La Sportiva Finale Review (2023): Versatile, Durable, Affordable!
Published on: 07/17/2022La Sportiva Finale climbing shoes were updated for 2022 with new materials and construction. It improved a shoe that continues to grow in popularity among intermediate climbers indoors and out. With enhanced performance and technology at the same price as the original, it's hard to beat the Finale's combination of value and climbing ability.
The Finale has much in common with La Sportiva’s most popular beginner’s shoe, the Tarantulace. The Finale is softer and more sensitive than that shoe and sports an upgraded Vibram XS Edge sole versus the Tarantulace’s less sticky FriXion RS rubber compound.
You might also view the Finale as a lower-priced alternative to the Mythos Eco based on its relative comfort and crack climbing abilities. If you don’t size down too aggressively, the Finale is comfortable all day and has just enough support to satisfy climbers with stronger feet.
With its well-rounded, consistent performance on everything except extreme steeps and micro footholds, the Finale deserves a look from any budget-minded climber who isn’t aiming for elite status.
- Neutral shape and unlined leather construction offer high comfort and quick break-in
- High-quality XS Edge rubber is durable and supportive on small holds
- Performance above its price point in nearly every climbing scenario
- The thick sole and midsole reduce feel on the smallest edges and steeper terrain
- The outsole rubber is not as sticky as some on delicate smears and indoor volumes.
La Sportiva Finale Detailed Analysis
Description and Technical Features
Like the latest edition of the Mythos, the Finale’s last update aimed to reduce the environmental footprint of this lace-up shoe’s manufacturing process. According to La Sportiva, 40% of the components are “eco components.” This includes laces, webbing, and microfiber portions of the upper. By “eco,” we assume La Sportiva means recycled. The leather is tanned using a more earth-friendly tanning process that excludes heavy metals.
Cosmetic changes include a new light brown/yellow colorway and an exciting pattern stitched into the upper. In terms of performance, La Sportiva improved the Finale’s flexibility and sensitivity by trading the full rubber outsole for a partial sole. The tensioned heel rand was also modified, along with the shape of the heel cup.
A padded mesh tongue with cotton lining and the soft suede upper helps the Finale conform to your foot shape and break in quickly. Also, a mild downturn (termed a “Tech” fit by La Sportiva) and medium asymmetry add to the relative comfort level compared to more aggressively designed rock climbing shoes.
Another highlight is the 5 mm durable yet sticky rubber compound often found on more expensive models, Vibram’s XS Edge. While not as soft as some premium formulas, it still gives excellent grip with significantly longer wear. And the extra hardness does resist deforming on smaller edges to maintain a more positive hold, as the name of the rubber implies.
La Sportiva Finale Women’s Version
The women’s model of the Finale uses a narrower and lower volume last than the men’s version. Like the men’s, the Italian brand updated the women’s Finale in 2022 with “eco-leather” and recycled components. Aside from a pleasantly muted gray and light blue color scheme, the features and construction of the women’s shoe are very similar to the men’s model.
Fit and Comfort
The brand introduces the Finale as medium-volume shoes on the La Sportiva climbing shoe comparison chart. However, a reasonably generous toe box and forefoot make them comfortable even for those with wider feet.
Climbers report the fit as being similar to other La Sportiva shoes. Most reviewers sized one half a size to one and a half down from regular athletic shoes. Overall, the average user went down one size from their street shoe size. Also, several reviewers who have longer second toes than first toes reported that the Finale accommodated their feet particularly well compared to other shoes.
The complete leather upper (without lining) stretches perfectly over the first few trips or gym sessions. As such, it’s a significant key to the Finale’s custom feeling fit.
La Sportiva’s Finale has several things going for it regarding sticking on edges:
a moderately supportive platform, mildly aggressive architecture, and high-performing rubber.
Most climbing shoes that edge better than the Finale are significantly more pricey. The Finale’s edging prowess is only undone by its average sensitivity, thanks to a medium-thick, 1.1 mm full midsole and 5 mm of outsole material between your foot and the rock. However, for vertical routes with fairly positive foot holds, the Finale is confidence-inspiring for users coming from more entry-level models.
Most reviewers found the harder XS Edge rubber sufficient on sandstone and granite slab, with no climbing performance issues reported due to lack of friction. The midsole flex helps the Finale stick on smears, as does the flat design. The new half-sole design offsets the stiffness of the thick rubber and full midsole to some extent, improving pliability.
We have complained about the sensitivity of the Finale on the tiniest of edges, and you can echo that sentiment for extremely tenuous, delicate smearing. The thicker outsole is the limiting factor, more than any lack of flexibility that deters full surface contact when slab climbing.
Toe and Heel Hooking
The Finale is adequate for occasional toe hooks on jugs and aretes but meets its match on the more advanced, bouldery toe hooking moves. If you spend a lot of time climbing in indoor boulder caves and other hooking-intensive scenarios, you’ll wish the shoe had more stickier rubber on the top of the toe box.
The 2022/23 version of the Finale has thinner rubber on the back of the heel for better feel on heel hooks. The entire heel cup is narrower to provide a tighter fit and more security, addressing one of the complaints aimed at the earlier version of this shoe.
Seasoned crack climbers praise the La Sportiva Finale’s flat profile, relatively pointy toe, and unobtrusive lacing system. These features help the shoe fit into crevices from thin cracks to fist size. There’s enough rubber on the rand–and enough padding in the tongue–to protect your foot during most jamming and heel-toe camming maneuvers, but the lowcut upper does leave your ankles exposed to abrasion. Fit the shoe with toes flat, and you’re ready for all-day comfort, and moderate crack climb adventures.
Best Uses for the La Sportiva Finale
Most easy to moderate sport routes are well within the Finale’s capabilities. The thick Vibram rubber and sturdy build help these shoes last in the tough outdoor environment. And the sticky rubber adheres to plastic holds and textured artificial walls nearly as good as softer but less durable options.
They reach their limit on steeper lines with thin edges, where feel is paramount. Their other weak point on continuously vertical to overhanging walls is the strain you’ll feel on your feet and legs. This is where the shoe’s flexibility and lack of downturn hinder performance.
The Finales easily handle light- to medium-duty trad climbing and moderate multi-pitch climbs. It doesn’t have the support or ankle coverage of a specialist trad shoe or the full rand coverage of the Mythos. But it does have enough rigidity and toughness to stand up to jamming and enough padding to protect the top of your foot and toes.
One drawback of the increased flexibility in the latest update, long stints on low-angle rock will tax your calf muscles since the Finale doesn’t offer much midfoot support. However, if your chosen route contains a typical mix of crack and face climbing, experienced climbers won’t notice the lack of a stiff sole to provide support.
The La Sportiva Finale has become a staple for the intermediate climber in the gym. It offers indoor rock climbers an almost unbeatable combination in a climbing shoe—better performance than beginner shoes, without the painful price tag of premium shoes.
Another strong point for the Finale is its comfortable fit, which allows recreational climbers to leave them on during belays and bouldering sessions. If your footwork is refined enough that you don’t drag your toes and wear a hole in the rand, the beefy 5 mm thick rubber should last almost forever.
The La Sportive Finale climbing shoe is excellent for easy to moderate bouldering for all-around climbers who want a single shoe to do it all. Indeed, when sized tightly for a performance fit, the Finale is plenty capable of climbing into the middle grades.
More dedicated boulder specialists will likely want a more radically designed shoe before attempting higher difficulty problems. However, those climbers are not the Finale’s target market. As we noted in our comments on sport climbing, this shoe’s lack of sensitivity and downturn hurts its steep climbing capability. On severely steep terrain, it’s challenging to use the Finale’s toe to pull in on smaller holds and pockets due to the flat last.
La Sportiva has created a rock climbing shoe that somewhat defies categorization. Many experienced climbers love the decent performance it offers for an affordable price.
The Finale is an excellent value for beginner climbers moving up from their first pair and seeking a higher level of performance. It’s also good for newcomers who want to commit and skip the entry-level shoes. Indeed, they may quickly grow out of it as they gain new strength and skills, so why not pick a shoe with better performance like the Finale right away?
It’s also well suited for intermediate climbers who spend most of their time climbing moderate routes whether inside, outside, sport or trad. Those climbers can enjoy many long days at the crag, or training sessions at the gym, with confidence that the Finale won’t let them down no matter the challenge.
|Weight||8.4 oz/238 g|
|Sole thickness||5 mm|
|Activities||Indoor, Outdoor, Bouldering, Sport, Trad|
|Experience level||Beginner, Intermediate|
|Outsole||Vibram XS Edge|
|Midsole||1.1 mm full-length LaspoFlex|
|Upper||Pacific, Dentex, Synthetic / Eco-tanned Suede Leather, Slip lasted|
|Last||PN45 (men's), WPN45 (women's)|
Reference: La Sportiva‘s official website
Where to Buy It?
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Unlike other La Sportiva shoes, the Finales don’t require you to downsize significantly from your street shoe size. One US size should be enough. For comfort, go for a half size. However, they will stretch after a couple of sessions.
Do you need help?
Whether you’re looking for your first climbing shoes or interested in leveling up, picking the perfect pair is as much art as science!
Discover our selection of the best climbing shoes for 2023 with a detailed buying guide here.