La Sportiva Katana Laces 2022 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+ and the La Sportiva Otaki. Till this day, most of the times I use the Simond Rock+ and I have been extremely happy, though after a long testing period, I can not say the same about La Sportiva Otaki. Therefore, once again, I did an extensive research, mainly via my network of fellow climbers. My choices where the following two, the La Sportiva Katana Laces (2022 model) or the La Sportiva TC Pro.

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Although my first choice would have been the TC Pro, unfortunately, I could not find this model in my size in any retailer in Greece. Therefore, the final choice became even easier, so I got the Katana Laces (2022 model). My first impression, and based on my personal experience of other climbing shoes, the Katana Laces have it all! Whether they’re for wearing in the hall or on a crag, on a vertical face, in an overhang or on a slab, these climbing shoes are made for climbers who are looking for high-precision shoes that are perfect for any route.


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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. With my past, quite unsuccessful experience with the La Sportiva Otaki I wanted to make sure that this time I would choose the Katana in the best possible sizing.

At this point, let me also add, that trying to fit climbing shoes in a physical store is a quasi mandatory process, otherwise, you risk to not have the best possible choice in terms of sizing, fit and comfort. Prior of purchasing the Katana Laces, I did an extensive research on the correct sizing and based on my past experience of La Sportiva Otaki I tried the following sizes: 43,5 and 43. My Simond Rock+ are in size 44 and feel quite snug but very comfortable to climb. My trail runners, the La Sportiva Bushido, are in size 46.

My feet have the following dimensions: Left: 287 mm and Right: 285 mm and as a first size, I tried the 43,5 (basically half a size smaller than the Otaki). Although at the beginning I clearly felt uncomfortable and a bit of pain, especially on my left foot, I soon thought this might be the right size due to the stretch. Upon that, I tried the 43 and it was extremely painful. My final size choice was 43,5.

So, how actually does the La Sportiva Katana Lace feels while climbing? The Katana Lace is comfortable, and surprisingly so for a techy performance shoe. Being protected from the rock while climbing is paramount. The leather upper and lace closure keeps your feet from getting beaten up in cracks while jamming, and the sole supplies enough rigidity that you don’t feel like you are on your metatarsals while standing flat.

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Performance

For climbers that want to use this shoe for its intended purpose, the Katana is better than it was before. Crack climbers will note that the downturn of the shoe increases its performance in smaller cracks. In fact, in narrow cracks, the shoe is better than ever. The new Katana Laces digs its hooked beak into the thin vertical splitters of hard cracks.

By pressing into the tension derived from the P3 band and the aggressive hook of the forefoot, the climber can push all their weight through a very small space. This detail is attained by a stitching adjustment at the toe that further channels the shoe’s power through its tip.

The new Katana Laces uses Vibram XS Edge rubber, a harder rubber designed for standing on dime-sized foot chips. While many sport climbing shoes can use small feet, the the Katana can stand on these holds in a 45-degree overhang.

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Design and Materials

Last years, I have been amazed how many resources (money, time and not only) are invested in the R&D departments of climbing related companies and specifically for climbing shoes. The research on the latest materials, production techniques and of course the industrial design involved in order to get a new pair of climbing shoes, is obvious. Though, for the new Katana Laces, La Sportiva did not want to work on major updates. Besides some aesthetic updates on the main pattern and the extra rubber on the hill, the new Katana has no other differences when compared to the old Katana.

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Midsole and Outsole

La Sportiva Katana features 1.1mm full-length LaspoFlex with P3® System stiffer midsole and Vibram XS Edge rubber. With this increased foot support, inflexibility, and harder rubber, the Katana 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 Katana Laces in action

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Features & Specifications

• Revolutionary tubular construction with P3® Technology provides ultimate comfort and performance
• Highly breathable tongue works in conjunction with the shoe lining for moisture management
• Outsole design varies between the Katana Lace Men’s (full-length) and the Katana Lace Women’s (half-length) to support climbers of all weights and sizes
• Updated heel pattern with increased rubber coverage improves grip while heel hooking
• Narrower heel sole design improves heel hooking precision while maintaining the same known fit and feel


Product Information

SIZES: 34 – 46 (half sizes)
WEIGHT: 8.8oz / 250g
UPPER: Microfiber & Leather
LACES: 100% Recycled Polyester
LINING: Pacific (forefoot and back)
MIDSOLE: 1.1mm full-length LaspoFlex with P3® System
SOLE: 4mm Vibram® XS Edge™
CONSTRUCTION: Slip lasted tubular construction
LAST: PD 55
FIT: Tech with medium asymmetry
SENSITIVITY: (1 = less sensitive; 5 = more sensitive): 3
RIGIDITY: (1 = soft; 5 = stiff): 4


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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.

One thought on “La Sportiva Katana Laces 2022 Climbing Shoes Review

  1. Pingback: PETZL Hirundos 2022 – Climbing Harness Review – Olympus Mountaineering

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