To Resole or Not To Resole

That is the question. I just sent a pair of shoes off to the good folks at Rock and Resole in Boulder, and then noticed my other main pair is going to need some new rubber soon as well. The topic came up in conversation the other day, and a friend mentioned that he didn’t think resoling was really worth it. Why pay $50 to get new rubber on old shoes, he argued, when you could probably find some new shoes on sale for $100? As I’m firmly entrenched in the resole camp, it got me thinking about whether or not resoling really is the most cost effective way to go.

On one hand, even without a pro deal you can get a new pair of shoes for between $100 and $150. That’s two or three resoles, when you factor in shipping. Even the best, most aggressive shoes start to lose their shape after a stretch of hard use. At some point they go from being high performance tools to flat pieces of rubber on your feet.

On the other hand, it certainly seems wasteful to discard a pair of shoes after the rubber is worn down just on the toe. If you climb a lot, you could be going through a new pair of shoes every three to four months. Even if you aren’t a card carrying member of the Sierra Club, that’s got to weigh on your sense of sustainability to some degree.

I’ve always been one to get shoes resoled, and I don’t think that’ll change for me anytime soon. I have a pair of Muiras that’s ten years old, and while they aren’t my go to shoe anymore, I still take them to the gym, or bolting, and get use out of them. The other option of course is to pass them along to some one else, maybe via  eBay or better yet, a cool, local used gear shop.

How about you? Do you resole? Or are you addicted to that new shoe smell?

11 Responses to To Resole or Not To Resole

  1. I resole with Rock and Resole too. I think that shoes still hold their shape after they’re through 1 resole. I have a pair of Katanas that are ending their life on the 2nd resole… they are pretty much shot and are now gym shoes. I think it saves money and break in time.

    Gif March 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm
  2. Thanks for the plug, BJ!

    Steve March 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm
  3. I like resoling and will resole my shoes up to half a dozen times. I like the worn in feel of the leather or material and they way they fit my feet after wear. Plus, I just have a hard time buying new stuff when I feel like a lot of stuff can be reused and repaired and go longer.

    And, +1 for Rock and Resole. Those guys are awesome!

    Mike March 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm
  4. I have a few pairs of shoes that I have resoled more than twice. The benefit of resoling shoes is that you dont have to break them in again. But my 5.10 Moccasin’s are so stretched out that they are almost of no use anymore. And my Evolv Talon’s are so stinky I dont want to use them! The two shoes differ because the Moccasin’s have no liner, so they dont stink; while the Evolv Talon’s have a liner so they stink. Just some thoughts. The point I am trying to make is that sometimes getting new shoes is a must due to stretching or odor. Agree? Disagree?

    nic lazz March 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm
  5. Good shoes will take many resoles and hold their shape. If you climb in shoes that you can find for $100 or less I see the point of just buying new shoes, but if your boots run $150 new and maintain performance with resoles you’re nuts not to. The place I resole runs about $40 with return shipping. No brainer.

    Poorly made shoes… don’t bother with a resole.

    Dave March 20, 2012 at 5:15 pm
  6. I’m a big fan of resoling as well and always send my shoes to Rock and Resole when I need some new rubber. Not only do I really believe in reuse/reduce principles, I like my shoes feeling broken-in.

    My favorite pair of shoes ever were a pair of Montrail Wasabis. Hardly anyone has heard of these but I loved them. Despite trying many different shoes to try to find a replacement for the Wasabis, I couldn’t find a pair that fit me as well. I had those Wasabis resoled at least 10 times. I finally found a great replacement with the Five Ten Anasazi VCS shoes but I still have the Wasabis in my gym bag.

    Jason March 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm
  7. I’m a rock and resole person too though I can drop off/pick up which makes it cheaper. My first pair of Muiras are on their 3rd resole and they’re definitely not for hard sends any more but they’re great for training and the gym.

    Chris March 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm
  8. A good resole on worn in shoes is awesome. Why put your feet through breaking in new shoes? After a couple resoles, though, I’ve been known to chuck them just because of the smell. Some shoes don’t take a resole as well, like Mocs, but a well built and expensive shoe like Muiras kick ass with a resole.

    I like Rock and Resole, too. Did anybody else used to use Redrock Resole? The women who ran that, Jules, died in motorcycle accident I guess. I got a pair of shoes back with a note to that effect a few years ago. Very sad. She used to write a personal note in every box and send some candy. Good work, too.

    chris kalous March 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm
  9. Big fan of resoles here. I take mine to John Ramuta in Helena, MT. Good work and prices, plus it’s cool to see his garage shop. I plan to keep resolong my Anasazis until they fall off my feet.

    Mild Bill March 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm
  10. I’ve been interested in collecting used shoes that people are ready to throw out. Then I would resole them and resale them. Better yet, I should just learn how to resole shoes so that the profit is bigger.

    Benjamin Eaton April 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm
  11. I love Rock and Resole! I am always impressed with the job they do. And I resole religiously. I’ve worn old-shoes-made-new for so long that putting on an actual new pair would feel sacrilegious somehow. I do not agree that resoling shoes is taking “high performance tools to flat pieces of rubber on your feet.” The obvious advantage of resoling a pair of shoes is that there is no break-in period for them because they are still my shoes.

    I have three pairs of La Sportiva Katanas that I rotate out as they wear down and send them away for resoling. This keeps me in “new” shoes for a fraction of the cost of buying actual new ones.

    Paul-Baptiste April 2, 2012 at 9:41 pm
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