Maximizing Your Climbing Shoe Collection: How Many Pairs Do You Really Need?
When I first started climbing, I decided to buy cheap beginner shoes. I didn't want to spend too much money on a sport that I was not sure if I would actually stick with. But, I did stick with it.
6 months later, I bought my first pair of Mad Rock Drone HV climbing shoes. A while after that, I bought another pair of shoes that were on discount. Shortly after that, the Mad Rock Black Drone HV came out and was on discount, so I bought those too. Long story short, I have 5 pairs of climbing shoes.
- Do You Need 5 Pairs Of Climbing Shoes?
- How Often Will You Climb In All Of Your Climbing Shoes?
- How Many Pairs Of Climbing Shoes Do You Need?
- If You Are A Multi-Discipline Climber, Maybe You Could Benefit From Different Shoes
- Do You Want Climbing Shoes For Warm-Ups?
- Do You Have Money To Spend On More Climbing Shoes?
- Did You Buy The Wrong Shoes?
- Just Think About Whether You Actually Need Them
Do You Need 5 Pairs Of Climbing Shoes?
No, you do not need 5 pairs of climbing shoes. The only reason I bought them was because I had that excitement from starting a new sport, and because they were on discount. Without this, I doubt I would have bought so many, as I didn't really need them.
This is just me, though. There are many climbers who do need even more than 5 pairs of climbing shoes, especially competitor climbers. I, though, was not a competitive climber when I started climbing (nor am I one now!), I was a beginner and did not need so many shoes. If you are also a beginner, think about if you really need more climbing shoes and if they will actually contribute to your climbing, or just cost you a lot of money.
How Often Will You Climb In All Of Your Climbing Shoes?
I don't usually climb in all of my shoes, I usually cycle them. I climb in one pair until they become worn out and get holes in them, then I send them to get resoled and start climbing in another pair. I could have easily done this also with just 2 pairs of climbing shoes.
Before you buy more climbing shoes, consider how useful they will actually be. How often will you actually be wearing all of them? It takes me about 4 - 6 months to go through a pair of climbing shoes before I need to send them in for a resole. This means that some shoes will not be touched for over 2 years! My pair of Evolv Supra that I bought for sport climbing have not been touched in over 2 years since I moved and stopped sport climbing. So consider if and how often you will actually climb in your additional climbing shoes before actually buying them.
How Many Pairs Of Climbing Shoes Do You Need?
Most climbers like having at least 2 pairs of climbing shoes so that they can climb in one pair until they start getting holes in them. Once this happens, they send that pair in to get resoled and start climbing in the other pair. By the time the second pair of climbing shoes gets holes in them and need to also be sent for a resole, their first pair would be ready for them to climb in them again.
This is the cycle of climbing shoes, it lasts as long as the climbing shoes last. There is a point at which climbing shoes can no longer be resoled. At that point, the climber must make a difficult choice and must either retire those climbing shoes, or repurpose them. Usually in this case, they would buy another pair if they don’t have others.
I recommend having 2 pairs of climbing shoes for this exact purpose. Starting over again, I would buy one pair of climbing shoes, and when that pair needs to be sent for a resole, I would buy another pair, and then cycle between them. I would stick to those two pairs until one can no longer be resoled, then I would replace it with new shoes.
If You Are A Multi-Discipline Climber, Maybe You Could Benefit From Different Shoes
Part of the reason I bought non-aggressive climbing shoes is that I started sport climbing much more. Until then, I climbed purely boulders, so my shoes were very aggressive. Since the shoes were pretty cheap to begin with, and I was doing more and more sport climbing, I decided to buy a pair of Evolv Supra.
Many climbers who boulder and also sport climb tend to have multiple pairs of climbing shoes, one that fits bouldering, usually a more aggressive shoe style, and one that fits longer routes, usually flatter and more supportive of the feet.
Do You Want Climbing Shoes For Warm-Ups?
Some climbers have specific shoes that are meant for warming up. These are usually shoes that are either old, worn out, a bigger size and looser, or just generally more comfortable and less aggressive.
When I bought my new climbing shoes 6 months after I started climbing, I continued to use my old beginner shoes for warming up. They were stretched, loose, had many holes all over, and were generally ready to be retired or thrown away. This was the perfect condition for warm-up shoes, used only for warming up on simple and easy routes.
Do You Have Money To Spend On More Climbing Shoes?
Climbing shoes can get very costly, they are not cheap! That is one of the reasons why I actually decided to buy the climbing shoes I have bought. I knew that at some point I will need new pairs to replace my old, worn out pairs, so I took advantage of the discounts that were on the different shoes.
This, of course, is the logic of anyone who sees a discount on things they want. Did it actually make sense? Not really. It takes me around 2 years to go through all of my climbing shoes. So as someone who has actually done this, I don’t really see the benefit for me to have so many climbing shoes, I don’t really need them all, and they just cost me a lot of money.
Did You Buy The Wrong Shoes?
One reason climbers buy more shoes, including myself, is because they buy shoes that are not right for them. This happens quite a lot with online orders. It is very easy to make a mistake when ordering climbing shoes online, even when you try those shoes on at a store and then order them online.
One way to prevent this is learning how to choose the right climbing shoes for you, before you actually buy them. If it’s already too late and the store won’t take them back, try to sell them. There are many people in this situation, so buying climbing shoes from others due to the wrong size or fit is very common in the climbing community.
Just Think About Whether You Actually Need Them
In the end, it all comes down to you and your needs. There is no right or wrong answer. If you need more climbing shoes, and you can afford them, get them, but, at least spend some time considering if you actually need them, or if you just want them.
- How many climbing shoes you have?
- How often you climb in them all?
- How much you benefit from having that many?
Let us know in the comments!