What is a La Sportiva Authorised Resoler?
Whilst the design team and craftspeople at La Sportiva’s factory in Italy’s Valle de Fiemme were manufacturing shoes that should last for years, climbers might throw them out much sooner because they could wear through the toe rubber quite quickly. Resoling services at the time were seen as a patch-up and something which many saw as a way of extending the life of their shoes but with performance far below their original design, hence relegating resoled shoes to training or warmups. Recognising this wastefulness, back in 2012 La Sportiva developed their Authorised La Sportiva Resoler programme.
Firstly, this incorporated training. To be an official resoler, La Sportiva demanded that resolers be as proficient a craftspeople as those inside the Italian factory who made the shoes in the first place. They should be able to deconstruct the shoes, repair all parts, re-tension, and reconstruct the shoe to its original specifications.
Secondly, La Sportiva supplied these people with the same official sole parts that they were using in the manufacturing of their specific shoes. Whilst in the past this hadn’t been as important, many of their modern, high-end models incorporate split soles, sole cut-outs and no-edge designs, making the sole design integral to the performance of the shoe.
Now La Sportiva Italy have appointed their first Australia based official climbing shoe resoler. Sticky Rubber Resoles, based in Gwynneville on the South Coast of NSW, have trained hard, perfected the art and achieved a first down-under. The process of becoming a La Sportiva Authorised Resoler is no easy feat or quick process, but it has huge benefits for the whole of the Australian climbing community.
What It Means For You
Imagine receiving your newly resoled La Sportiva climbing shoes back and finding they have the same feeling of tension and precision you got when they were new, but with uppers that are already broken in and moulded to your feet. That’s what you get from Sticky Rubber Resoles as authorised La Sportiva resolers. Also, if you are using a shoe with a specifically designed and cut sole, such as the Skwama, Theory, Genius and Futura, the sole will be the genuine article. In a nutshell you don't need to accept compromise from your resoled shoes.
Things To Be Aware Of
The standard method of rock shoe resole is to grind off the original sole and then stick the new rubber over the top. As authorized La Sportiva resolers, Sticky Rubber Resoles deconstruct and peel the sole off, right down to the midsole, before replacing sole unit and the midsole if needed. This method is much more thorough, but to deconstruct a sole that has previously been ground back and had other layers added requires intense effort and is very time consuming. So Sticky Rubber can only accept shoes which either have not had a resole, or which have previously been resoled by them.
As mentioned above, your shoes’ midsoles are also either repaired or replaced to the original specifications as part of the resoling fee.
Sticky Rubber Resoles charge $105 for shoes dropped off in one of their partner stores and $115 for shoes sent directly through their website (also note that some no-edge designs like Futura, Genius & Theory may be $120). They can also do any other repairs you need from toe rand to upper repairs at additional costs. Whilst this is a little more than what Australian climbers are used to paying for their resoles, the quality of workmanship, the performance you receive back and the benefit to the environment make it well worth it.
Turnaround time won't be as quick as some. Sticky Rubber Resoles won't compromise on the quality of the repair and they won't bring on staff who haven't been trained in accordance with being an authorised repairer. Because of this they are committed to maintaining a small but quality production line with a time expectation of between 3 - 6 weeks. Do be aware of this when sending your shoes in.
An Asset to the Australian Climbing Community
We're sure you'll agree that having a climbing shoe repairer in Australia with all the tools, skills, and materials to deconstruct and construct climbing shoes on-par with the Italian factories in Europe is a huge asset. In the short term it means your investment in hand crafted, high-end climbing footwear has paid dividends. Good quality climbing footwear has always been a great benefit to your climbing, but now that you can get them resoled time and time again, meaning that in the long run you could be much better off.
If a good proportion of climbers get on board, in the long term hopefully it also means less waste produced by our little niche of a community. Climbers have, traditionally, been among the most avid of climate and environment supporters. It is important that we lead the rest of the sporting community in what can be achieved with some attention to detail. Imagine if runners, soccer players, cyclists and more could be lead in this direction and resole or recycle their shoes and consumables rather than just replace. We'd be achieving a lot.
So next time you need a climbing shoe resole, do yourself a favour and test out Sticky Rubber if you haven't already. Mountain Equipment is a drop off point so if you're handy to us then you can leave them here for collection. Also, next time you're in the market for a new pair of climbing shoes, don't just think about the here and now, but think about what's going to bring you joy and improve your climbing experience long into the future. Because chances are if you get your shoes resoled by Sticky Rubber at the right time, you'll have them for years to come.
For more info info direct from La Sportiva on Authorised Resolers, have a look at this video.
(Get ready to practice your Italian or your subtitle reading 😉)