Published on: 03/21/2023
Whether you’re new to rock climbing or have years of experience, La Sportiva climbing shoes are probably on your radar. Indeed, the Italian brand, founded in 1928, is one of the most popular and respected when it comes to mountain footwear.
However, you just need to browse a few threads on Reddit to understand that their sizing is all over the place. A few of their models will fit true to size, but many others will require downsizing from your street shoes by a few sizes.
To complicate things further, most La Sportiva climbing shoes use leather, meaning they will stretch over time after breaking them in. As a result, what might have felt like torture in the shop will actually become fairly comfy after a couple of climbing sessions. The stretch can vary significantly from one model to another, though.
In this article, we’ll try to help you pick the right size for the La Sportiva shoes you have your eyes on.
La Sportiva’s Official Shoe Sizing Chart
Let’s start with La Sportiva’s official size chart. However, this is mildly useful. Indeed, surprisingly, not all brands have the same, making comparing size apples to apples difficult. For example, EU 44 equals a men’s US 10.5 for La Sportiva, while it’s 10 for NIKE.
Therefore, you have to be careful when trying to pick the right size for climbing shoes by comparing them to your street shoe size based on feedback from other climbers.
Ideally, it’s best to compare La Sportiva climbing shoes only. For example, if most climbers wear La Sportiva Skwama with a European half-size below their La Sportiva Solution, this is most likely what you should go for (provided, of course, you have a pair of Solutions).
|EU (Men’s & Women’s)||US Men’s||US Women’s|
Shape, Volume, and Stretch of La Sportiva Climbing Shoes
La Sportiva shoes are undoubtedly among the best out there, but for some people, it’s not the right match. Foot shapes vary from one climber to another, making it impossible to be comfortable.
For example, even if you downsize to extremely painful levels with a model, you may still experience dead space in a part of the shoe. In this case, it’s likely a matter of fit, and you should look into another model.
The size of La Sportiva rock shoes indicates their length. However, it says nothing of how much volume they offer for your feet. Luckily, La Sportiva has a handy chart that indicates the fit and volume of their shoes:
As you can see, La Sportiva categorizes its shoes between:
Performance, All-Round, and Beginner
Most La Sportiva performances shoes have a downturned profile, while their comfort shoes (last two categories) have a more neutral (flat) sole.
Performance shoes are aimed at more advanced users and are expected to be less comfortable than comfort ones. Indeed, climbers pushing harder grades are more likely to accept some discomfort.
However, as we regularly repeat, climbing shoes should never be painful. There’s no glory in getting hurt because you dramatically downsized to imitate Adam Ondra.
Narrow, Medium, and Wide Foot
This is self-explanatory. These shoes offer low, medium, and high volume, respectively. Also, it’s important to note that men’s and women’s have the same shape and volume if you compare them in their European sizes. Therefore, going for the men’s model won’t necessarily give you more volume and vice versa. However, there are exceptions. Some shoes have different support features for men’s and women’s, which may translate into a different fit, especially at the heel.
This secret factor can make or break your quest for the correct size. Unfortunately, the previous La Sportiva chart doesn’t provide this key information. As mentioned, La Sportiva climbing shoes use leather and stretch over time. For example, climbers report that the Skwama stretch up to a full European size.
Last but not least, vegan climbing shoes are gaining popularity among eco and animal-welfare-conscious climbers. As a result, La Sportiva is releasing new models completely made of vegan synthetic materials like the Skwama Vegan and the GeckoGym Vegan. These shoes are much less likely to stretch than their leather-based counterparts.
How to Buy La Sportiva Climbing Shoes Online
Of course, this goes counter to the gold advice to always try climbing shoes in a store. The best way to know if a particular model is going to fit you (and at what size) is to try it, ideally on a climbing wall.
However, let’s also acknowledge that it’s not always possible. For example, some models are hard to find in retail stores or gyms. You can always pick an alternative, but if you’re dead set on it, the only way will be to take your chances online.
Last but not least, some deals are just too good to pass on. If you see one of your top picks for sale -40% on REI, then the whole “try in store” rule may have to go out the window!
Climbing House’s Shoe Size Database
With all this in mind, we’ve created this database to record the shoe sizes of climbers. Other sites provide calculators using similar data, but our goal is to give you the raw data under the hood and pair it with qualitative insights based on our expertise.
Needless to say, it’s not 100% accurate. However, it should still prove useful, and over time our recommendations will become more and more accurate as climbers like yourself contribute to it.
La Sportiva Shoe Sizing Per Model
La Sportiva Solution
Advanced climbers prize these aggressive shoes to send difficult sport climbing routes and boulders. Looking at the data from our database, climbers downsize on average by two full European sizes compared to their regular street shoes.
The consensus is that the Solutions tend to stretch a bit over time. As a result, climbers opt for an even smaller size than with other La Sportiva shoes.
La Sportiva Tarantula(ce)
The Tarantulas (velcro) and Tarantulaces (lace-up) are the go-to shoes for many beginners. They come with a comfortable fit (neutral sole) and a good amount of rubber to last a while.
Our data suggest that climbers downsize by 1 EU size compared to their street shoe size. However, you may try for one more half-European size for a snugger fit to gain more precision. Indeed, these shoes are not especially impressive performance-wise and experiencing a heel pocket is fairly common. Nonetheless, if you’re beginning, it’s best to stick to 1 size down.
La Sportiva Finale
Also aimed at beginners, the Finales might be even better than the Tarantulas. They deliver much better performance overall, allowing you to transition to more difficult routes and boulders without upgrading to another model.
According to our data, you should go for one EU size lower. If it’s your first pair of shoes and you don’t want to risk experiencing discomfort, then try a half-size. Climbers report some stretch, but it happens fairly quickly (after a few sessions).
La Sportiva Katana
If you’re in the market for versatile, high-performance shoes with great sensitivity, you’re in luck: the Katana (in its velcro or lace-up version) may be exactly what you need!
As for the Finale and the Tarantula, our data indicates that one EU size down is the sweet spot for most people.
However, it’s an average: some climbers report sizing down by as much as three EU sizes. We would only recommend this to advanced climbers who extensively downsize with most of their shoes.
La Sportiva Miura
The Miura is another performance all-rounder that can do many things, even though other more specialized shoes (e.g. Solution) may be more suitable depending on your practice.
On average, climbers downsize by one size (EU) with these shoes. However, for difficult sport routes and boulders, you may want to try going for two sizes down.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
La Sportiva climbing shoes are many things but certainly not true to size! Except to downsize by at least one full European size compared to your street shoes.
It’s quite the contrary: La Sportiva shoes run fairly big, and most users need to downsize from their regular size.
La Sportiva’s extensive collection has models for feet of all shapes and sizes. For example, the Katana and Miura (velcro versions) are relatively narrow, while the Genius and the Speedster fit quite wide.
There’s no definitive answer that could apply to all La Sportiva shoes. You will likely need to downsize but the extent will vary from one model to another.
These shoes fit like the standard (i.e., leather) version. However, because they use microfibre (synthetic), they will not stretch as much over time.