2020 is now upon us and the sport of climbing has taken the world by storm. This year in Japan, climbing will be featured as an Olympic sport for the first time. Whether you are an Olympian or a casual novice, climbing can be enjoyed by all.
One of the easiest ways to get into climbing is bouldering. This is the art of ascending up a verticle wall. The wall has features and holds which you can use to climb up. All you need are some bouldering shoes. So today we will go over one of the top brands in the climbing industry, La Sportiva.
LA SPORTIVA BACKGROUND:
In 1928, Narciso Delladio decided to create bespoken leather boots. The demand for these boots increased after the great war. Realizing that he had a potentially profitable business, La Sportiva was born.
La Sportiva started to created boots and shoes for all different types of outdoor activities from climbing, mountaineering, trekking and more. From this simple beginning, La Sportiva is now distributed to more than 70 countries worldwide.
La Sportiva is now known as one of the top climbing shoe brands in the world.
Their high-performance shoes are great for people who are bouldering or climbing. Since they have been in the industry for over 80 years, they have become one of the best bouldering shoemakers in the market.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when buying your first La Sportiva climbing shoe:
Climbing Tip #1: Tight fit
Make sure you try them out before you buy them (especially online). Unlike normal running or street shoes, climbing shoes need to fit your feet like a glove. Since you rely on these shoes to hold you up, your feet and toes almost need to be one with the shoe. Make sure you try them up and see how they fit. There should be no gap between your feet and the front of the shoe. There should be no wiggle room. It should almost hurt wearing them.
Climbing Tip #2: Break them in
Climbing shoes are not comfortable to wear. But over time, they should break in and be a bit more easy to wear. A lot of climbers only wear them when they climb, they take them off when they rest.
Climbing Tip #3: Cut your nails (toe and fingers)
It is good practice to make sure and cut your toenails before climbing. You are better able to feel the position that you are placing your foot on. Many bouldering gyms have free nail clippers hanging around. Having your toe touch the front of the shoe helps you better feel where the shoe is on the hold.
Climbing Tip #4: A higher price does not mean it’s a better shoe
For some items, paying a higher price usually means that it is a better product. This is not true when it comes to buying your first climbing shoe. Instead of looking at the price, you should determine what level of experience you are at. There are shoes made for beginners, intermediate and advanced climbers. Each of them have their own specific focus. There is nothing stopping a beginner from buying an advance shoe. But keep in mind that this can hinder the enjoyment of learning how to climb. We will go through the different types below.
Climbing Tip #5: Socks optional
While this is debatable, from our experience not wearing socks is recommended. Please do wear them if you are wearing rentals but generally, most people who climb do not wear them. Wearing socks can hinder your performance as it can slip inside the shoe while you are on a climb.
Types of LA Sportiva climbing shoes
Now that you understand the basics of climbing shoes, we will go over the types of LA Sportiva climbing shoes. There are generally 3 different types of bouldering shoes
Neutral | Moderate | Advance.
Here is a chart to explain the basic difference between the shoes.
Neutral or Flat
As the name says, these are more flat shoes for those who are starting out. They are designed with the beginner in mind. Neutral climbing shoes tend to wear more like regular shoes. The arch is almost linear. LA Sportiva has a variety of beginner climbing shoes for people who are new to bouldering. When you start off climbing, it is not how high or advance you can climb but how many hours or “miles” you can put on them. They are also typically cheaper than aggressive shoes and can save you money in the long run from renting.
LA Sportiva Tarantulace is a good beginner shoe for both men and women. These are super comfortable well-rounded shoe that is versatile. Designed with asymmetric shape for advanced performance. The lacing on the climbing shoe helps with support for those new to climbing. This can be used for indoor gyms and outdoor climbers.
Moderate or All-around
These climbing shoes are geared towards a more balanced approach when it comes to climbing. They work well on a variety of different environments. Whether you are bouldering (indoor or outdoor), trad, or sport climbing. These are generally the most popular types of climbing shoes because of the versatility. They are not flat as the neutral but not as aggressive as the performance shoes.
LA Sportiva Katana lace is a laced up version of the popular Katana. Katana is one of their most popular climbing shoes to date. A patent technology was used to design the first tubular construction climbing shoe. The shoe’s Lorica harness ensures that you can get an exact fit (no stretching). The patient Lorica toebox ensures that the edges of your shoes maintain integrity. The tongue is highly breathable to help with moisture.
Aggressive or performance climbing shoes are designed for a seasoned climber. These climbing shoes are made for more aggressive climbing and holds. While this can be worn by any climber, it is really made for those who are at an advanced level. We will be going over one of the more popular. These climbing shoes have a bigger drop and arch as shown below:
The LA Sportiva Skwama is a high-performance climbing shoe that is ready to tackle any problems. This slip-on climbing shoe uses Velcro for easy control and can be restored. This has a patented heel construction. Designed for the most technical route and boulder problems.
Below is a summary of where these LA SPORTIVA shoes sit in terms of performance and comfort.
Now that you have decided on a shoe, the last process is to actually try them on. This is equally important. Please note that while they are uncomfortable at first, you will know if the shoe is not the right fit if the pain is too severe. If the place has a mock-up wall or hold, we recommend you try the shoe on that. La Sportiva climbing shoes are made for climbing and not walking.