la sportiva mantra climbing shoe review

Basics of the La Sportiva Mantra Climbing Shoe

When it comes to rock climbing, having the right gear is crucial. One of the most important pieces of equipment for any climber is their climbing shoes. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the La Sportiva Mantra climbing shoe, a unique and innovative choice for climbers looking for sensitivity and foot dexterity. We’ll explore its features, pros, cons, outdoor performance, materials, sizing, and more.

Introducing the La Sportiva Mantra

The La Sportiva Mantra is known for being the lightest and softest shoe in La Sportiva’s lineup. It’s designed with a focus on sensitivity and foot dexterity, making it a popular choice for climbers who value these qualities. Unlike traditional climbing shoes, the Mantra doesn’t have a midsole or outsole edges. Instead, it features a one-half outsole made of 1-2 mm Vibram XS Grip2 rubber. The footbed is unlined leather, and the uppers are a combination of leather and microfiber.

Pros of the La Sportiva Mantra

  • Fast break-in period: The Mantra is known for being comfortable right out of the box, requiring minimal time to break in.
  • Uber sensitive: Its lack of midsole and edges makes it incredibly sensitive, allowing climbers to feel the rock’s texture and nuances.
  • Comfortable: Despite its unconventional design, the Mantra offers a high level of comfort, especially during longer climbs.
  • Great for climbing the steeps: Climbers tackling steep and overhanging routes will appreciate the Mantra’s pliable structure and sensitivity.

Cons of the La Sportiva Mantra

  • Poor edging performance: Due to its rounded toe and lack of support, the Mantra may not perform well on routes that require precise edging.
  • Narrow heel fit: While the Mantra fits many climbers comfortably, its narrow heel may not be suitable for everyone.
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Our Thoughts on the La Sportiva Mantra

The La Sportiva Mantra is a shoe designed for those who value sensitivity and foot dexterity above all else. Climbers who frequent challenging outdoor slopers will appreciate the lack of edges, a feature known as No Edge D-Tech, on both the front and sides of the shoe. This No-Edge design makes climbing on volumes intuitive and slopers a delight. It excels in smearing, smedging, and grabbing holds on challenging terrain.

Size Reviewed: 40

Weight: 5.2oz (150g) per shoe

Price: $169

Brand: La Sportiva

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Outdoor Performance

The La Sportiva Mantra truly shines on friction-intensive slabs and steep, blocky overhangs. Climbers who enjoy long face climbs will appreciate the shoe’s butter-soft structure, which is perfect for smearing and smedging on rippled limestone. It’s also an excellent choice for steep quartzite boulders and desperate lip traverses, providing reliable rubber-to-rock contact.

One notable achievement is when Adam Ondra used the Mantra on a 5.13d slab climb in Czechia, showcasing the shoe’s capabilities in a challenging outdoor setting.

Materials

The Mantra’s design prioritizes simplicity and flexibility. Its uppers consist of thinly rationed leather and microsuede, reinforced with wispy rubber for durability and friction. The elasticated tongue accommodates various foot volumes, ensuring a snug fit. The soft and low-volume heel is tensioned with a classic slingshot rand, transferring power to the toes. All of this rests on a half-length XS Grip2 outsole with a differentiated thickness of 1-2 mm, thicker around the sole’s perimeter and thinner underfoot.

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Sizing

In terms of sizing, the Mantra falls in line with La Sportiva’s standard range, neither exceptionally narrow nor particularly wide. It may initially feel tight around the forefoot, but a few climbing sessions will allow the shoe’s uppers to stretch for a custom fit. The supple heel, combined with the narrow design, ensures a snug fit. For those seeking an even more relaxed fit for marathon gym sessions or toe hooking-intensive bouldering, going up a half size is recommended.

Conclusion

The La Sportiva Mantra climbing shoe is a unique and innovative choice for climbers who prioritize sensitivity and foot dexterity. While it may not excel in edging performance, it more than compensates with its comfort and versatility on a wide range of climbing terrain. If you’re looking to enhance your climbing experience with a shoe that feels like a second skin, the La Sportiva Mantra is worth considering.

FAQs

  1. Is the La Sportiva Mantra suitable for beginners?
    • While it offers great sensitivity, it might not be the best choice for beginners due to its lack of support for edging.
  2. Can I use the La Sportiva Mantra for outdoor climbing?
    • Absolutely! It performs well on outdoor routes, especially on friction-intensive slabs and overhangs.
  3. How should I size the La Sportiva Mantra for a comfortable fit?
    • Initially, it may feel tight, but the uppers will stretch with use. For a more relaxed fit, consider going up a half size.
  4. Are there any alternatives to the La Sportiva Mantra with better edging performance?
    • If edging is a priority, you may want to explore other La Sportiva models with a stiffer sole.
  5. What makes the No-Edge design of the La Sportiva Mantra unique?
    • The lack of edges on the front and sides of the shoe enhances sensitivity and makes climbing on volumes and slopers more intuitive and enjoyable.

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