Thursday, September 12, 2013

La Sportiva Testarossa Shoe Review

Testarossa- Italian translation for "red head"
(stock image from La Sportiva)

I had won a gift certificate for a pair of La Sportiva shoes from a comp and wanted to try something new.  For the last 3 years I have worn only the La Sportiva Miura VS and was convinced no other shoe would take its place as my favorite.  I mean, it was the shoe I was wearing when I sent my first v10, so I had a lot of loyalty to this shoe that was incredibly reliable.  The Miura VS has the aggressive downturn, which is great for smearing and for difficult overhanging routes and problems.  However, I found it difficult to keep the shoes tight enough to my feet and had to repeatedly re-tighten, with limited tightness, the velcro straps while I climbed.

Lightweight and Flexible

As I placed in the Dark Horse Series and won the La Sportiva certificate, I found it to be the perfect opportunity to try a new shoe.  After browsing the many models of shoes La Sportiva had to offer, I decided to settle on the lighter weight (~7.5 oz/shoe) lace up: the Testarossa.  The name Testarossa (Italian for red head) is very fitting for the shoe due to the vibrant color aesthetics.  This shoe contains a non-stretch material called Lorica, which is combined with a stretchable leather (bi-lateral stretch technology) that makes this nice flexible shoe great for edging.  After climbing in them (indoors and outdoors) for 5 months I was able to develop a comprehensive review of the shoe.

Always an awesome feeling opening up a brand new pair of climbing shoes!

Permanent Power Platform (P3) Technology

I have a low arch in my foot, which I thought could be a problem with such an aggressive climbing shoe (Testarossa).  My foot fit perfectly into the shoe!  I wear the same size in the Testarossa as I wore in the Miura VS, which was fortunate because no outdoor stores in Connecticut sell the Testarossa and I couldn't try any on before getting them.  The shoes were not overly tough to get on.   There was no slippage of my foot in the shoe and my heel did not tend to slip out either.  My foot surprisingly fit better in these shoes than the Miura VS.   The Testarossa did not lose its arch even though I have a low arch in my foot.  This is due to the P3 technology (Permanent Power Platform) that keeps the downturned shape of the shoe.  As you can see from picture below, the Miura VS's sole flattened and lost its arch.  Even though they both have the P3 technology, I believe the Testarossa didn't lose its arch due to the independent heel and midsole/toe with the flexible arch area.

Vibram XS Rubber

I was a little apprehensive about the lesser amount of rubber (density of rubber as well) on the heel due to some of my projects involving heel hooks.  The heel was very sensitive and sometimes painful when using the heel hook.  This subsided after a while (heel calloused) and actually turned into an advantage in that I could feel the rock on my heel and could make adjustments as needed.

Miura VS and Testarossa outsole comparison.  I definitely favored the divided midsole and independent heel.

The Testarossa allowed me to tighten the shoe as needed without having to re-tighten in between goes on the problems I was working on.  The 4mm of Vibram XS rubber is as durable and sticky as La Sportiva claims, providing amazing grip on overhanging routes or problems.  I didn't think I would ever be able to find a better shoe than the Miura VS.   It was no surprise that the better shoe was from the same company that made my last favorite shoe.  With 80 years of experience behind them, La Sportiva knows what is necessary to help climbers push their boundaries and achieve their goals.

The Prow, v10 sticking a nice heel after the start