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La Sportiva Solution Review

   

Climbing Shoes - Men's

  • Currently 4.5/5
Overall avg rating 4.5 of 5 based on 5 reviews. Most recent review: July 8, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $130 - $175 | Compare prices at 11 resellers
Pros:  Great precision, aggressive/down turned toe tip, sensitive, great toe and heel hooking, precise fit, comfortable, easy on/off.
Cons:  Not comfortable for all-day climbing, expensive, not the most versatile, hard to fit, single strap broke prematurely.
Best Uses:  Sport climbing and bouldering
User Rating:     
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 (5.0 of 5) based on 4 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (4/4) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ May 4, 2012  
Overview
The La Sportiva Solution has one of the more aggressive and unique designs out there. It is designed for performance on sport climbs and boulder problems. It edges well while retaining great sensitivity. Even traditional climbers sometimes use it but tend to prefer the La Sportiva Miura or La Sportiva TC Pro. If you want a more all-around shoe, get the Miura. If you want a shoe that specializes more on technical edging, go with the La Sportiva Miura VS. But if you want the ultimate bouldering or sport shoe, try this head to head with the Five Ten Team 5.10 and Evolv Shaman and see what you like better.

The Solution is one of the few shoes that many people feel is almost like cheating – it makes you climb that much better. Other people prefer a less aggressive design. It all comes down to fit and preference. This is definitely a shoe that any bouldering addict should try out. Check out our complete Climbing Shoe Review to see how these scored against the competition.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
Its aggressive down-turned toe and P3 Platform really puts power on any tiny pockets or edges. The unique fast-lacing system helps you get the shoe on and off fast while making it fit just as precisely as any traditional lacing system shoe, if not better. The Lock Harness design and rubber on top of the toe makes this a heel-hooking and toe-hooking machine.

The Vibram XS Grip2 rubber is the most sensitive and sticky rubber that Sportiva shoes come with. In the past, we thought 5.10 rubber was leaps and bounds better than all others. Now the competition is more stiff. Which is better? It still comes down to personal preference. We generally feel that the 5.10 rubber is a little better at smearing both on the bottom of the shoe and on the edge (maybe better for granite). However, Sportiva seems to really hold small sharp edges well (maybe better for limestone).

We like the rubber on the top of the toe for toe hooking, it works well. The Shaman has similar toe hooking rubber and worked about the same on most toe hooks. Only the Five Ten Team 5.10 shoe worked better for toe hooking. All performance shoes for steep rock should have this. The Solution also has a great heel cup shape, completely covered in rubber, that excels at all types of heel-hooking. Name a style of heeling hooking – inside, outside and back of the heel – this shoe precisely handles it. We also like the wetsuit-type material on the uppers; it makes for an easy on/off and a nice uniformly snug fit.

Dislikes
The design works best if you size this shoe really small. It's not a "wear all day shoe" but rather a shoe to put on, crank down tight, send your project, then get off fast! It's looks are… well, the sport is not all about looks, right? For some of our testers, this shoe fits like a glove. For other testers, it felt like there was a little too much going on and they preferred the fit and feel of a more simple shoe like the Five Ten Anasazi VCS. Either way, this shoe was a little hard to fit. Get it too big and the whole thing feels mushy and you lose most of the shoe's advantages. Fit is the most important factor to any shoe's performance, but even more so with this one.

The single Velcro strap wore out prematurely on the test shoes and on several friends shoes. It seems like the strap is breaking due to the metal grommets getting rusty then wearing out the nylon strap before most of the rest of the shoe is worn out leaving the shoe "dead in the water" :(

Value
This is one of the most expensive climbing shoes you can buy. It is worth it if it fits you well and you want to boulder at your absolute limit. While it performs great in the gym, we wouldn't use such an expensive shoe indoors. Instead we would go with the Mad Rock Flash which is half the cost.

Other Versions
La Sportiva Solution - Women's, $175.

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: July 8, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (5.0)

100% of 4 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
5 Total Ratings
5 star: 80%  (4)
4 star: 20%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 4 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Jul 8, 2014 - 02:59pm
dpgraham · Climber · Dallas
I got these after I tried the make the 5.10 dragons fit. These are an excellent alternative! The Toe power on these things is amazing! I've found this shoe is perfect for limestone bouldering where toe hooks, heel hooks and extensive pocket use is required. I don't know why they scored so low on the gear lab rating because these shoes are absolute machines (when you put them on you'll understand)I wear 12 to 12.5 street shoe and got these in a 43.5 (I went 43 originally then decided it was too painful and I climb better in comfortable shoes, but it can be done). the gear lab is correct when they say the strap is prone to snapping at that one point, still looking for solution to that (ha). Another thing I've found is that the gym rats out there like to complain about how bulbous the heel is BUT every time i'm outside i"m usually very very happy about how thick that heel rubber is cause it's very comfortable.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 17, 2014 - 06:39pm
RyderS · Climber · Boston, MA
I have 2 pairs and as a trad junkie (though I do enjoy sport climbing and bouldering). I know that it seems a bit counterintuitive (I use the Miuras and Scarpa N-Force for super long stuff). That being said, if you don't try to completely annihilate your feet when you try them on, they do settle in nicely to allow you to get out on trad climbs. I wouldn't recommend them for, say, a grade V alpine sufferfest, but they can handle doing grade IIIs once broken in… you may just need to pop your heels out when hanging out at the belay. Pulling roofs in the Gunks has become a lot less unnerving when I know that I can paste my feet on little conglomerate pebbles and have the peace-of-mind that my feet will not give me a nasty surprise in the form of cutting free.

The nice feature about the Solutions is that, as they break in, the "power platform" keeps the shoe downturned and, even when weighted on dime edges, downcambered. What I found is that as the break-in process advances, you get increased comfort with maintained precision for standing on those tiny edges; the shoe will maintain its downturned position, but will flex up to a downcambered position. This is in contrast to neutral or downcambered shoes which can stretch and become "sloppy" as your toes have more freedom to bend upward with other shoes. So this shoe will not lose precision in the same way others will.

If you can handle the long break-in period, these shoes can climb more than just your quick boulder problem.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 10, 2012 - 02:04pm
Stonecutter · Climber · Portland, ME
As a climber, I boulder, sport climb, and spend a lot of time in the rock gym. The two best shoes I have ever worn have been La Sportiva's Miuras and Solutions. In comparing them, I must say that both are fantastic for the type of climbing I do most, but neither are best suited for longer top-roping or lead climbs. They both have great rubber, but smearing on vertical surfaces becomes painful quickly. However, these shoes are amazing on inverted climbs. The Solutions, however, are better than the Miuras in several ways. They have greater sensitivity in the toe, have more rubber for toe-hooks, and a much tighter heel for heel-hooks. Additionally, the strap of one of my Miura shoes tore off after about 7 months, and the single loop strap of the Solutions seems to be holding up very nicely after almost a year. Overall, while both the Miuras and Solutions are top of the line climbing shoes, I believe the Solutions are the best shoes I have ever worn.

Conclusion: Solutions > Miuras

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Mar 10, 2012 - 04:42pm
Mythos · Climber · Lake Tahoe
Bought this shoe about a month ago and it has been amazing. I have been using it mainly down in bishop at the buttermilks/happys. This shoe makes for the best heel hooks and the aggressive toe works great for edging. It also climbs very well in pockets. This shoe also happens to fit my foot perfectly and because of that is pretty comfortable most of the day. I highly reccomend this shoe for bouldering and sport climbing.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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La Sportiva Solution
La Sportiva Solution
Credit: Chris McNamara
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