb unwanted smells. Before storing your climbing shoes, sprinkle some baking soda inside and let it sit overnight before shaking it out. This will neutralize any lingering odors.

Stuff them with newspaper

Newspaper is another excellent moisture absorber that can help keep your climbing shoes smelling fresh. Simply stuff them with newspaper after use, and the paper will absorb any sweat or moisture.

Wash removable insoles

If your climbing shoes have removable insoles, make sure to wash them regularly to prevent bacteria from building up.

Consider using an antimicrobial foot spray

Antimicrobial foot sprays are designed to kill odor-causing bacteria and can be used as an additional measure to keep your climbing shoes smelling fresh.

Wash your feet before climbing

To prevent excessive foot sweat from contributing to shoe odor, make sure to wash your feet before putting on your climbing shoes.

Wear clean socks when rock climbing

Wearing clean socks while climbing can help absorb sweat and prevent bacteria from building up in your shoes.

Place an activated charcoal shoe insert inside your shoes

Activated charcoal has powerful odor-absorbing properties and can be used as a natural alternative to other deodorizers. Place a shoe insert filled with activated charcoal inside your climbing shoes to effectively eliminate odors.

Reduce foot sweat with climbing chalk or talcum powder

Climbing chalk or talcum powder can absorb sweat and keep your feet dry while climbing, reducing the potential for odor-causing bacteria to develop.

Remove your shoes in between climbs when possible

If given the opportunity, take off your climbing shoes in between climbs to allow them and your feet to air out. This can prevent excessive sweating and keep your shoes smelling fresh.

Climbing Shoes and Indoor Walls

Having climbing shoes that fit properly is a critical aspect of indoor wall climbing, as they can significantly affect your performance, comfort, and safety. A snug fit enables you to have better control and precision on the wall, using small footholds and edges with stability and balance.

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On the other hand, if your shoes don’t fit well, it can cause discomfort and foot fatigue, which increases the chances of slipping or falling.

Therefore, it is crucial to find the perfect fit for a successful and enjoyable climbing experience.

Rubber Types and Lifespan

There are two main types of rubber that are commonly used in climbing shoes: soft and stiff.

Soft rubber is renowned for its exceptional sensitivity and is often preferred for bouldering, whereas stiff rubber offers more stability and support for challenging climbs.

The type of rubber used can significantly impact the lifespan of a climbing shoe, with softer rubbers typically wearing out faster than stiffer ones.

Rubber Type Characteristics Impact on Lifespan
Soft Rubber High sensitivity, perfect for bouldering Wears out quickly due to its softness
Stiff Rubber Provides support and stability for challenging climbs Lasts longer due to its stiffness

It’s important to keep in mind that the lifespan of climbing shoes is also influenced by the frequency and intensity of use, as well as the type of climbing and terrain. Taking proper care, such as ensuring they are kept clean and dry, and making necessary repairs can also extend the life of climbing shoes.

Additionally, popular brands like La Sportiva offer specialized compounds such as their Solution Comp, which are specifically designed for certain styles of climbing. Investing in high-quality brands can also result in longer-lasting climbing shoes compared to lower quality options.

Climbing Shoes on Different Rock Types

Climbing shoes are a necessary tool for rock climbers, providing the essential grip and support to conquer challenging routes. However, the lifespan of these shoes can vary depending on the type of rock they are being used on.

Rock Type Impact on Lifespan of Climbing Shoes Example Climbs
Granite Shorter lifespan due to the polished slabs and more abrasive surfaces it offers. Yosemite’s El Capitan
Sandstone Their lifespan is extended due to friction-heavy climbs and less abrasive surfaces. Zion National Park’s Moonlight Buttress
Limestone The impact on lifespan varies depending on the specific type of limestone. Some varieties have smooth, pocketed surfaces that can be abrasive, while others have more textured surfaces that may be less damaging to shoes. Sport climbing in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge
Gneiss Moderate impact on lifespan due to its similarity to granite, but with less polished surfaces. New Hampshire’s Cannon Cliff
Schist Their lifespan is extended due to its smooth and durable surface. Adirondack Mountains’ Chapel Pond Slab
Quartzite Shorter lifespan due to its slick and abrasive surface. Colorado’s Eldorado Canyon State Park
Basalt The impact on lifespan varies depending on the specific type of basalt. Some varieties have smooth, polished surfaces while others have more textured surfaces that may be less damaging to shoes. Smith Rock State Park’s Monkey Face

A climber’s choice of rock may also influence the style of climbing they perform and how long their climbing shoes last. For instance, the need of jamming body parts into fissures for leverage when crack climbing on granite might result in increased shoe wear and tear. Conversely, sandstone with pocketed faces could need fewer shoe edges, resulting in a longer lifetime.

Moreover, the longevity of climbing shoes may also be significantly influenced by the characteristics and quality of the rock. Climbable elements like pockets and fissures may lessen weight distribution and pressure on shoes, extending their lifetime.


To sum up, climbing shoes are an absolute need for all climbers, and knowing how long they will last is essential for both safety and best performance.

Although this may vary based on a number of variables including frequency of usage, style of climbing, and shoe materials, climbing shoes can typically last anywhere from six months to a year. You may save money over time and prolong the life of your shoes by providing them with the necessary care and upkeep.

If you notice noticeable wear and tear, a lack of grip on holds, or pain while climbing, it’s time to change your climbing shoes. Think about things like the kind of climbing you do and how frequently you wear your shoes when deciding whether to resol them.

Make sure to let your shoes air out after each use, and think about using a specialty foot spray to help fight offensive smells.

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