/ Shoe soles worn out?

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Simos on 13 Nov 2013
Apologies for the noob question but wondering whether the time has come to replace my climbing shoes.

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...)

gethin_allen on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Simos:
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.
gethin_allen on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Simos:
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.
jkarran - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Simos:

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.

jk
Simos on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to gethin_allen:

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 :-)
Simos on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to jkarran:

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.
douwe - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Simos:
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.munro - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to douwe:

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.
douwe - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to i.munro:
Maybe I'm just climbing crappier once the temperatures drops.
Don't know about the optimum temperature for rubber on plastic though.
i.munro - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to douwe:

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.
Rigid Raider - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Simos:

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.
nawface - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Simos:

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.

Read this

http://www.llanberisresoles.com/pages/faq.html#rand

Simos on 19 Nov 2013
In reply to nawface:

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!

Simos on 19 Nov 2013
In reply to Rigid Raider:

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?
GridNorth - on 20 Nov 2013
In reply to Simos: If the uppers are in good condition I would consider a resole. Chesire Shoe repairs have just done mine for 36 including postage and includes rand patches. It cost me 3.00 to post them. I'm afraid that when the price is approaching 50 I don't consider it worthwhile.
gethin_allen on 20 Nov 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
"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.

Simos on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to gethin_allen:

Yes exactly...

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.
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Willi Crater - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to i.munro:

> 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.

Does the temperature at Ratho get as high as 4 deg at this time of year? :-)

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