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La Sportiva Finale Review

Finale

Jack of all trades, master of none. This is what makes the La Sportiva Finale perfect for climbers of all levels looking for a comfortable shoe that packs a punch.

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Summary

Overall
7.6
(9 reviews)
  • Edging - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Smearing - 7/10
    7/10
  • Steep Terrain - 6/10
    6/10
  • Comfort - 9/10
    9/10
  • Sensitivity - 6/10
    6/10
  • Value For Money - 9/10
    9/10

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Good all-around performance
  • Vibram XS Edge rubber
  • Good at edging

Cons

  • Small toe patch
  • Limited sensitivity

Best For: Small and slabby footholds

Summary: The La Sportiva Finale is one of the most popular entry-to-mid-level shoes for a reason. They’re a widely available shoe due in part to their moderate price point, but word of mouth by many satisfied users helps them end up on a lot of happy feet.

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La Sportiva Finale Review

The La Sportiva Finale is a shoe that fulfills its promise. That promise is comfort and all-around use for entry-level climbers. If you buy it for overhung pitches or bouldering, you’ll be slightly disappointed, not to say you’ll become the local pratfaller.

That said, the lack of aggression communicates exactly what this shoe it’s meant for, as does the price.  If you’re paying less than $100 for a climbing shoe, you can’t turn around and accuse it of not delivering a serious performance. However, the La Sportiva Finale gives everything -and more – a beginner and intermediate climber could ask for.

La Sportiva Finale climbing outside

It is a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. But that’s exactly why it works. If you want to own one shoe that serves you on vertical routes, crack climbing, moderate bouldering, and slabs, the Finale is a great choice. Sticking well to a variety of hold types, the Finale is an excellent gym shoe, which is mainly where I’ve used it over the last three years. Its comfort and versatility also make it great for moderate multi-pitch climbs.

The non-performance aspects of the shoe fit the bill for someone looking for a basic, go-to shoe that doesn’t need to be taken off frequently and has impressive durability.

Toe Box

No one is going to sigh in awe at your toe work while wearing these shoes. When you fall in these shoes trying to impress your date by attempting the bat hang everyone’s been doing, don’t say you weren’t warned! To be fair, the Finale definitely isn’t a shoe for such an awesome move.

La Sportiva Finale Toe

Not as pointed as some, with a relatively symmetrical toe box, I can’t say it shines at pockets or overhangs. But it also doesn’t cram your piggies together. The front third of the shoe is flat as a pancake with no downturn. It’s ok for toe-hooks but there’s noticeably less rubber on the toe rand than models that are meant for bouldering or aggressive sport climbing.

The shape of the toe box makes it less than ideal for steep pitches, but it does come into its own for smearing and slab climbing. Cracking climbing is another climbing style that I have discovered this shoe excels at. The Finale has a moderate amount of rubber on the side, which helps to stick the shoe into cracks and gain some great friction. The shoe has enough padding that the potential pain of cracks is blunted.

Heel

The tensioned heel rand and solid heel cup provide good support, but while that support delivers some performance, the tension is rather light. This, together with the overall flat shoe profile, means that the heel is made for comfort.

La Sportiva Finale heel

The shoe has a good amount of rubber around the heel and, with the rubber’s dependable grip, I’ve never had a reason to question its ability with heel hooks. The heel rand isn’t quite as inspired in terms of grip but for an all-around shoe it does the job. When you’re thinking about throwing your foot around an arete while rope climbing or placing weight on your heel on a bouldering problem, the Finale will do the job. To contrast with the toe box, the heel provides better performance.

Rubber

The 5mm Vibram rubber does not provide great sensitivity, but the rubber is very durable. While the lack of sensitivity makes them less responsive to the wall, the grippy rubber is a strong point of the shoe. The shoe edges nicely, clinging well to small holds, further supported by the flat profile of the forefoot and the stiff sole. The midsole flex is aided by the thinner, 1.1mm thick rubber.

At a glance, the XS Edge rubber does not seem as sticky as other Vibram rubber, but on the wall, they perform very well. Rarely will you be able to blame a slip on the lack of friction.

finale rubber

The rubber on the bottom heel portion does become smooth, even slick looking to the eye, which is disconcerting. Admittedly, I was alerted to this with my eyes and not by slips on the wall. The slickness and wear here are more from walking, rather than the wall because the bottom of the heel is rarely used for climbing. To remedy this, I treated the heels with some rough sandpaper.

Another move where the sticky rubber rarely fails is for smearing. The shoes inspire confidence when using friction for slab climbing or stemming. You can feel good sticking these to a sloper or to a volume indoors.

Comfort and Fit

With a solid reputation as a comfort shoe, the Finale need not come off your foot for the entire climbing session. For a beginner considering these shoes, comfort likely is important. The lace-ups can be fine-tuned to get rid of any dead spots, and there’s nothing about the lacing system that makes them difficult to get on or off frequently if you have the need. The moderate to neutral profile makes them comfortable for walking around too.

La Sportiva Finale Testing Photos

As for sizing, La Sportivas’ tend to run big, so sizing down a half to a full size is the way to go. Also, the unlined leather nicely conforms to your foot and stretches very little—maybe a ½ to a ¼ size. My foot size is 10 to 10 ½ UK with an average width. My Finales are a size 9 (42). When I bought these, I tried on both the 9 and the 9 ½. At the store, I went back and forth between the two sizes about a hundred times. The debate was between the greater performance and tighter fit of the 9 and the superior comfort of the 9 ½.

After having the shoes for a month, a year, and now three years, the decision between those two sizes was exactly as decisive as I thought it would be. I can’t keep these on for long, needing to remove them after every few climbs or when belaying.

While I don’t entirely regret that, and I love how they conform to every bend of my foot, it’s impossible not to look jealously at all the other smiling climbers in their Finales looking like they could wear them in a parade. When I buy another pair, I have to admit I’d go with the 9 ½. A friend with the same shoe size borrows these shoes occasionally, and he can’t stop talking about their comfort. He notices no reduction in performance, but I feel like I probably get a slight advantage in the toe box. Incidentally, with their unlined leather interior, they’re as fresh as the day they were born, making borrowing or loaning the shoes unproblematic.

As a final note on comfort, some users have complained that the rand at the top of the heel pinches their ankles. This issue must be something about particular foot shapes as it’s never been something I’ve noticed. Perhaps people with fat Achilles tendons should be wary and consider this factor when trying them on.

The Verdict

The La Sportiva Finale is one of the most popular entry-to-mid-level shoes for a reason. They’re a widely available shoe due, in part, to their moderate price point, but word of mouth by many satisfied users helps them end up on a lot of happy feet.

Yes, the shoe is compromising. It’s not the shoe for the bouldering specialist or for overhung routes. But if you’re a specialist or want different shoes for specific situations, you’re probably not considering these shoes anyway.

The quality of the shoe’s build is impressive, and they seem like they’ll last forever. As noted, I take them off regularly during climbing sessions, so this has helped their longevity, but at three years of regular use, their durability is nothing less than stellar.

The Finale isn’t just recommended for the beginner but also for the intermediate climber who wants to send 5.10s and 5.11s and play around on bouldering problems. The truth is many climbers want to do a little bit of everything and don’t want to break the bank. The Finale checks off those boxes. For those looking for a versatile shoe that’s a good value, the Finale should unquestionably find its way onto their shortlist.

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Community Reviews

We’ve had our say, and now it’s time for you to have yours. If you have a history with this shoe, then please leave a review! The climbing community needs your wisdom.

8 thoughts on “La Sportiva Finale”

    • 7/10
      Edging - 7/10
    • 8/10
      Smearing - 8/10
    • 7.5/10
      Steep Terrain - 7.5/10
    • 9/10
      Comfort - 9/10
    • 7.5/10
      Sensitivity - 7.5/10
    • 9/10
      Value For Money - 9/10

    First shoes I’ve ever bought and absolutely love them! Still relatively new to bouldering but they’ve held up very well against many beginner problems and some trickier ones as well.

  1. Austin Reinhardt
    • 7/10
      Edging - 7/10
    • 7/10
      Smearing - 7/10
    • 8/10
      Steep Terrain - 8/10
    • 9.5/10
      Comfort - 9.5/10
    • 7.5/10
      Sensitivity - 7.5/10
    • 9/10
      Value For Money - 9/10

    A great step up from rental shoes. They have lasted a long time without showing signs of holes. Definitely recommend as a first climbing shoe that will last. I am still using my first pair of finale’s and have never felt like they where holding me back.

    • 6/10
      Edging - 6/10
    • 8/10
      Smearing - 8/10
    • 7.5/10
      Steep Terrain - 7.5/10
    • 10/10
      Comfort - 10/10
    • 5.5/10
      Sensitivity - 5.5/10
    • 10/10
      Value For Money - 10/10

    While I believe there is a large audience that could benefit from these shoes, I typically recommend them most to beginners who are becoming more serious about their interest in rock climbing and would like to purchase their very first pair of climbing shoes. These have been a phenomenal choice for me as I progressed over the years from competing in beginner climbing competitions, through the intermediate brackets, and just recently into the advanced ones. After several years of wearing these and honing my technical skills in climbing, I am only now considering getting myself a second, more aggressive pair of shoes to help in the next steps of my climbing career.

    The rubber on the shoe has lasted through both indoor and outdoor climbs with no signs of holes or tearing, and the comfort level is so great that I can wear them throughout a day of climbing without any pain. The laces make it easy to adjust the width of the shoe so that it hugs the shape of your foot perfectly. It is difficult to say exactly how much downsizing should take place when buying a pair, but I will say that the shoes do expand a little over time, so getting at least half a size down is probably best. During the first few weeks of wearing these, you will be noticing some of the leather ink bleeding onto your foot, and the backs of your ankles will be a bit scratched up, but that is typically standard with new shoes and will simply go away over time.

    What I have enjoyed most about these shoes is that they have kept me honest about learning proper technique when climbing. I did not skip straight to advanced-level aggressive shoes and miss out on what it takes to actually become an advanced-level climber. I can think of several fellow climbers who have decided to purchase themselves Solution shoes with the idea that the shoes will make them elite competitors, but they miss out on learning the techniques necessary, and I end up surpassing them in rankings. I owe my skills to my dedication to the sport and to my Finale shoes for never giving up on me.

    Many beginners tend to go with the Tarantula or Tarantulace shoes, but if you feel like you are ready to take a deeper dive into any area of climbing (indoor, outdoor, competition, boulder, belay, etc.), then I would highly recommend spending just a little more and go with these Finale shoes.

    • 6.5/10
      Edging - 6.5/10
    • 7/10
      Smearing - 7/10
    • 7/10
      Steep Terrain - 7/10
    • 10/10
      Comfort - 10/10
    • 5/10
      Sensitivity - 5/10
    • 10/10
      Value For Money - 10/10

    First shoes I ever bought. Still new for the most part but these are a big step up from rentals the rubber is so much better of course and they are quite comfortable with plenty of room for your feet and plenty of durability in the rubber to last you a while but lacks in sensitivity. Sometimes it can be hard to feel the edges that you’re standing on but is alright for small edges but for me I prefer more of a pointed toe to really hook into edges. Size a bit small as they stretch a good bit but keep them comfortable and they will serve you well.

    • 7/10
      Edging - 7/10
    • 7.5/10
      Smearing - 7.5/10
    • 6.5/10
      Steep Terrain - 6.5/10
    • 10/10
      Comfort - 10/10
    • 6.5/10
      Sensitivity - 6.5/10
    • 9.5/10
      Value For Money - 9.5/10

    I have the women’s version (pink and white) version of these shoes. It was a fluke that I happened to need new shoes and a friend saw these on super discount in my size, so I bought them on sale for $12 (yes, $12). Despite having a full sole, I found the shoes to be quite sensitive, maybe even more so than my Scarpa Instinct VS shoes. Because of this and the flat profile, I found that I liked wearing these shoes for slab problems, and I improved my slab climbing in these shoes. They offered enough support that my feet didn’t get tired and were also sensitive enough for foot matches on small holds. The shoes were also quite comfortable out of the box, but became more comfortable with wear – there was virtually no break in period.

    Although I liked the laces as I was able to tighten the shoes to my preference, I found that I generally don’t prefer shoes with laces. I like to take my shoes off between climbs, rather than walk around in them, so it was a bit of a pain to tie and untie them. The only other downside of these shoes is the lack of toe rubber, which makes it incredibly difficult to toe hook in them.

    Overall, these are my favourite neutral shoes. I bought them thinking I would use them temporarily while waiting for my shoes to get resoled, but I ended up liking them so much that I still pull them out sometimes when I need a comfortable shoes climbing session.

    • 7.5/10
      Edging - 7.5/10
    • 7/10
      Smearing - 7/10
    • 7/10
      Steep Terrain - 7/10
    • 9/10
      Comfort - 9/10
    • 6.5/10
      Sensitivity - 6.5/10
    • 9/10
      Value For Money - 9/10

    The finale is the first shoe I have owned, I use them for indoor bouldering. From my use so far I have found they are a very strong shoe, the amount of friction given off by these shoes is perfect for small holds and smearing. I am able to use the hard edge to press hard into small holds which is perfect on tricky foot switches! In terms of comfort for a long session in the gym, these are perfect – I wear a 7.5 uk with usually 8.5 every day shoes. The shoe conforms beautifully to my foot shape and the toe box is very comfortable, the heel also wraps mine perfectly. I’m currently working on V6 problems and they do the job perfectly!

    Very good shoe, I highly recommend!

    • 7/10
      Edging - 7/10
    • 7.5/10
      Smearing - 7.5/10
    • 7/10
      Steep Terrain - 7/10
    • 7/10
      Comfort - 7/10
    • 7.5/10
      Sensitivity - 7.5/10
    • 8/10
      Value For Money - 8/10

    Overall a pretty good shoe, have used them for about a year and a half. It took a while to get heel hooks down using them but once I did they were great. Not much toe rubber, so not as great in that department but the laces helped a little when toeing edges, haha. They are fairly comfy for the first 40ish mins of a climb but after a while they start to hurt quite bit, although this maybe because they are getting on the small side. Not a very aggressive shoe so they make cave/overhang climbing a bit trickier. In the end I would say that for the first pair of shoes that I bought they were a good shoe to get serious in.

    • 7/10
      Edging - 7/10
    • 6/10
      Smearing - 6/10
    • 7.5/10
      Steep Terrain - 7.5/10
    • 9.5/10
      Comfort - 9.5/10
    • 6.5/10
      Sensitivity - 6.5/10
    • 10/10
      Value For Money - 10/10

    this shoe was my “daily driver” for about a year. i climb exclusively indoor bouldering problems. overall, it is not a great shoe, but it is a great shoe for the money.

    Rubber:
    the xs edge rubber takes a few sessions to break in. it is sticky enough for most problems, but definitely is limited in the smearing department. the soles are relatively thick, which can help prevent fatigue at the cost of sensitivity.

    Fitment/comfort:
    easily the best attribute of this shoe. neutral shape, and lace-up design make for a very comfortable all-day wear.

    Edging:
    thick rubber adds stability but limits sensitivity. acceptable performance.

    Smearing:
    below average. the ex edge is not really sticky enough to hold smears.

    Durability:
    wish there was a rating category for this. Easily a 10/10.

    Value:
    for the money, these are a great shoe. i would recommend them for beginners/intermediate climbers needing something easily worn for the entire session. the Finale is good at many things, but great at very few. i resoled my pair and now use them for warmups and easy routes.

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