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La Sportiva Ganda Review

   
Editors' Choice Award

Approach Shoes - Men's

  • Currently 4.4/5
Overall avg rating 4.4 of 5 based on 9 reviews. Most recent review: November 26, 2012
Street Price:   Varies from $228 - $250 | Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Maybe the highest performing approach shoe on rock
Cons:  Expensive, not great for longer hikes
Best Uses:  Guides and climbing addicts who want a comfy shoe to climb technical rock routes that are well below their ability.
User Rating:     
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 (4.1 of 5) based on 8 reviews
Recommendations:  86% of reviewers (6/7) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ November 26, 2012  
Overview
This is one of the best approach shoes out there. It is a favorite among guides, who can climb just about any moderate rock route in them. We even hear of people climbing 5.12 in these. That said, they are SUPER expensive. They are over double the price of the Five Ten Guide Tennie or the La Sportiva Boulder X. Are they twice as durable? Maybe. Twice as good? No. They are awesome, but will be hard for most people to justify the price when the Guide Tennie performs as well as most people need for an approach shoe and the Boulder X is not far behind. If you have deep pockets, get the Ganda. If you are on a budget, get the Guide Tennie for better climbing.

View our complete Climbing Approach Shoe Review to see how this compared to others.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
What is not to like about this shoe? The performance is unbeatable whether on cracks, edging or smearing. Think of it as climbing as well as a sloppy regular climbing shoe. We can't think of a climbing approach shoe that does better when it comes to climbing your hardest in approach shoes. Everything about the shoe is high quality. The toe rand is extra generous and wraps all the way into that critical area on the outside of your foot where many other approach shoes blow out. The sticky dot rubber tread extends the entire length of the shoe for great smearing.

Dislikes
The only thing to mention other than the expensive price tag is that these are not ideal for longer hikes when sized tightly. The whole point of spending $215 on this shoe is it climbs so well, but that is only if you size it a little on the small side. If we were High Sierra climbing, we would lean much more toward a shoe like the Evolv Escapist or Five Ten Savant or one of the La Sportiva Exum Pro. In fact, we have noticed that even some top La Sportiva athletes rarely wear the Ganda and instead lean toward the Exum Pro, which is much better for hiking and approaches. All that said, if you size the Ganda loosely, which we don't really recommend, then it would perform above average on long hikes.

Click to enlarge
Max Neale in the La Sportiva Gandas, and CiloGear 30L W/NWD WorkSack. Evolution Traverse, CA.
Credit: OutdoorGearLab
Value
As awesome as the Ganda is, it is still half way between being a really good climbing shoe and being a really good trail shoe. That would not be a big deal if it cost $100. But at $215, it's harder to justify the price when you could almost get a pair of the awesome La Sportiva Muira and Exum Pro for the same price. In fact, in a search we just did with the Outdoor Gear Price Finder, we found the two on sale for a combined price of $200. The Ganda is rarely on sale for less than the $215 sticker price.

All that said, the Ganda scored above average for durability and is one of the few approach shoes you can resole without losing a lot of performance. So they may offer the best long term value if climb in them a ton and get them resoled.

Best Application
These are ideal for guides or people that climb a lot of technical rock climbs well within their ability.

Other Versions
There is a high top version of this Ganda called the Ganda Guide. It comes with more support and a more aggressive sole for hiking (it only has dot rubber under the front of the foot and the back has a regular hiking boot pattern). It is $20 more, which puts it at $235.

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 26, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.1)

86% of 7 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
8 Total Ratings
5 star: 63%  (5)
4 star: 13%  (1)
3 star: 13%  (1)
2 star: 13%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 8 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Apr 15, 2012 - 03:36am
Blakey · Climber · Newcastle UK
I purchased a pair of these a few weeks ago and have had the opportunity to wear them to the crag at a local indoor wall.

First the fit. I have what I consider to be a 'Sportiva foot', and wore Barracudas and Katanas for years, I take a normal UK 8 to 8.5 in shoes, but a Euro 41 in rock shoes.

I tried the 41s on in the shop, and they were an absolute non starter, the 42s were marginal without the footbed, I ended up getting 43s, which are still quite snug, but very comfortable.

If you get these shoes so tight 'you can send your project ;-)' then you ain't going to be walking to the crag in them! So if you put the advertising hyperbole to the side; they are great approach shoes, comfortable and very snug and undoubtedly the best made pair of approach shoes I've had, but they aren't that good for climbing, (though the wide crack comments are probably correct) there's little lateral stiffness and the sole is so thick there's no feedback (shouldn't be suprised at that). They will be great scrambling shoes, or for good Via Ferrata and very easy climbing, but they are definitely not (for me ) a shoe that would be worn on anything over Severe (UK) or 5.4 (US)

With those caveats, I'd recommend them as a quality approach and scrambling shoe, that will likely last forever

Steve

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 28, 2012 - 03:04pm
I returned my Ganda Guides to MEC as they leaked water in at where the sole joins the leather, admitted sand like crazy where the tongue meets the laces and on wet rock in Squamish it was like wearing ice skates

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   May 13, 2011 - 03:34pm
otis · Climber · Lake Arrowhead, Ca
This is the shoe I've been searching for years. Can't wait to get these out in the sierra. Top quality construction. Might just become my everyday climbing shoe, why not?

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 10, 2011 - 11:40am
freerider · Climber
these shoes are awesome! for fist cracks i prefer them to rockclimbing shoes. for easy sandstone climbs too. worrth the money? that depends on how much you have! ;)

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 9, 2011 - 06:23pm
bmacd · Climber · 100% Canadian
Pulled the trigger on a pair of these today. I bought the high top Guide version which are even more expensive than the standard model - Plus I paid inflated Canadian prices with our par value dollar in Canada for them. MEC.CA dinged me 300 dollars Canadian taxes included. Absolutely Ridiculous money

I justified the cost by returning a pair of Trango S EVO unused to MEC. I sized up 0.5 size euro and fit them with BILT insoles and midweight socks to make long approaches/hikes doable for the soles of my feet.

What sold me on these shoes:

1.) Good foot support all around alleviating my foot capsule problems I am experiencing
2.) Resolable vibram soles
3.) I have a La Sportiva fit foot
4.) Can rock climb in them - good lateral support
5.) Gorgeous and comfortable lining
6.) All Leather - real leather
7.) durability
8.) Can be used as my Wall climbing boot
9.) Can be used as a light weight hiker
10.) Super beefy rand all around
11.) as mentioned down thread good wide crack shoe

In my opinion these are more than a shoe they are a lightweight boot and fill several niches for me. The price is hard to swallow but I expect these shoes/boots to last me a very long time

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 12, 2010 - 03:43pm
mikeyschaefer · Climber · Yosemite
Barry's Resoles (559-855-4511) will put half soles on them with 5.10 stealth for $36 plus S+H

The resoles have held up incredibly well. They would last even longer if they were vibram/sportiva rubber but Barry doesn't stock it.

Dont worry about the color and logo, if you wear them enough the leather/colors will fade quickly.
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   Oct 12, 2010 - 03:25pm
Anonymous · Climber · CA
great all purpose approach especially stellar on wider cracks-you can find em cheaper, i got mine for $150-still pricey, but not so painful.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 12, 2010 - 02:04pm
mikeyschaefer · Climber · Yosemite
I would have to agree Ganda's are an extremely expensive pair of shoes that are twice as much as a pair of 5.10 Guide tennies. That being said, they will last twice as long if not much much longer.

I've had my pair for 18 months now and they are still in amazing condition. They have also been resoled TWICE! And given the way they are holding up they should will be resoled two more times. I can even count how many days I've used them. A guess would be at least 250 days.

They are built much more like boot/climbing shoes than cushy running shoes. But I've had great luck with doing long approaches in them. Which includes 18 day trips and 20+ mile alpine approaches.

I've also worn numerous pairs of Exum Pro's over the years and find the ganda to be on par with them as far comfort goes ONCE they are broken in. Which takes a bit of time, (like a pair of muiras)

Here are some comments I made in an earlier thread about them. http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1143448&msg=1144379#msg1144379

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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La Sportiva Ganda Approach Shoe
Credit: sportiva.com
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