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La Sportiva Maverink Review

A great shoe for experienced kids who push their limits in steep sport or boulders
La Sportiva Maverink
Photo: La Sportiva
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $130 List | $89.93 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Sensitive, great edging, comfortable
Cons:  Possible back of ankle pressure point, difficult to resole
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Adam Paashaus & Brian Smith  ⋅  May 3, 2021
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 10
  • Edging - 20% 9
  • Cracks - 20% 8
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Pockets - 20% 8
  • Sensitivity - 20% 8

Our Verdict

These days, many kids are absolutely crushing. Now, if that 7 or 8-year-old starts climbing harder than mom or dad, they too can get an aggressive, performance-driven shoe, just like the adults with the La Sportiva Maverink. The P3 platform gives it a nice downturn for bouldering or steep sport climbing, but the tension in the rand is not pulled quite as tight as the adult performance shoes, and the whole forefoot from the arch to the toes, is almost flat. So, while it may be "super aggressive" when compared to the flatter-lasted shoes, it remains forgiving to the young growing foot and won't hold the foot in an unnaturally tight slingshot position.

Compare to Similar Products

 
La Sportiva Maverink
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $89.93 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$54.95 at Backcountry
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Check Price at Amazon
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$37.46 at Backcountry$34.30 at Backcountry
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Pros Sensitive, great edging, comfortableAdjustable heel strap, breathability, single pull adjustment, very comfortableSuperb edging, great crack shoe, great on steep rockVery comfortable, easy to put on and take off, sensitive yet durableSoft microfiber upper, EVA heel cushion, affordable, lightweight
Cons Possible back of ankle pressure point, difficult to resoleFabric is less abrasion resistant than synthetic or real leather, metal D-rings can cause pressure points and abrasion to strapsLacks comfort for all day climbing, laces a bit time-consumingHard to size correctly, too soft for smaller edges and pockets, rounded toe boxThin toe rand, poor at edging
Bottom Line A great shoe for experienced kids who push their limits in steep sport or bouldersOne of the best available, all-around comfortable shoes, that performs well for most applications including cracks, slab, and faceThe aggressive downturned toe, combined with a supportive last, makes this shoe shine on vertical face and overhanging rock as well as cracks and technical slabA colorful and comfortable shoe that is easy to put on and performs well, especially while climbing slabs and cracksA 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 Five Ten Kirigami Butora Brava
Edging (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
Cracks (20%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Comfort (20%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Pockets (20%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
Sensitivity (20%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Specs La Sportiva Maverink Evolv Venga Evolv Ashima Five Ten Kirigami Butora Brava
Style Aggressive slipper Velcro slipper Lace-up Velcro slipper Velcro slipper
Upper Micro fiber/ leather Polyester Mesh Leather Synthetic Synthetic
Width Options None None None None None
Lining Unlined Agion Antimicrobial Unlined Textile sock liner Unlined
Rubber Type Vibram XS Grip 2 TRAX SAS TRAX High Friction Stealth Phantom 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.

Performance Comparison


The Maverink isn't made for climbing lower angle rock, but with its...
The Maverink isn't made for climbing lower angle rock, but with its flexibility and sensitivity, it works better than expected.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Edging


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.

The No-Edge toe does a great job edging on tiny, even sloped holds.
The No-Edge toe does a great job edging on tiny, even sloped holds.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Crack Climbing


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.

Pockets


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.

The No-Edge toe wraps around the big toe allowing the climber to get...
The No-Edge toe wraps around the big toe allowing the climber to get much closer to the rock for excellent edging and sensitivity.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Sensitivity


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.


Comfort


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 P3 rand does a great job of keeping the shoe pointed down for...
The P3 rand does a great job of keeping the shoe pointed down for steep routes, but the rubber comes up pretty high on the back of the heel and can aggravate the Achilles tendons on some people.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

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.

Putting the Maverink and the Venga, side by side, shows how much...
Putting the Maverink and the Venga, side by side, shows how much downturn the Maverink really has when compared to a more "all around" shoe.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

Adam Paashaus & Brian Smith