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La Sportiva Otaki Review

This shoe is well-performing all arounder
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La Sportiva Otaki Review
Credit: Matt Bento
Price:  $209 List
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Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Matt Bento ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 27, 2023
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 28
  • Comfort - 20% 8.0
  • Smearing - 20% 8.0
  • Edging - 20% 9.0
  • Pulling - 20% 7.0
  • Cracks - 20% 6.0

Our Verdict

With two velcro straps and a slight downturn, The La Sportiva Otaki is easy to write off as a design we've seen many times before. Well this time, it's better! The Otaki takes our favorite aspects from our favorite La Sportiva models and puts them all into one versatile shoe that can edge, smear, and jam with equal precision. We love other shoes more for crack climbing, and there similar, Velcro shoes that offer better sensitivity. But the Otaki sits comfortably somewhere in between. If you think you can get away with only one climbing shoe, this could be it. See how it stacks up against the competition in our review of the best climbing shoes.
REASONS TO BUY
Great edging
Convenient and secure Velcro closure system
REASONS TO AVOID
Not as comfortable in cracks as lace-up models
Editor's Note: We updated this review on December 30, 2023, to adjust our testing metrics.

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Bottom Line This is one of our favorite models that employ a Velcro closure systemAn awesome shoe for long climbs requiring a variety of crack climbing and edging techniquesWith this shoe, you can climb pitch after pitch without painA simple shoe with solid performance for trad climbingA bargain price for a climbing shoe with respectable performance
Rating Categories La Sportiva Otaki La Sportiva Katana... La Sportiva TC Pro Black Diamond Aspect La Sportiva Finale
Comfort (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Smearing (20%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Edging (20%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Pulling (20%)
7.0
6.0
4.0
4.0
5.0
Cracks (20%)
6.0
7.0
10.0
8.0
7.0
Specs La Sportiva Otaki La Sportiva Katana... La Sportiva TC Pro Black Diamond Aspect La Sportiva Finale
Style Velcro Lace Lace Lace Lace
Upper Leather/ Microfiber Leather / Microfiber Leather Leather Eco Leather / Microfiber
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Lining Pacific Pacific (in forefoot and back) Sentex / PU Foam Hemp Unlined
Rubber Type Vibram XS Edge Vibram XS Edge Vibram XS Edge NeoFriction Force Vibram XS Edge
Rubber Thickness 4 mm 4 mm 4 mm 4.3 mm 5 mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

The La Sportiva Otaki offers a nice balance between more aggressive comp-shoes, and flatter, more traditional trad shoes. The double-velcro strap closure is easy to slip on and off, and the P3 system helps better maintain the last of the shoe over time.

Performance Comparison


la sportiva otaki - these shoes have kid-friendly colors, but don't be fooled. they're...
These shoes have kid-friendly colors, but don't be fooled. They're perfectly suited for more “adult” oriented activities like high-ball bouldering and run-out slab climbing.
Credit: Matt Bento

Comfort


These shoes will feel the most comfortable to folks with a wide, high volume foot. They are less comfy than comparable trad shoes with flatter lasts, but if you have a narrow foot, we suggest looking elsewhere to get the performance you likely seek in a shoe like this. Many of the La Sportiva shoes have a similar feel to the Otaki due to the with of the toe box, with the exception of the more comp-focused models. In terms of the downturn, the Otaki is built on the same aggressive last as the Solution. This means that in theory, the less stiff, more aggressive Otaki is more sensitive and better for steep climbing.

la sportiva otaki - the otaki (left) is slightly more downturned and slightly narrower...
The Otaki (left) is slightly more downturned and slightly narrower than the similar Katana (right).
Credit: Matt Bento

What does this mean for you? If the majority of your climbing involves single pitch sport or trad, or gym climbing, with a little bouldering thrown in, these shoes will have you covered. Other, stiffer shoes will feel more comfortable on longer outings, and the comp-options are more appropriate for boulderers climbing on steeper rock and require additional rubber on a shoe's upper for toe-hooking, and can tolerate short periods in tight shoes. But if you're looking for a quiver-of-one, you'd be barking up the right tree with the Otaki.

la sportiva otaki - the buttermilks have an unforgiving style that requires precise...
The Buttermilks have an unforgiving style that requires precise footwork. The La Sportiva Otaki won't make you a better climber, but on the right feet, they're competent precision tools.
Credit: Matt Bento

Smearing


The most sensitive shoes are also the softest and easiest to smear. There are other shoes in our review that are awesomely sensitive, but will leave your calves quivering after a long pitch of slab climbing. The Otaki doesn't have the sock-like sensitivity of some, but it is a bit stiffer than others. It's also much more sensitive than that the high-top trad shoes we tested, allowing us to relax a little bit on vertical pitches, overgrip less, and feel confident in our foot placements.

la sportiva otaki - these shoes are fairly sensitive, giving our tester confidence way...
These shoes are fairly sensitive, giving our tester confidence way up on tall slabs.
Credit: Matt Bento

Edging


The Otaki has a P3 last. This is a plastic edging platform that lives in the sole of the shoe and maintains the downturned shape. The Sportiva shoes with the P3 platform all have better edging performance than those without. The Otaki has a slightly more asymmetrical shape, making it edge slightly better, but feel less comfortable after multiple pitches.

la sportiva otaki - these shoes edge as well as the katakis and the solutions thanks to...
These shoes edge as well as the Katakis and the Solutions thanks to the P3 permanent power platform.
Credit: Matt Bento

Pulling


If you get a great fit with the Otaki, then don't hesitate to scale the pocketed faces of Wyoming or toe-in to the bowling ball holds of Red River Gorge sandstone. The P3 platform that makes the Otakis good edgers also allows them to pull on shallow pockets, thought pointier shoes certainly will make use of smaller pockets even better. Comfort is king, and if you find yourself climbing less because of foot pain, go with the shoe that fits the best.

la sportiva otaki - the supportive s-heel design ensures your hamstrings will blow...
The supportive s-heel design ensures your hamstrings will blow before your heel pops off.
Credit: Matt Bento

Crack Climbing


The Otaki is no slouch when it comes to crack climbing. They are a medium volume shoe and actually fit in narrow cracks better than some popular trad models with larger lasts. The Velcro buckle near the toe box doesn't make these the most comfortable for pitches of longhand cracks. But for technical single pitches that require precise edging with some crack techniques thrown in, the Otaki is perfect.

la sportiva otaki - these shoes climb the cracks well, but the velcro buckles can feel...
These shoes climb the cracks well, but the velcro buckles can feel uncomfortable in hand size cracks.
Credit: Matt Bento

Should You Buy the La Sportiva Otaki?


The Otaki will take a swipe at your bank account, same as most other high-performance offerings from La Sportiva. But versatility definitely adds value, and the Otaki is a great all-rounder. There's plenty of climbing to be had on cracks, faces, and in the gym with Otaki.

What Other Rock Climbing Shoes Should You Consider?


The Otaki shoes have a moderate amount of asymmetry, making them good for edging and pocket climbing, but not quite as good as the narrower, pointier La Sportiva Solution. However, it's much more comfortable for climbing multiple pitches in a row. For more comfort, we'd suggest the Scarpa Vapor V.

Matt Bento