Hands-on Gear Review

La Sportiva Mantis Review

La Sportiva Mantis
By: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Jul 26, 2010
Price:  $80 List
Pros:  Inexpensive, durable, comfortable.
Cons:  Not very sensative on small edges.
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva

Our Verdict

The La Sportiva Mantis is an excellent all-purpose, Velcro shoe that is well made, performs well, and is durable and comfortable. An unlined leather upper with synthetic and rubber supports allows for a certain degree of stretch and form fitting, with little danger of becoming baggy and over-stretched with use. A lot of people have complained in the past that La Sportiva shoes are great but are really expensive. Well, this is just about the least expensive shoe on the market so stop complaining! For a more high performance shoe, we would lean toward the La Sportiva Miura, which is almost double the price.

Our Analysis and Test Results



The toe rand covers the entire toe box and the side rand extends up the sides, covering the synthetic darts for added grip. This, along with a low-profile, makes for excellent foot jams in cracks. The stiff supportive midsole provide good edging ability. The sculpted and rubber-coated heel cup provides excellent support and friction when heel-hooking. These shoes are very comfortable due to the flat toe position and the padded, breathable tongue. The slightly asymmetrical toe box puts the power over the inside of your big toe but it is still comfortable to smear on the ball of your foot on those slabs.


The Mantis is less sensitive than a performance sport/bouldering shoe, making them a little more difficult for feeling tiny crystals. The shoe is also heavily covered in rubber (even high up the sides), making it slightly less breathable than a shoe with lower side rands like the La Sportiva Mythos. The shoe loses some of its performance on radically overhanging problems/routes as well as routes with extremely balancey, technical footwork.

Best Application

These are great all-around and entry level climbing shoes. They will perform well on a variety of route types, making them ideal for someone who climbs a wide array of routes and styles. They are recommended for working moderate routes and problems of all kinds (cracks, slab, bouldering, and face), all day trad routes, as well as gym use. But leave them at home for that overhanging 5.13c sport project or super technical face climbs. Size them one-half to one size below your street shoe size.


At around $70, its hard to beat the price.

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: August 13, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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Average Customer Rating:  
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100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 50%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Aug 13, 2012 - 04:37am
zava · Climber · italy

The review says pretty much all.

I bought these shoes as my second pair (after a first pair of katanas) since I wanted a comfy pair of shoes for multi-pitches, and yes, they are comfortable but not performing at all.

Even as a beginner, I can already feel the difference: I'm still climbing easy stuff (5.10 max), and whatever I do with katanas, I can do that with Mantis aswell… but I don't feel the same confidence. Large toe box barely goes into pockets, round edge is not very precise; the stiff midsole gives very low sensitivity and does not smear well.

I still think they are decent for almost everything, comfortable, and look very durable. I might consider putting on some stickier rubber when it comes the time for the first resole (original rubber is Frixion from La Sportiva, not Vibram).

I got these on sale, price is fine, and in the end I'm happy with my purchase.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

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