No Edge Climbing Shoes: Bizarre and brilliant
Learn all about La Sportiva’s revolutionary shoe design.
Have you heard of the no-edge technology that the mad genius at La Sportiva have created? You probably should have, it’s no exaggeration when we say it may be the biggest game-changer in climbing shoe tech since the creation of the down turnsole (big statement, I know).
La Sportiva’s patented no-edge technology was first introduced back in 1998 with the Mantra (similar to the modern Cobra) however the model was quickly pulled to lack of sales compared to the brand’s front runners such as the legendary Mythos and the Miura.
It wasn’t until the introduction of Futura and Genius that climbers started to understand the benefits of this unique style of climbing shoe. Nowdays, no edge technology is a true mainstay in the climbing community as more and more people warm up to this intuitive design.
If you aren’t in the mood for a read, here’s a fun video explaining these mysterious shoes.
No-edge climbing shoes differ radically from conventional shoes by ditching the crisp edge typically found at the toe, and substitutes it with a rounded rubber patch. Though foreign to many of us who honed our footwork by relying on a precise inner edge, with a bit of time, we think even hardened traditionalists may warm up to the no-edge tech.
The Benefits of No Edge Climbing Shoes
For the same reason many of us gravitate towards our trusty, broken-in shoes, no-edge tech makes sense when you consider the natural contouring fit of the profile. By omitting hard corners, softening the mid sole and rounding off the design, shoes such as the Futura benefit from a comfortable slipper like profile. No need to cram your toes and grin and bear the pain of cramps. No-edge shoes are designed to fit snugly but comfortably as your foot will be in a more natural, neutral position.
This neutral position also optimizes the contact on the wall, molding your placement to the divots and features. While edged shoes require precision in order to find the sweet spot along the front of the foot, no-edge shoes allow you to plop your toe down and stick, without much finessing. As a result, even marginal foot placements can inspire confidence.
You’ll get the best out of this design on overhanging terrain and scenarios that require a smear. These qualities make no-edge shoes a favorite among a whole variety of climbers from competition climber, to sport climber, to boulders a like
La Sportiva Genius
The La Sportiva Genius is a high-performance lace-up shoe meant to boost your performance to the next grade.
It sports the P3 platform system, as seen on the La Sportiva Solutions and Muira VS (among others). This maintains the aggressive downturn of the shoe over its lifetime by powering the mid-sole through a slingshot rand from the heel.
The lacing system also stands out here as it allows for fine-tuning on your fit every time. This model combines the best of La Sportiva technology with the handmade craftsmanship we’ve come to expect from this legendary Italian company.
La Sportiva Futura
The Futura – though similar to the Genius offer a more narrow fit, while still delivering some impressive performance on all things edging and smearing. The big difference here is in the fastening system, as the Futuras are designed a velcro system, allowing for a quick on and off. It’s also got a softer heel, vs the completely encased cup on the Genius.
The Futura’s are the only no-edge shoe offered in a lower volume, women’s fit.
La Sportiva Maverink
The Maverink is a kid’s climbing shoe that doesn’t kid around. This shoe is designed especially for the growing feet of young guns crushing it at gym. This no-edge climbing shoe reduces the amount of constriction found on a typical performance shoe while balancing technical capability.
The Maverink features a down-turned last, also powered by the P3 platform. The toe box is nice and roomy and is intended to fit a natural, instinctual position.
It’s an easy-going slipper with fantastic sensitivity, making it a popular pick even among adults.
La Sportiva Speedster
For those who prefer a slipper climbing shoe, the Speedster gives you a quick on-off solution with aggressive performance.
It’s got a thin, low profile sole giving it maximum sensitivity, pairing well with the no-edge construction. La Sportiva has also given the shoe a generous toe patch and additional abrasion resistant patches, making it a secure pick for tricky toe hooks.
We think no-edge tech is one of the most exciting developments out there at the moment, and can’t wait to see where La Sportiva takes it next. It would be great to see more low volume options and alternatives, given that finding a shoe that fits just right is so key.
These shoes are increasingly popular with newer climbers, as well as youth athletes as they hone their skills on indoor comp style problems, smeary barely-there footholds and steep overhanging walls. This truly is a design for the next generation.