Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Inexpensive, durable, comfortable.
Cons: Not very sensative on small edges.
Best Uses: Entry level shoe for almost any type of climbing.
La Sportiva has discontinued the Mantis and replaced it with the Tarantula which we expect to review in the future. For now we recommend the Mad Rock Flash 2.0 which is also a velcro shoe at a similar price point. To see all of the shoes we tested see our full Rock Climbing Shoe Review.
See what we thought of the Mantis below, in case you find a pair on closeout.
The La Sportiva Mantis is an excellent all-purpose, Velcro shoe that is well made, performs well, and is durable and comfortable. An unlined leather upper with synthetic and rubber supports allows for a certain degree of stretch and form fitting, with little danger of becoming baggy and over-stretched with use. A lot of people have complained in the past that La Sportiva shoes are great but are really expensive. Well, this is just about the least expensive shoe on the market so stop complaining! For a more high performance shoe, we would lean toward the La Sportiva Miura, which is almost double the price.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The toe rand covers the entire toe box and the side rand extends up the sides, covering the synthetic darts for added grip. This, along with a low-profile, makes for excellent foot jams in cracks. The stiff supportive midsole provide good edging ability. The sculpted and rubber-coated heel cup provides excellent support and friction when heel-hooking. These shoes are very comfortable due to the flat toe position and the padded, breathable tongue. The slightly asymmetrical toe box puts the power over the inside of your big toe but it is still comfortable to smear on the ball of your foot on those slabs.
The Mantis is less sensitive than a performance sport/bouldering shoe, making them a little more difficult for feeling tiny crystals. The shoe is also heavily covered in rubber (even high up the sides), making it slightly less breathable than a shoe with lower side rands like the La Sportiva Mythos. The shoe loses some of its performance on radically overhanging problems/routes as well as routes with extremely balancey, technical footwork.
These are great all-around and entry level climbing shoes. They will perform well on a variety of route types, making them ideal for someone who climbs a wide array of routes and styles. They are recommended for working moderate routes and problems of all kinds (cracks, slab, bouldering, and face), all day trad routes, as well as gym use. But leave them at home for that overhanging 5.13c sport project or super technical face climbs. Size them one-half to one size below your street shoe size.
At around $70, its hard to beat the price.
— Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: August 13, 2012
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