Last update: November 2021
The La Sportiva Miura is a good and sturdy all-rounder climbing shoe with impressive edging capabilities. In this review, we go over the pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right model for you.
It’s been around for 25 years (with many updates, mind you), and we know why: it just works.
They may be more expensive than some alternatives, but their durability and versatility make them good value for money, especially if you do a range of climbing. However, if you tend to specialize in challenging routes, the Miura may fall short where other shoes work much better.
Let’s note that the Miura is one of the best edging shoes. It’s aggressive enough to make it high-performance for all climbing disciplines, without being as uncomfortable as the most advanced models.
Overall, it’s a good all-rounder for climbers who are starting to train seriously and want to level up their shoe game. Climbers looking for a model that combines performance, comfort, and durability will enjoy it the most.
- Jack of all trades
- Good for edging
- Durable climbing shoes
- Grippy rubber outsole
- Master of none
- Difficult to wear for a full day
- The laces wear down easily
- Rather expensive
Introduction to La Sportiva Miura
The La Sportiva Miura has been around for 25 years and has earned itself a reputation for its great edging capabilities. It was one of the first modern climbing shoes and it remains relevant and competitive to this day.
Although the shoe has evolved over the years, the concept behind it has stayed the same since the original version. The asymmetric design enables precision footwork while the Vibram XS Edge rubber maximizes durability and grip. It also features a very practical fast-lacing system, which makes them easy to use.
The fact that the Miura has been around for so many years and is so well-respected within the climber community is a testament to its outstanding qualities. For example, Alex Honnold used the Miura in 2012 to free-solo Half Dome.
Let’s dive into it to find out what makes the Miura so special and whether it’s the right climbing shoe for you.
Miura or Miura VS?
The La Sportiva Miura VS (Velcro Strap) differs a lot in design from the Miura (lace-ups). Unlike the laced Miura, the Miura VS contains a P3 system, the Permanent Power system.
The P3 system is a plastic strap that helps the shoe return to its original shape after a session. The plastic strap is more rigid than the rubber sole and holds the aggressive shape in place. It helps prevent flattening out of the sole over time and increases versatility.
The Miura VS is more aggressively downturned than the Miura, and the P3 system maintains this. The aggressiveness and extra support from the P3 system improve the precision of the Miura VS. The precision and aggression provided by the slightly different design, and P3 system makes the Miura VS better for overhanging terrain than the Miura.
The flip side of the standard Miura is that the laces give you the ability for a tighter and more adaptable fit to your foot. A closer fitting shoe will be more comfortable to wear and have less risk of rubbing. Lace-ups are also more secure fastenings than Velcro straps. However, the laces on La Sportiva Miura are not very durable. They can show signs of wear and tear after about a month of regular use. Luckily, these are easy to replace, but it can be annoying if they give away while you’re in a remote area.
The two versions also have different linings. The Miura uses Dentex, and the Miura VS uses Pacific. Dentex in Miura tries to compensate for the lack of the P3 system. It has multi-dimensional flexibility, which reduces the stretching of the leather and maintains shoe structure. On the other hand, Dentex is less effective at preserving aggression than the P3 system. The additional benefit of Dentex is that it absorbs moisture and keeps your feet dry while you climb.
Overall, Miura VS’s Pacific is a more comfortable lining. It helps improve comfort and performance, compensating somewhat for the loss of precise fitting compared to the Miura lace-ups.
Men’s vs women’s: same same but different
The Men’s and Women’s shoes are very different and favor different styles of climbing. You should try both shoes and see which shoes fit best with your foot shape and climbing style.
The most significant difference between the two shoe types is in the soles: they use different types of rubber. The women’s version uses Vibram XS Grip2, while the men’s version uses Vibram XS Edge. It makes quite a big difference as we’ll see.
Vibram XS Edge is harder than the Grip2, making it better for trad, comfort, and edging. The Grip2 is softer and stickier. It makes Grip2 better suited for bouldering and sport climbing. Grip2 is especially suited for smearing.
A less noticeable difference in the soles is thickness. The thickness is 3.5 mm for women, while it’s 4 mm for the men’s version. Both of these are pretty thin, but having a thinner sole comes with pros and cons. It means you can feel the rock more, but it also reduces the durability of the sole. Luckily, they both use Vibram rubber which is well known for its durability. The thinner sole should still last a long time. A benefit to the thin soles is that it makes the shoe lightweight. Lighter climbers especially could struggle with the extra weight caused by more rubber.
There are some subtle differences in the shoe’s fit to allow for differences in foot structure too. For example, the women’s version has a smaller heel cup, which also has more padding.
The Miura is not a good first pair of shoes due to its aggressive downturn. They are fairly aggressive shoes. This gives them a fantastic grip but it also can make them unpleasant to wear. Experienced climbers eventually get used to it but it can be a serious turn-off for new practitioners.
As a result, the shape can make them challenging to use as trad shoes or for all-day routes. Comfort does, of course, depend on how much you downsize from your street shoe size.
Wearing about one and a half size or two sizes smaller than your street shoes gives the most significant benefit for sport climbing or bouldering. Going down one or half a size from your regular shoe size will be the easiest for long periods of use.
In the case of the La Sportiva Miura, the downsizing is not as important as with many other aggressive shoes. This is due to the roomy toe box, which gives your toes a little bit more space.
If you do try on one pair of shoes and find them uncomfortable, try on another pair! The Miura, VS, Men’s, and Women’s all vary in shape, and another might be a better fit for you. For example, there’s extra padding in the heel of the Women’s versions.
Overall, the Miura is relatively narrow fitting, true to the general La Sportiva style. If you have especially wide feet, the Miura might not be the most comfortable option for you.
The Miura works well in tandem with a more comfortable pair. It means you can climb for a long time in your comfortable shoes. Then, you can use the Miura for, particularly difficult or technical sport climbs.
La Sportiva Miura functions well universally across climbing disciplines. It’s officially for bouldering and gym climbing. It also comes with a side focus on technical face climbing and overhanging sport climbs.
Precision edging is the core concept of the Miura design. This foundation makes them great for vertical terrain and steep climbs with few features.
In practice, the Miura is a high-performance shoe across a range of climbing styles, including:
- Trad climbing
- Sport climbing
- Crack climbing
Specialized shoes do outperform La Sportiva Miura in individual fields. If you have variety in the style you climb, they are fantastic for their versatility. The Miura is a true jack of all trades but master of none. The broad but nonspecific coverage can be a pro or con, depending on your climbing habits and objectives.
Climbers often use the Miura as high-performance shoes across multiple climbing disciplines. They are popular with climbers who do a range of climbing, from trad to bouldering, indoors and outdoors. The Miura performs well in any type of climbing.
Shape and Feel
Edging was a central focus for the design of this climbing shoe. The asymmetric design complements the durable and grippy Vibram XS Edge rubber. This combination gains purchase on even the tiniest of footholds. The toe box shape also lets you curl your big toe to optimize pressure.
This shoe is perfect for technical and balance-focused routes.
Smearing is decent but not ideal with the La Sportiva Miura. Most shoes with an aggressive downturn have issues with smearing, and the Miura is noticeably better for this. It’s another way that the La Sportiva Miura shows its multifaceted skills.
The smearing ability of the shoes comes primarily from its Vibram XS Edge or Vibram XS Grip2 rubber which allows it to find grip on the smallest footholds.
The Miura does not excel at toe hooking. The rubber around the toe is functional, but it’s not particularly thick nor large enough a surface area for small and technical toe hooks.
Remember the relative comfort from the toe space we mentioned earlier? The downside is that it creates a lot of dead space. As a result, there’s a loss of support for toe hooking due to this excess space. This can be a bit disconcerting if you are used to other more aggressive climbing shoes. Ultimately, it’s a trade-off between comfort and performance.
Heel hooking is a definite feature of the Miura. It has a thick rubber patch of the heel cup that comes up to about halfway, giving good coverage and range. The high-quality rubber by Vibram provides a good grip. However, the thickness of the rubber does impact the sensitivity a little so you do need to be very focused with your heel hooks.
If this is a core point for you, the lace-ups Miuras might be better as you can better adjust the tension to prevent slipping while heel hooking.
The carefully designed toe box enables excellent precision. The asymmetry of the shoe allows for a pointed toe box. It’s fantastic for giving total control and for switching feet.
There is a reason for the ample toe space. It allows you to curl your toes and provide more pressure on footholds. This extra flexibility lets you fine-tune your foot placement. Compared to other aggressive climbing shoes, this makes your footwork a bit more consciously involved.
If you mostly crack climb, more specialized climbing shoes will suit you better. The roomy toe box and resulting curling toes interfere with cracks. Miura still functions reasonably with cracks. The high-quality rubber and leather make this shoe durable and able to withstand the wear and tear of cracks.
The laces are the one part of the shoe that does wear down quickly in cracks with the Miura. It may suggest the Miura VS potential is more optimal. The more aggressive downturn on the VS curls your toes more, which makes thin cracks difficult. Different versions of the Miura are optimal for different cracks.
The different versions of the shoe use slightly different materials. The best version for you will depend on your feet, discipline, and style of climbing. All four shoes consist of a single piece of leather and Vibram rubber, either Vibram XS Grip2 (Women’s) or Viram XS Edge (Men’s). They have a lining of either Pacific (Miura VS) or Dentex (Miura).
The leather here does admittedly take a while to break in. The quality leather allows the shoe to mold to your feet and gains comfort over time. The natural leather also breathes well. Even if you wear the shoes for a long time, you shouldn’t have to worry about them smelling too quickly (although, as with all climbing shoes, they will smell, eventually).
Not everyone is comfortable wearing leather shoes. But vegan options are available, for example, with Scarpa.
The use of Vibram rubber makes the shoe very durable. Two types are used, Grip2 for the women’s version and Edge for the men’s version. Both are reputed for their sturdiness and should last you a while. That’s the least we expected considering the premium pricing of the Miura. The use of single-piece leather also helps increase the longevity of the shoe.
The rubber is very grippy and hard enough to withstand a lot of pressure. This makes the shoes great for holding you on tiny edges.
One of the other benefits of the one-piece leather and rubber pairing is keeping your feet dry. The rubber is waterproof so stops you from getting your feet wet while climbing outside. The leather absorbs any water you sweat. This moisture absorption is also enhanced in the laced Miura by the Dentex lining.
Both the Dentex and Pacific lining add comfort while climbing. The Pacific lining in the Miura VS is overall more comfortable. Dentex, in the Miura, has multi-directional stretching which helps maintain the shape of the leather upper.
We recommend the La Sportiva Miura to climbers who are starting to dabble with a variety of climbing types — from indoor bouldering to technical rock climbing — and need an aggressive yet fairly comfortable shoe to support their practice. It may not be the best for any particular activity but it does quite well in everything. Plus it’s sturdy, so expect it to stick around for a while (pun intended).
|Weight||8.6 oz/245 g (Miura VS), 9,2 oz/260 g (men’s), 7.8 oz/220 g (women’s)|
|Sole thickness||3.5-4 mm|
|Activities||Bouldering, Sport, Trad, Crack, Face, Overhang, All around|
|Outsole||Vibram XS Edge (men’s), Vibram XS Grip2 (women’s)|
|Midsole||LaSpoFlex (1.1 mm), P3 System (Permanent Power Platform) (Miura VS)|
|Upper||Suede Leather, Dentex (Miura), Pacific (Miura VS)|
Originally native of Oregon, Gab has been living and climbing in Europe for the last five years. He started indoor bouldering after reading Eiger Dreams of Jon Krakauer before falling in love with rock climbing. He’s planning to spend most of 2022 scouting the Alps for the most beautiful crags!