La Sportiva Otaki Climbing Shoes Review

During the past few years, while I have been constantly getting better in climbing, I have been tempted to try and test different kind of climbing shoes. My first pair as a beginner was La Sportiva Tarantula, which was a great pair of shoes for my first “baby steps” in the climbing activities. Upon that, I have tried various other models, such as the Anasazi VCS by 5.10 and the Simond Rock+. While I have been extremely happy and satisfied with the Simond Rock+ i wanted to try a pair of shoes a bit more aggressive and upon several months of research, I have decided to get my feet on the Otaki, by La Sportiva.

LaSportiva_Otaki_Climbing_Shoes_Review_130348_056Otaki is a precise, supportive and structured climbing shoe, ideal for climbing in crags, on walls and boulders thanks to features that meet the requirements of today’s modern climbers. The new construction method combines the advantages of the all round snug fit of a slipper to the precision and volume regulation of a hook&loop closure shoe. This solution guarantees maximum sensitivity and precision even in torsion: the shoe perfectly follows the movements of the climber eliminating empty volumes and rigid zones. The Innovative S-Heel™ allows to maintain perfect torsion stability accentuating performance and adaptability in heel hooks when bouldering.


See other climbing shoes review here:


Fit and Comfort

In general, a downturned shoe is going to be less comfortable than a neutral climbing shoe. Regardless of the climbing shoe, trying it on to make sure it is a good fit for your foot type is critical. The La Sportiva Otaki, is higher volume through the front of the shoe. The Otaki, though built on a more aggressive last, can still feel similar to a versatile all-around shoe like the Simond Rock+. Because the Otaki is not as narrow as many other La Sportiva shoes, it allows your foot to sit more naturally in the shoe despite the more aggressive shape. It is also not terribly stiff through the midsole, which makes the Otaki feel a little more like an all-around shoe than you might initially expect from its geometry.

Prior of purchasing the Otaki, I did an extensive research on the correct sizing. My Simond Rock+ are in size 44 and feel quite snug but comfortable enough to climb. My trail runners, the La Sportiva Bushido, are in size 46. I also had the chance to try on my feet the La Sportiva Solution in 43 and the La Sportiva Kataki in 43, but on both case I had a lot of pain while wearing the shoes. Taking all the above into consideration, I decided to order the Otaki in size 44. The fit is nice and snug and rather comfortable and therefore, sometimes I think that perhaps I would go for size 43,5. Though, while using the Otaki on Sport Climbing routes, if the route is long (over 20 meters), I start to feel the pressure on my feet. 

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Performance

This Otaki has highly asymmetrical lasts and strong downturn, putting much pressure on the big toe for perfect footing even on smaller lasts and tiny wall-features. The special S-heel technology allows for perfect heel hooking. This makes the heel very stable, supportive and adapts to any surface. There is also a structured toe patch for toe hooking. The Vibram sole is not as durable as I would be expecting, but at list is quite non-slip while climbing.

The P3 System (Permanent Power Platform) ensures that the downturn is maintained for a long time. The shoe can be precisely adjusted to the foot’s shape, via a hook and loop fastener and the loops make it very easy to put it on and take it off again.

The Otaki by La Sportiva, is perhaps best for slabs and overhangs, but not that great on lower grades when there are many holes and pockets in the wall.

What I like from the Otaki, is the “snug” feel around my feet, and the comfort that provides while climbing. I I can easily say that the Otaki although are not as comfortable as the Simond Rock+ provide great balance between comfort and performance.


Design and Materials

Climbing gear and specifically climbing shoes involve some serious industrial and product design and La Sportiva is famous for the advance design. Though, in terms of looks I have the feeling that La Sportiva is left behind compared to Black Diamond

The Otaki have the typical La Sportiva bright colours and also excellent attention to the details. Though, in my opinion, this is an “old fashioned” style. Nowadays, more and more climbers prefer less “eye catching” shoes and gear and therefore, I hope in the near future La Sportiva will design a line with less bright colours.

The shoes have the P3 system, which is a molded plastic piece that manufacturers at La Sportiva included to create a cavity under the front of the shoes, ensuring that they keep their downturn over their lifetime, as well as to improve their edging power in the toe box. The Otaki is moderately asymmetrical, making them perfect for edges and pockets while keeping your feet comfortable.  will design a line of climbing shoes with less bright colours.

P3 System: Permanent Power Platform.

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Midsole and Outsole

La Sportiva Otaki features a stiffer midsole and Vibram XS Edge rubber. With this increased foot support, inflexibility, and harder rubber, the Otaki will be much better for climbers on vertical routes with more edging. 

Vibram® XS EDGE

Developed for maximum support, Vibram® XS EDGE allows you to focus your weight on the tiniest of holds. Thanks to improved plastic deformation resistance, Vibram® XS EDGE keeps its shape through hours of repeated abuse, whether in hot or cold weather. Rubber compound built for maximum performance on micro holds and extreme edging. This formula uses an improved plastic deformation resistance that ensures the utmost stability, rigidity, and support on footholds in hot or cold weather, as well as generally increasing durability.

P3® PERMANENT POWER PLATFORM

After intensive abuse, downturned climbing shoes can start to lose their distinctive shape. La Sportiva’s P3 rand system prevents from this happening so your shoe maintains its powerful profile, permanently.

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La Sportiva Otaki in action

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Features & Specifications

  • Upper: Microfiber and suede leather, tubular construction, that provides a snug fit with a minimal stretch
  • Lining: Pacific front, Dentex in the back
  • Fit: Medium
  • Midsole: LaSpoFlex + P3 System midsole provides a great blend of rigidity and sensitivity for a good performance on a wide range of angles
  • Sole: Vibram XS Edge Grip rubber allows you to edge, smear and heel-hook with precision
  • Patent: P3 System, Permanent Power Platform

See other climbing shoes review here:


Would you like to see more gear reviews?

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Disclosure: Product(s) discussed in this article were purchased by Olympus Mountaineering from a retailer. I do not accept compensation or donated product in exchange for media placement or product review coverage.

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