Rubber and Climbing Performance
Updated: Sep 1, 2021
STICKY RUBBER TIPS:
Warmer rubber sticks better than cold rubber. On cold days try to warm up your shoes by placing them in your down jacket while you are waiting before you attempt your route. However, don’t warm them in the sun as this may delaminate the rubber itself. (See shoe care tips section).
Imagine each grain of dirt being like a miniature marble. Imagine the slippery experience of walking on marbles . Dirt on rubber rock shoes can be a similar experience on marginal footholds. Wipe your soles, or at least the tips and edges, prior to an important send attempt.
Softer rubber compounds generally stick better when smearing. Harder rubber compounds may be better for standing on very small positive edges and standing on toe tips. Harder compounds may also provide more foot support and stability for crack climbing.
Thicker rubber performs like a stiffer, slightly thinner rubber.
Rough rubber is stickier than smooth rubber.
For greatest sensitivity we found some of the thinnest rubber is on La Sportiva No-Edge climbing shoes such as the Genius, Futura, Theory etc.
Try heel hooking with sticky heels. See the Repair Services section (bottom).
Some gym rubber is made specifically for performance in the gym such as Vibram XS Flash rubber. It is slightly thicker (5mm) for durability yet sticky and it’s yellow!
Check your toe tips where the rubber is worn the most. A smooth, thin layer of rubber may be very sensitive but won’t be so sticky- Time for a faster and cheaper resole before the rand rubber is damaged (see When to Resole section).
Read Shoe Care Tips page and keep rubber climbing shoes out or the sun or a hot and cold garage where the temperature variations may trigger the heat activated glue holding the shoe rubber together causing an early end to your climbing shoes performance. Some rubbers crack prematurely.
Keep climbing shoes out of your climbing bag where they retain moisture damaging the inner suede and possibly create a slippery experience inside the shoe while standing on tiny holds.
Have fun climbing.