Resoling makes sense on many levels, not the least of which is keeping your favorite, broken-in boots alive. But a lot of people aren’t aware that these rubber-soled shoes, the modern molded and cemented boots, can be resurrected.
In the world of hiking and mountain boot repair, Seattle cobbler Dave Page is a legend. He’s been reviving outdoor footwear since 1969 and he’s still going strong. As Page says of business, “There has never been a lag — we’ve been slammed for 40 years.” With eight employees who are climbers and outdoor enthusiasts themselves, their dedicated craftsmanship is much of the reason. You send them your boots, they return them with a brand new sole.
“Most outdoor people understand,” Page says, “that if you’ve got a favorite pair of boots and the soles are worn out or torn up, you put new bottoms on them, you can use them for years.” And, Page adds, that it’s not only about the practicality. “A lot of these decisions are emotional, not financial: Those are my favorite shoes, those are my favorite boots. I hiked in Nepal in those boots, I want to get them resoled.”
Page has inspired other cobblers around the United States, including Joshua Sims at The Gear Fix in Bend, Oregon. Having started as an outdoor gear resale shop, “I always wanted to do gear repair,” Sims says, and “reading articles about his shop gave me the idea.” Like Page and the handful of others throughout the country, Sims has the equipment and ability to give your boots new life.
With Gear Fix, he’s a part of a new wave of interest in quality workmanship that’s made to last. Of course, he offers obvious reasons to revive your gear, including “keeping stuff out of a landfill, saving money, keeping the fit,” but his goals go even further. “We’ve got a very disposable culture, and being able to repair and resell outdoor footwear and gear lets us highlight products that are designed and produced to last.”
While you can get most well-crafted leather-soled shoes and boots repaired locally in many cities, or decide to do it yourself with the help of a book, molded-sole hiking boots and climbing shoes are a specialized fix. Here are a few of your options:
Dave Page, Cobbler
The authorized repair agent and go-to guy for outdoor enthusiasts worldwide, as well as REI, Vasque, Asolo, and dozens of others, Page and his crew will put your boots back on the path. They specialize in hiking and mountaineering boots, climbing shoes, and telemark boots.
The Gear Fix
They’ll resole your hiking or mountain boots. They’ll patch or sew your tent. And if you think your shoes are all used up and want to donate them, they’ll use them for training purposes, resole them, and if they’re in good enough shape, donate them. Or, if they’re beyond all hope, they’ll recycle them for you.
Rocky Mountain Resole
Specializing in the cement construction of modern hiking and mountaineering boots, Rocky Mountain Resole is also an authorized repair agent of a dozen-and-a-half of the biggest names in outdoor boots. High-quality work and good turnaround times make them a reliable choice for new soles.
And if you’re on the East Coast: