Edging / Comfort / Support
As I climbed, I felt myself paying extra attention to my feet, trying to decide if I noticed any deficiency in the shoes’ ability to hold small edges. Immediately I could tell how sensitive the shoe was. I could feel footholds well, and that helped me know how much pressure to put on each foothold.
Other shoes, like the Scarpa Instinct or the Five Ten Moccasym, attempt to achieve this same kind of sensitivity by creating a softer shoe. A softer shoe can be more sensitive, but is usually less supportive and can take some getting used to if you’ve never used a soft shoe. The Futura is sensitive while still being supportive, in part because La Sportiva used this new No Edge concept with some older technologies.
The Futura has the P3 (Permanent Power Platform) last, which has become very popular with La Sportiva’s Miura VS and Solution shoes. The P3 platform is what gives the shoe a downturned shape and also what makes it hold that shape for the life of the shoe.
La Sportiva also used the Velcro closure from the Solutions, which is very quick, secure, and allows easy adjustment with how tight you want the shoe to be. It has the Vibram XS Grip2, which is both very sticky and very durable.
Overall, then, the Futura is very similar to La Sportiva’s Solutions in construction—the Futura is just more sensitive and has no edges. I would say the heel of the Futura is a better fit for my foot while also more sensitive, which therefore works better for me on heel hooks.
Sport Climbing Performance
I first used the Futruras sport climbing at a local climbing area in New Mexico called El Rito. El Rito is a conglomerate rock, so picture pockets, crimps, and pinching cobbles on a slightly overhanging angle. It’s like a small version of Maple Canyon. I thought the Futuras sounded like the perfect tool for this area, and they were.
The wrapped sole makes a rounded, blunt toe that is perfect for pockets and shallow dishes, giving you as much surface area as possible for as much friction as possible. The soft, sensitive 3mm XS Grip2 rubber sole seems to wrap around small features, and I found myself thinking less about using the “edge” of my shoe and just putting my foot on the feature however it felt best. This felt sometimes like just pushing the rand into small, sharp jutting-out features or crystals, or like I was just smearing with the side of my foot. It’s difficult to describe, but the Futura allowed for some very creative and fun climbing.
I can say, though, that this is a very delicate movement. Some beginner climbers say they don’t feel any security on small holds, and their feet come sliding off everything. So if you are brand new to climbing, you might want to work on foot placement before buying these, or just know they take a little getting used to.
After some climbs at El Rito and in the gym, the next spot I headed to was the Dungeon, a very small, very difficult sport area in northern New Mexico. The Dungeon is rhyolite, a type of volcanic rock, and has very steep, powerful overhangs that turn into thin crimps on vertical faces, and shorter slight overhangs with crimps and sloping edges. I thought it would be a great place to test the Futuras ability to keep me on thin, delicate, slabby feet.
I honestly wasn’t expecting much, thinking this shoe is primarily built for overhangs, but I was surprised to find the Futura performed just as well on slab as it did in the caves. Because the sole wraps up onto the rand, the shoe doesn’t have an edge that could slip or pop off of thin feet. It just kind of conforms to the feature, which allowed me to feel the foothold and be comfortable and confident on it.
Trad & Crack Climbing
I did get the chance to do some trad climbing in these shoes as well, and the comfort of the Futuras is a huge plus on longer trad routes. The Futura is also very supportive for such a sensitive shoe, so my foot didn’t get too tired on the longer routes.
The sides and toe of the shoe are blunt and wide, so I found myself reaching for different shoes for crack climbing. Overall, though, I would say this is a great trad shoe for mixed-face climbing. But if you are headed to an area of pure crack climbing, this isn’t the shoe to take.
I think the Futura is also very well rounded. I would compare it to the La Sportiva Miura VS in terms of versatility, though the Futura is more sensitive and has a different feel on your foot. I would also say that as I sized down for performance in both the Futura and Miura VS, I found the Futura to be more comfortable.
The sole wrapping into the rand made for a very durable long lasting sole. There was no delamination in the three months of use, a lot of which was at a climbing gym, which is very hard on the soles of shoes. I honestly don’t know when to retire these shoes short of getting holes in them because there is no edge to wear out.
Overall, I love these shoes. The No Edge concept takes a little getting used to, but once you do, they allow for very creative footwork.
I have a feeling that if you don’t have great footwork, these may not be the shoes for you—they may cause some frustration.
I think these are my favorite shoes right now. They are comfortable and perform great on all my favorite kinds of sport and bouldering climbs. I have recommended these shoes to everyone who has seen me climbing in them and asked, and would recommend them to anyone who is curious.