La Sportiva Futura Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Incredible sensitivity, great edging, durability
Cons: Specalized use, expensive, might be hard to resole
Manufacturer: La Sportiva
Compare to Similar Products
La Sportiva Futura
|Price||$198.95 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
$164.19 at REI
|$198.95 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
$96.69 at REI
$66.69 at REI
|Pros||Incredible sensitivity, great edging, durability||Versatile, stiff, durable, comfortable||Extremely precise toe, extra heel sensitivity, comfortable for an aggressive shoe||Comfortable design, respectable edging, low-profile toe, excellent price||Affordable, flat midsole is comfortable all day, well-balanced performance across many areas|
|Cons||Specalized use, expensive, might be hard to resole||Expensive, limited sensitivity||Pricey, tall toe box, too narrow for some feet||Mediocre precision, subpar on the steeps, somewhat insensitive||Insensitive, imprecise fit, ineffective design for steep terrain|
|Bottom Line||Employing Sportiva's No Edge concept, this is a sensitive shoe that edges incredibly well||This stiff shoe is an all-day workhorse that also performs well on edges and slabs||An ultra-high-end shoe that is designed for performance||Decent overall climbing performance at an affordable price make these a sold choice||An entry-level shoe ideal for beginners that comes at an awesomely low price|
|Rating Categories||La Sportiva Futura||La Sportiva Katana...||La Sportiva Solutio...||La Sportiva Finale||La Sportiva Tarantu...|
|Steep Terrain (20%)|
|Specs||La Sportiva Futura||La Sportiva Katana...||La Sportiva Solutio...||La Sportiva Finale||La Sportiva Tarantu...|
|Upper||Leather/Synthetic Leather||Leather / Microfiber||Leather / Microfiber||Eco Leather / microfiber||Leather/Synthetic|
|Lining||Unlined||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||3 mm||4 mm||4 mm||5 mm||5 mm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The good folks at the La Sportiva assured us that none of the technical stats we love about the Futura have changed, but they have gotten a fresh makeover. Check out the latest look of the Futura on the left, below, compared to the older version shown on the right.
Although the Futura looks and feels ultra-aggressive, it managed to stay comfortable, even after climbing several pitches in a row. The supple feel of the shoe allows for easy smearing, and the super sticky Vibram XS Grip 2 rubber felt up to the task. The sensitivity of this shoe is phenomenal. On visually featureless rock our testers were often able to find something to paste them onto.
Using this metric to assess the Futura is almost unfair. The Futura redefines the standards by changing the way your foot interacts with the rock. Instead of relying on an artificial edge that can bend and collapse, this shoe's No Edge technology allows you to transfer that power directly through your toes, and onto the rock. It also allows for much more uniform pressure on the hold, increasing your foot security and your confidence. We will say this several times in this review: be patient when learning to climb in the Futura. They will let you know when your footwork is getting lazy, like a gentle drill sergeant reminding you to keep it tight.
We took these shoes to the Needles in California, and they did remarkably well for a high-performance, specialized rock shoe. We found ourselves doing a lot of face climbing in them, not because we had to, but because we could. When we were forced back to the crack for protection, they inspired confidence where we expected them to produce flailing. Though not at home on granite trad climbs, they still climbed well enough that we'd consider using them again. The velcro closure is free from uncomfortable buckles, but it's less than secure for wide jamming.
Imagine the sensation of placing your fingers in a pocket and weighting it, then being able to translate this feeling almost perfectly to your toes. That's how good the Futura is. It pulls into holds with nearly the same dexterity as your hands, with great support, and the protection of 3 mm of sticky rubber. This aspect of climbing with these shoes will probably come more intuitively. The shape of the shoe, the No Edge concept, and the P3 midsole combine to make it easy. The only drawback is the Futura's tall vertical toe profile, which could limit its ability to slither into horizontal pockets.
Wouldn't it be cool if your foot was naturally tough enough to climb everything by itself? The Futura is as close as we've come to approximating the feeling of climbing at our grade while barefoot. La Sportiva achieved this without any major sacrifices to the shape. Other very sensitive shoes can feel sloppy in spite of a tight fit because the shoe lacks structure. This is another feature you'll have to get comfortable with, but probably the first you'll really love. Feeling confident while standing on something you couldn't get your fingernail on can be an awe-inspiring feeling.
This shoe goes on quickly and adjusts easily due to a clever velcro tensioning system that pulls your foot and heel toward the sole. It is stiff enough to feel supportive. It manages to keep your foot in a fairly natural position, in spite of its shape, via some smart engineering. Be advised, however, that some testers complained of acute Achilles pain. If you've ever had Achilles issues with rock shoes, you may want to consider a different model.
The Futura is a very specialized shoe, and if you're buying it you have to know that it won't be your only shoe. Unless all you do is send, all the time. It is comfortable, and durable enough for a ton of climbing, but at the listed price you may want to hold it in reserve for the days you really want to put in a big effort.
We thought we would shred through these shoes in an afternoon at the boulders because the toe seems so thin, but after a year of use, they are just starting to look ready for a resole. This could be attributed to the toughness of the rubber and the lack of an edge, which distributes the pressure of your toe more uniformly on the rock.This shoe has a very short wear-in period, but it will require some time to build your familiarity and confidence with its unusual edges. The bottom line is that the Futura is at the forefront of a concept that we believe is headed in the right direction, putting them on a shortlist of shoes that will let you climb at your absolute limit, or reach a new one.
— Thomas Greene
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