Rubber Compounds

Finding Your Sole


Rubber matters!  Stack the odds in your favour by choosing a sole that suits your style of climbing or bouldering.

We offer a large selection of compounds and thicknesses to choose from:

+ Unparallel RS

Available Thicknesses: 3.5 mm

Additional Cost: $0.00

Hardness: Very Soft

Unparallel's RS rubber is the softest compound we offer. If you want maximum sensitivity, this rubber is for you. It will allow you to hook your toes around holds and feel exactly what is underneath your foot, and it will provide great friction on low-load smears: think ultra-steep overhangs. Note that with such a soft and thin sole, durability and performance on small edges will be poor.

+ Unparallel RH

Available Thicknesses: 3.5 mm; 4.2 mm

Additional Cost: $0.00

Hardness: Medium

Unparallel's RH compound is the harder of their two options. It is very versatile, has good grip on overhangs, excellent grip on vertical climbs, and performs well on edges. The 4.2 mm thickness is an excellent choice for a do-everything shoe.

+ Vibram Grip

Available Thicknesses: 3.5 mm; 5.0 mm

Additional Cost: $5.00 (for 5.0 mm only)

Hardness: Medium

Vibram's original grip compound. Our only offering in 5.0 mm thickness, which provides good stiffness and durability.

+ Vibram XS Grip

Available Thicknesses: 4.0 mm

Additional Cost: $5.00

Hardness: Soft

Softer and more sensitive than XS Grip 2, XS Grip will conform well to irregularities on slopey holds and rock, with a slight sacrifice in durability and edging performance.

+ Vibram XS Grip 2

Available Thicknesses: 4.0 mm

Additional Cost: $5.00

Hardness: Soft

Vibram's flagship soft rubber. Excellent grip for overhangs and smears, very good all around performance.

+ Vibram XS Edge

Available Thicknesses: 4.0 mm

Additional Cost: $5.00

Hardness: Hard

Vibram's flagship hard rubber. Excellent grip and precision for high-load edges with great durability. Poor performance for low-load holds on overhangs, and slick/polished slopers.

+ Authentic La Sportiva No-Edge Sole

We can resole La Sportiva shoes with authentic No-Edge soles (3.0 mm XS Grip 2). We can also custom cut a No-Edge sole in one of our other compounds.

So which rubber is best?     …all of them, but for different situations.

Before choosing a rubber, we recommend considering how each of the following points will affect your climbing:

  • Softer rubbers (e.g. Unparallel RS, XS Grip 2, XS Grip) tend to provide better grip on overhanging terrain, slopers, and slippery holds or slippery rock.

  • Harder rubbers (Stealth C4, XS Edge) tend to provide better grip on very small footholds and edges, especially on vertical terrain.  They also tend to provide more durability.

  • Thinner rubbers will provide more sensitivity, and excel on overhangs and slopers, but will come with a loss of durability.

  • Thicker rubbers will provide more stiffness, and help with edgeing on vertical terrain with small footholds and edges.  They will offer more durability than their thinner counterparts

  • Light climbers should generally aim for softer rubbers and avoid 5.0 mm thicknesses, while heavier climbers should consider the harder compounds and medium to high thickness.

A note on sensitivity and stiffness:
Shoes with a very stiff midsole and structure will not see the same sensitivity change from different sole thicknesses or compounds.  For example, putting a 4.0 mm sole on a pair of La Sportiva Tarantulas (originally 5.0 mm) would have an undramatic effect on sensitivity because the shoes have a very stiff midsole, so the total stiffness of the shoe is not as heavily dependent on the sole.   However, a soft shoe like a Python or a Moccasym will be heavily affected by sole thickness and compound, because the sole is the main contributor to stiffness.

 

If you are still unsure, please reach out!  We love helping you get the most out of your shoes.