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La Sportiva Cobra Eco Review (2023): Super Sensitive Slippers!

La Sportiva Cobra Eco
These unassuming slippers are the secret weapon of many boulderers and sport climbers. Great on small footholds and on climbs where sticky smearing makes all the difference, they also shine in terms of comfort.

Bottom Line

8.5Expert Score
Good comfortable slippers for technical boulders and sport climbs
The Cobra Eco is the new version of La Sportiva’s primary slipper design. Much like the classic La Sportiva Cobra, it is an extremely versatile shoe with awesome edging performance and a fairly aggressive shape that works wonders on overhung terrain as well as friction based climbing on granite and hard sandstone. The new eco version has all the features that made the original cobra great in a more environmentally friendly manner. The shoe boasts 85% recycled materials and other eco friendly construction processes like metal free tanning of the leather upper and water based adhesives throughout.

The Cobra is the ideal slipper for indoor use as well as boulders and sport climbs that require competent edging. They aren’t stiff or supportive enough to work well for long periods on trad or multi pitch. Like most other slippers, they struggle to stay on your foot and provide good leverage while hooking. When used in the right situation, the La Sportiva Cobra Eco provides the perfect blend of comfort and performance. It’s a great shoe for anyone who wants a flexible design that does an impressive job on the technical stuff without a long break in period.
Comfort
10
Performance
7
Durability
8
Value for Money
9
PROS
  • Sportiva’s famous tapered toe box is aggressive on small edges and smears well on blank canvases
  • The eco friendly re edition comes in a more sustainable package that produces less waste than other shoes.
  • A break in friendly construction with soft moulding works well with multiple foot types, stretching and conforming the sole to your individual foot shape.
CONS
  • Heel hooking feels insecure at best and in some cases the shoes will slip, probably causing a fall.
  • Relatively flexible sole and soft low cut leather means that your feet will tire quickly on multi pitch climbs.

Introduction

la sportiva cobra eco unboxing

The La Sportiva Cobra Eco is a climbing shoe for those who are weary of lace ups and other climbing shoes which require excessive fiddling in order to get your feet into them. Sportiva bills the Cobra as a “performance slipper,” a pair of shoes that has a sensitive and pointy toe perfect for climbing on hard slab, overhung sections, and multi pitch on comfortable terrain. The new version of the Sportiva Cobra Eco features recycled eco rubber and other environmentally friendly materials that come as an added bonus to an already great pair of climbing shoes.

Comfort

climber wearing La Sportiva Cobra Eco

Nothing can beat a slipper in terms of comfort. The easy on, easy off nature of these types of shoes lends itself to longer and more laid back sessions where you don’t want to fuss around with your shoes much between climbs. We love that the wear-in period is fast and nearly painless.

One potential issue in terms of comfort is the narrow toe box. On one hand, this helps point your toes into the wall and helps in situations where friction is important, such as on hard grit or crystalline granite. However, some may find that the pointed toe box smashes their toes together. In general, those with narrow feet should consider these shoes as a good slip on option. If you have wider feet, the 5.10 Moccasyms might be a more comfortable option. Sizing is important for a comfortable experience. luckily La Sportiva offers half sizes in order to accomodate the widest range of feet.

La Sportiva Cobra Eco reviews

Performance

The La Sportiva Cobra Eco is definitely not the highest performance shoe available. If you want a technical shoe capable of sending at your absolute limit, a more aggressive shoe with either velcro or laces is recommended. Still, it’s possible to do some pretty tricky stuff in these shoes. They have great rubber, a slight downturn, and a soft sole that helps maximize smearing performance.

La Sportiva Cobra Eco climbing shoes

Edging

The Cobra comes with a pretty good edge on it when new. The pointed toe allows for even better friction on small edges in conjunction with good foot placement and body tensioning. Like all climbing shoes, once the rubber begins to wear the edging will begin to feel a bit less precise. Some folks like to size down from their street shoe size to ensure a performance fit and prevent blowing off small edges.

Smearing

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages to using a softer slip on style climbing shoe is the awesome smearing potential they hold. Because they flex so easily, it’s possible to get extra surface area on the wall (therefore getting extra friction.) In fact, there are some instances where shoes like the La Sportiva Cobra and the 5.10 Moccasym perform better than more downturned counterparts.

La Sportiva Cobra Eco reviews

Hooking

Heel hooks are where the utility of slip on shoes really suffers the most. Because there is nothing firmly holding the shoes on your feet, they feel generally insecure and are even prone to slipping off your foot when performing more advanced heel hooks. Toe hooking is a little bit better, but still feels a bit odd, especially when there is a lot of pressure on the hooked foot. For a slight increase in hooking performance while still using a more comfortable and soft shoe, consider the LS Python which has a single velcro strap to help secure the shoe more. For most moderate climbing however these shoes will handle just fine, especially of you point your toes into the wall while performing heel hooks.

La Sportiva Cobra Eco slip on shoes

Jamming

The La Sportiva Cobra Eco does a reasonably good job when it comes to jamming. It has a section of rubber across the top that helps with friction and durability when you’re working your way up crack systems. Keep in mind that the same issue with slippage in the shoe (and potentially out of the shoe) can come up if you get your foot jammed deep into a crack and need to pull it out with force. Additionally, the low top design isn’t well suited to all day climbing with lots of jamming and will potentially result in bloody ankles.

Use

La Sportiva Cobra Eco on feet

There are many potential uses for these La Sportiva climbing shoes, for both beginners and advanced climbers. Certainly they aren’t the best at every application, but they are a strongly versatile shoe capable of tackling many challenges.

Sport Climbing and Bouldering

The Cobra Eco is a great climbing shoe for sport climbers seeking a shoe for moderate routes or difficult slab climbs. As we mentioned before, they will not be the best choice on climbs with hard heel hooks, but they are very adept at edging and smearing, which are the most common movements found on sport climbs.

What’s more, many hard boulder problems have been sent in the La Sportiva Cobra. They have a functional design that works well when a good grip on the toe is necessary to send. Their rubber provides both superior friction and also great sensitivity, so you can feel even the smallest of holds and move with confidence.

La Sportiva Cobra Eco rubber outsole

Outdoor VS Gym Climbing

The La Sportiva Cobra Eco is great for either indoor or outdoor climbs. Even though the eco rubber is made from recycled materials, it has a bomber grip, and I trusted it on outdoor friction climbing and competition-style boulder problems in the gym.

La Sportiva Cobra Eco review

Conclusion

The new eco version of the Cobra slippers by La Sportiva is the cherry on top of an already great model. These aggressive climbing shoes are incredibly versatile and suitable for many scenarios and climbers of all levels. We recommend it to any climber into sport climbing or bouldering looking for superior edging performance without sacrificing comfort.

Facts

La Sportiva Cobra Eco upper

Technical Specs

Weight7.6 oz/215 g
FitPerformance
DownturnAggressive
ShapeMedium asymmetry
VolumeMedium
StiffnessSoft
Sole thickness3.5 mm
ClosureSlipper
ResoleableYes
VeganNo

Use

ActivitiesIndoor, Outdoor, Bouldering, Sport
Experience levelIntermediate, Advanced

Technologies

OutsoleFriXion Eco
MidsoleLaSpoFlex
UpperECO suede leather
LastRL-45
LiningNone

Where to Buy It?

We buy most of our stuff from REI.com. Their service is great, and it’s a co-op, so they treat their employees well and answer to their members, not shareholders.

Note: we receive a commission when you buy through us. This keeps our team of writers/editors/climbers going!

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