/ Dear Rock Shoe Retailers/Importers

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muppetfilter - on 20 Aug 2012
Dear Importers, Retailers,
I would love to know when you plan to reduce your prices now the Euro is 15% weaker against the pound than it was a year ago. I do recall the prices being hiked and the reason given at the time being the exchange rate...

Yours waiting with baited breath for all those fantastic reductions due to the Euro going belly up,

Muppetfilter xxx
Jon Ratcliffe - on 20 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: It's the manufacturers and distributors that suggest the price, retailers price relative to what they pay for trade. It's not just the Euro, it's increases in material costs and the fact that rock boots didn't go up in price for about ten years.
puppythedog on 20 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: an option is to buy from abroad so that the importers don't get any money (if they don't reduce), I bought a pair of Miura VS from Barrabes online 100 including postage and credit card cost rather than the 125 of the suppliers in this country.
puppythedog on 20 Aug 2012
In reply to puppythedog: Plus I couldn't get any in this country because Lyon couldn't import them for a while.
muppetfilter - on 20 Aug 2012
In reply to chummer: In this economic climate material costs have actually dropped.... And the prices did increase over the previous 10 years. And the massive increase in the popularity of climbing in my time as a climber has seen an explosion in the size of equipment manufacturers.

I just dont like it when I have my pants pulled down.The only reason rock shoes cost what they cost is because we are expected to pay it.
Sambo - on 20 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: From someone who used to work in the trade and know a bit about importers they all hedge against currency risk normally 6 - 8 months or so in advance so it may take them some time to wind down there current currency positions so they could reduce the effective prices they pay for stock.

However Big Stone and Beyond Hope both buy stock (Evolv and 5.10) in USD which has had a pretty neutral currency position for the last 24 months (C. $1.5 : 1) so the prices for those brands should be fairly reasonable.

I did notice a big jump in shoe prices in 2009 led by La Sportiva, so think the higher prices we now pay is simply down to a group effect where no one is purposefully focussing on the value end.

Worth noting Boreal is Spanish and I believe distributed direct in the UK and always seem reasonable, even for the v. technical shoes





thegoatstroker - on 20 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: there are quite a few manufacturers of rock shoes, if it were possible to sell them for less would they not be undercutting each other.
Unless im mistaken the euro is still worth more against the pound than it was 5 years ago.
Jon Ratcliffe - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:
I'm not trying to say it's brilliant that we have to pay so much for something that can wear out in a few months or defending manufacturers making money but having said that I do understand why they have gone up so much.
Rock shoes hardly went up in price for years, the price was kept artificially low especially for the traditionally tight fisted British climber. Fact.
It is also worth remembering that the top end shoes are hand made specialist performance footwear and are manufactued in a country where workers are paid a fair wage (as opposed to your running trainers for example) and they're an incredibly complicated and precise construction, for the performance shoes especially, just think of the fit compared to a running trainer that has foam to fill in the gaps.

With regard to material costs dropping rubber costs are higher due to the oil price, fact, and I'm pretty sure that globally costs have risen due to demand from China.

How much do you pay for a quality pair of road running trainers? About 100, and they're made in a 'sweat shop' for want of a better phrase, but you get the picture.

In case you're wondering I have worked in the industry (not actual rock shoe manufacture!) for about 15 years.
Jon Ratcliffe - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to chummer: I should also add that you should all expect to be paying another fiver next year for a lot of models, especially around the sub 90 mark as distributors are trying to stay competitive and keep prices down, but they can't and won't do it for ever. In unfortunate fact.
muppetfilter - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to chummer: When you say "worked in the industry" I take it to mean you work in a shop ....

So lets get it straight now its "material availability" that now affects the extortionate pricing policy rather than "Exchange rate".Despite global manufacturing taking a HUGE nosedive in the last two years meaning more raw materials are more readily available.

It rather sounds like B**locks to me, maybe next year it will be the moon ascending in Jupiter that causes a further price hike that we really shouldnt have to face.
Jon Ratcliffe - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: Ha! Funny, that and running my own, buying etc, and knowing lots of the reps and distributers and the odd manufacturer which funnily enough means you get to know how things work, but of course it could all be yarns and they're all out to get us and bleed us dry eh?!

I never mentioned exchange rate; oil prices affect all products containing oil funnily enough. You mention material availablity...wasn't this greatly affected by that big wave thing last year and isn't China requiring more materials than ever, doesn't this affect things? To be honest I'm now boring myself, you obviously know a lot more about the industry than me, what is it you said you did for work again?
Needle Sports - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: When I started climbing in 1978 EBs (the only rockshoes available) were 10 a pair and I think I was earning 8 a week as a student working in the holidays, so I suspect in real terms, rockshoes are cheaper than they used to be.

Recent price increases are due to numerous factors:

1. Vat increases of 2.5% twice in fairly recent years so that Vat is now 20% whilst in the "old days" it was only 15%.
2. Rise in cost of raw materials.
3. Rise in cost of manufacturing in the Far East due to higher expectations of a better standard of living plus stronger environmental and health and safety legislation in those countries (and they've still a long way to go in both respects).
4. Rise in cost of transport.

At the same time the recession has meant that there is a lot of discounting taking place. This has actually had the effect of keeping prices lower than they should be in terms of costs (which for shops have just gone up and up).

I suspect that if every country in the world had equal wages, equal standards of living and equal safety standards then rockshoes would actually be a lot dearer than they are, maybe twice as much.

Stephen Reid
muppetfilter - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to chummer: I manily build drilling derricks on oilrigs (so I know a wee bit about the dropping price of oil ), but over the years have worked in climbing walls, outdoor retail in the mid 90's and as a ski tech years ago. I knew lots of reps too, Sid and Bill when they imported 5:10, Neil and Tim when they still worked for LaSportiva .

Rubber,Nylon,leather and sewing machinist's cost the same wether you are knocking up a pair of 5 trainers or stupidly expensive rock boots.

However you look at it we are being screwed....

Jon Ratcliffe - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: Droopping price of oil?!! You're a funny guy! http://www.oil-price.net/

Yer Bill was way on top of 5:10 wasn't he?! Aye Tim and Neil when they actually worked for DMM who distributed La Sportiva...anyways I can't argue with a man who can't jam. You're so right about everything and I am wrong.......what's that??....what??...oh, I think I can hear someone else talking facts and truth that needs to be put right on another forum muppetfilter, quick! Go go go! looks like you'll not be getting any sleep for a while...

MJH - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to Jon Ratcliffe:
> Rock shoes hardly went up in price for years, the price was kept artificially low especially for the traditionally tight fisted British climber. Fact.

That is hardly a "fact" given it isn't true! Difficult to compare shoes over the last 10 years due to different models, but certainly the costs have gone up substantially in that period. 10 years ago I was buying decent 5.10s for at least 30 cheaper than they are now which is a substantially higher rate of price increase than just inflation.

I don't believe for one minute that companies were subsidising your "traditionally tight fisted British climber".
Chris Harris - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to Sambo:
> (In reply to muppetfilter) From someone who used to work in the trade and know a bit about importers they all hedge against currency risk normally 6 - 8 months or so in advance so it may take them some time to wind down there current currency positions so they could reduce the effective prices they pay for stock.

So when the rate goes the other way, why do they bang up prices immediately, rather than waiting 6-8 months?

MJH - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to Needle Sports:
> (In reply to muppetfilter) When I started climbing in 1978 EBs (the only rockshoes available) were 10 a pair and I think I was earning 8 a week as a student working in the holidays, so I suspect in real terms, rockshoes are cheaper than they used to be.

No they aren't. Use the BoE's inflation tool and you will see that comes out at 47 (albeit for 2011). Inflation covers all the factors you mention in a crude way.
In reply to muppetfilter:

> Rubber,Nylon,leather and sewing machinist's cost the same wether you are knocking up a pair of 5 trainers or stupidly expensive rock boots.

What, if one sewing machinist is Italy and the other one is Bangladesh or Vietnam?
In reply to muppetfilter:
> Dear... Retailers,

My impression is that mark-ups on specialist outdoor gear is still as low in comparison to so many other things we buy as they were when I worked in gear shops in the 90s. Indeed with internet competition now, they could even be a bit less. Unless someone knows differently, blaming the retailers seems a bit unfair.

muppetfilter - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to TobyA: Interestingly a certain UK brands have switched production to the third world with no drop in price.
Monk - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to MJH:
> (In reply to Jon Ratcliffe)
> [...]
>
> That is hardly a "fact" given it isn't true! Difficult to compare shoes over the last 10 years due to different models, but certainly the costs have gone up substantially in that period. 10 years ago I was buying decent 5.10s for at least 30 cheaper than they are now which is a substantially higher rate of price increase than just inflation.

I think that I bought my first pair of rockshoes for 55 in 1994. They were at the cheaper end of the market then, which went up to about 75. Before the recent (last 4 years?) surge in prices, rockshoes were still about 65 on average, with low end shoes being available for around 55-60. I firmly believe that rock shoe prices were fairly stable for about 10-15 years.

In reply to muppetfilter: A UK maker of rock shoes? Who?
muppetfilter - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to TobyA: I should have clarified , not rock shoe manufacturers but one Famously makes down products and the other Rucksacks...
gethin_allen on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to Needle Sports:
"Vat increases of 2.5% twice in fairly recent years so that Vat is now 20% whilst in the "old days" it was only 15%."
I don't really think you can have that one, VAT only dropped to 15% from 17.5% for a very short while and the prices were increasing rapidly before then.

I think muppetfilter has one rock solid undeniable fact nailed, when they put the price up they peddle you some crap about whatever they think you'll swallow and then when the influence of that factor eases they blame something else. This unsurprisingly rubs people up a bit.

My answer to the whole rockshoe prices thing is to never buy a pair at full price and get my boots resoled for climbing easy stuff (most of the stuff I climb).
Monk - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:

There must be some interesting economics in there somewhere. At what point do high prices result in less revenue due to fewer shoes being sold as more people resole or buy sale stock? I know that I haven't bought a pair of new shoes for about 5 years, after I stockpiled about 6 pairs of a shoe that fits me beautifully when I saw them going cheap in a sale. They're nearly all gone now, though :(
Graeme Alderson on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to Chris Harris:
> (In reply to Sambo)
> [...]
>
> So when the rate goes the other way, why do they bang up prices immediately, rather than waiting 6-8 months?

They don't, I deal with Scarpa, 5.10 and Boreal who all deal in Euros (sorry sambo Big Stone don't buy in USD although 5.10 Europe do so thats another factor to build in the Euro/USD exchange rate). It took a good few months for prices to go up when the droppped to virtual parity.

Plus you are not actually comparing over the same period. 10 years ago the 1 = 1.45 Euro, then it slowly went down, boot prices remained stable(ish) as the manufacturers were taking the hit, as were the distributors and the retailers. Then the nose dived about 4 years ago and it became untenable so boot prices jumped up quite a bit.

Yes the has recovered but other factors come into it. Scarpa and Boreal are made in Italy and Spain, the cost of borrowing has gone up significantly in those countries. Plus all of the other factors mentioned by Jon and Stephen.

Needle Sports - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to MJH:
> (In reply to Needle Sports)
> [...]
>
> No they aren't. Use the BoE's inflation tool and you will see that comes out at 47 (albeit for 2011). Inflation covers all the factors you mention in a crude way.

Which would make my 8/week wage worth 37.65. Looking here: http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~alan/family/N-Money.html the agricultural wage at that time was ca 43/week. Rockshoes cost more than a labourer's weekly wage in 1978. I doubt they do now.

MJH - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to Needle Sports: That just means that wages aren't a good indicator!

The whole point of inflation stats is that it covers a reasonable selection of goods and can cover things like changes in VAT (which wages stats can't).

Graeme Alderson on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to MJH: But inflation isn't meant to focus on a single product. Something things have gone down in price eg consumer electronics.

MJH - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson: Agreed, but it still gives a rough idea of whether something has increased in price or not disproportionately to a norm (where the norm is the average of other things).
paul__in_sheffield - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: The market price of a commodity is defined by its price elasticity of demand, which in the case of rock shoes, appears to be very elastic. In these cases, the price is set by what we are prepared to pay, irrespective of production costs.
beardy mike - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: Can you please filter yourself? What is it about climbers in this country that they think because someone enjoys a particular hobby, that they should then provide their wares for next to nowt and for the "love of other climbers"? They are businesses, and the prime purpose of a business is to MAKE MONEY. It's up to them what they charge. It's up to you whether you pay that or not. If you don't want to pay for new expensive shoes, get your old ones resoled and quit moaning like a big gurls blouse.
kevin stephens - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to mike kann:
+1,
just like those whinging about "rips offs" when flying to exotic climbing destinations for 4/5 of F All
muppetfilter - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to mike kann: I would love to watch you buy a house .... ;0)

"I know it says 175,000 but I absolutely insist on paying you 200,000"
nufkin - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:
> (In reply to TobyA) Interestingly a certain UK brands have switched production to the third world with no drop in price.

Maybe another way to look at it is that their products didn't increase in price as much as they would/might have done if manufacture remained in Britain.

Something else to bear in mind, if no-one else has mentioned it, is that some of the price of shoes also (eventually) goes to the shop staff's salaries. Probably most people on UKC don't think climbing shop staff are overpaid...
Graeme Alderson on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to nufkin: If I reduce the staff wages at The Works by 1 an hour then I could probably give 10 off the average 11 pairs of boots that we sell a week. I am sure that would go down well with my staff ;-)
The Biochemist on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Needle Sports:

I think the prices have gone up beyond what people deem a reasonable amount to pay - 100 every few months is steep (whoever mentioned running shoes - how often do you have to replace those?)

But what I really wanted to say was, people stop badgering Mr Needle Sports - their prices are exceptional compared to many many more expensive shops in this country.

=)
beardy mike - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: No, houses are on a totally different scale. This is a few quid, which working on an oil rig, you most doubt make in about an hour at the most. Stop being a muppet.
beardy mike - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Alissabray:
> - 100 every few months is steep

Holy crap - how often do you climb? Even when I was climbing 3-4 days a week it would take me a year to get through a single pair (which would be my only pair)... can I suggest changing to clogs?

The Biochemist on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to mike kann:

I do admittedly have several pairs, but when I was bouldering 5 days a week, it would be 4-5 months and I was through the toes.

Could be worse though, I could wear la Sportiva, and then have to fork out 120 every few months!
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Kieran_John - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Alissabray:

-looks at hole in La Sportiva shoes-
-grumbles in agreement-
Blue Straggler - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:

In 13 years I have never spent more than 40 on a pair of brand new climbing shoes bought in proper shops in the UK. I have never had a "bad" pair of shoes that I could blame for failure on a route or boulder problem.

I've owned Scarpa, Mad Rock, La Sportiva, Red Chilli and Climb X.

Maybe I am not climbing hard enough to need 100+ shoes?
beardy mike - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Alissabray: Fair enough. I reckon on a per use basis it's still not THAT bad... when you compare it to trainers, handbags or fashion clothes you still get quite a lot for your money.
Al Randall on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: The rand on my Evolve Pontas wore through very quickly even though there is plenty of life in the sole. I've never had that happen on any other pair of shoes. Usually the rand outlasts the shoe never mind the sole.

Al
The Biochemist on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to mike kann:

You know you are talking to a bunch of climbers? I walk around town in walking boots that last years, wear plain t-shirts and jeans that again, last years and handbags? (I'm a slight girl on those ones) but they last ages if you look after them =)

Maybe on a per use basis you are right, but I still wouldn't say it's alot for your money.

Needless to say, when I found a pair of mine for 20 off, I was in there, even though I didn't need any that time!
beardy mike - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Alissabray: Not ALL climbers are like you though. Some are high flying execs who spend lots on their appearance. When you consider that most trainers are the same price as many rock boots, and they are mass produced, partially by machines out in China or Taiwan and consist of a poorly lasted cheap synthetic upper that is compensated for with foam, rather than hand stitched in Italy, Spain or America, with high quality grain leather on a specialised last and then left for a few extra days to ensure that last is good so that they fit like a glove...
The Biochemist on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to mike kann:

I know not all climbers are like me, and yes I know some are more well off than others - but say you had 100 to spend on a) clothes or b) climbing shoes, I don't think many climbers would choose clothes. Unless its clothes for climbing =P

I agree that the quality is good, but trainers are over priced extortionately because people will buy them/brands whatever. Climbing shoes are all similarly priced (except la Sportivas ;-) ) so it's not really fair to compare them to overpriced trainers.

But we are all on the same side so there is no point in arguing - quality or not, we all want to pay less and I doubt given a 60 or 100 pair of the same shoe, anyone would pay the higher price...
beardy mike - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Alissabray: Of course - if they are on offer you take the offer. The premise of the OP though is that they're overpriced and that manufacturers are ripping us off. To say that and for there to be truth to it, shoes need to be much more expensive than they are - trainer manufacturers - now they ARE ripping us off. The margins on most other clothes are MUCH higher than in the outdoor industry, more like triple up rather than double on trade. Just because your clothes you buy from Tesco or where ever are cheap, doesn't mean that there isn't a high mark up. It just happens that they use cheap labour, cheap materials and don't give a toss about what they do to achieve a cheap price that you deem affordable. Now if you bought slightly more expensive jeans etc, you might find they last longer - I know the few pairs of Levi's I have, have massively outlasted my Gap ones which were half the price. I also know I've had hand stitched leather shoes which were very expensive - like 120, but they were enormously comfortable and lasted for ages and ages, much longer than any other shoes I've owned including some walking boots, despite frequent use.
The Biochemist on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to mike kann:

My Jeans do last ages =) and I don't buy cheap ones I just don't buy them often. Besides I get most of my clothes off my sister =P

What everyone deems being ripped off is different - you think you arn't being ripped off my climbing shoe retailers, some people think its horrendous. I think they are overpriced a bit but I like the guys at my shop so I don't care that much =)
Blue Straggler - on 22 Aug 2012
How do Decathlon manage to sell decent Simond-branded shoes for about 35? A friend of mine has been using a pair for well over a year now, regularly climbing in walls and on rock and exhibiting good durability and fit, and they seem "technical" enough for him (up to E1 / E2, mostly on grit)
That's the RRP, not a loss-leading entry price or a clearout discount.
In reply to Blue Straggler: They sell a decent roadbike for 300 quid as well. Mass production and a very simple model I would imagine is central to it. I've had Decathlon shoes in the past, and they were fine although not the best I've ever owned, and their better shoes aren't that cheap. I think mine were about 45 quid and that's a few years back.

You realise that Simond is their own brand now as well don't you? So these are the same shoes as were branded Quechua a few years back.
biscuit - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler:

The decent simond shoes - the anasazi velcro copies - are about 60 now. They've gone up like all other shoes.

They do an orange pair for 40 but they are very basic.
Toerag - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: I was quite suprised to see that the La Sportiva 'factory shop' in Arco wasn't any cheaper than mainland UK prices when I was there last summer.
VAT is not an excuse - I don't pay it as I live in the Channel Isles and shoes have gone up for me.
Blue Straggler - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Blue Straggler) They sell a decent roadbike for 300 quid as well. Mass production and a very simple model I would imagine is central to it.

Obviously mass production and a simple model does bring costs down but there are comments on this thread that suggest that the construction of any climbing shoe involves days of meticulous work by highly experienced craftsmen, and that they simply can't be mass produced!


>
> You realise that Simond is their own brand now as well don't you? So these are the same shoes as were branded Quechua a few years back.

Yep, agree with all the rest of your post too, but I was trying to make the point that below a certain grade, surely it's not the SHOE that's doing the climbing :-) hence citing the example of a friend who climbs more than competently around E1 in some 35 Simond shoes.

In reply to Blue Straggler: I've tried all the Decathlon shoes on over recent years and annoyingly none of them now fit my foot shape! I guess I need to pay for fit. I notice they do sell Scarpas at a good price though.
witnessthis - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Jon Ratcliffe:
la sportiva solutions in paris 88 in london 3 hours away(by train) 125......with present rate of exchange.I bought la sportiva pythons in millau for 67(with present rate of exchange) in march this year they are 90 in shops in uk I think.
witnessthis - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:
La sportiva futuras 130 in london....3 hours away in Paris 88....No I am not sure why the shops in london carry these prices....
Thelongcon - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to mike kann:

trainer manufacturers - now they ARE ripping us off.

When I first arrived in the UK all I had in the way of footwear was a pair of flip-flops. In November, this wasn't ideal. Silly back-to-front seasons.
My friends took me to TKMaxx where I bought a pair of Fila trainers for 20. These lasted me 3 months. During those 3 months I got a job at Ellis Brigham. One day a bloke came in with an old (about a year) pair of Salomon 3d ultra's (trainers). He replaced his old pair, and since they were roughly my size (about 3 sizes too large) and I was skint, I took the pair he left behind. These lasted me several trips to Amsterdam, Scotland, Spain, the middle east, france, singapore and for a few months in Australia, all up I was using them for just over a year.
I'm not sure if you guys are being ripped off with climbing shoe prices, it's a metric shit-ton cheaper there than in oz, but I do know that salomon deffo aren't ripping you off in the shoes department.
ERU - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Andrewmorts:
> ... and I was skint, I took the pair he left behind. These lasted me several trips to Amsterdam, Scotland, Spain, the middle east, france, singapore and for a few months in Australia.

I try to get about but often don't find it as expensive as shoes. I'd love to know how you manage it?
Thelongcon - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to ERU:

I managed it by living like a bum, dumpster diving for food and picking up second hand pairs of shoes from work. Pretty worthwhile in my opinion.

http://www.eurolines.co.uk/ and ryanair/easyjet. When you're paying 70 for a return trip, it's not as expensive as most pairs of shoes. Or 3 times as expensive as shoes from TKMaxx.

And for the return leg home, Airasia used to do a budget longhaul, something like 260 from Paris to Singapore.
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torquil on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:

Just don't drop prices too much or I'll be out of a job!

gethin_allen on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to torquil:
> (In reply to muppetfilter)
>
> Just don't drop prices too much or I'll be out of a job!

Oooh no! You've broken the seal. This thread will live forever now.

puppythedog on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to torquil: You back now Torquil? I've got a couple of pairs I want you to mend :-)

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