Until recently, it was well-accepted that osteoclasts resorb bone according to the resorption cycle model. This model is based on the assumption that osteoclasts are immobile during bone erosion, allowing the actin ring to be firmly attached and thereby provide an effective seal encircling the resorptive compartment. However, through time-lapse, it was recently documented that osteoclasts making elongated resorption cavities and trenches move across the bone surface while efficiently resorbing bone. However, it was also shown that osteoclasts making rounded cavities and pits indeed resorb bone while they are immobile. Only little is known about what distinguishes these two different resorption modes. This is of both basic and clinical interest because these resorption modes are differently sensitive to drugs and are affected by the gender as well as age of the donor. In the present manuscript we show that: 1. levels of active cathepsin K determine the switch from pit to trench mode; 2. pit and trench mode depend on clathrin-mediated endocytosis; and 3. a mechanism integrating release of resorption products and membrane/integrin recycling is required for prolongation of trench mode. Our study therefore contributes to an improved understanding of the molecular and cellular determinants for the two osteoclastic bone resorption modes.