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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.
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Price:  $180 List | $180.00 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 Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 20, 2018
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86
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 31
  • Edging - 20% 9
  • Cracks - 20% 8
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Pockets - 20% 10
  • Sensitivity - 20% 9

Our Verdict

When La Sportiva announced that many of their classic shoes were due for an update, we got scared. What would become of the Solution? Would they change the glove-like fit? Plaster more rubber on the upper? Redesign the heel?! Longtime fans of the Solutions can take a deep breath; the changes to one of our favorite shoes are mostly cosmetic, and these shoes still edge on dimes right out of the box and smear like a dream after a little breaking in. They're well-suited to single pitch climbing and bouldering of just about any style and rock type. Unless you're exclusively crack climbing or tackling long multi-pitch routes, the Solutions can handle anything you can through at em'.


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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/offComfortable in cracks, low volume toe fits in thin cracks, great edgingGreat edging, convenient and secure Velcro closure systemIncredible sensitivity, great edging, durabilityVersatile, durable, comfortable
Cons Not comfortable for all-day climbing, expensive, not the most versatile, hard to fit, single strap broke prematurelyHeel cup can feel uncomfortable across the achilles, left some testers with sore archesNot as comfortable in cracks as lace-up modelsSpecalized use, expensive, might be hard to resoleExpensive, can be hard to find
Bottom Line This shoe is a favorite of many veteran climbers and still feels cutting edge over ten years after its first release.These shoes are high-performing crack climbing machines.This shoe is well-performing all arounder.Employing Sportiva's No Edge concept, this is a sensitive shoe that edges incredibly well.This stiff shoe shoe is an all-day crack climbing workhorse that performs well on edges and slabs, too.
Rating Categories La Sportiva Solution La Sportiva Kataki La Sportiva Otaki La Sportiva Futura La Sportiva Katana Lace
Edging (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Cracks (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
Comfort (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Pockets (20%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Sensitivity (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
Total Scores (%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
Specs La Sportiva Solution La Sportiva Kataki La Sportiva Otaki La Sportiva Futura La Sportiva Katana...
Style Velcro Lace Velcro Velcro Lace
Upper Leather / Lorica Suede leather / Microfiber Leather/ Microfiber Leather/Synthetic Leather Leather/Lorica
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Lining HF in toe box and arch area only Pacific Pacific Unlined Pacific (forefoot and back)
Rubber Type Vibram XS Grip 2 Vibram XS Edge Vibram XS Edge Vibram XS Grip2 Vibram XS Edge
Rubber Thickness (millimeters) 4 mm 4 mm 4 mm 3 mm 4 mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Solution is a surprisingly versatile shoe. Though they look like robot hawk talons designed to catch giant mutant squirrels from the future, they're actually pretty comfortable and feel better than the La Sportiva Genius for longer pitches. When a pitch demands a few jams in a flair or a short crack section, the solutions are more than up to the task, excelling in finger cracks and flares thanks to their low toe profile. While not comfy enough for all-day romps on the big stone, there are a few big wall free climbers who trust Solutions on the crux pitches.

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

Edging


The OG Solution was one of Sportiva's first shoes to include the P3 platform, a revolutionary design that helps climbing shoes retain their shape, and give you a solid edging platform. The new Solutions retain the P3 platform and edge beautifully, without having to be sized down so small you can only wear them for a few minutes. The La Sportiva Genius is possibly the only shoe that can out edge a trusty pair of Solutions. They have a pointier, more narrow shape than the La Sportiva Katakis, and our testers feel this gives the Solutions an edging advantage when backstepping, at the sacrifice of comfort.

Despite that thick looking slab of Vibram XSgrip rubber  these shoes are surprisingly sensitive.
Despite that thick looking slab of Vibram XSgrip rubber, these shoes are surprisingly sensitive.

Crack Climbing


These shoes aren't designed for crack climbing, but they're not terrible in a pinch. Climbing the hundreds of feet of hand cracks in these puppies will leave you hobbled for days, but for short sections 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, providing edging power, while occasionally eeking out the marginal toe jam or two thanks to their low profile toe shape.

Pockets


These shoes mow down pockets like no other. Their pointy toe and awesome edging platforms 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, unless you feel they cost too much. If that's the case, check out our Best Buy Award-winning Butora Acro.

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

Sensitivity


This shoe is stiff compared to shoes like the Scarpa Chimera or Drago, but after a short break in of ten or so pitches, our testers had no problem feeling their way around on technical granite, and found they could employ crystal bumps in the Buttermilks just as well as they could with a softer shoe. The La Sportiva Genius takes the cake for sensitivity because your toe is so close to the end of the shoe thanks to the "no edge" tech, but the Solution is no slouch on slabs and techy vertical climbing, despite their downturned appearance.

The Buttermilks require fancy footwork and a shoe with good edging power.
The Buttermilks require fancy footwork and a shoe with good edging power.

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 over ten years ago. The heel bothered a few of our testers after wearing them for long periods of time, the toe box is narrower than the La Sportiva Katana, so Solutions will feel worse as your feet swell throughout the day, but remember, these shoes are designed for bouldering and difficult sport climbs, not all day use. The single strap design has been updated with a more durable material which will hopefully hold up longer than the softer strap on the original design that would sometimes break where it runs through the lacing grommets. The sock-like cloth tongue is super stretchy and easily accommodates high volume feet.

The new vs. the (really) old: Little more rubber coverage on the toe and different strap material did not change the performance in the eyes of our testers  who've been climbing in Solutions for years.
The new vs. the (really) old: Little more rubber coverage on the toe and different strap material did not change the performance in the eyes of our testers, who've been climbing in Solutions for years.

Value


One hundred and eighty dollars makes for one expensive climbing shoe. That's 180 packets of ramen, two and a half tanks of gas in the ol' Sprinter van, or half of one of those super expensive Bob strollers for the kiddo. Think of your priorities before swiping the credit card, but if sending is at the top of your list, then swipe away! These shoes resole well, and hopefully, the new velcro strap will hold up longer than the original.
These shoes are one of our favorite for the technical granite trickery found in the Buttermilks.
These shoes are one of our favorite for the technical granite trickery found in the Buttermilks.

Conclusion


La Sportiva knew that the devotees to the Solution are legion, and if they dared change these fine-tuned sending machines, then we would march upon their Italian headquarters with pitchforks and torches. Or maybe they just knew they had a great thing going with the original design. If your old pair is about to wear out, don't fear, because the new Solutions will fit and feel the same as your beloved old shoes.


Matt Bento