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La Sportiva Solution Review

This shoe is a favorite of many veteran climbers and still feels cutting edge over ten years after its first release
La Sportiva Solution
Photo: La Sportiva
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Price:  $180 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Great precision, aggressive/down turned toe tip, sensitive, great toe and heel hooking, precise fit, comfortable, easy on/off
Cons:  Not comfortable for all-day climbing, expensive, not the most versatile, hard to fit, single strap broke prematurely
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Jack Cramer & Matt Bento  ⋅  May 3, 2021
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 29
  • Edging - 20% 9
  • Cracks - 20% 7
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Steep Terrain - 20% 8
  • Sensitivity - 20% 7

Our Verdict

The La Sportiva Solution is a deservedly popular, premium rock climbing shoe. It features a clever velcro closure system that quickly locks most foot shapes into a powerful position. The aggressive downturn shape is well-suited to single pitch climbing and bouldering of just about any style or rock type. Unless you're exclusively crack climbing or tackling long multi-pitch routes, the Solution can handle anything you can throw at it. The biggest issue that some people seem to have is the shape and hardness of the heel cup. We acknowledge that it can feel insensitive, but with certain feet, they fit like a glove. So don't hesitate to try out a pair of these excellent high-performing kicks. You should know quickly whether they will work with your feet.

Compare to Similar Products

 
La Sportiva Solution
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
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$185.00 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Great precision, aggressive/down turned toe tip, sensitive, great toe and heel hooking, precise fit, comfortable, easy on/offVersatile, stiff, durable, comfortableExtremely precise toe, extra heel sensitivity, comfortable for an aggressive shoeComfortable design, respectable edging, low-profile toe, excellent priceAffordable, flat midsole is comfortable all day, well-balanced performance across many areas
Cons Not comfortable for all-day climbing, expensive, not the most versatile, hard to fit, single strap broke prematurelyExpensive, limited sensitivityPricey, tall toe box, too narrow for some feetMediocre precision, subpar on the steeps, somewhat insensitiveInsensitive, imprecise fit, ineffective design for steep terrain
Bottom Line This shoe is a favorite of many veteran climbers and still feels cutting edge over ten years after its first releaseThis stiff shoe is an all-day crack climbing workhorse that also performs well on edges and slabsAn ultra-high-end shoe that could put you on the podium of your climbing competitionDecent overall climbing performance at an affordable price make these a sold choiceAn entry-level shoe ideal for beginners that comes at an awesomely low price
Rating Categories La Sportiva Solution La Sportiva Katana... La Sportiva Solutio... La Sportiva Finale La Sportiva Tarantu...
Edging (20%)
9.0
10.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Cracks (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Comfort (20%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Steep Terrain (20%)
8.0
8.0
10.0
6.0
5.0
Sensitivity (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Specs La Sportiva Solution La Sportiva Katana... La Sportiva Solutio... La Sportiva Finale La Sportiva Tarantu...
Style Velcro Lace Velcro Lace Lace
Upper Leather / Lorica Leather/Lorica Leather / microfiber Leather / microfiber Leather/Synthetic
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Lining HF in toe box and arch area Pacific (forefoot and back) Pacific, lycra Unlined None
Rubber Type Vibram XS Grip2 Vibram XS Edge Vibram XS Grip2 Vibram XS Edge FriXion RS
Rubber Thickness (millimeters) 4 mm 4 mm 4 mm 5 mm 5 mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

The La Sportiva Solution has long been a stalwart at boulders and sport crags the world over. We hemmed and hawed for weeks about whether to grant this ever-popular shoe an award. Ultimately we concluded that the lack of sensitivity in the Solution's heel was a distinct disadvantage compared to the softer heel on the Solution's close relative, the Solution Comp. Both are excellent shoes, but our testers prefer the Solution Comp over the original Solution.

Performance Comparison


Oh yeah! A fresh pair of solutions ready to edge, smear, jam, and...
Oh yeah! A fresh pair of solutions ready to edge, smear, jam, and heel hook all day long.
Photo: Matt Bento

Edging


The Solution was one of La Sportiva's first shoes to incorporate their P3 platform, a revolutionary design that helps climbing shoes retain their shape and provide a solid edging platform. This shoe's pointy toe supplies an outstanding sensation of precision to ensure your toes are properly placed on the tiniest footholds. Our testers think they're some of the best shoes for utilizing micro edges, especially on steep terrain. Their only complaint is that the downturned shape makes them less comfortable during prolonged single-pitch leads or big days on multi-pitch routes.

The pointy toe and sturdy P3 platform help the Solution feel like...
The pointy toe and sturdy P3 platform help the Solution feel like one of the most precise and capable edging shoes.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Crack Climbing


Although these shoes aren't designed for crack climbing, they're not terrible for some sizes. Climbing hundreds of feet of hand cracks in these puppies will probably leave you hobbled for days, but for short stretches of perfect hands, the Solutions don't feel all that bad. For difficult finger cracks where you can hardly get your feet in the crack anyway, the Solutions are a great choice. The low-volume toe occasionally allows you to eke out a marginal toe jam or two in places where many other shoes would be too bulky.

It can be hard to utilize marginal heel hooks in the La Sportiva...
It can be hard to utilize marginal heel hooks in the La Sportiva Solution because the bulbous heel cup leaves some dead space and the rubber on the heel is less than sticky.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Steep Terrain


These shoes mow down pockets like no other. Their pointy toe and short toebox fit into smaller, shallower pockets than anything else we've tried. If you're headed to Lander, Tensleep, or any pocketed limestone crag this summer, you can't go wrong with a pair of these shoes in your quiver. On more general steep terrain, they also perform well. The downturn shape is great for pulling your lower body into the wall. The heel cup, however, is bulbous and covered with an unusually hard rubber that lacks sensitivity. For really aggressive heel hooks, we think the Solution Comp is superior.

Sometimes cutting your feet is the beta, but the Solutions are there...
Sometimes cutting your feet is the beta, but the Solutions are there for you when it's time to reel it in.
Photo: Matt Bento

Sensitivity


This shoe is stiff compared to many others. Although there is some bendiness across the mid-foot, the forefoot is firm, dense, and especially resistant to lateral torsion. After a short break-in period of ten or so pitches, sensitivity improved, but it never reached the level of many softer bouldering shoes. Our testers didn't seem to mind, though, and they didn't complain of any problems while they were feeling their way around on technical granite. One noted that they thought could employ crystal bumps in the Buttermilks just as well as they could with softer shoes. Still, in head-to-head comparisons, we must acknowledge that there are several shoes that can transmit more sensation between the rock and your feet.

The most noticeable difference between the original La Sportiva...
The most noticeable difference between the original La Sportiva Solution (left) and the Solution Comp (right) is the shape and thickness of the heel cup.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Comfort


Performance climbing shoes are never going to feel like bedroom slippers, but the original Solutions set a new standard in comfort for high-performing shoes when they were released over ten years ago. The heel bothered a few of our testers after wearing them for long periods of time, and the narrow toe box can make the fit feel worse as your feet swell throughout the day. Still, some of our testers argued that these are perhaps the most comfortable bouldering shoes for people with narrow feet. The sock-like cloth tongue is also super stretchy to help accommodate high-volume feet. This seems to work during shorter sessions, but eventually, the narrow toebox led to discomfort for many of our wide-footed testers.

The P3 platform and quality Italian construction help ensure that...
The P3 platform and quality Italian construction help ensure that the La Sportiva Solution can keep its shape even after multiple rubber resoles.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Value


The Solution is a premium shoe with a correspondingly premium price. But if they fit your feet well, then it's probably money well spent. Compared to other high-dollar climbing shoes, we think the Solution offers a superior design and materials that are above average in quality. Compared to cheap climbing shoes, the Solution's advantages are myriad. They're also a shoe that resoles well, so hopefully, you can keep the same pair running for several years.

Conclusion


The popularity of the La Sportiva Solution isn't a fluke. These kicks offer unrivaled precision and some of the best edging performance on the market. They're ideal for the steeper terrain of the boulders and sport crags where their aggressive downturn won't be too taxing on your feet. Although they aren't the most sensitive climbing shoes, this drawback is overcome by many more reasons for why you should consider adding them to your quiver.

Jack Cramer & Matt Bento