Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Great edging, all-day comfort, ankle protection.
Cons: Not stickiest rubber (but also a pro), expensive.
Best Uses: All-day climbing, edging, long routes (especially on granite).
Manufacturer: La Sportiva
The TC Pro is named after Tommy Caldwell, who designed them. It the result of La Sportiva saying, "Okay Tommy, design your ultimate shoe for long technical routes." These shoes are stiff and stand on just about any edge no matter how small. It is designed for climbing super-technical El Cap free routes where you stand on "edges" only a few millimeters wide. But according to this climbing shoe review the shoes work for much more than just micro edging. They also smear surprisingly well and work great in cracks. Their high-top design means they protect your ankles on wide cracks. Before the TC Pro, Tommy was using the La Sportiva Miura, which is an edging machine and still his top choice for cragging routes and bouldering. For super techy boulder problems, Tommy uses the La Sportiva Solution. But for just about everything else, and all the recent hard sends you read about, he uses the TC Pro.
If you are a granite trad climbing addict, you should strongly consider the TC Pro. If you want something a little more versatile for sport and bouldering, we would go with the Miura or Five Ten Anasazi VCS. – Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
These are the best technical granite climbing shoe available, especially for multi-pitch climbs. They attack everything from precision cracks to offwidths. The P3 Platform combined with the XS Edge rubber lets you confidently stand on tiny edges for marathon technical leads. The three-quarter length protects your ankles from nasty wide cracks. Yet the shoe still ventilates relatively well because of its mesh tongue, perforated leather, and lighter color. There is not a more comfortable shoe that performs this well.
Since this is a three-quarter high-top, it it is not as precise or sensitive as a shoe like the Miura. We would not recommend it for steep routes where you need to lightly paste your feet on rounded holds.
The rubber took us a little getting used. The Vibram XS Edge is not as tacky as most rubber we are used to. When you reach your foot way out for a smear, it is not as grippy. That said, this rubber also is more durable and does not slip off tiny edges like softer rubber can.
At $170 they are the most expensive climbing shoe we know of. However, they also use rubber and a design that is claimed to make them last at least twice as long as most shoes. They offer a great long-term value if you love the shoe design and are a trad climbing fiend.
Tommy Caldwell On Designing the TC Pro
"These shoes stand out because they use a crazy technology in the middle of the shoe that not even La Sportiva would tell me all the details about. The technology makes it so that shoe has amazing support. The goal is a shoe that really stable to you could wear it a little big for all day comfort and still stand on tiny edges. I wear the same size shoe whether I am working on 5.14 on Mescalito or climbing easier long routes. The mid top protects your ankles but doesn't feel like a clunky high top. It has more durable rubber than the La Sportiva Miura that will probably last twice as long. It is not quite as tacky as other rubber. But it won't creep off tiny edges if you are standing on them for a while and won't start flaking and scaling like softer rubber does. Because it's a high top, I wanted to make it super breathable hence all the vent holes in the tongue and sides. I do all my long routes in these whether it is El Cap or long limestone routes. I don't boulder in them. These are what I wore to climb Magic Mushroom. For all previous El Cap free routes I used the La Sportiva Miura.
"I was very involved with the design of these shoes. I would Skype back and forth with La Sportiva, give them feedback, and then get a new prototype a week or two later. We went through nine rounds of this until we got the design just where we wanted it."
— Chris McNamara
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Most recent review: October 6, 2013
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