Editors' Choice 2017: La Sportiva Skwama

The Send Shoe

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“For the aggressive downturn, amount of rubber, and high-performance design, these are crazy comfortable,” one tester said after six months with the Skwama, “and that makes me a better climber because I’m not babying my feet and toes.” Proprietary S-Heel construction pushes power forward, so everything is funneled to the front, where a chiseled toe helped one tester find tiny pockets in the limestone of the Calanques in Southern France and another tester seek out granite nubbins in Yosemite. A split sole also helps with sensitivity, so the forefoot can really wrap around the rock for smearing and smedging, and the single Velcro strap has a wide attachment point that helps tighten the shoe down over the whole foot. Testers found these to be the perfect shoes for redpointing sport climbs and boulder problems, adding they were “pretty dang easy to get off and on, especially for being slippers.”

$145; sportiva.com

Film: How Matt Cornell Free Soloed One of America’s Classic Hard Mixed Routes

"The Nutcracker" explores the mental challenges of solo climbing and the tactics Cornell used to help him send the route.