La Sportiva Solution Review
The La Sportiva Solution is among the hottest climbing shoes of the past five years. There’s a very good reason for that – and why ‘The Solution’ has outlasted others!
Price: $180|View on Backcountry.com
Good Points: Great Aggressive ‘Downward’ Design, Good Toe and Heal Hooking, Excellent For Edging, Good Fit, Easy On, Easy Off, Very Durable
Bad Points: Not an All Day Shoe, Expensive(ish), Tensioned Heel Can Be a Little Uncomfortable
Use It For: Any kind of Rock Climbing (including Bouldering, Top Roping, Trad Climbing, Aid Climbing and Free Solo Climbing)
Table of Contents
OK, enough chat, let’s talk Solution (See what I just did there?). In this La Sportiva Solution review we’re going to look at:
- Product Overview
- How to Break In
- Yes or No
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La Sportiva Solution is a high performance climbing shoe. It’s arguably the most popular shoe from La Sportiva and the one to beat among footwear for rock jocks – ironically even within La Sportiva’s own line up (look at the Skwama).
It’s basically a slipper with a velcro strap and generous rubber patching around the heel and toes. But this aint no slipper – it’s a stiff, specifically constructed shoe for edges, pockets, hooks, jibs – the whole lexicon. It’s made for rock climbing of pretty much any type, be it bouldering, single pitch climbing and/or anything Alex Honnold might be tempted to do.
While they’re not an all-day shoe, La Sportiva Solution is a durable, stiff, aggressive and generally excellent climbing shoe that pretty much belongs at the top. Yes, pun intended. I am such a funny guy!
So how does the Solution fare when your inner rock jock straps it on and runs for the nearest big rock-type thing that screams “You So Want to Climb Me!”? Very well in fact. La Sportiva is a leader among rock climbing shoes and made the Solution for the following:
Edging – The Solution descends from La Sportiva’s distinctive and aggressive P3 platform. The shoe is pointed and taut, yet comfortable and well-suited for edge climbing and grasping for nooks and crevasses when, well, there are none. Points gained.
Cracks – Solutions aren’t built for crack climbing. Still, they’ll get you through where you need them most. They’re good for small cracks, where you can barely squeeze your feet in regardless. In fact, they’re great for small cracks because of their edging power.
Pockets – La Sportiva Solution is built for pockets. They’re made with a pronounced toe and tight edging platform that help them fit snugly into small, shallow pockets where other shoes might not.
OK, so La Sportiva Solution gets the job done from a functionality standpoint. Now, what’s it like wearing this bad boys – and how do you break them in?
Breaking In – Solutions are a tight climbing shoe and you’ll want to break them in before pushing them hard. We’ll discuss how to do that later in this review.
Here’s another idea: if you’re a man, and you’ve had problems breaking in shoes before, think about La Sportiva Solution for Women. It’s less stiff in the midsole and has greater sensitivity to the foot. The women’s Solution midsole is 0.9mm vs 1.1mm for men. That 0.2mm really does make a difference.
You might find the La Sportiva Solution for women a little more comfortable if you’re a man. Also, La Sportiva has done away with gender-specific colors, making the women’s Solution a viable option for men who hate breaking in climbing shoes.
The point being? You might find the La Sportiva Solution for women a little more comfortable if you’re a man. Also, La Sportiva has done away with gender-specific colors, making the women’s Solution a viable option for men who hate breaking in climbing shoes.
Comfort – La Sportiva Solution is comfortable for a climbing shoe. They’re not bedroom slippers, but the original Solution set a high standard for comfort 10 years ago, and today’s shoe is fine for bouldering and hard climbs. That said, you won’t want to wear these all day, as some users find the heel and toe box a little uncomfortable with long periods of usage.
The single strap has also been updated with a stronger material. That should help it last longer, and reduce the chance it will break. Also, the inside of the shoe is a sock-like tongue. It stretches well, which should further make the shoe more comfortable to wear.
Durability – Solution is one tough shoe. Descending from a long line of La Sportiva climbing expertise, it’s designed with more rubber on the toe and thicker velcro strap that previous versions. You can throw plenty at it and it’ll still love you at the end of the day. The only downside? With so much rubber, it has less breathability.
A hundred and eighty bucks for a set of climbing shoes is a good chunk of change. Still, this is an excellent shoe from one of the proudest names in the rock climbing niche. Many folks swear by La Sportiva, and Solution is a good value for serious climbers and folks who want a durable shoe that will hold up in pretty much any situation up there in the thick of it.
The shoe can be re-soled and the strap is durable enough that it should last longer than previous versions of the shoe. Cheap? Heck no – but La Sportiva Solution is a legend among rock climbing shoes, and at $180, it’s a good value too.
How to Break In La Sportiva Solution
Climbing shoes can be a little hard to break in, and while La Sportiva Solution should be fine for climbing, you’ll want to break them in before hitting the rocks.
So how do you break in La Sportiva Solution, and how do you size La Sportiva climbing shoes in general? Try either of these two methods – and shout out to Gear Patrol for thinking ‘outside the box’. Geez, these puns keep flyin’…
1 – Shower Method
Take your Solutions out of the box and strap them on. Remove any stickers, packaging and/or filling inside the shoe. You’re about to hit the shower in them. Yes, really.
Is the shower running with hot water? Good, now get in, and get your shoes wet (while you’re wearing them). Wiggle your toes. This should help the shoe begin to set around your feet.
When you get out, put some towels down and walk around the house while you’re wearing the shoe. Keep them on until you feel like they’re drying.
When they’re almost dry, take them off and stuff them with newspaper to continue drying. But before they’re completely dry, take them off and go climbing in them. This will further help mold the shoe to your foot, and the position you’ll use while climbing in them for future use.
Once you’re done climbing, take them off, and stuff them with more newspaper until they’re fully dry.
2 – Ice Bag Method
For the Ice Bag Method, start with the same first step as before. Remove your shoes from the box, remove all packaging, stickers and anything that might in the shoe.
Now, fill two zip-lock bags with water until each bag is about the size of your foot. Put one water-filled bag in each shoe and close the strap – but not tight – so the shoe can mold to the bag’s shape.
Stick both shoes in the freezer and leave them overnight.
The next day, take the shoes out, remove the bags, and let the shoes thaw. This method can be a little slower than the shower option, so if you need to break in your shoes faster, opt for the shower.
Yes or No
We’re at that point where you make your choice. Is La Sportiva Solution a Yes or a No? They’re a Yes, and a big one at that. This is a strong shoe. It’s taut, it’s well-made and is perfect for edging, pockets and your climbing shoe requirements.
It’s the shoe that many rock hounds won’t do without – and La Sportiva Solution has its own group of purists who would likely riot if La Sportiva made big changes to this finely crafted shoe.
Break them in first, and consider buying the Women’s La Sportiva Solution if you want a less stiff mid-sole. La Sportiva Solution is a well-made shoe and a long-time favourite among climbing shoes. Many folks say it’s the best.
FAQs About La Sportiva Solution
Still have questions about La Sportiva Solution? Find your answers below…
Who Should Buy La Sportiva Solution?
Beginners, advanced climbers and those in between. The Solution is a well-crafted climbing shoe that can handle most climbing styles and situation. They’re excellent for edging, pockets, bouldering and sport climbing.
La Sportiva Solution Vs Skwama: Which is Better?
That depends who you ask. The Solution is definitely stiffer than Skwama, which is good for edging. Skwama has a similar-tensioned heel cup, but it’s made with softer materials and may be a little more comfortable. It’s also $10 cheaper.
So, the Solution is probably the better climbing shoe. But you might prefer Skwama if it’s your first set of climbing shoes.
La Sportiva Solution Vs Miura: Which is Better?
Miuras have less rubber, so they don’t have as much support, but they’re more breathable than Solutions. You’ll likely be taking your climbing shoes off every few hours while climbing regardless, so I’d probably go with Solutions, which are a slightly better all-around climbing shoe.
Do Solutions Stretch?
A little. Solutions have an interior sock that stretches, and the shoe itself should adapt to your feet with more use. If you break them in with either of the methods we’ve just talked about. The shower method will likely be more effective.
How Do I Break In La Sportiva Solutions?
Two ways. First, wear them in a hot shower, get them wet, walk around in them, fill them with newspaper, then take them climbing and restuff with the newspaper until they’re completely dry.
The second method, put a zip lock back filled with water in each shoe and leave them in the freezer overnight.
Should I Buy La Sportiva Solutions?
That’s up to you. They’re excellent climbing shoes, and have become arguably the most popular climbing shoe over the past decade because of their durability, support and functionality in almost any climbing situation.
Here’s another way to look at it: are you looking for a tough-as-nails climbing shoe with a large following that refuses to wear anything else? That’s La Sportiva Solution. You can learn more here.