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La Sportiva Solution Review

Solution

An iconic shoe, used on everything from the first V17 to the first 9a sport climb. The Solution is a high-performance tool that is used by some of the best in the game including Adam Ondra, Jakob Schubert, and Brooke Raboutou.

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Summary

Overall
8.65
(8 reviews)
  • Edging - 9/10
    9/10
  • Smearing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Steep Terrain - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Comfort - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Sensitivity - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value For Money - 10/10
    10/10

Pros

  • Laser precise toe is awesome for technical footwork
  • 3D molded heel is great for heel hooking
  • Secure fit thank to the hook and loop strap

Cons

  • A little expensive
  • Not suitable for all-day climbing
  • The straps can break easily

Best For: A diverse bouldering sport climbing

Summary: If there’s one shoe that’s synonymous with climbing hard, it’s the La Sportiva Solution. This is the shoe Adam Ondra used whilst clipping the chains of the first 9c, the footwear of choice for V17 bouldering bros Nalle Hukkataival and Shawn Raboutou, and the shoe that helped Jakob Schubert secure a podium finish at sport climbing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo.

But it’s not just professional athletes that benefit from a serious-sending shoe like the Solution. This is also a great tool for us weekend warriors looking to achieve our more humble climbing goals. The unique shape of the toe box and well-balanced tension allow for laser-precise footwork, especially on vertical and overhung terrain.

The versatility of the Soltuion shoe is nothing short of astounding. While it might not be my shoe of choice for dynamic gym slab boulder, its sister shoe, the Solution Comp, features a more flexible forefoot and adapts to the demands of indoor climbing.

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La Sportiva Solution Review

The La Sportiva Soltuion is about as popular, and iconic, as climbing shoes come. It was first created by the geniuses at La Sportiva in 2007 and has remained remarkably unchanged since. The shoe got an upgrade in 2018 but this was mostly cosmetic and the generation Soltuion still retains that award-winning performance that LS fans know and love.

I am no stranger to the La Sportiva Solution. Over the years I have worn every version for a range of bouldering and sport climbing. I remember when they were first announced and how groundbreaking these shoes were. At the time, this model wasn’t like anything climbers had ever seen. The split sole and robust heel allowed climbers to utilize their feet like never before, while its tubular sock-like upper and hook-and-loop closure allowed for a fit rarely found on velcro shoes.

There aren’t many shoes that offer such a high standard of performance across a huge variety of terrain. In this La Sportiva Solution review, I will share a few of the standout features of the shoe, as well as the few areas where the shoe falls shorts.

Performance

When La Sportiva first announced the release of the Solution they proclaimed it to be the ultimate ‘solution to modern bouldering’. And after 16 years of crushing hard, I think it’s safe to say this shoe does exactly that. The generous toe patch, unique toe box shape, and 3D heel cup are just a few of the winning features that will help you bag your long-standing gym projects.

La Sportiva Solution Toe

Edging

After using the Solutions for a session or two, you will notice two things. The first – as you would expect – is that they are awesome on the overhung terrain (more on that in the section below.) The second is how well they stick an edge and laser in on those tiny features. I have tested my fair share of downturned climbing shoes, but few offer the pin-point accuracy and inspire the level of confidence the Solutions do. 

Their awesome edging ability comes down to a few clever design choices. The first is the talon-like shape of the toe box. Few shoes (perhaps with the exception of the Evolv Phantom) have a forefoot with such a pointed-toe box centered over your big toe for maximum strength. The clever P3 active rand, 1.1  LaspoFlex midsole, and solid rubber heel all work together to transfer power to the forefoot, allowing you to crank hard on the smallest of edges.

Smearing

Smearing is arguably the chink in the Solution’s stellar performance. While the split sole does offer a reasonable amount of flex in the forefoot, all that tension that creates the edging powers does somewhat restrict the shoe’s ability to work technical friction moves. That’s not to say that the shoe completely lacks any degree of smearing ability.

Steep Terrain

La Sportiva Solution Testing

Pocket pulling on steep terrain is where the La Sportiva Solution excels, which is hardly surprising, as this is exactly what it was designed to do. The downturned camber and pointed-toe box work exceptionally well to hook pockets.

Heel Hooking

The Solution’s heel means business. The company decided to use a molded 3D heel cup and I – like many Solution fans – I am happy they did. The heel looks and feels like half a sticky bouncy ball. The design works really well and gives you a really secure fit, no matter what monstrous heel hook you are trying to pull off.

La Sportiva Solution Heel

A lot of bouldering shoes I have tried tend to slip and move around if you have a lot of weight on a heel hook. But these bad boys hold firm with minimal movement. The only criticism that can be made about the design on the heel is that there isn’t much sensitivity (i.e. you can’t feel the rock because of all that rubber) which can make more technical heel hooks a bit more challenging.

The TOe

The upper rand of the toe box is equally as impressive. The design of the toe rand is the company’s logo and while it looks pretty rad, it also works really well for toe hooks and cracks climbing too.

The Rubber

If you have ever had a pair of shoes that use Vibram XS Grip 2 rubber, you will know these guys know how to make some sticky soles. 

The Solution is no different. I could throw my Solutions at the wall right now and they would never touch the ground. Okay, I might be exaggerating slightly, but they are good. And while they are sticky, they aren’t overly soft, which contributes to the shoe’s edging ability and means you won’t be running to your local shoe resoler in tears every second month. 

The Solutions use 4mm of the XS Grip 2, which might not make them as sensitive as the Scarap Drago or even the Futura, but there’s still plenty of sensitivity to go around. The use of the split sole is a common sight on many aggressive shoes, as it helps with the flexibility of the sole and your ability to smear.

Size & Fit

Comfort

So what’s the price for a high-performing climbing shoe? Well, apart from putting a fairly sizeable dent in your bank account, it’s no secret that aggressive climbing shoes aren’t the most comfortable shoe in the world. Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. The synthetic upper is similar to an elasticated sock that creates a snug fit around your foot. This itself actually gives the shoe a pretty good fit.

La Sportiva Solution Rubber

Paired with the hook-and-loop harness system you are guaranteed a snug fit every time. While the Solution is probably more suited to wide-footed climbers (the women’s version will be better for narrower feet) this clever closure snakes around your foot and can be pulled to adjust different areas of the shoe. Be warned, it’s not uncommon for this strap to become worn, and even snap, over time.

La Sportiva Solution Size

Getting the perfect La Sportiva Solution size might be a bit of a challenge. La Sportiva is notorious for being a giant pain when it comes to finding the right size. I downsized my Solutions by a whole size (US) whereas my climbing partner downsized by two. 

If you are looking to buy these online, I would strongly suggest getting a couple of different sizes and seeing which one works best for you. It’s also worth remembering they will stretch half a size once broken in. Once you find the perfect size, these shoes will give you a great fit. It took me about 4 or 5 sessions until I felt I had broken the shoe in properly.

Technical Specs

Upper
Leather & Lorica Microfiber
Lining
Toe and arch area
Closure
Velcro
Rubber
4mm Vibram XS Grip 2
Midsole
1.1mm toe only
Profile
Aggressive
Asymmetry
High

the

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.

7 thoughts on “La Sportiva Solution”

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

    This shoe is my first technical pair and it’s been with me on my journey in becoming a better climber, from v4 – V6 and now trying v7s (for the climbs that are my style). I LOVE THEM! Amazing edging abilities. Quite comfortable to begin with and didn’t need to much breaking in compared to other stiffer shoes, and now over time it fits like a glove. Personally, the only downside for me is the heel cup doesn’t fit well for me and my heel pops. I’m interested in trying the comps next time. But overall, an absolutely amazing shoe.

    • 8.5/10
      Edging - 8.5/10
    • 4/10
      Smearing - 4/10
    • 10/10
      Steep Terrain - 10/10
    • 8/10
      Comfort - 8/10
    • 10/10
      Sensitivity - 10/10
    • 8/10
      Value For Money - 8/10

    Great shoe, large heel might be outdated nowadays for some climbs. Performs absolutely great outdoors, but not super well suited for smearing/comp-style climbing sometimes.

    • 10/10
      Edging - 10/10
    • 7.1/10
      Smearing - 7.1/10
    • 10/10
      Steep Terrain - 10/10
    • 8/10
      Comfort - 8/10
    • 8.4/10
      Sensitivity - 8.4/10
    • 9.2/10
      Value For Money - 9.2/10

    I size mine at 1.5 sizes down from snug fitting trainers.They are perfect after a tough break in that lasts a while.I have Roman shaped feet and honestly after trying many shoes they are the most precise i have ever worn

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

    I recently ventured into the world of rock climbing and decided to invest in a pair of La Sportiva Solution shoes to enhance my climbing experience.

    The precision and support they offer on small footholds are impressive, providing a secure grip that boosts confidence while tackling challenging routes. The shoes maintain good contact with the rock surface, but there were instances where a slightly stickier rubber could have enhanced overall smearing capabilities.

    Aggressive downturn and excellent toe design make it an exceptional choice for overhangs and steep routes. Admittedly, comfort is a bit of a mixed bag, and it took quite a considerable amount of time to break in, and during the initial wears, they can feel somewhat tight.

    Considering the outstanding performance across various aspects, the La Sportiva Solution shoes undoubtedly offer excellent value for money. While they might be on the higher end of the price spectrum, the performance and durability justify the investment for serious climbers.

    • 9/10
      Edging - 9/10
    • 7.5/10
      Smearing - 7.5/10
    • 9.5/10
      Steep Terrain - 9.5/10
    • 8/10
      Comfort - 8/10
    • 8/10
      Sensitivity - 8/10
    • 9.5/10
      Value For Money - 9.5/10

    Really nice shoe that can handle pretty much everything, although i feel like it’s best for outdoors. My feet are of normal width in the forefoot, but I have an extremely narrow heel that usually slips out of most shoes. However, the Solutions manage to keep it in place.(I downsized 1,5 EU)

    • 9.4/10
      Edging - 9.4/10
    • 6.9/10
      Smearing - 6.9/10
    • 9.5/10
      Steep Terrain - 9.5/10
    • 6.9/10
      Comfort - 6.9/10
    • 8.9/10
      Sensitivity - 8.9/10
    • 9.3/10
      Value For Money - 9.3/10

    These shoes never really sat right with me – from the start I never really found my feet fit them well (I have wide feet); they did get more comfortable once I broke them in but I have a small dead zone above my big toes and my heels will pop out if I crank an aggressive heel hook. However, I still use them on occasion if I really want to get the most out of small edges/feet.

    • 10/10
      Edging - 10/10
    • 7/10
      Smearing - 7/10
    • 10/10
      Steep Terrain - 10/10
    • 7.5/10
      Comfort - 7.5/10
    • 8.5/10
      Sensitivity - 8.5/10
    • 10/10
      Value For Money - 10/10

    Sizing: I wear 9.5 USM street shoes (comfy sizing) so 42.5 EU, I sized my solutions down to 40.5 EU (the smallest I could get my feet into, however had to use plastic bags to start). My feet are normal width, egyptian shape (my second toe is fairly long however, same as my big toe).

    Review: My first real shoe, only can compare to the Instinct VSR really which I am a big fan of as well, however the solutions are kind of the perfect fit. Excellent on overhang and that is what I spend most of my time climbing, and great edging of course. Not the greatest smears but I’m perfectly fine with that, they stand out in basically every other way for me.

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