La Sportiva Katana Lace ReviewMarch 24, 2014
- Sportiva’s proprietary P3 rand retains the shoe’s shape over its life.
- Slight asymmetry and downturned toe add performance without compromising comfort.
- Very low-volume heel.
- Breathable and comfortable.
- Too little arch support.
- Long break-in period.
- Could be more sensitive.
The La Sportiva Katana Lace excels on sport climbs and boulders, but can be used for trad as well. On limestone and sandstone of all angles and slipperiness, I was pleased with its versatility and the Vibram XS Edge rubber’s stickiness. Asymmetric and slightly down-turned, the Katana Lace gave the sensation of a performance shoe but managed to retain the comfort of a flatter shoe without those performance features. The shoe is also just plain comfortable, employing some nice padded cushioning atop the foot, and best for climbers with narrow feet.
I tested the Katana Lace on limestone and sandstone of all angles and slipperiness, and was pleased with its versatility as well as the Vibram XS Edge rubber’s stickiness. The asymmetric Katana Lace is slightly down-turned, which gave the sensation of a performance shoe but managed to retain the comfort of a flatter shoe without those performance features.
La Sportiva’s proprietary randing system, the P3 (Permanent Power Platform), tensions the rubber and maintains this shape through the lifespan of the shoe.
The shoe is just plain comfortable, employing some nice padded cushioning atop the foot. I could easily wear these shoes all day. This is one of the lowest volume shoes I’ve tested, too. For those of you with narrow feet, this may be your new favorite kick.
The Katana Lace edges well enough on routes up to 5.12, but the shoe isn’t quite sensitive enough to use when edges get really small or steep.
That sensitivity factor came into play on smears, too. The performance was good enough, but I think a slightly softer shoe would help feeling those smears.
The narrow, low-profile toe box fit an array of pocket sizes, and allowed me to torque and twist my big toe inside them.
Without much rubber atop the foot, the Katana Lace struggles to keep up with other models in the toe-hooking category. Its heel-hooking capabilities also fell short due to how the shoe fit my wider, higher-volume heel.
Though this shoe is billed as a sport-climbing and bouldering shoe, I found success even on cracks, particularly of the finger to hand-sized variety. The low profile toe, plus a bit of torsional support, made it possible to jam in these shoes.
The padded tongue atop the foot kept the laces from digging into my foot. The upper breathed well and kept my foot feeling comfortable during all-day climbs.
A retail price of $165 starts to feel expensive for a shoe that may be high-quality and overall performs great, but lacks any features that give it an outstanding “wow” factor.