La Sportiva Gripit Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
Comfort on easy climbs is where this shoe shines. The Gripit performed well for young climbers but did have some shortcomings in the performance department. Our testers had trouble on slabs and cracks, as well as edging. The soft sole, while super comfy, just doesn't have the structure needed for most climbers to use on technical terrain.
The Gripit has the No-Edge technology which allows the toes to get super close to the rock. With a "closer to the rock" position, those small footholds will suddenly feel larger and promote better footwork. Even with its No-Edge toe, with such a soft platform, it does require more foot strength. This shoe is better for beginners who likely won't be using super any super small foot jibs.
This shoe is NOT a crack climbing shoe. The soft, thin sole, has very little protection from cracks.
Some soft shoes can perform fairly well in cracks, but this shoe takes softness to another level and had our testers grimacing, wishing they could just touch the chains already. Basically, if you wouldn't stick your bare foot into the crack, you won't want to do it in this shoe.
The shape of the toe box combined with the soft, flexible outsole, make this shoe a poor candidate for pocketed routes, especially on steeper terrain.
The only saving grace this shoe offers for pockets is the fact that it has the no edge technology that allows the foot to get in close and sense the nuances of the foothold. A shoe with a more tapered toe box would be a much better choice for those routes that feature pockets, but then you would lose that wide, foot-shaped toe box of the Gripit.
The Gripit is an extremely sensitive shoe. La Sportiva lists the shoe as having a 1.8mm Laspoflex midsole and a 3mm Frixion Rs rubber outsole.
However, the outsole appears to be closer to 2mm, and there is no apparent midsole, so the shoe ends up being extremely sensitive. Even though the Gripit is super sensitive, the rubber didn't seem to grip the rock as well as the Stickit, which supposedly has the same Frixion Rs rubber. However, with so much sensitivity, this shoe will promote good footwork because it will give much more sensory feedback.
Finally, a metric this shoe dominates. Having the same adjustment strap as the La Sportiva Stickit, it is super easy to get on and off, and the flat, wide, flexible sole makes this shoe the most comfortable shoe tested by far.
The standard reaction when someone puts on a climbing shoe for the first time, "Can I get the next size up?", is a thing of the past. You should expect this shoe to feel more like a moccasin than a standard climbing shoe. As a general rule, the higher the performance, the lower the comfort.
The Gripit has pretty good value for the right climber. This Italian-made shoe is perfect for beginners. If you are looking for a shoe that is easy on the growing foot, allowing the foot to spread and stay in its natural position, these can't be beaten. However, the durability is called into question because lace's stopper knot came untied after the first climb (easy fix). Also, the same lace showed wear after only a couple of climbs.
We did put the shoe to the test on some hard outdoor crack climbs that this shoe wasn't necessarily designed for, however, which may have given it more of a beating than the average beginner climber would. The Velcro tab is barely larger than a postage stamp and after repeated use, is likely to wear out. (Though that is speculation since we had no trouble with that on this shoe or the Stickit, which shares the same design). We think the durability would be just fine if used for its primary purpose.
You may be asking, with all of its drawbacks, why it even gets an award, to begin with, but the fact is, this shoe is a perfect design for so many kids out there. This innovative new shoe may not have the best performance in cracks or pockets, for instance, but it was given an award because it has rewritten the rules for what makes a good young kid's climbing shoe. Ask any new climber to try this on next to any of the other intermediate climbing shoes; there is no doubt, most of them will feel more comfortable in the Gripit, which in turn will make the activity more enjoyable. That is reason enough to consider this for any future wall rat.
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