La Sportiva Solution Comp - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Super sensitive, overall comfortable for aggressive design, great for pocket climbing, good for heel hooking
Cons: Expensive, specific, can be painful for some
Manufacturer: La Sportiva
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Stomping smears, cranking on heel hooks, and all matter of overhanging trickery are the name of the game in the Solution Comp.
The Solution Comp looks even more intimidating than the Solution to the untrained eye. Its rubber-covered toe box, flashy Velcro straps, and stretchy tongue make the Comp look uncomfortable and aggressive at first glance.
In testing, however, we were pleased to find out that these shoes break in quickly and fairly easily. The toe box is slightly roomier than the old Solution, allowing toes to curl into a powerful position, without feeling cramped. The midsole hugs the arch of the foot comfortably, without binding. We will admit that these shoes were a bit challenging to get on at first, with the rubber toe box limiting stretch. This didn't seem to be a lingering issue, though, and after the third or fourth time putting these shoes on, our feet slipped right into them. The synthetic, stretchy tongue locks the foot in place, while the Velcro strap provides a surprising level of fine-tuning in terms of fit.
Just like the Solution, the Solution Comp is designed for performance climbing, meaning that it can feel a bit uncomfortable at first. Some folks simply don't like this style of shoe, claiming the soft slipper design causes long-term foot pain. One option to remedy this is to have another pair of more comfortable shoes for warming up, saving the Comps for your project. This tactic keeps toes fresh and can alleviate some of the discomfort that can come with wearing such an aggressively shaped shoe.
Just like the Solution, the Solution Comp's are surprisingly sensitive — from steep roof climbing to slabs. Though we wouldn't wear these all the time on slabs, the Comp's soft sole and super sensitive toe box allowed us to smear with confidence on low-angle terrain. Perhaps because they were designed with volumes in mind, these shoes are sensitive, smearing masters.
The revised heel cup also makes these shoes great for heel hooking, while the addition of rubber on the top of the shoe makes for impressive toe hooking performance as well. The previous Solution's heel solicited many complaints over the years for being bulky and lacking sensitivity. The Comp is a response to these complaints, with a narrower, softer heel cup that conforms to the shape of the foot to provide a "locker" heel hooking platform. We were impressed.
The Solution Comp is a relatively soft shoe. The Comp has an even softer midsole than the OG Solution, making them not the best option for serious edging. A stiff midsole creates a platform that extends perpendicular to the edge so that the shoe is doing some of the work of keeping you on your feet. This doesn't happen in the Solution Comp, and sustained edging can be a recipe for painful feet in these shoes.
Though we didn't like the Solution for sustained cracks, we felt like there could be a place on the spectrum of crack climbs for the Solution Comp's. Perhaps small finger cracks or a sporty trad route could be the crack climbing application for the Comp. The extra rubber on top of the toe box adds durability for jamming.
That said, their downturned shape and aggressive design make it obvious that these shoes are not meant for sustained crack climbing. A shoe that is stiffer and has a flatter shape is a much better option for crack climbing, in general.
In short, these shoes rock for pockets. The Solution Comp has the distinct tapered toe box of the classic Solution, which looks as though it is designed specifically for pocket climbing.
Their downturned shape allows you to pull into the wall with your toes, helping keep body tension on steep walls. As the saying goes, when the going gets steep, get the Solution Comps…or something like that!
Ease of Use
A single Velcro strap secures these steep climbing machines in place. The Fast Lacing System was designed by La Sportiva to be a quick and simple way to fine-tune the fit of these shoes. Two pull tabs on the heel assist in getting your foot inside — it can feel a bit like a suction when your foot pops into place inside the Solution Comp.
It's impressive that these shoes are able to fit so snuggly while remaining comfortable and easy to get on and off. A few pitches or boulder problems in these shoes, and they will start to feel significantly easier to get on and off as they stretch.
As with most shoes from La Sportiva, especially their top-performing, technical models, the Solution Comp is an investment. These are a high-performance shoe, with a high-end price tag, so purchasing them might require some thought. For folks who have been climbing a while and want to invest in a pair of shoes for that next sport climbing trip or megaproject, the Comp could be just the thing to get you psyched. If you're just starting out, the cost may not be worth it for the specificity of this model.
These shoes are impressive in many ways. In terms of a soft, aggressively shaped slipper meant for high-performance, steep rock climbing, we were hard-pressed to find anything on the market that compares to the Solution Comp. They combine comfort, fit, and design into a tight, stylish package that makes any climber want to try hard. We especially liked the updated toe box, which is slightly wider and has a bit more rubber on top when compared to the classic Solution. The modified heel also provided more sensitivity and security for aggressive heel hooking. It was hard to find anything we didn't like about the Solution Comp, and they seemed just to get better and better the more we wore them.
— Jane Jackson