La Sportiva Katana Lace Review

I hadn’t been on this particular route yet this year, and was psyched to give it a go. The business was 30 feet or so of gently overhung stone requiring some precise footwork on smallish holds. I cruised the easier start and then moved through the steeper section efficiently, confidently placing my feet on the little features which I could really feel with these new shoes. Hmm, maybe I don’t need to resole my Muiras after all. I was taking the new La Sportiva Katana Lace’s for a spin on some local choss, and my initial impressions were quite good.

When I first tried them on, I was concerned that I had gotten them too big, I mean how well could they climb, they didn’t even hurt my feet! Plus, chances were that after a couple days of use they’d get too baggy to be a good precision shoe. Thankfully, however, because of the synthetic lining, these shoes don’t stretch much. Over time, they did conform well to the shape of my foot, and I have to say they are one of the most comfortable pair of higher performance shoes I’ve ever worn. On my narrow to normal width feet, the fit is snug with no dead spaces anywhere. Those with wider feet probably wouldn’t find them as comfortable and are likely better off with something like the Scarpa Instinct, which has a wide toebox.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve used them mostly on sandstone and limestone, and they excel at a wide variety of climbing styles, offering the perfect balance of sensitivity and stiffness. You can smear with confidence, but they are stiff enough you can edge with precision as well. The downturn isn’t nearly as aggressive as it looks in some of the photos, and after some use they flatten out pretty good. That being said, they do fine on steep terrain, but aren’t as ideal as something like the Testarossa. However, those looking for a high performance all arounder should check out the Katana Laces for sure.

I’ve found the XS Edge rubber to be plenty sticky, adhering to little dimples and edges with ease, though I’m admittedly not much of a rubber snob. As far as sizing goes, I wear an 12 street shoe, and for me a 43 is comfortable, 42.5 would be a tighter, more precision oriented fit that would likely improve how well they edge.

I think Sportiva has hit a home run with these shoes, as they offer the perfect blend of comfort and performance. They have become my favorite shoes for warming up, as well as climbing on any terrain that isn’t steep. It’s also worth noting that while I have no experience with the Katana Velcro, the word on the street is that the two shoes have very little (if anything) in common.

Retail is $144.95, available for purchase at

Disclaimer: The FTC wants you to know this product was provided to for the purpose of reviewing. Like that makes a difference on how much we beat the crap out of it …

3 Responses to La Sportiva Katana Lace Review

  1. Do you have your Katana Laces and TC pros in the same size? I’ve had TC pros for 2 years and love them, but looking for something a bit sportier. The TC Pros stretched more than I expected, but it seems youre saying the Katanas didnt really stretch…

    Justin July 24, 2011 at 3:04 am
    • The Katana’s didn’t stretch nearly as much as the TC Pro’s. I have the Katana’s in 43 and TC’s in 42.5. A 42.5 Katana would be a more performance fit, the 43 is comfy while still being able to stand on small holds well. The Katana’s are great for more high end trad, I bet you’ll dig them.

      BJ Sbarra July 26, 2011 at 4:37 pm
  2. Pingback: Five Ten Anasazi Pink Review | Splitter Choss

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