You have probably already noticed that rock climbing shoe laces aren’t like the ones found on your average sneaker. These aren’t your average run-of-the-mill kind of lace, our specially designed shoe laces are made of seriously strong stuff. Each lace is made of a strong woven cord to minimize stretch and increase the durability of the lace. This might all sound a bit excessive, but there’s a good reason for these over-engineered laces: Climbing – especially outdoors – is a death sentence for shoe laces.
While you might not always see it, every time you chalk up and pull on, micro-damage is being done to your shoes. With every foot jam and heel hook, there will be the inevitable wear and tear caused by the friction against the wall. With each edge you balance on, or volume you smear up, a huge amount of force is being transferred through your shoelaces, which ultimately contributes to the wearing away of your climbing shoe laces.
One thing is for sure. If you are putting your shoes through their paces, there’s a pretty high chance your laces will start to fray, and eventually snap. Luckily for you, there are a few places where you can find some replacement laces for climbing shoes.
Here’s what you need to know.
How To Find The Right Size Shoelace
Unfortunately, there is no standard size when it comes to climbing shoelaces. Most climbing shoelaces will vary between 110 – 180cm in length and about 3 – 5mm in diameter.
There are plenty of factors that will affect the size of the lace you will need. For example. If you are using a high-top climbing shoe, a wrap-around lace (like the Mythos), or a child-specific shoe, you will need to keep this in mind when hunting for that perfect replacement shoelace.
By far, the easiest way to work out what size of climbing shoelace you need is by measuring your old ones. Once you know what size of rock climbing shoe laces you need, you have a couple of options available to you.
Replacement Climbing Laces – The Options
The way I see it, you have three options when you are in the market for some new climbing laces. You can either buy some branded laces, buy non-branded laces, or opt for the cheap and cheerful option of using an accessory cord.
I am always surprised at how hard it is to find replacement climbing shoe laces. After a quick bit of research, it became clear that some manufacturers offer replacement laces for their popular lace-up shoe models, whilst others will not provide any replacement laces at all. Even the few manufacturers I did manage to find that do sell replacement laces, its not easy to find a retailer that sells them.
I decided to get in touch with some of the major climbing shoe manufacturers and find out what they suggest. Below are a few of the climbing shoe brands that I managed to find replacement laces for. The simple reason for this is that a lot of other climbing shoe brands prominently manufacture velcro or slipper shoes.
La Sportiva is one of the best manufacturers when it comes to supplying replacement climbing shoelaces. One of the biggest benefits of the La Sportiva replacement laces is that they are specifically designed for climbing shoes, so they are abrasion-resistant and a lot more durable than your average shoelace from Amazon.
Until last year, they offered exact-match replacement laces for their most popular shoes. However, this has recently changed and the company now only offers one style of replacement lace (similar to the standard Testarossa lace). The La Sportiva climbing lace comes in two sizes; 115cm and 150cm. Based on its old lace sizes, I recommend the following replacement sizes:
Genius – 115cm
Miura – 115cm
Mythos – 150cm
Katana – 115cm
Testarossa – 115cm
TC Pro – 150cm
Even if your shoes aren’t made by La Sportiva, their replacement climbing shoelaces are probably the most widely available from any manufacturer. They will almost certainly be compatible with whatever climbing shoe you are using.
Similar to La Sportiva, Scarpa offers a pair of replacement shoelace. While they are more suited to their hiking boots and approach shoes, these replacement lace come in four different sizes ranging from 110cm -180cm, so they will also fit your climbing shoes nicely.
I got in touch with Scarpa, who confirmed that this lace is suitable for their rock shoes. When I told their helpful customer representative that I was hunting for replacement laces, they even offered to source some from their returned items. Awesome customer service!
You could go to your nearest shoe shop and buy any old pair of shoelaces, and I am sure that would work, at least for a short while, anyway. Chances are though, you will probably find yourself with another pair of broken laces again in a few weeks. The major requirement for replacement climbing laces is that they are strong enough to withstand a whole day of climbing and that they don’t stretch.
The biggest benefit of using an accessory cord is that it is seriously strong stuff, so if you are doing a lot of crack climbing or putting a lot of pressure through your laces, this could be the best option for you. Here are some replacement laces from Amazon that I have used before. They are about 3mm in diameter and come in a few different sizes, so should work for most climbing shoes.
The biggest benefit of using an accessory cord is that it is seriously strong stuff, so if you are doing a lot of crack climbing or putting a lot of pressure through your laces, this could be the best option for you.The downside? The accessory cord doesn’t have Aglets. Remember those little plastic bits at the end of your laces? Turns out they are actually pretty important.
Aglets give you a bunch of benefits. From stopping your laces from unraveling, making it easier for you to tie your shoes, and threading the lace through the eyelets, these unsung heroes do a lot more than you might realize.
What’s Best For You?
A broken pair of climbing shoe laces aren’t the end of the world. Depending on your budget and preference, there are plenty of substitutes for a pair of broken rock climbing shoe laces.
Buying laces designed for your shoes is the safest bet as they are guaranteed to fit your specific shoe. That said, buying non-branded laces or just some thin accessory cord can be cost-effective alternatives if you want to save a few extra bucks.
If your shoes are really on their last legs, I hate to break it to you but it might be time to treat yourself to some new shoes.