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Your rand is all that rubber above the layer of rubber you are climbing on. The climbing rubber is the rubber below the seam where it meets the rand rubber, which is all the rubber on the top side of the shoe. When you see that seam start to go away, or show waves in it, then you are about to climb on the rand. Look at the rubber on top of your toe, that is the rand rubber. See how thin it is? When you have no more “climbing rubber” to climb on, you begin to put all your weight on that really thin layer. Ouch! And yes, you will pop a hole quickly! If your climbing rubber was left on that last route you did, and you are down to the rand, you may not necessarily have a hole. But there could still be weakness, and a hole about to happen!

Because although it may look the same, rand rubber is not designed to take the stress of your weight against the rock. We get many (many, many!) folks who come in and say that one moment their shoes looked fine and then BAM! – a blown rand.

Our cobblers have had many years in the business and even they can’t absolutely determine the condition of the rand until they pull off the layer on top of your rand (your sole). Sometimes what you can see looks fine, but it is weak underneath. The last thing you (and we) want is for you to pay for shipping and resoling only to get your shoes back and have them blow in a month.

We would rather not replace a toe cap. Doing so changes the shoe and lessens the integrity. BUT – replacing rands is not an exact science – we just do the best we can! There are many factors we can’t know – your style of climbing, your weight, how many time a week you are getting out, gym climbing vs real rock, what type of rock, etc.

No, the answer is to get your shoes resoled when that layer of climbing rubber starts to disappear. The majority of shoes we get need toe caps, and the majority of the folks waited as long as possible because they wanted to keep climbing. Which we get! We strongly suggest you have 2 pairs of shoes, so one can get the care it needs while you continue to climb like a demon. Taking good care of 2 pairs of shoes will save you money in the long run. And please send in both shoes of the pair when one looks like it needs resoling. You don’t want one foot jealous of the other because it has nice, new rubber!

That is the rubber you are climbing on, vs the rubber on the bottom of your street shoes. Your street shoes are like your Honda, durable and designed to last for a loooong time, years hopefully. Your climbing shoes are darn expensive to begin with and expensive to maintain. The rubber is sticky and is actually meant to come off on the rock – that is how you stick so well! So if you get 6 months out of your climbing rubber while training like a mad person – then you are doing some pretty awesome delicate footwork!

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