Hands-on Gear Review

La Sportiva Katana - Women's Review

By: McKenzie Long ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 14, 2015
Price:  $150 List  |  $105.00 at Backcountry - 30% Off
Pros:  Molds to feet really well, precise in toe, versatile
Cons:  Heel cup a little baggy on certain feet
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Sensitivity - 25% 9
  • Edging - 15% 8
  • Cracks - 15% 8
  • Pockets - 15% 6
  • Ease of Use - 5% 9
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Our Verdict

The Women's La Sportiva Katana and the Five Ten Anasazi LV - Women's are very comparable in their shape, fit, price and the way they climb, and we find we love them both. The Anasazi has slightly sticker rubber, while the Katanas are a tiny bit more downturned, but we find ourselves reaching for these shoes on the same types of climbs. If you are interested in a shoe like the Katana but you don't have as much money to spend, check out the Evolv Elektra, which has a similar but less aggressive shape and fit for less cash. If you want something more aggressive than the Katana but still want versatility, then go for the La Sportiva Miura, which is slightly more high performance overall.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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Made in Italy, the Katana is a moderately aggressive shoe with a leather upper, a lined interior, and a Velcro hook and loop closure.

Performance Comparison


Testing out the Women's Katana on a granite sport climb. This all-around model is comfortable but offers excellent performance. It is a step down in aggression from the Miura.
Testing out the Women's Katana on a granite sport climb. This all-around model is comfortable but offers excellent performance. It is a step down in aggression from the Miura.

Comfort


This shoe is very similar in price and fit to Five Ten's Anasazi LV, with the exception that it has a slightly more aggressive slingshot. We like slight the downturn in these shoes, which is less aggressive than the La Sportiva Miura - Women's. This flatter fit is more comfortable than strongly arched shoes and allows them to be worn for longer periods of time.

The tongue is lined with a soft terry cloth material that is soft over the top of the foot and helps wick away sweat and prevent your foot from sliding around inside the shoe. This extra detail makes these shoes more pleasant to wear.

The underside of the tongue flap is lined with a soft terry-cloth material. This is soft  comfortable  and collects sweat so your feet don't feel clammy or like they are sliding around inside the shoe.
The underside of the tongue flap is lined with a soft terry-cloth material. This is soft, comfortable, and collects sweat so your feet don't feel clammy or like they are sliding around inside the shoe.

We have heard people complain about the baggy heel cup on these shoes, and we have to admit that they fit a little baggy on our feet as well. On one hand, this doesn't bother us because our heel isn't sliding out of the shoe, and we don't use our heel all that often in climbing. On the other hand, it feels so much better when we put on a snug, perfectly fitting shoe like the La Sportiva Solution - Women's. We think it would be up to personal preference and your individual foot shape to determine if the Katanas will work for you.

Sensitivity and Edging


The Katana feels very precise in the toe, allowing for adequate sensitivity when edging and smearing. The slight downturn and moderate asymmetry makes these shoes just aggressive enough to toe into edges, but leaves the shoe with an easy, comfortable fit.

The Vibram XS Grip 2 rubber allows these shoes to be sticky, and great for smearing on technical climbs. The pointed toe can grip the smallest toe chips and help you maintain balance on the rock.

We find the asymmetrical design of the toe and the slight downturn in the Katanas fit to be excellent for both edging and smearing.
We find the asymmetrical design of the toe and the slight downturn in the Katanas fit to be excellent for both edging and smearing.

Size them small and tight for a precise and delicate feel when climbing technical routes or sporty climbs, or size them larger for a more comfortable all-day shoe. In either case these shoes grip and edge well.

Crack Climbing


The flatter shape of the Katana allows these to perform well in cracks. Foot-jamming can become uncomfortable in a curved shoe where your toes are all bunched in the front, but these shoes are more relaxed, so it is easier to wedge your toes into a crack and find purchase.

Pockets


Even though the Katana has a mostly flat shape, the tiny bit of downturn gives you an advantage for toeing into pockets over something flatter, like the Five Ten Anasazi. We think this shoe has just the right amount of aggressiveness to its shape to keep you pulling in on pockets.

Ease of Use


The Velcro closure on these shoes is quick, comfortable, and easy to put on. No tying unruly laces or ripping them up in cracks here!

The Velcro closure and single tongue flap on the Katana makes these shoes quick and easy to put on.
The Velcro closure and single tongue flap on the Katana makes these shoes quick and easy to put on.

Best Applications


These shoes are a great all-around climbing shoe. They are slightly less down-turned than the Miura, which makes them a little better for smearing and a little less helpful on overhangs, but the difference is slight. We think these are an excellent shoe for the one-shoe quiver, and that climbers of all styles will enjoy the Katana.

Value


At $150, these are $10 less than the Miura and $25 less than the Solution. They are also $5 less than the Five Ten Anasazi. With most top climbing shoes pushing $170 these days, we think the Katana are a deal for what you get. These well-constructed, leather shoes will last you a while and keep you climbing on any type of terrain.

Conclusion


We like the Katana for an all-around climbing shoe. Just slightly less downturned than our Editors' Choice winner, these shoes are excellent for the climbs when you don't need or want all that curve in your foot, such as on a slab or a long moderate route.

McKenzie Long

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