When I first started out climbing, I was a single pair of shoes kinda guy. After a few years, I found that getting two pairs of climbing shoes has value beyond just an excuse for retail therapy.
If you think this is some trick to get you to spend more money with us, you’re only partially right. Owning two pairs of shoes has opened up new and better climbing experiences, while also saving a fair bit of money to boot.
Scouts honour, two pairs of climbing shoes will save money in the long run. Let me explain.
Rather than owning one pair of climbing shoes that you’ll run into the ground and throw away, get a second pair you can change over to before the first pair get worn through. What do you do with the first pair? Get them resoled! The crazy thing with climbing shoes is they are often thrown away because of a single point of failure; a small section of sole rubber on the front section of the shoe.
For the first few years, I strictly owned one pair of climbing shoes at a time. Climbing shoes ain’t cheap and I’m a proper tight ass. I couldn’t fathom spending $400-500 on two pairs of shoes in a single purchase. So, I would get one pair and wear them out. Eventually, I’ll replace them with a brand new pair, but that last month or so I’ll have my big toe sticking out the front of the shoe. Trust me, it’s dumb and not fun climbing like this.
My friends told me about resoling, but once again, I put it off until my toes started appearing through a hole at the front and then it was too late for a resole**. I was buying new shoes every 6 or so months and it started becoming noticeable when the staff referred to me by my first name.
Here’s two diagrams highlighting the different scenarios of keeping one pair of climbing shoes vs two…
Buying a new pair of climbing shoes every 6 months will cost around $200 each purchase or replacement. On the other hand, investing in two pairs of shoes up front hits you with $400, but the cost of resoling the shoes is around $90. Over two years, replacing one pair of shoes at a time will cost around $800. Whereas, owning two pairs of shoes and resoling them will cost around $580 over the same period.
Resoling has allowed me to keep my favourite shoes for years. I didn’t need to go through that awful time of breaking a new pair of shoes and it meant less waste going into landfill. I also have two pairs of climbing shoes, each with different features that give me an edge in different types of climbing.
From pumpy overhangs, to full body heel hooking, and fridge hugging to sketchy, as well as “I should not have skipped leg day” slab climbing, and plain old smearing when there are no foot holds (just to name a few); there are so many styles of climbing. There are also many types of climbing shoes and between two pairs of shoes, I have footwear for every occasion.
Endeavours are my all-rounder go to shoes that come out for the majority of my climbing. The comfy fit and harder rubber makes it ideal for top rope and lead climbing sessions where the shoes will be getting a bit more mileage, and the fit means I can wear the shoes for extended periods without needing to take them off.
I also have Evolv Oracles that come out for bouldering sessions and projecting lead climbs. The aggressive downturn is great for anything overhanging; and the grippy rubber just gives me that extra confidence on really thin foot holds (NB: Grippy rubber is also faster to wear down so I try to limit their usage). Between the Oracles and Endeavors, I have almost every climbing scenario covered.
There are more nuances than this especially when you’re really pushing your limits, but for me these two pairs of shoes give me something for every climbing occasion.
Generally speaking, most people I know keep an all-rounder shoe and a performance shoe, but there are obviously other factors that will affect which shoes suit best, and how to balance features between 2 different pairs of climbing shoes and the types of climbing you like doing. If you happen to have any questions, feel free to shoot us a message on Facebook, Instagram or email :)
Thanks for reading!
*This is quite a simplified subjective overview and there’s a bit of nuance that affects how often shoes need to be resoled. If you’re like me, I tend to resole my shoes with harder rubber for more durability. I also know plenty of people who resole to thinner grippier rubber which can definitely help on those tiny footholds, but can significantly reduce the time till next resole. **Climbing shoe resolers prefer to work with shoes that have intact rubber (i.e. no tears/holes). Some resolers may accept climbing shoes with a small hole in the toe rubber, but I highly recommend you ask first because it may cost extra to repair.
Leo likes taking pictures and putting two spaces after full stops. He gets drunk quite quickly; still unsure if that's a good thing or not. He also climbs from time to time and doesn’t mind referring to himself in the third person.