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La Sportiva Futura - Women's Review

If you let them, they may revolutionize your footwork; they'll take some getting used to, but are top notch for steep climbing.
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Price:  $185 List | $185.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, extremely sensitive, great for smearing and steep climbing, easy to get on and off
Cons:  Expensive, No-Edge technology could be an acquired taste
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 6, 2019
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85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 18
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Sensitivity - 25% 10
  • Edging - 15% 7
  • Cracks - 15% 5
  • Pockets - 15% 10
  • Ease of Use - 5% 9

Our Verdict

Climbing in the La Sportiva Futura felt like an entirely new climbing experience. These shoes perform like no other shoe in our fleet, thanks to their no-edge design. Both impressed and surprised, the Futura kept up with our longstanding favorites and even outperformed them in some of our metric comparisons. As Sportiva claims, "these are little Ferraris for your feet". We haven't driven a Ferrari, but we imagine it feels a bit like climbing sweet French limestone in these puppies. They are incredibly comfortable, yet deliver like a performance climbing shoe. We could wear them all day long and wouldn't be sacrificing any performance.

On steep climbing, especially limestone and sandstone, the Futuras were impressive; they inspired such confidence that features we would have laughed at in the past suddenly became decent footholds. They were our go-to shoes, especially on steep climbing where smeary feet and small pockets are the name of the game. We usually switched over to the Skwama if we needed a bit more edge but still wanted the softness of the Futura.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

We were huge fans of the La Sportiva Futura. Their No-Edge technology allowed us to rediscover footwork and climb with newfound confidence.

Performance Comparison


The Futura's were our favorites for the steep limestone walls of the Verdon Gorge.
The Futura's were our favorites for the steep limestone walls of the Verdon Gorge.

Comfort


The Futura brings an impressive combination of performance and comfort that is unparalleled among the shoes we've tested. The soft, synthetic upper is supple and malleable, which helped them adapt to the shape of our foot - after just a few days of use. As they broke in, comfort increased over time. Though the shape appears aggressive outwardly, the Futura keeps the foot in a fairly natural position.

We were impressed by the Futura's ability to combine comfort and performance.
We were impressed by the Futura's ability to combine comfort and performance.

Sensitivity


The No-Edge technology used in the construction of the Futura can be a little unnerving at first. Instead of a distinct 4mm layer of rubber that separates the sole from the rand, the Futura has a layer of rubber that wraps from the sole of the shoe over the tip of the toe. This makes for an incredibly sensitive toe and forces you to climb with more precision and faith. Once we warmed up to them, the Futura inspired us to stand on the smeariest, tiniest footholds we could find with complete commitment.

A close up of the No-Edge technology on the toe of the Futura. This rounded toe sticks to pretty much any foothold you place it on.
A close up of the No-Edge technology on the toe of the Futura. This rounded toe sticks to pretty much any foothold you place it on.

Edging


Though they excel in terms of sensitivity and smearing, the La Sportiva Futura is not the first pair we would pick for routes that require technical edging. The soft, sticky No-Edge style toe doesn't stand on edges the same way a stiffer shoe does. The Futura doesn't treat footholds in the same way a traditional climbing shoe does, so it's almost hard to judge their performance for this metric. If you try to edge as you would in a shoe like the Kataki, the Futura will likely feel pretty frustrating. Instead, take time getting used to these shoes, and they will show you an entirely new way of interacting with footholds.

Edging with the Futura takes some getting used to.
Edging with the Futura takes some getting used to.

Crack Climbing


Most of the crack climbing we did was centered around smeary lay-backing rather than straight-in jamming. The Futura can stem and smear with the best, but splitter cracks are not their strong suit. The Velcro closure system could easily get worn down if used on hand cracks or anything wider that requires repetitive jamming, and the No-Edge technology used in the design of the toe box is too bulky to successfully fit into finger cracks.

Pockets


We loved the Futura for steep, pocketed climbing. The toe box fits into small pockets with ease, and the heel is precise and tight-fitting enough for the occasional heel hook. The No-Edge technology allows the Futura to toe into the shallowest of pockets with ease. For steep, pocketed limestone, the Futuras were on par with other top Sportiva models we've tested.

We loved the Futura for the steep  pocketed climbing found in Siurana  Spain.
We loved the Futura for the steep, pocketed climbing found in Siurana, Spain.

Ease of Use


La Sportiva's Fast Lacing System makes the Futura one of the quickest pairs to get on and off. This technology consists of a thin nylon strap that weaves across the top of the foot and is secured by a bit of Velcro; this makes the shoes easy to tighten or loosen, and even easier to slip on and off in between burns.

The simple one-strap Velcro closure system makes the Futura easy to get on and off between climbs.
The simple one-strap Velcro closure system makes the Futura easy to get on and off between climbs.

Value


With a hefty price tag, the Futuras are an investment. For folks who have been climbing for a long time and are looking for something new, the Futura could be a good choice, but with the price tag, they could also feel like an expensive experiment.

With a bit of a hefty price tag  the Futuras are definitely an investment. Be ready for a very different kind of shoe when purchasing these wizards.
With a bit of a hefty price tag, the Futuras are definitely an investment. Be ready for a very different kind of shoe when purchasing these wizards.

Conclusion


If this is your first shoe purchase, consider something with a bit more of an edge and perhaps a less aggressive shape. The Futura is a very particular shoe and may not be for everyone. That said, we loved how these shoes performed on steep terrain, especially on small, smeary footholds, like those often found on steep limestone. For aggressive edging, they were not our first choice, but for more nebulous footholds, they seemed to stick to anything. We will definitely be bringing these shoes on all of our upcoming sport climbing and bouldering trips.


Jane Jackson