The one shoe every climber should own
Climbing shoes have a huge turnover rate within the gear market; every year there are at least a dozen new sticky-rubber kicks to choose from. So for a rock shoe to stick around for more than 20 years—with no major updates or changes or dropping out of the line entirely—that’s a strong testament to its tried and true performance. While we don’t have any solid statistics on this, we feel comfortable saying that the majority of climbers we know have owned at least one pair of La Sportiva Mythos in their lives. Designed by the genius Italian cobblers of La Sportiva, the Mythos offers versatility, comfort, and performance in a package that fits almost every foot. “The only thing I don’t use the shoes for is climbing overhanging sport routes, but I’ve still seen people crush 5.12 roofs with the Mythos!” said one tester. By keeping your foot in a flat position and wrapping it in cozy, unlined leather, the Mythos are ridiculously easy to wear all day while keeping your feet happy.
The unique lacing system actually wraps the laces around the back of the foot to keep it in position within the shoe, without needing a skin-tight fit. A narrow, pointed toe means you’ll still get a moderate amount of performance on face climbs, and rubber that comes up about two inches all the way around the foot means these are absolutely ideal for crack climbing. In 2011, La Sportiva produced 1,000 pairs of a 20th Anniversary Gold Edition Mythos for the truly dedicated. Despite Climbing’s original review in September 1991 that said, “Half [the testers] liked them, the other half didn’t,” we wouldn’t be surprised if we’re still celebrating this shoe 10 years from now.
Editors’ Choice Classic: The Climbing Gear Hall of Fame