Reduce, Reuse, Resole

27 05 2008

Last week, Jason Hendricks from The Adventurist went on a rant about the so-called “greening” of outdoor gear. And how we shouldn’t rely on manufacturer’s eco-hype alternatives – like recycled polyester base-layers and such – to do it for us. I’m sure this discussion is going on everywhere at once, but for my part, I committed to writing about environmental action you can do, not just pay for. Reducing waste and reusing equipment you already have.

Then, over the weekend, a new climber asked me about resoling shoes. How often? How much? And how? What a perfect lead.

Regular climbers can wear through two or three pairs of shoes a year – more if you’re a chronic gym-goer. As tempting as it might be to buy a shiny new pair, the conscientious and cost-conscious choice would be to have them resoled or do it yourself. Sending your shoe to a repair shop (half-soles only) costs anywhere between $20 and $35 plus shipping. Unless you know people who know people, that’s noticeably cheaper than a new pair.

Reasons to resole your shoe:

1. Toe rubber worn 75 – 80% thinner than the rest
2. Visible holes in the toe or elsewhere
3. Soft spots in the rubber you can feel with your fingers

For #1, you’re safe with half-sole repairs. What’s cool about this, you can mix n match. Say you like the fit of your Evolv slippers, but Five Ten rubber knocks your proverbial socks off. Well sir, you can have both. I’ve seen shops offering Five Ten C4, La Sportiva Vibram XSV, Scarpa Megabyte, Boreal Fusion, Mad Rock #5, and Evolv TRAX rubber soles. Take your pick.

If you notice holes or soft spots, you’ll also need to replace the rand. This is the second layer of rubber that wraps around the toe box and serves as an anchor for the sole. The longer you wait on basic resoling, the greater chance you’ll damage the rand and make the whole process about $20 more expensive.

Repair shops can also re-attach leather or synthetic uppers that are peeling away from the rubber.

Basically, they take your torn-up shoes and return them like new – fit intact. Mostly.

Send them by mail and the process takes a couple weeks. Drop them off at a shop near you and it could take as little as a couple days. To find a locale, try this list (last updated March 22, 2007).

If you’re the DIY type, check out these instructions for resoling at home. I know both Five Ten and Mad Rock offer kits. For quick patches, get handy with Shoe Goo or Aqua-Seal.

And finally, if you’re the procrastinating type, take good care of your soles and they’ll last longer. Keep them away from heat. Clean them between routes. Don’t walk around in them. And store them in a well ventilated place. (Tips courtesy of the Rubber Room.)


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6 responses

28 05 2008
The Adventurist

Summer,

I have a good friend that use to do shoe repair work. I had worked with him on occasion, but am continually amazed by the amount of people that would rather buy a new pair then get them fixed. It is definitely an awesome idea, and a bit cheaper on the pocketbook.

Nice post.

31 05 2008
Influence, Influenced, and Influencing - The Adventurist - Mt. Everest to The Poles: Exploring Adventure One Trip At a Time

[…] happens to be from an article entitled “Reduce, Reuse, Resole,”  hence the idea for this post’s […]

2 06 2008
Stewart

I had my 1994 pair of Mythos resoled for the sixth time last autumn, but this spring the tongue came out of the right shoe after a 28-pitch day. I’m wearing them for training now, but I climbed a few thousand pitches all over the world in those shoes. Good climbing shoes are expensives. Resoles are inexpensive. I can’t understand why so many climbers buy the cheap shoes now available that are basically Wal-Mart throwaway shoes…use ’em, they fall apart, toss ’em. Not eco-friendly at all.

3 06 2008
sumerian

Wow, that is a shoe lifespan to aspire to!

I’m currently climbing in a pair of relatively inexpensive evolvs, which I bought used, so I can only hope they’ll last as long. Even with resoling, as a newer brand they might be made to conform to the “throw-away” mentality. I just don’t know yet.

17 06 2008
born shoes resole | b2b shoes

[…] Reduce, Reuse, Resole Sending your shoe to a repair shop (half-soles only) costs anywhere between $20 and $35 plus shipping. Unless you know people who know people, that�s noticeably cheaper than a new pair. Reasons to resole your shoe: …vice/virtue – https://vicevirtue.wordpress.com […]

27 06 2008
Climbing Rope and Recycling - The Adventurist - Mt. Everest to The Poles: Exploring Adventure One Trip At a Time

[…] over at the Vice/Virtue blog has put up another very good article.  Her first piece, “Reduce, Reuse, Resole,” expanded on the merits that climbing shoes could be fixed cheaper than buying a new pair of […]

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