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La Sportiva Skwama Vegan—Animal Friendly, High All-Around Performance

Instead of leather, the Skwama Vegan uses a “SkinLike” insole, which is as comfortable as leather and conforms to the foot like leather but (surprise!) isn’t actually leather.

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Good news! The La Sportiva Skwama Vegan ($199) has all the features of the OG model but with none of the animal-sourced materials: the P3 rand system adds support and longevity to the downturned shape; the split sole construction softens the midsole while channeling weight into the big toe; the patterned swath of toe rubber performs well on toehooks and jams; and the justifiably popular S-Heel is at once sensitive and comfortable when side-heeling on sharp edges.

Instead of leather, the Skwama Vegan uses a “SkinLike” insole, which is as comfortable as leather and conforms to the foot like leather but (surprise!) isn’t actually leather. Though the Skwama is softer than the Solution line (both iterations), and therefore doesn’t edge quite as masterfully, it’s still a highly versatile shoe that performs well on everything from vertical basalt sport climbs to technical limestone cave boulders to marathon gym training sessions. I sized up a half size, which meant they were comfortable on day one. This worried me, since the leather version would have stretched out and been too large once broken in, but after two months of heavy use, my Skwama Vegan’s feel just as high precision as they did out of the box. In sum: A high-performance slipper-velcro hybrid that’s excellent for just about everything—and animal friendly to boot.        

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