La Sportiva Katana

7.9
7.9 score
(TheGearHunt) score (7.9)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
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Editor rating: 7.7 / 10
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La Sportiva Katana Review Facts

The Katana is an Italian import that is moderately aggressive. The shoes are excellent all-around climbing shoes. It is a classic Velcro shoe that strikes a balance between performance and comfort.

When people began climbing mountains for fun, the primary objective was to reach the summit by whatever means possible. At the time, an essential piece of equipment was the climbing equipment.

It is still a vital element in climbing equipment. With the technology available then, it was impossible to combine foot sensitivity and the ability to support the weight of the climber. Over the years, the evolution of climbing shoes has done hand in hand with the growth of the climbing movement and has become more important than reaching the summit.

The concern of La Sportiva, as manufacturers of climbing shoes, has always been to provide climbers with products that help them move more freely and naturally over the rocks they face. La Sportiva is proud to present the evolution of the climbing shoe No-Edge technology.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Molds to feet well
  • Precision in toe
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Heel cup a bit baggy on some feet
See How
Reviews were analyzed here:
We read, analyze and sort reviews into positive & negative categories to give you the complete picture.
What are buyers saying?

We have spent 4 hours analyzing a total of 300 reviews.

These reviews are then categoried into "Positive" and "Negative" feedback.

Below you will read a summary of them:

Positive
  • I am not able to heel hook because the heel has some dead space. They did help me in my sport climbing with foot placement. They aren't flexible. All these are minor issues when you get in them and use them. They just aren't made for smearing.
  • They lace up really tight and are simple to pull on with the double tab design. They do dig into the achilles no matter how you lace them. They have awesome grip and an even cooler style and construction.
  • I would definitely get the lacing version of these. They are great.I am able to wear them more than 3 hours at a time. They were narrow and needed breaking in. These have some epic grip, like tape on the bottom of your feet.
  • These things fit so nice. They are near perfect. My last ones were not even close to these and I thought they were alright.
  • I was looking for a solid climber with the aggressive feel of a beginner shoe. The narrow fit and deep grip on these is just what I was looking for. They have a decent “turn-down” angle. The heels seem a little loose and the velcro feels better but the laces are more secure. Not much other wrong with these.
  • These grip to everything well. They hurt after a few hours but most do. It is a medium aggressive shoe in my opinion.
  • These fit really well and climb even better. They work well in cracks and boulders. They are the best pair I own. These added a smidgeon of of performance to my climb. They are very comfortable and made for us larger footed people. Wonderful well made shoe.
  • These shoes are just aggressive enough with a great push off from the wall. I am able to get my toes in the smallest f folds with these on. They are super gippy but with a thin material. Definitely purchase these if you’re on the wall, pun intended.
  • These are a very versatile climbing shoe, one for all levels. They are made shallow and work for crack climbing. They have a perfect turn down for boulders. I love Sportiva for their gear, it is always good quality and thought out.
  • I am intermediate level and find these to be the perfect shoe for me so far. I tested these on a wall with a sprained ankle and they had some serious support. They actually kept me from feeling any pain. I highly recommend these.
  • I have a bigger foot and these fit perfect without leaving in dead space in the heel. They hook great and feel really secure when in use. A week is what it took to break them in and I am able to do things with them I have never even tried before due to my shoes. Totally worth the investment for my climbing.
  • This shoe is designed for all things climbing. It has just enough and less in all the right parts. You can smear and they have solid edge ability. You are able to go long distance with these without normal climbing shoe pain. I am super impressed and happy that I bought them.
  • These take some breaking in and the sheen on the grip needs to be worn of so be aware. I have old Five Ten climbers and these are just as comfortable with more grip and a bit narrower. These accommodated my ankle brace very well. They catch smaller spots as well. I am questioning the liability of the Velcro though.
  • Super comfortable shoes with great outdoor sport support! They are firm and grip well. I wouldn’t smear on these.
  • I tried quite a few before finding this one and mand does it fit my feet well. They have a lot of security feels. The rubber is great. They dig into small holes really easy. I will be buying this one again.
  • A week of breaking in and these fit like magic. I can wear these around the gym if I have to and they work so well on the wall. They have an intermediate feel to them. They are really versatile.
  • First climbing shoes and I really like them. I am thinking they should be a bit tighter but they are snug. I guess it depends on style. They do come off after a couple hours because they hurt, but that seems to be the consensus on most I have read about.
  • Good tight heel for hooks. Hey run a half size smaller but you need that. They are really good climbing shoes.
  • I like I can go harder with these even though they are more aggressive. They give all levels the ability to enhance their grip on the wall. The things get in tiny holes real well. The velcro allows for quick adjustment if you start to swell. These are a top pick for me, definitely worth the purchase.
  • These are not a walking shoe for sure. They are just aggressive enough to not say they are rookie shoes, but thy really dig. They do have a little space in the heel but my feet are long and narrow. These are a lot of fun to use.They smear pretty decent, I was surprised. They definitely get in tiny lots good.
Negative
  • These ran so small I wasn't able to even get them on. I returned them.
  • They started to separate after two months of use. They were good while they lasted but not long enough. I am super bummed. The return warranty is garbage; aka: doesn't exist.
  • The left toe is blowing out. Only been using it indoors for a few weeks. It doesn't affect the climb but it sucks and looks horrible. Quality control is not doing their dig.
  • These really dug into the side of my ankle they were way more narrow and longer than my last pair. I wasn't able to wear them more than an hour or two. My old ones, I could go all day.
  • These are really uncomfortable and crush my feet. I can't even climb in these. A bigger side makes them feel off in the sole. I am not happy about them.
  • These were good climbers. They were just way too uncomfortable and stiff. They made blisters. My feet kill every time I used them more than an hour.
  • I have barely used these and the rubber is peeling off. Not impressed.
Reviewmeter
The Reviewmeter shows you an overall score that you can easily refer to. The highest rating is 10 (100% positive feedback)
Of the 300 reviews we found in total, 20% were negative, and 80% were positive.
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Outsole

Outsole

There are different kinds of rubber used for climbing shoe outsoles. All climbing shoes provide grip; some rubber is stickier and softer than others. The Vibram XS is one such outsole. Vibram XS Grip 2 rubber on the outsole is sticky and useful when smearing on technical climbs.

Vibram XS Edge is a rubber compound that is resistant to deformation caused by razor sharp edges. The four-mm sole is on the brink of a thick or thin sole. It provides support for edging and is very durable.

The platform layer of rubber is not as stiff as some trad shoes nor is it paper-thin. It cannot perform well in two camps, and therefore plays directly to the middle. They do not provide ideal heel hook.

It is more of an issue for women who have a smaller heel than men. It does not creep when smearing. With No-Edge technology, there is a much wider sole surface than traditional climbing shoes.
Midsole

Midsole

The LaspoFlex midsole is a lightweight and ultra-thin synthetic fiber-laminate that is designed for maximum torsion rigidity. The ‘last’ is a foot-shaped model that the shoe is built upon. It gives the shoe instep volume and height, and height width and heel and toe dimension.

The Katana is slip-lasted. Slip-lasted climbing shoes tend to be less stiff and more sensitive than board-lasted shoes. They typically do not have insoles. The midsole located above the outsole provides their 'stiffness.'

The downturned last is designed for heel and toe hooking on rock overhangs. It is most appropriate when the route is steep and maximum control and performance are needed. The asymmetrical shape is most extended over the big toe. It increases power on the shoe’s inside edge. It gives shoes a single contact point on the rock.
Upper

Upper

It has a leather upper, an interior that is lined, and a loop and hook Velcro closure. For a precise fit, the La Sportiva Katana has a hook and loop closing that is highly adjustable. The Velcro closure makes the shoe easy to put on, quick, and comfortable. There are not unruly laces that can rip in cracks.

The opposing hook and loop straps and large Velcro patches ensure the climber gets a customized fit. Strap closures offer superior on and off convenience. They are excellent for gym climbing and bouldering when the climber wants to slip them off between climbs.

The Lorica toe box provides optimum edging power. The toe box was designed with edging in mind. It shows with precision and support on even the smallest edges. The Lorica toe box maintains its shape and provides power while edging.

The shoe is lined with Pacific in the forefoot and Dentex in the back. Pacific provides toe knuckle comfort. Dentex absorbs sweat. Lined leather minimizes the potential to stretch to no more than a half size. Synthetic shoes provide a strict fit that does not change.

A slingshot rand is connected to a power hinge below the arch that controls stretch. The one-piece rubber rand wraps around the entire shoe. The synthetic upper doesn’t stretch and retains its shape assuring the climber has a precise snug fit. It has a mesh tongue for breathability and comfort.
Weight

Weight

The La Sportiva Katana weighs 7.87 ounces.
Comfort

Comfort

The slight downturn of the La Sportiva is less aggressive than the Miura. The flatter fit provides my comfort than shoes with strong arches and allows wearing them for a longer time. Soft, terry cloth material lines the tongue. It is soft on the top of the feet and aids in wicking away sweat and preventing the feet from sliding inside the shoe.

The extra detail makes the shoe more pleasant when worn. The Velcro closure is smaller in Katanas for women than men. It can bunch when cinched. Testers verified complaints about the heel cup of the shoe fit to be a little baggy. The heel does not slip out of the shoe. When climbing, the heel is not often used.

A snug, ideally fitting show would be more comfortable. The heel cup is a matter of personal preference which is influenced by the shape of the foot. Testers rated the shoe as eight out of ten for comfort.

The shoes require a long break-in time. A tester who was not particularly food of the shoe did give it credit for being able to edge on tiny holds and smear efficiently. She tried a pair of women’s Katanas that have a low-volume design compared to the men’s.

She alternated between a second pair of climbing shoes and the Katana until they were stretched to fit her foot. She also gave the shoes credit for improving her footwork. The climber discovered subtle ways to use her feet. After the break-in period, the shoes take climbers nearly anywhere they want to go.
Style

Style

Pointed toes grip the tiniest toe chips and help maintain balance. When choosing a size, opt for tight and small for precision and a delicate feel when climbing sporty climbs and technical routes.

For a comfortable, all-day shoe, choose a size that is larger. Whatever option is selected the shoes will grip and edge well. They are turned down slightly less than the La Sportiva Miura which is better for smearing but less helpful on overhangs. The difference is slight.

They are excellent shoes for the one-shoe quiver. Climbers of any style will enjoy the Katana. The design of the shoe means climbers can get a fine-tuned fit while being able to remove the shoes quickly.

The rounded toe makes the shoe less aggressive than other climbing shoes. They focus the weight more underneath the toes than at the tip. The shoes function as intermediate or advanced technical shoes.

The Katana is classified as a moderate climbing shoe. Moderate climbing shoes have a slightly downturned shape that makes them suitable for technical climbing. They are all-purpose shoes that handle slightly overhung sports routes, long multi-pitch climbs, crack climbs and slab routes. Women’s shoes are typically cut lower around the ankle. They have smaller heel caps. They may have a toe bed that is slightly longer and lower forefoot volume than men’s shoes.
Durability

Durability

Leather shoes have a deodorizing capacity and are easy to maintain. The shape and stiffness at the front of the shoe make it ideal for edging. The big toe is at the front of the shoe which give great support and control. The power hinge technology provides additional support for the front of the shoe when a climber uses a hold.

Despite repeated abuse, the shoes keep climbing. A critical tester said the shoes could be worn for a few hours on multi-pitch or desert towers. The Katana is an excellent all-around shoe. It performs well in various conditions.

One pair of Katanas can replace three pairs of specialty shoes and achieve nearly the same performance. The Velcro may give out sooner but can be easily fixed. After a couple of years of heavy climbing, the shoes may need to be resoled.
Protection

Protection

The rand causes the toe to raise enough that it is protected in shallow cracks. The leather provides a solid layer of protection for jamming feet. Competitors keep that area of the shoe thin, making jamming painful.

The Katana also manages toe-hooks well due to the protective leather layer. Katana broke the trend of offering decent performance in numerous situation or performing well on a particular rock type. The shoes handle nearly everything well and sometimes better than most specialty shoes and other all-around shoes.
Edging

Edging

Testers gave the Katana an eight out of ten rating for edging. The No-Edge technology develops the shoe around the natural shape of the foot, completely revolutionizing the concept of the traditional climbing shoe.

No-Edge technology traces the shape of the foot which allows a closer and more uniform distance between the rock surface and the foot during both static and dynamic pace. The rounded shape allows the foot to fit homogeneously and a great rubber surface enable the climber to balance the position and inclination of the foot on the holds.

In traditional climbing shoes, the pressure exerted by the climber focuses more on the width of the sole. With No-Edge technology, weight is distributed more evenly on a more considerable amount of surface rubber. The distribution is evidenced by the type of wear to which the shoe is exposed. Words used to describe No-edge technology are sensational, amazing, fluid, intuitive, enjoyable, fun, and perfect.
Sensitivity

Sensitivity

The precision toe of the Katana allows for adequate sensitivity when smearing and edging. The sensitivity of the shoes was given a nine out of ten rating by testers. The moderate asymmetry and slight downturn of the shoes make them aggressive enough for edging with a comfortable and secure fit.

The outsole is not as sensitive as a thinner sole. Outsole thickness affects the feel and performance of a shoe. Beginning climbers benefit from a thick shole. It lasts longer as they work on their footwork technique. A thick sole provides support. It does not cause fatigue as quickly. Thin soles are typically best for smearing on slab routes. Climbers who hone their technique prefer a thin sole for better feel or the rocks.
Cracks/Pockets

Cracks/Pockets

The flat shape allows the shoes to perform in cracks. When the toes are bunched in the front, they become uncomfortable in a shoe that is curved. The Katana is more relaxed making it easier to find purchase and wedges toe into a crack.

Testers gave the shoes an eight out of ten rating for crack climbing. The bit of downturn gives climbers an advantage over something flatter when toeing into pockets. Testers were less impressed with the amount of aggressiveness the shape provides to keep pulling in on pockets. They rated the shoes as six out of ten for pockets.
Terrain

Terrain

The shoes are well-constructed leather that will last a while and climb on any terrain. The Katana is at home on sports routes as it is on trad climbing in the high mountains. It is perfect for technical face climbing, gym climbing, bouldering, and overhang sports routes.

The shoe is sticky enough to attack the dime edge of a granite dihedral confidently. The Katana excels in cracks. The shoes perform like a champ while using tiny rounded foot nubs, smearing, and edging but are not as useful for toeing overhanging walls.
Price

Price

The shoes are expensive, but at $150 they are less than the Muira or Solution. Most top climbing shoes are priced at about $170. The Katana is a deal.
Key Features

Key Features

* 1.1mm full-length LaspoFlex midsoles
* 4mm Vibram XS Grip 2 sole
* Lined with Pacific and Dentex lining
* Leather upper
* Lorica toe box
* Opposing hook and loop closure that creates tension for excellent fit
* Recommended for various terrains
* Slightly downturned and asymmetrical
* Slingshot rand
* Slip-lasted construction
* Weighs 7.87 ounces
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Katana is an all-around climbing shoe that is downturned slightly less than others. They are excellent for climbs when the curve in the foot is neither needed nor wanted such as a long moderate route or on a slab. It is an iconic shoe, recommended for climbers of all abilities. It provides a stable platform and retains maximum sensitivity.