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Hands-on Gear Review

La Sportiva Futura Review

La Sportiva Futura climbing shoe
Price:   $185 List | $138.75 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Incredible sensitivity, Great edging, Durability
Cons:  Specalized use, Expensive, Might be hard to resole
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   La Sportiva

Our Verdict

Is the La Sportiva Futura a smart phone compared to the old Nokia bricks you've been climbing in?

The first time you climb in this shoe it will let you know everything that you're doing wrong with your feet, and you'll hate them for it. The La Sportiva No Edge Concept forces you to climb more precisely, adapting your style of climbing to the close-to-barefoot sensation of the shoe. The Futura is that sensitive, and brings your toe that much closer to the rock.

Built with the P3 midsole, featured in the La Sportiva TC Pro, Testarossa, and Sportiva Miura VS, this shoe retains it's shape easily under pressure. The fast lacing velcro closure system works impressively well. All this combined with a soft synthetic upper means it slides on easily, and it fits superbly right out of the box. Keep the velcro closed when storing, it will help the shoe keep their shape longer. We've even worn them on a few multi-pitch traditional routes in Red Rocks and the Needles. They are definitely not designed to be used as an all-day shoe, but their long term comfort and performance is a testament to how remarkable these shoes are.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Men's Rock Climbing Shoes

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Style Upper Lining
86
$195
Editors' Choice Award
lace Suede Leather/MIcro fiber none
86
$185
Top Pick Award
lace Leather/Lorica Pacific (forefoot and back)
86
$185
velcro Leather/Synthetic Leather Unlined
80
$185
Top Pick Award
lace Leather Sentex/PU Foam
76
$165
lace Leather dentex
76
$175
velcro Cowdura⢠Synthetic synthetic
76
$165
velcro leather synthetic
74
$180
velcro Leather/Lorica HF
74
$130
velcro Non-stretch Synthratek synthetic upper microfiber leather cotton
74
$175
velcro Leather synthetic
74
$160
velcro synthetic Unlined
72
$145
lace Leather none
72
$175
lace Synthetic (Cowdura) none
72
$83
Best Buy Award
velcro Leather / Synflex none
70
$125
slipper leather none
70
$175
velcro MicroFiber (Synthetic)
66
$139
Lace 1.8mm Suede/Micro Suede none
66
$90
velcro Leather/ Synthetic Leather synthetic (tongue and arch only)
66
$180
velcro Suede/Micro Suede none
62
$150
velcro Leather synthetic
58
$89
velcro Elastic Synthratek synthetic upper nylon

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Thomas Greene
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Wednesday
September 17, 2014

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Though the Futura looks and feels ultra aggressive, it manages to be comfortable, even after several pitches. The supple feel of the shoe allows for easy smearing, and the super sticky vibram XS Grip3 rubber is up to the task. The sensitivity of this shoe is phenomenal. On visually featureless rock they find something to paste themselves onto, and let you crank.

Performance Comparison


Testing the Futura in the Needles  CA
Testing the Futura in the Needles, CA

Edging


Using this metric to assess the Futura is almost unfair to the standards. The Futura redefines the standards by changing the way your foot interacts with the rock. Instead of relying on an artificial edge that diminishes the power of your foot, this shoe allows you to transfer that power directly through your toes, and onto the rock. It also allows for a much more uniform pressure on the hold, increasing your foot security and your confidence. We will say this several times in this review: be patient when learning to climb in the Futura. They will let you know when your footwork is getting lazy, like a gentle drill sergeant reminding you to keep it tight.

A side-by-side comparison of the down turn of the Futura and Miura Vs.
A side-by-side comparison of the down turn of the Futura and Miura Vs.

Crack Climbing


We took this shoe to the Needles in California, and they did remarkably well–for a high performance, very specialized rock shoe. We found ourselves doing a lot of face climbing in them, not because we had too, but because we could. When we had to wander back into the cracks for protection, they inspired confidence where we expected them to produce flailing. Though not at home on granite trad climbs, they still climbed well enough that we'd consider using them again.

The Futura compared to more traditionally shaped shoes the Miura VS and Shaman.
The Futura compared to more traditionally shaped shoes the Miura VS and Shaman.

Pockets


Imagine the sensation of placing your fingers in a pocket and weighting it, then being able to translate this feeling almost perfectly to your toes. That's how good the Futura is. It pulls into holds with nearly the same dexterity as your hands, with great support, and the protection of 3mm of sticky rubber. This aspect of climbing with these shoes will come more intuitively. The shape of the shoe, the No Edge concept, and P3 midsole combine to make it easy.

Sensitivity


Wouldn't it be cool if your foot was naturally tough enough to climb everything by itself? The Futura is as close as we've ever come to climbing at our grade while barefoot. La Sportiva achieved this without any major sacrifices to the shape. Other very sensitive shoes such as the Five Ten Team feel sloppy in spite of a tight fit because the shoe lacks structure. This is another feature you'll have to get comfortable with, but the first you'll really love. Feeling confident while cranking down on something you couldn't get your fingernail on is a pretty awe inspiring feeling.

Comfort


This shoe goes on quick and adjusts easily due to the velcro closure strap system lifted off the La Sportiva Solution. It is stiff enough to feel supportive and designed to be less extreme than its predecessor, the La Sportiva Speedster, which was the the original No Edge shoe. It manages to keep your foot in a fairly natural position, in spite of its shape, via some clever engineering.

Crimping on the Iron Man Traverse in the La Sportiva Futura  Buttermilks  CA.
Crimping on the Iron Man Traverse in the La Sportiva Futura, Buttermilks, CA.

Best Applications


Use this shoe to push your limits, and sway the detractors to the No Edge concept movement. This shoe thrives on all angles of rock, but really excels when it gets steep. Take it out on vertical to overhanging sport cragging, gym climbing, and bouldering.

Value


The Futura is a very specialized shoe, and if you're buying it you have to know that it won't be your only shoe. Unless all you do is send, all the time. It is comfortable, and durable enough for a ton of climbing, but at the listed price you'll want to hold it in reserve for the days you really want to put in a big effort.

Owens Valley Gorge sport climbing  Bishop  CA.
Owens Valley Gorge sport climbing, Bishop, CA.

Conclusion


We thought we would shred through these shoes in an afternoon at the buttermilks because the toe seemed so thin, but after a year of use they just recently started looking ready for a resole. This could be attributed to the toughness of the rubber and the lack of an edge, which distributes the pressure of your toe more uniformly on the rock. Resoling could be the crux of owning this shoe, as resoles might be hard to come by, at least until this shoe becomes more popular.

This shoe has a very short wear-in period, but they do require time to build your familiarity and confidence. The bottom line is that the Futura is at the forefront of a concept that is headed in the right direction, putting them on a short list of shoes that will let you climb at your absolute limit, or establish a new one. Definitely check out our new Editors' Choice winner, the La Sportiva Genius to see how this concept is evolving.

Other Versions


La Sportiva Solution
La Sportiva Solution
  • Super high performance bouldering and sport climbing shoe
  • Sensitive and precise
  • $175

La Sportiva Miura VS or La Sportiva Miura VS - Women's
  • Stiff, high performance edging shoe for sport climbing and bouldering
  • Women's version with low cut ankle and lower volume on the Miura last
  • $170
Thomas Greene

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: October 26, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (2.8)

50% of 4 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
5 Total Ratings
5 star: 40%  (2)
4 star: 20%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 40%  (2)
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   Oct 26, 2015 - 06:43pm
unrooted · Climber · Big Pine
I feel like I should give these 5 stars, but since I've only climbed 3 days in them I am leery to give too much praise too soon.

I have climbed 3 days, 2 at the Buttermilk Boulders and 1 in the Happies, and so far they have exceeded my expectations. I normally climb in Solutions or TC pros and I've found that the Futura is more comfortable and sticks to greasy buttermilk holds better than the solutions and they smear as well if not better than the TC Pros. I know those are big claims, and maybe my 3 month old TC Pros are a touch worn (but certainly not ready for a resole) and my 6 month old Solutions are quite rounded on the end of the toes.
I bought the Futura one size down from my solutions (45 vs 46) and they were a little tight at first but now they feel like they were made for my feet. Compared to the Solutions I feel like my heel sticks much better, I could never get my solutions to heel hook well. Compared to the TC Pro for edging I have to do more a smear type maneuver which is probably better on the really small holds of the Milks and the Happies, but 90% of the time my toe sticks to anything I put it on, even if there really isn't more than a small bit of texture.

I like these shoes so much that when I saw a slight discount on the Genius I had to buy them even though I really can't afford it right now. Hopefully the Genius will be a good fit for the Gorge. . .

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Sep 23, 2014 - 09:06pm
Seb · Climber · Paignton
This review is more on the no edge concept with my speedsters than the shoe it's self and i have to say that with out a doubt this is the future of climbing shoes, the sensitivity is amazing and really does encourage good footwork and if you buy the shoe tight enough they really don't feel any different to normal rock shoes (my previous shoe was the miura lace). I bought mine a half size smaller than my miuras tight they toe hook and heel hook like a dream so no issues with it being a slipper (speedsters), I highly doubt i will be going back to an edge for my next performance pair.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jun 28, 2015 - 04:52pm
Many of the new La Sportiva velcro products are defective. The velcro tears or its clasp breaks off. Watch out, La Sportiva customer service refuses to honor their warranty for defective products.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
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   Mar 8, 2015 - 05:54pm
sethetington · Climber · uk
"The Futuras are an aggressive elite climbing shoe, designed to excel on steep routes. They are not designed as an everyday indoor bouldering shoe"

"durability is not its primary concern".

These are direct quotes from correspondence with the distributor of La Sportiva in England, Lyon.

Various websites and sellers may tell you that these boots are suitable for indoor bouldering and excel at all climbing techniques, but do not believe the hype! I have been told straight from the horses mouth that these shoes are not an everyday shoe, not designed for bouldering, and not durable. Also La Sportiva have backed up the comments of the distributors.

I climb at my local climbing gym twice a week for a few hours at a time at an intermediate level so after 5 months when these boots suffered from significant wear and a snapped fastening device I was incredibly disappointed.

Lyon told me you have to sacrifice lifespan when using such "elite" boots, however I have no problem climbing in my Scarpa Boostics and Evolv Sharma shoes years after I originally bought them, which are sold at a similar "elite" level.

I personally expect a major and unfixable feature like the fastening device to last a lot longer than 5 months and was treated unprofessionally and with a distinct lack of care at all levels. Lyon say that I am to blame for the shoes fault due to accidental damage, notable the shoes abrading against rough surfaces. Who would of thought that could occur in the sport of climbing!

So there you have it, if your looking for a good all round shoe that will last this probably isn't for you. 

If your looking, like I was, to buy into a brand that will look after you as a customer and treat you well then these definitely aren't for you.

If you are happy to spend the money and have a very short life shoe for elite climbing on steep slopes then maybe they are.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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