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With 90 years of experience in the outdoor industry, La Sportiva climbing shoes have surely undergone numerous improvements and innovations to match today’s demands. Thanks to the brand’s desire to continuously develop their products, they have partnered with a myriad of experienced climbers and collaborators and started to explore the unknown. With their longstanding inclination to progress on the climbing shoe world, the brand has unknowingly helped changed the era where climbing is not seen as a separate sport from alpinism.
Perks of wearing La Sportiva men's and women's climbing shoes
Nowadays, a lot of brands are offering men’s and women’s rock shoes and La Sportiva is a force to be reckoned with. Their legacy classics made them one of the sought-after climbing shoe manufacturers and they continue to do so. The below lists some of the reasons why you should get a pair of La Sportiva rock shoes.
Precision is a common feature found in La Sportiva climbing shoes. Brand designers want to create rock shoes that are able to toe- and heel-hook with precision, in almost any terrain, to allow climbers to succeed in every send. The technical details the brand has collected throughout the years allowed them to develop incoming and currently existing products that will provide maximum performance.
La Sportiva men’s and women’s rock climbing shoes are designed with a generous amount of durable and sticky rubber that will allow climbers to grab minute footholds and nubbins excellently. Their offerings help users focus their strength on their big toes so it can dig into unforgiving cracks.
Surely, individuals who have worn La Sportiva climbing shoes are familiar with the No Edge technology. This is just one of the brand’s patented features that helps climbers connect more to the ground. The enhanced sensitivity provided by La Sportiva rock shoes works during difficult projects and technical crags.
Most La Sportiva products offer good performance on different disciplines of climbing. Their stiffness comes with an ideal mix of flexibility, aggressiveness, and comfort, making them applicable for a variety of activities.
Ideal size grade rating
La Sportiva developed a parameter that will serve as their patron’s guide in selecting the right shoe size for them. This framework includes grade ratings that range from one (shoe must be worn smaller) to five (shoe can be worn more comfortably). It indicates how tightly a specific model should be worn to maintain its performance.
La Sportiva women’s climbing shoes are designed with the female foot in mind. They differ in their male counterparts in terms of looks and technical features. Additionally, they are shaped differently and are less rigid. These differences help lady climbers maximize their performance through the help of a well-fitting shoe.
Known technologies behind the best La Sportiva climbing shoes
No Edge technology
Thanks to Giuliano Jellici, the brain behind the No Edge technology, climbers gain the sensitivity they need on slabs and crags. No Edge technology eliminates the “extra” rubber between the toes and the ground. It uses a thin rubber layer that yields a rounded toe area. This innovative layout increases the contact area with footholds (adaptability), rendering increased sensitivity and close-to-the-ground feel.
According to La Sportiva, despite their thin and soft rubber, No Edge climbing shoes are able to support the climber’s weight by helping distribute the pressure evenly through a more extensive surface contact. They also contribute to the enhancement of the climber’s footwork as their barely-there feel promotes increased proprioception (awareness of the body’s position). Moreover, product developers also claim that No Edge shoes can benefit those who are looking for their first pair of climbing shoes as well as those who have decided to climb at a more advanced level.
Permanent Power Platform (P3)
Permanent Power Platform is a patented construction technique by La Sportiva. It aims to support and guide your foot by maintaining the arched or downturned shape of the rock shoe over time and use. With this feature, climbers can enjoy an enhanced performance regardless of the crag difficulty.
How does this feature differentiate La Sportiva from other brands? La Sportiva washable rock shoes use a WashTex fabric in its upper. This material is comprised of three-layered outer fabric, a microfiber element and an internal, breathable fabric. It makes La Sportiva offerings work well with indoor climbers who rent gym shoes, keeping a fresh and odor-free interior.
La Sportiva Research and Development team was also successful in creating outsoles for the brand’s lineup of rock shoes that offer different levels of grip and durability. There are five formulated compounds, namely:
- FriXion Black. This is also called the Climbing Compound. It is an ultra-sticky rubber that provides maximum grip, especially during ascents. It has a lower level of durability though.
- FriXion Eco. Also known as the Recycled Compound. It offers the same level of grip and durability as the FriXion Black, but it is made from recycled components.
- FriXion Blue. This rubber compound offers a higher level of durability than grip, making it also ideal for use as trail running shoes.
- FriXion Red. This feature comes with the same level of grip and durability (both are 6.7). It also offers a good amount of shock absorption and is used on versatile, bi-density soles.
- FriXion White. A super sticky compound that leaves no trace yet provides lasting performance. It is ideal for use on indoor climbing shoes.
Vibram is a known Italian company that specializes in the production of rubber outsoles for footwear. La Sportiva—also an Italian company—partners with Vibram in some of their climbing shoes. There are two main compounds used in their rock shoes:
- XS Grip 2. This rubber compound optimizes grip and delivers precision, whether on plastic or slabs. It is also ideal for climbing disciplines such as bouldering and lead climbing.
- XS Edge. This Vibram element is developed to provide maximum support and a balanced level of performance and durability. It allows climbers to focus their weight even on the smallest footholds, yielding enhanced performance. This compound is improved through the plastic deformation resistance, making it suitable for use in hot or cold weather. It works well in climbing disciplines including lead climbing and bouldering.
How to choose your La Sportiva men’s and women’s climbing shoes
There are two main things that climbers—beginner or advanced—should consider when choosing their pair of La Sportiva climbing shoes. Brand developers heed and recommend these two factors:
- Foot morphology. Before getting a new pair of La Sportiva climbing shoes, a primary consideration that will help you decide which shoe fits you best is knowing the shape of your foot. It is important to keep in mind that the fit of rock shoes highly differ in how you size your rugged below-the-ankle trail gear. Knowing this detail will help you narrow down your options, thus leaving you with the best possible option for you.
- The type of climbing and climbing wall. Yes, there are all-around La Sportiva climbing shoes, however, if you are looking for a pair of shoes that will up your performance multifold, getting the appropriate shoe based on your activity will make a huge difference. There are climbing disciplines that are friction-dependent, meaning you need a pair of shoes that can stick and adhere well to the surface. For crags that have small footholds, a pair of rigid shoes can benefit you more as it gives you a passive platform that will help you propel yourself upwards.
Another thing worth considering when choosing your La Sportiva climbing shoes is to ask yourself: “What type of climber am I?” Since there are many climbing disciplines, it also goes without saying that they have different levels of difficulty. Your emotional readiness also says a lot about how successful your send will be. Climbing is a taxing sport, and a holistic preparedness will help you overcome unforeseen challenges.
Soft vs rigid shoes
Now that you already know the shape of your foot and the climbing discipline you are into, the next thing you need to decide on is which pair of La Sportiva climbing shoes will suit your needs best. The below section will differentiate soft shoes from rigid shoes and aims to help narrow down your options.
- Soft shoes. As you already know, the fit of rock climbing shoes varies depending on the level of performance you want. Soft shoes offer a high level of sensitivity, enabling intermediate and advanced climbers to stick to the wall. They are also preferred for overhangs and tricky slabs as they are more adaptive to the ground surface. They provide a desirable amount of tension around the climber’s foot, yielding enhanced performance.
- Rigid shoes. If you want to develop footwork and techniques, you may want to use rigid shoes as beginner climbing gear. They will teach you where to place your foot and how to be precise on each hold. They provide a stable platform underfoot that will help you ascend and succeed on your send.
Need to know about La Sportiva climbing shoes fit and sizing
With regards to La Sportiva climbing shoes sizing, a lot of information is made available online. This section will list some of the general rules and considerations the brand recommends that will help in your shoe selection.
To start, La Sportiva uses this guide (see page 187):
The table above includes all La Sportiva climbing shoes and their respective categories: Performance, All-Round, and Beginner. At the left side of the image is the segmentation that refers to the shape of the user’s foot: Narrow, Medium, and Wide.
To further assist you in getting your La Sportiva climbing shoes, the brand also created their infographic that includes important details you need to consider. This feature comprises sensitivity, rigidity, instep width and ideal size—the main traits of a shoe.
Looking at the picture above, you will notice that there are ratings inside the circle ranging from one (center) to five (perimeter). The below explains the four features:
- Rigidity. This feature is more common to structured La Sportiva shoes. The higher the rating, the higher the stiffness (or support) it provides. As discussed earlier, rigid shoes provide a passive platform that assists climbers in their ascents.
- Sensitivity. This is a trait present in less structured shoes (for example: slip-on rock shoes). The soft underfoot feel allows the climbers to connect more to the ground while allowing them to adapt to a various range of footholds. The highest rating indicates optimal sensitivity.
- Instep width. These are the widths available for each model, with five being the widest.
- Ideal size. This factor is a parameter set by La Sportiva product developers. It indicates how tightly a climbing shoe model needs to be worn to maximize its performance. A rating of one means that the shoe must be worn smaller while a grade of five indicates it can be worn comfortably.
General fit and sizing tips you need to consider in getting your La Sportiva climbing shoes
As you already know, the fit of your rock shoes will greatly affect your performance, whether you are climbing outdoors or indoors. Here are some tips to help you find the best pair for you.
- Afternoon shopping. Your feet tend to swell up to a full size after a busy day. It is best to fit your ideal climbing shoes at this time of the day so you would not make the mistake of buying too small rock shoe that will only hurt your feet in the long run.
- Try different sizes. Do not be very strict when it comes to sizing your La Sportiva climbing shoes. There will be times that you need to get two sizes down your standard street shoe size to get the best fit, and there will be times that sizing up will be your best option. The type of closure system will also affect how your ideal shoe fits you.
- Determine your desired fit. In the climbing shoe world, there is a culture that tight shoes equate to performance. However, with today’s innovation and development, manufacturers have started to create shoes that offer both comfort and performance. The right fit will allow your toes to curl—not bunched—and won’t cause any pain.
- Check for dead space. When fitting your pair of La Sportiva climbing shoes, ensure that there is no dead space in the toe and heel areas. Failing to do so may affect your toe- and heel-hooking performance.
Taking care of your La Sportiva climbing shoes
In the climbing shoe world, smelly foot is a common problem of climbers. The materials used in the upper are prone to developing odors, and it is just very recently that manufacturers started to incorporate antimicrobial linings into their offerings. Here are a few tips that will help keep your La Sportiva rock shoes odor-free and fresh.
When climbing indoors, try to keep your foot clean by not walking around the gym barefoot.
If you’re done for the day, do not put your shoes inside a plastic bag then stuff it in your pack. Instead, hang it outside your backpack using the tabs at the heel area. This will allow the shoe to breathe.
Once you get home, clean your soiled shoes by wiping the interior with a damp cloth (to remove sweat). Let it dry completely before storing.
If your rock shoes have a leather upper, spot clean the stain using water. Do not saturate the material as it can cause premature damage.
Do not leave your shoes inside a hot car. It is important to remember that exposure to extreme heat can jeopardize their integrity.
After a climb, always check the condition of your shoes. Pay extra attention to high-wear areas; the ball of the foot and the toe area, to name a few.
Frequently asked questions
Are there vegan La Sportiva climbing shoes?
Yes, La Sportiva has vegan-friendly climbing shoes. According to the brand, their machine-washable shoes are durable and are 100% synthetic. In addition, La Sportiva also offers eco-friendly rock shoes by using recycled materials that have less environmental impacts. Some of their products use water-based adhesives and metal-free leather tanning.
What is the best La Sportiva climbing shoes for me?
The answer to this question depends on many factors. However, before deciding on a pair, do your research. La Sportiva has a wide range of selection ranging from beginner climbing shoes to advanced rock shoes. On the one hand, product developers aim to provide gear for every climbing discipline using different construction methods, materials, and closure systems. On the other hand, their shoes carry the same DNA: innovation, sensitivity and accuracy. With the brand’s extensive knowledge in the climbing industry, it has led them to create shoes that will cater to everyone. If you are interested in other outdoor activities, you may also check out La Sportiva men’s and women’s over-the-ankle boots.
Where can I buy La Sportiva climbing shoes?
La Sportiva men’s and women’s rock shoes can be purchased through the brand website. Their offerings are also available in numerous authorized dealers. La Sportiva recommends buying your pair in an authorized retailer to guarantee customer satisfaction. In doing so, they will also be able to assist you should you encounter issues with your purchase.
Can I resole my La Sportiva rock shoes?
Yes, all La Sportiva climbing shoes can be resoled. The brand provides a list of authorized cobblers that can help repair your shoes. However, please keep in mind that not all will be eligible for a resole, especially if they are too worn out. Ideally, it is time to contact a cobbler when you have worn the sole even if the rand is still in good condition. The material underfoot is thicker than the rubber that wraps the side of the shoe, so climbing using the rand will just increase the damage. Also, replacing the rand yields extra cost as it is more difficult task than a standard resole.
How do I extend the life of my climbing shoes from La Sportiva?
Generally, the best way to make your La Sportiva climbing shoes last longer is to take care of them. Keep them clean and odor-free. Make sure that they are completely dry before you keep them to prevent the development of mildew. Do not leave them in the trunk of your car or expose them to extremely hot temperatures. Additionally, avoid wearing your shoes, especially aggressive ones, when you are not climbing. Doing so may compromise its stiffness and wear out the rubber quicker.
Do climbing shoes from La Sportiva stretch?
Yes and no—depending on the materials used. When deciding on your La Sportiva climbing shoes sizing, it is important that you consider stretch. Unlined slip-lasted rock shoes stretch up to about a full size while lined shoes stretch to a half size. Moreover, the brand revolutionizes rock shoes through their development of different lasts that will cater to various foot shapes and climbing disciplines.
15 best La Sportiva climbing shoes
- La Sportiva Cobra Eco
- La Sportiva Futura
- La Sportiva Miura VS
- La Sportiva Mythos Eco
- La Sportiva Otaki
- La Sportiva Skwama
- La Sportiva Tarantula
- La Sportiva TC Pro
- La Sportiva Cobra
- La Sportiva Kataki
- La Sportiva Mythos
- La Sportiva Tarantulace
- La Sportiva Python
- La Sportiva Finale
- La Sportiva Solution
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