La Sportiva Solution

La Sportiva Solution, Blister Gear review.
La Sportiva Solution

La Sportiva Solution

Sizes: 33-46, including half sizes

Material: Leather, Lorica

Lining: HF (toe-box and arch)

Midsole: 1mm Lapsoflex (toe only)

Sole: Vibram XS Grip 2

Weight: 8.89 oz • 258 g

My Foot: Small, fat in front, narrow in back

Street Shoe Size: 5-5.5

Size Tested: 34.5

Time Tested: About three months

Locations Tested: Indoor gyms; The Dungeon, New Mexico; El Rito, New Mexico; Sailing Hawks, Colorado; Hueco Tanks, Texas

MSRP: $170

The La Sportiva Solution isn’t new (it’s been around since 2007), and it’s not a secret.

While I may be late trying this shoe, I think it’s safe to say that the Solution has reached the point of a pretty much global thumbs up. After a summer playing in the Solution, I am now one of many who will view it as a reference shoe—a standard I’ll always have in mind when I try something new.

I think standards are set once a product outlives its novelty. After the test of time and an agreement that something is officially “good,” stuff becomes classic—like the Model T Ford, spaghetti and meatballs, or Patsy Cline. And what makes a classic? Good question, but part of the answer might have something to do with living beyond and outside of the trends. To me, this seems a likely outcome for the Solution.

Before trying the Solution, I’d been climbing in the Miura VS— a shoe that I love. For this reason, I was not in a hurry to try a new shoe. But one day this spring the Miura VS was out of stock when I went to order it. So I thought, Okay, I’ll finally try the Solution.

So how do they compare?

The Solution vs. the Miura VS

The Women’s Miura VS has everything I like (nicely sculpted toe for edging, power and pop when I want it, comfort, and versatility), and so does the Solution.

I didn’t think it was possible, but I think the Solution is actually better than the Miura in a few key ways—it increases precision and power in the toe with a very sculpted point and an aggressively downturned edge.

And I think the Solution has the Miura beat when it comes to technical heel and toe-hooking capabilities. For me, this matters when I’m bouldering and sport climbing on steep routes.

We all evolve as climbers, and at some point we notice when a shoe gives us a fraction more power, frees us to be a smidge more precise with our feet, and allows us to do stuff like stick your toe into a shallow little hueco at a weird angle and…no way!  It held!

The Miura VS rocks. I would be hard-pressed to criticize anything about it. But I have to say that the Solution has been a fantastic partner as I seek to climb a little more technically on steeper sport routes and on more techy boulder problems.

La Sportiva Solution, Blister Gear Review.
The Solution (left) compared to the Miura VS

Toe Hooking 

The send is about the climber. But sometimes a shoe teaches us about our technique because it enhances what we’re trying to do as climbers. The Solution did this for me.

One of the best illustrations of personal technique refinement in my Solution would be what I call a “technical toe hook.” I was playing on a boulder problem at Hueco Tanks called Cory the Pimp with what, for me, was a mandatory toe hook. I was able to take note of the fact that rotating my toe five degrees clockwise in the hueco gave me the purchase I needed to get out of the move.

This is interesting because I found myself fine tuning that move in particular. In the past, I chalked up my failure with toe hooks to my deficit as a climber or to the idea that a toe hook simply was not viable. Now success became a matter of nuance, of testing how many degrees of rotation were needed—and I give some credit to this sophisticated shoe.

Insofar as toe-hooking technology goes, success with the move is likely due to the shape and the angle of the Solution’s toe box. The shoe is asymmetrical and the line along the inside of the big toe is relatively straight, while the arc from the little toe to the point of the big toe is curved. This lets you play with angles in foot placement and toe hooks where a uniformly rounded toe would not.

Additionally, the rubber extends past my big toe knuckle and there’s no velcro in the way, no laces. Only shoe and rubber.

I see now that there’s simply too much happening on the top of my foot in the Miura VS for the shoe to excel at toe hooking. When I study my foot in the Miura VS, the first velcro strap starts just past my big toe knuckle and there’s a small wrinkle in the leather where it meets the rubber. All this happens precisely where I want uninhibited, uninterrupted contact between rubber and rock.

La Sportiva Solution, Blister Gear Review.
Miura VS

Ultimately, I feel like the Solution has helped lead to an evolution of my technique.


The Solution edges nicely on face, but so does the Miura VS. And since the Miura VS has a less downturned toe, the Powerhinge System, and a Slingshot Rand (and the Solution does not), it might be a bit better on edgy face than the Solution.

For me, the Solution goes deeper into the territory of bouldering and steep sport routes than the Miura VS. The Solution excels when trust in a wacky toe-hook is essential, cranking on a heel-hook is mandatory, and generating movement from pushing and pulling on a toe in moments of dynamism is a must.

And yet, once those particular moves are over, the Solution is no slouch when a route demands edging (even if the Miura VS does have it beat by a smidge). The Solution’s no-fuss toe, its closure and harness system for heel-hooking, and its aggressive downturn (which creates power for dynamic moves), all work together to set the Solution apart.

The Solution is more sophisticated than the Miura VS when it comes to sport climbing and bouldering because it adds to the scope of what we can trust the shoe to handle in a given problem or route.

La Sportiva Solution, Blister Gear Review.
Marci on Skully, Sailing Hawks, CO


Ok, so after all this, you might be wondering—why wouldn’t I buy the Solution?

I wouldn’t recommend this shoe to climbers looking to do crack and edgeless slab. Featureless slab requires smearing where you need as much surface area on the rock as possible. The Solution’s stiff, aggressive, downturned toe makes this difficult.

There are other shoes on the market that will likely perform better in cracks. Again, the aggressive toe, the velcro closure, and the incredibly sculpted edge on the forefoot are made for sport routes and bouldering, not for cracks.

This won’t be the most comfortable shoe on a multi-pitch route, but I suppose the amount one wants to suffer varies. And finally, I think some of this shoe’s sophistication will be lost on a climber who hasn’t yet discovered the importance of feet and toes.

Tech Specs

The Solution, like the Miura, has P3 (Permanent Power Platform), to keep the shoe downturned and aggressive for as long as possible, and Lapsoflex in the toe box to give you power, pop, and staying power on miniscule foot-holds.

It also features Lock Harness and a 3D heel cup to keep your foot in the shoe when you weight a crazy heel hook. There’s a lot of rubber on the toe to keep it in that weird little hueco when you use a toe hook or a bicycle.

The sculpted toe provides precision for foot placement on technical face or hanging upside down on a boulder problem. The Vibram XS grip rubber is sticky and, in my experience, wonderfully trustworthy. If my toe pops off a hold it’s due to operator error.

5 comments on “La Sportiva Solution”

  1. Just from looking at the picture, it looks like you are wearing the muira vs in an enormous size, that bump of leather above your toes disappears when you fit them well, and provides support to the top of your toes. I’m surprised that you even like them, or the solutions, at all to be honest. (This was all totally insulting, but forgive me, the internet makes us all act impudently). Have you tried them on smaller?

    • Hi Adam.

      First I want to be clear for everyone out there that the wrinkle in the Miura VS never caused me any trouble until I tried to toe-hook, and the trouble was caused by the wrinkle in combination with the buckle on the first Velcro strap. The Solution fixed this because the rubber extends all the way past my big toe knuckle, allowing for maximum no-fuss contact with rock.

      Anyway, I actually think your question is fair if you really are just going from the picture. :) (For your convenience, the top of these reviews always tell you what size climbing shoe we are actually wearing during our tests and what size we usually wear on the street.) The Muira in the picture is a 34.5, which equates to a size 4 in women’s street shoes. I walk around in 5-5.5 and sometimes even size 6. This would mean that I am sizing at least a full size smaller than I would normally wear. Indeed I tried them on in a 34, but found that I couldn’t fit all my piggies in the toe-box. About that wrinkle, I just put them on again and looked at them with a buddy. He and I think it might actually be caused because the shoe is precisely not enormous. The shoe itself is so small that there’s not much space for the leather to stretch between the buckle and the toe-rand (less than an inch), and because there’s so little space, the leather is actually forced to wrinkle up a bit, especially when weighted. Then when the shoe gets worn over time, the wrinkle stays there. As an overall comment on that wrinkle, I would say that everyone’s feet will look different in shoes by virtue of the vast variation in foot shape and volume, and I think you might be absolutely right that for some folks that wrinkle disappears just as you say, especially if there’s a long enough section of leather to actually fill out.

    • Indeed, though, for what its worth, I quite like these shoes, and mine have no fold on the top or anything like that, but I’m relatively sure its not because of the uniqueness of my foot shape, but because I walk around in a size 8 (41) and wear my vs, in a 4.5 (36). I know that the crease over the toes doesn’t disappear, until when I wear them in at least a 38, at which point they begin to feel like a completely different, a much more precise, powerful and (downturned!) shoe. The solution especially goes from being a clunky insensitive block, to a sensitive, powerful weapon. If you cannot tell, it kind of bothers me to see so many people wearing this shoe like this, instead of a better fitting shoe that doesn’t require you to cram your foot into the front to get the benefit of the intended design. This has now completely turned into a lame internet catharsis so I apologize if you actually read it.

  2. How does the heel fit on you? I have the solutions and there is a bit of dead space in the heel. Do you think I just need a half size smaller?

  3. Yes duke… I have the solutions and they fit well…however only because my heel was pushing down.on a rather comfy dead rat…i had not known it was there…upon removing the dead rat…i too found the solutions have a dead space in the heal area…so I put the dead rat back… good..except.i can’t find a partner to.climb with ….

Leave a Comment