La Sportiva Maverink Review
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La Sportiva Maverink
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|$59.96 at Backcountry|
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$67.96 at Backcountry
|$89 List||Check Price at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Sensitive, great edging, comfortable||Adjustable heel strap, breathability, single pull adjustment, very comfortable||Superb edging, great crack shoe, great on steep rock||Super comfortable, good for growing feet, easy on/off||Soft microfiber upper, EVA heel cushion, affordable, lightweight|
|Cons||Possible back of ankle pressure point, difficult to resole||Fabric is less abrasion resistant than synthetic or real leather, metal D-rings can cause pressure points and abrasion to straps||Lacks comfort for all day climbing, laces a bit time-consuming||Lacks technical performance, single lace tension strap wore out quickly||Thin toe rand, poor at edging|
|Bottom Line||A great shoe for experienced kids who push their limits in steep sport or boulders||One of the best available, all-around comfortable shoes, that performs well for most applications including cracks, slab, and face||The aggressive downturned toe, combined with a supportive last, makes this shoe shine on vertical face and overhanging rock as well as cracks and technical slab||A super comfortable, easy to use shoe great for young climbers for starting out||A comfortable shoe, great for beginners and casual climbers alike, with good performance at a great price|
|Rating Categories||La Sportiva Maverink||Evolv Venga||Evolv Ashima||La Sportiva Gripit||Butora Brava|
|Specs||La Sportiva Maverink||Evolv Venga||Evolv Ashima||La Sportiva Gripit||Butora Brava|
|Style||Aggressive slipper||Velcro slipper||Lace-up||Velcro slipper||Velcro slipper|
|Upper||Micro fiber/ leather||Polyester Mesh||Leather||ECO Biodegradable leather||Synthetic|
|Rubber Type||Vibram XS Grip 2||TRAX SAS||TRAX High Friction||Frixion RS||Butyl Butora F5|
|Rubber Thickness||3 mm||4.2 mm||4.2 mm||3 mm||4 mm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The La Sportiva Maverink runs circles around most of the other shoes we tested, but we wanted to include a couple of high-performance shoes to show what is available and help kids figure out what type best fits their needs. The Maverink is an unlined, slip-lasted shoe with a soft microfiber upper, and a nice leather heel pocket, surrounded by rubber, that is great for heel hooking. It has La Sportiva's proprietary No-Edge technology that gets the toe closer to the rock, letting you use your climbing shoes almost like a second skin, and the XS Grip 2 rubber has excellent friction for sticking to small holds. Much of the forefoot was left free of seams and overlays because the Maverink comes with two markers so they can be fully personalized to match the style of the climber.
One might assume that a shoe with a patented technology called "No-Edge", would perform poorly on edges. However, what the No-Edge toe does is wrap a thin layer of rubber up over the big toe, eliminating the 90-degree rubber "edge", allowing your toe to be at the very end of the shoe, putting you closer to the rock. This increases the sensitivity at the point of contact, so kids can feel the rock underfoot. Many children who are relatively new to climbing might appreciate this since beginners tend to not look at their feet often enough. If they feel what is happening through their toes, that sensory feedback might further encourage them to look at their footwork more.
More precise footwork can now be used to feel the rock better and shift on small features. There is no midsole in this shoe, so the forefoot is quite flexible and flat, causing the hard edging ability of the shoe to suffer slightly, but the P3 platform definitely helps. Overall this shoe does a great job of sensing the rock and edging up on it when the face gets technical. We also think it's possible to get a longer life out of the sole since the nice 90-degree edge isn't a factor and will also promote better footwork to climb more deliberately.
This shoe won't disappoint when it comes to climbing a few moderate cracks but don't ask too much of it. Its No-Edge toe shape won't allow it to get too far into the cracks when they get thin, and it would benefit by having even a thin midsole to give the shoe a little extra stiffness.
The XS Grip 2 rubber provides great friction in the crack, and the rand does a fine job of protecting the toe and arch. The lightly tensioned P3 on the Maverink keeps the foot in a more natural position, which certainly helps keep you comfortable while swimming up easier hand cracks.
This thing is absolutely great in pockets. The No-Edge sole with the XS Edge rubber has great friction and can find the slightest features to use.
The P3 platform keeps the toes pointed downwards, which helps the toes latch into the pockets in steep terrain. An incut heel pocket holds the foot securely and is wrapped with a rand of sticky rubber, making heel hooking a breeze. We tested them on sandstone pockets in Utah and Arizona and they were the best pocket performers for our tester who also preferred comfort. These shoes would feel right at home on the sandstone pockets at the Red River Gorge or the limestone pockets in Thailand.
With only 3mm of XS Grip 2 and no midsole, the Maverink has excellent sensitivity. And now, with the No-Edge toe, not only might you be able to stand on a dime edge, you may be able to feel it. We found it quite soft, and it even did a great job smearing on microfeatures on the steep granite slabs of the Southeastern United States as well as the sandstone slabs of Southeastern Utah.
For being a "down-turned, aggressive shoe", this model is super comfortable. The foot lays almost flat and having no actual mid-sole other than the P3 platform, it's super flexible. Kids just moving up from a flat lasted, all-around shoe, especially those with small feet, may have to get used to the "high top" feeling from the P3 rand.
The rigid heel pocket is also going to feel pretty different from the more moderate kids' shoes. At first, one of our testers complained that the shoe dug into her ankle both in the front and on the back. However, as the shoe broke in over time, this seemed like less of an issue and she deliberately chose the Maverink for a variety of different types of climbs. All in all, this shoe is super soft and comfortable.
The idea with the Maverink is to offer a high-performance shoe for kids that keeps their foot health in mind. Kids shouldn't spend hours in tight binding climbing shoes, and La Sportiva has done a great job of accomplishing that. To get a good performance fit, we recommend that you size down at least a full European size, if not two, though results may vary, as kids climbing shoes are notoriously tricky to size just right.
We say this shoe is worth every penny. There aren't many options for kid's performance shoes, and they are all about the same price. An adult shoe with the same features would likely cost $170. Young climbers and parents alike might be surprised to see the price double when you make the leap from intermediate climbing shoes to these performance-driven shoes. However, these shoes are still handcrafted in Italy, and the craftsmanship is amazing; there's not a loose thread or stray stitch. Every material has a purpose, and everything is perfectly in its place. La Sportiva knows how to make a quality climbing shoe that holds up to repeated use, year after year, assuming the shoe isn't outgrown first.
The La Sportiva Maverink is a great entry into aggressive performance shoes for kids with growing feet. The performance is worlds better than the intermediate climbing shoes we tested, and the P3 platform gives it just the right amount of downturn. Many women with small feet love it for the price and the softness with the same technical features they've grown to love in the adult models. The aspect of personalization that the markers add is also a cool concept that kids are sure to love.
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