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La Sportiva Futura Shoe Review

31-Oct-2013
By

La Sportiva Futura | $180 | 

sportiva.com ★★★★

“Why the hell would I ever buy shoes without an edge?” I wondered. Isn’t that like buying a brand-new car with a bald tires?

Usually when the rubber on climbing shoes wears down to where it no longer has an edge, it’s time for a resole or time to shell out for a new pair. Thus I was taken aback upon first admiring the brand new La Sportiva Futura, only to see the toe looking rounder than the end of an egg.

Indeed, the first time I wore them, during a gym sesh, my feet invariably skated off the smeary, greasy jibs. I was all set to give the shoes a bad review.

But I decided to stick with them to see if I’d come around to this crazy idea that La Sportiva is calling the No Edge concept. I logged lots of mileage in the Futuras in Joe’s Valley, Rifle, Hueco and in the gym. To my surprise, I’ve come around.

There was a learning curve, at least for me, before I could excel in these ballet-style slippers. What I realized is that those early foot slips were the Futuras highlighting some latent sloppiness in my footwork. I had been relying too much on the shoe rubber to do the work, and not using my toes ver well. Once I was forced to use my feet to climb, I not only began to enjoy wearing the Futura for everything from steep projects to warm-up slabs, but believe they’ve actually made me a better climber.

There was a learning curve, at least for me, before I could excel in these ballet-style slippers. What I realized is that those early foot slips were the Futuras highlighting some latent sloppiness in my footwork.You may recognize the No Edge design from the La Sportiva Speedster, which debuted a few years back—or, even earlier, the Mantra. The Futura is a bit stiffer and more supportive than the Speedster—and to my mind, a great improvement. The Futura also borrows the Fast Lacing System closure from the ever-amazing Solution. This easy-on, easy-off closure system is a personal favorite: It’s simple, not bulky and effective in keeping the shoe suction-cupped on during heel hooks.

“The shoe actually lasts longer,” a representative from La Sportiva told me, explaining one of the benefits of the No Edge concept. The logic is a bit weird: no edge, nothing to wear down; ipso facto, longer-lasting shoe. It’s the same paradox we face with zombies: How can you kill something that’s already dead? But it seems to be true. After six months of use, my Futuras—even with their scant 3mm of Vibram XS Grip2 rubber—look the same as they did out of the box. I’m curious to see how they hold up over the long run, and if they will still be going strong a year or more from now. If so, that might just justify the $170 price tag.

So, is selling a shoe with No Edge brilliant or just crazy? I think it’s probably somewhere in the middle, and predict that the Futura will have a diehard cult following just as surely as it will have detractors. But they’re worth giving a rip. They won me over.
—Andrew Bisharat

Features

Snug performance fit with highly asymmetrical last.
Unlined (but doesn’t stretch much).
P3 midsole retains shoe shape over its life.
Sizes: 32-46 (half sizes).

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