Like any piece of climbing equipment, they have a lifespan that must be taken into account. In this article, we will explore and answer the question “How long do climbing shoes last” as well as and what factors affect their lifespan.
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How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last?: Average Lifespan
The lifespan of climbing shoes varies depending on the type of shoe, the frequency of use, and the type of climbing. How long do climbing shoes last? Well, bouldering shoes typically last between 6-12 months, sport climbing shoes last between 6-18 months, and trad climbing shoes can last up to 2 years.
Why the Lifespan of Climbing Shoes Matters
Now you have the answer too “how long do climbing shoes last”, lets talk about why it matters to have this knowledge in the first place.
Understanding the lifespan of climbing shoes is important for several reasons. First and foremost, worn-out climbing shoes can be dangerous. They may lack the necessary grip and support, making falls more likely.
Additionally, worn-out shoes can affect a climber’s performance, making it more difficult to execute moves and complete routes.
Factors Affecting Climbing Shoe Lifespan
Type of Climbing Shoe Different types of climbing shoes are designed for different types of climbing. Bouldering shoes, sport climbing shoes, and trad climbing shoes all have different characteristics and are designed to withstand different types of wear and tear.
- Frequency of Use: Climbing shoes that are used frequently will wear out more quickly than those that are used less often.
- Type of Climbing: The type of climbing a person does can also affect the lifespan of their shoes. Climbing on rough, abrasive rock will cause shoes to wear out more quickly than climbing on smoother rock.
- Climbing Style: A climber’s style can also affect the lifespan of their shoes. More aggressive climbers who use their shoes for edging and smearing will wear out their shoes more quickly than those who climb in a more relaxed style.
- User Weight: The weight of the climber can also affect the lifespan of their shoes. Heavier climbers will put more pressure on their shoes, causing them to wear out more quickly.
- Storage: The way climbing shoes are stored can also affect their lifespan. Shoes that are stored in a cool, dry place will last longer than those that are stored in a damp, humid environment.
- Signs of Wear and Tear: There are several signs that climbing shoes are wearing out and need to be replaced. These include holes or tears in the upper material, a worn-out rubber sole, delamination, loss of shape and support, and a foul smell.
Extending the Lifespan of Climbing Shoes
There are several things that climbers can do to extend the lifespan of their climbing shoes. Proper fit, using the right shoes for the right type of climbing, avoiding unnecessary wear and tear, proper cleaning and maintenance, and resoling can all help to prolong the life of climbing shoes.
- Proper Fit: Choosing climbing shoes that fit properly is crucial for their lifespan. Shoes that are too tight or too loose can cause unnecessary wear and tear.
- Using the Right Shoes for the Right Type of Climbing: Using the right type of shoe for the type of climbing being done can also help to extend their lifespan. Using bouldering shoes for sport climbing, for example, will cause them to wear out more quickly.
- Avoiding Unnecessary Wear and Tear: Climbers can avoid unnecessary wear and tear on their shoes by not walking in them outside of the climbing area, avoiding abrasive surfaces, and using protective covers when carrying them in a backpack.
- Proper Cleaning and Maintenance: Cleaning climbing shoes after each use and allowing them to dry thoroughly can help to prevent foul odors and extend their lifespan. Using a brush and warm water can help remove dirt and debris from the shoe’s surface.
- Resoling: When the rubber sole of a climbing shoe starts to wear out, resoling can be a cost-effective way to extend their lifespan. This involves removing the old sole and attaching a new one to the shoe’s upper.
When to Retire Climbing Shoes Climbing
shoes should be retired when they become unsafe or when they no longer perform adequately. Personal preferences can also be a factor in deciding when to retire shoes.
- Safety Concerns: When climbing shoes no longer provide the necessary grip and support, they become a safety concern. Shoes with holes or tears in the upper material or a worn-out rubber sole can be dangerous to climb in.
- Performance Issues: Climbing shoes that no longer perform adequately can affect a climber’s ability to execute moves and complete routes. Shoes that have lost their shape and support can be difficult to climb in.
- Personal Preferences: Some climbers may choose to retire their shoes simply because they prefer the feel of a new pair. While personal preferences are a valid reason, climbers should still consider the safety and performance aspects of their shoes.
Disposing of Climbing Shoes
When it’s time to retire climbing shoes, there are several options for disposing of them.
- Recycling Options: Some companies offer recycling programs for climbing shoes. These programs break down the shoes into their component parts, which can be reused or repurposed.
- Donation Options: Climbing shoes that are still in good condition can be donated to organizations that provide gear to climbers in need.
- Proper Disposal: Climbing shoes that cannot be recycled or donated should be disposed of properly. They should not be thrown in the trash, but instead, brought to a proper recycling or disposal facility.
Final Thoughts: How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last?
In conclusion, the lifespan of climbing shoes can vary based on several factors, including the type of shoe, frequency of use, and type of climbing. So, how long do climbing shoes last? Well, on average, bouldering shoes can last between 6-12 months, sport climbing shoes can last between 6-18 months, and trad climbing shoes can last up to 2 years.
However, taking proper care of climbing shoes can help to extend their lifespan, including choosing the right shoes for the type of climbing, proper cleaning and maintenance, and resoling. Knowing when to retire climbing shoes is also crucial for safety and performance.
By understanding these factors and taking the necessary steps to prolong their lifespan, climbers can ensure that their shoes provide the necessary grip and support for a successful and safe climb.