Review: La Sportiva Theory Climbing Shoe

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MSRP: $190

In June, I found a newly reopened rock gym to test the Theory, the gym/bouldering shoes from La Sportiva in their suite of Olympic-focused rock boots. (See As I reacclimated to volume and coordination problems, it struck me that the Theory felt like a combination of the Solution and the Futura—Solution-style big-toe bite for edging and jibs married with Futura-style softness, sensitivity, deformation, and scumming fluency. This made for wicked versatility, with reliable performance on toe-in-and-grab monster overhangs, funkedelic coordination slabs, and vertical crimp ladders. On one problem, up bulbous yellow balls, I desperately scummed around an arête onto a micro-ball, sure my foot would slip, but the Theory’s slipper-like softness and massive toe-scumming patch locked me in. This grabbing savoir faire is accomplished via your standard, square-cut big-toe edge merged with the rounded No Edge sole on the posterior forefoot; meanwhile, the outsole has a variable depth (1.9–4 mm) that’s thickest at the toe-tip for edging support, but tapers in the dead space behind the toebox, letting the Theory flex for smearing. The heel has a swath of stiff yellow rubber that made for remarkably stable, intuitive hooking—it doesn’t slip. Size for a sock-like fit. 

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