/ Shoe soles worn out?
It's an entry level La Sportiva model of some description of other and I've used them for the past 2-3 years. They've been used exclusively indoors and mainly for bouldering.
While I'd consider them in good condition (at least the top part), the last few weeks they have been feeling particularly slippery. Initially I though it was just the holds covered in too much chalk but the sole does feel really smooth and 'shiny' (if that makes sense), it's as if the rubber has lost its grip.
I don't know enough about the way climbing shoes are manufactured to know whether there are different layers in the sole so it'd be good to hear how others 'know' that it's time for new shoes.
Not keen to buy news shoes at the moment if I can help it so any tips that might help at all are appreciated. Also, is it generally considered a bad idea to climb with worn out shoes? (I am thinking mainly for technique...)
The sole is normally just one part glued to the upper. Do you ever wash your rubber? Give it a bit of a scrub with a nail brush under a warm tap and watch all the crap that comes off.
The shoes may also feel less grippy due to the sole giving less support now that it is thin and soft or because the upper has stretched.
2-3 years is very good for a pair of roch boots.
Just to add also, if the uppers are in good condition you could get them resoled by torquil at llanberis Resoles for a lot cheaper than a new pair; he did a top job with my last pair. Otherwise try Cheshire shoe repair.
If they're not worn out, with 'cardboard' or the leather showing through wear in the rubber then they're fine. Chances are they're a bit harder than they were because it's got a bit colder. You can scrub the polish of them with a wire brush but I wouldn't bother.
You adapt to your shoes, each new pair requires subtly different use to achieve their and your best performance. Likewise as they age you adapt how and when you use them. There does come a point where new shoes will give you a noticeable 'edge' but it's important to remember your old ones will be nearly as good. Some of my hardest problems have been climbed in tired old shoes that I was comfortable in.
Thanks, doesn't look like there's much to clean but will give them a wash. Your comment about the upper stretching has also made me think that it could be also because a couple of weeks ago I've put a bit of athlete's foot powder in, so maybe my foot is slipping a bit against the shoe from the inside. They're Velcro and admittedly I don't always tighten them as much as possible - obviously Velcro has its limits too in terms of fit. They're super-comfortable though :-)
Actually quite likely for the temperature to be a factor too - it's a bit cold where I boulder and I seem to remember the rubber being 'matt' and soft a couple of months ago and now it's shiny and hard.
I definitely don't think it's worth getting new shoes - apart from being hard and shiny the sole looks absolutely fine (obviously there is some wear) and I don't climb hard problems anyway. My technique leaves a lot to be desired so I can't blame the shoes! :-) just a bit annoying at times as I slip on problems that I used to do easily 4-5 weeks ago but as you say, I should be able to adapt.
Yeah, temperature can make a huge difference especially on plastic.
Pretty normal for your rubber to have a bit less friction now the temperature has dropped. You could try warming up your shoes a bit before climbing if it really bothers you.
I've read in a number of places that rock shoe rubber is optimised for 4 deg so I can't imagine it's that unless you 're at Ratho.
Maybe I'm just climbing crappier once the temperatures drops.
Don't know about the optimum temperature for rubber on plastic though.
I'm fairly sure it would be in the same region as the properties of the rubber won't change.
I have noticed that some old shoes I left in a cupboard for a long time seemed to go hard & shiny as described. My guess was that the rubber had degraded (possibly oxidised) so I took the top layer off with a wire brush.
Possibly some of the sulphur has migrated out of the rubber, this is what leaves brown stains when you stand your bicycle for a few days on a pale-coloured vinyl kitchen floor (don't ask me how I know this!)
Bicycle tyres sometimes come from the factory with a waxy covering, which I believe is also an ingredient migrating out. I would give them a good wash in the machine, which will clean up the rubber.
If do decide that they're wearing through and you want a resole then make sure you get it done before the rand (the bit around the toe box) gets affected as this will increase the resole price and decrease the quality.
Thanks, that's actually quite interesting if not anything else. Resoling sounds appealing on one hand but not sure I'll go for it - the shoes didn't cost me a huge amount to begin with (had some deal) so I am thinking they're not worth resoling, it might be better wearing them until they are completely worn off and then investing in a new pair - will keep an eye out for deals!
I won't ask how you know that! :-) Can they safely go in the machine? Maybe on cold wash they'll be ok but isn't it better to hand wash them?
"when the price is approaching £50 I don't consider it worthwhile."
I hadn't realised that the prices had gone up so much when including rand repair. At £45 I think I'd look for new boots on an offer as although good, resoled boots never quite feel as good as new.
For the record I did give my shoes a wash - the sole is definitely less 'shiny' and smooth now and feels like it will have a bit more grip. On the negative side, I think the sole is approaching the end of its life, it's easier to see now it's cleaner.
Thanks everyone for the input.
Does the temperature at Ratho get as high as 4 deg at this time of year? :-)
Elsewhere on the site
At a bar in Llanberis an old man chimed in And I thought he was out of his head Being a young man I just laughed it off When... Read more
F ounded in 1993, Mountain Hardwear are a pretty young mountaineering clothing and equipment manufacturer but are also one of... Read more
Perhaps the perfect Xmas gift for the climber in your life... Wild Country's Crack School has two of the worlds best crack... Read more
Tonight's Friday Night Video features the Norwegian town of Rjukan, once believed to be the home of the world's tallest... Read more
Rock shoes stink – let’s face it. Boot Bananas are the perfect way to fight the funk and keep them fresh. They help... Read more