Me sporting the La Sportiva Solution Climbing Shoes

Should you Buy or Rent your Climbing Shoes?

One of the things I love most about the sport of climbing is that all you need is a pair of climbing shoes to get started. The rest of the gear is optional. However, even so, money is still a large barrier to enter the sport and many struggle with the choice between renting and…

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One of the things I love most about the sport of climbing is that all you need is a pair of climbing shoes to get started. The rest of the gear is optional. However, even so, money is still a large barrier to enter the sport and many struggle with the choice between renting and buying gear.

In order to break down this barrier, we took several surveys in order to find out what is worth your money, investing in your own shoes or renting your shoes from a climbing gym. (Spoiler: Skipping the rentals and purchasing your own climbing shoes can save you over $500, here’s how).

Survey Findings

According to the data of 23 climbers we gathered across several forums, we found that on average climbers climb of 3 times per week, and their climbing shoes last 11 months. In other words, climbing shoes have a lifespan of approximately 141 uses.

It’s important to note that this is an average. Many factors including shoe softness, brand, whether the shoe is used for indoor or outdoor climbing, and technique all influence the shoe’s life.

We hosted another survey of 100 climbing shoes that found that the average climbing shoe costs $130. If we divide this by the amount of uses we get from a pair of shoes it costs $0.90 per use when we invest in our own shoes.

Me sporting the La Sportiva Solution Climbing Shoes
Me sporting the La Sportiva Solution Climbing Shoes

When we apply this same formula to a survey done of 100 climbing gyms, we learn that it costs an average of $4 more per use for gym rentals than investing in your own climbing shoes.

Over a shoe’s lifespan, climbing shoe rentals will cost you about $578 more than if you were to invest in your own.

Now what?

Though purchasing your own climbing shoes if more of an upfront cost, there is no doubt that it will save you money in the long run. If you’re having trouble picking from the hundreds of choices out there here are some suggestions:

  • La Sportiva Solution Climbing Shoes (these are my go-to pair of climbing shoes)
  • Climb X Rave Strap Climbing Shoe (one of Amazon’s highest rates climbing shoes)
  • Tanaya Mastia Climbing Shoes (used by the infamous Chris Sharma)

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