The La Sportiva Otaki might be a bit tough on those with a wider foot. If they fit properly, these shoes are an aggressively shaped, high performing, precise shoe.
On problem #48 of the blue circuit, the La Sportiva Otaki's keep us on our feet.
The Otaki is designed with performance in mind. That said, they do break in over time, making them a reasonably comfortable performance shoe. We wouldn't recommend taking these on an all-day outing in Yosemite Valley, but as your send shoe at the sport crag, the Otaki is a good choice. Their downturned shape provides on the steep stuff but can be downright uncomfortable if worn on a slabby multi-pitch. It is important to consider what type of climbing you plan to do before settling on a shoe — especially one as aggressive and specific as the Otaki. The La Sportiva Futura, though equally as aggressive, is much softer; after breaking it in, it was one of the most comfortable shoes we reviewed.
The Otaki's stiff soles are unforgiving at first, making the break-in period a bit painful.
The 4mm of Vibram XS Grip2 rubber on the stoles of the Otaki felt a little bulky and unnervingly thick at first, and it took a few days of wear to feel supple on the rock. After a few months of wear, the rubber had worn down a bit, and they felt more sensitive. This was also the case with the La Sportiva Skwama, whose sensitivity increased over time.
The fresh 4mm of rubber on the toe of the Otaki detracted from their sensitivity at first.
Sensitivity in the toe box is not everything — and it is here that the Otaki brought out their secret weapon. These shoes are heel hooking geniuses. The heel cup is tight-fitting and solid enough to trust, but also sensitive enough to find the subtleties in a heel hook placement.
Compared to the edging mastery of the La Sportiva Kataki, the Otaki fell a bit short in this metric. The Kataki is slightly less aggressive in shape, making them a better edging shoe, while the downturned, aggressive toe on the Otaki makes it hard to step down on dime edges. We preferred the Kataki on vertical, technical climbing and slabs.
Going for an edging maneuver in the Otaki's.
The Otaki is not necessarily designed for crack climbing, so it comes as no surprise that it did not shine in this metric. It's stiff and downturned, making it both hard and painful to get into cracks. Unlike the flexible Scarpa Vapor V, the Otaki doesn't mold into tight finger cracks. If they are sized for performance, the Otaki can be fairly painful when torqued in a hand crack; we would not recommend this shoe as a crack-climbing specific shoe.
Though certainly not an Indian Creek splitter, this little crack was the perfect place to test the crack climbing abilities of the La Sportiva Otaki.
The aggressive shaped toe box and stiff last make the Otaki a pocket-climbing master. These shoes are designed for steep, technical rock climbing, where toeing in on small pockets is the name of the game. This is where the Otaki really shines; on any kind of overhanging terrain, the Otaki is suddenly able to edge and stand on anything. The narrow shape of the toe fits easily into small pockets. The heel cup is such that the Otaki can heel hook on anything — another useful skill in pocketed climbing. Shoes with comparable performance in this realm are the La Sportiva Solution and the La Sportiva Futura.
Working our way up a pocketed slab in the La Sportiva Otaki.
Ease of Use
The Otaki is yet another version of the Velcro closure climbing shoe, making them comparable to the Scarpa Vapor V or the Five Ten Asym in terms of ease of use. These Velcro models are easy to slip on and off, making them a great option for bouldering or sport climbing.
Thes duel Velcro straps on the Otaki make them easy to get on and off - a perfect bouldering shoe!
If you are looking to level up in bouldering or sport climbing, the Otaki might be just what you need to push into the next grade. These shoes are aggressive, stiff, and made to perform. For heel hooking and steep, technical climbing, the Otaki is a master. We wouldn't recommend these as a beginner shoe, mostly because of their shape and specific design.
Stiff, precise, and sensitive in both heel and toe, the Otaki's will help you level up (or at least that's what we hoped as we got humbled in the forests of Fontainebleau!).
With a price tag of $180, the Otaki is spot on in terms of price in comparison to other performance shoes. The La Sportiva Solution costs the same, while the Kataki is $5 less and the Futura is $5 more. All of these models are designed for performance, and you will definitely get a shoe that delivers with these hefty price tags.
The La Sportiva Otaki excels at overhanging climbing where heel hooking and precision footwork come into play. The Otaki breaks in to be fairly comfortable, but are designed with performance in mind rather than all-day comfort. If you can take them off in between burns, the Otaki may be the ticket to rock climbing glory.