Hands-on Gear Review
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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
Manufacturer: La Sportiva
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
Its aggressive down-turned toe and P3 Platform (Permanent Power 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.
Lock Harness A technology used in climbing shoes to create a support system which wraps the foot and offers a more secure fit while heel hooking.
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.
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" :(
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.
The Solution - Women's, $175, are the women's version of this shoe.
The La Sportiva Miura and the La Sportiva Miura - Women's, $160, are regarded as highly recommended shoes, with the women's winning the Editor's Choice Award.
— Chris McNamara
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Most recent review: July 8, 2014
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