The La Sportiva Finale climbing shoes target beginners and middle-level climbers. Where they lack in the ultra-aggression and performance of premium shoes, they make up for comfort and versatility. They are also readily available and at competitive prices too, explaining their popularity and high demand. The La Sportiva Finale is a lot of things; a jack of all trades and a master at none, a you-get-what-you-pay-for kind of shoe, or a beginners' shoe.
These are just some of the ways you may look at the La Sportiva Finale climbing shoes. However, should you end up being disappointed by it, then it because you focus more on the shoe's price and not what it promises to deliver. The La Sportiva does not make any grand promises. It is a shoe that fully understands its target market and seeks to meet those needs. It is an entry-level shoe not for performance sport climbing, and the price is the first tell-tale. The missing aggression is the second.
That is not to say this shoe lacks in quality, for it does not. It is just not meat for performance climbing like overhung pitches and any aggressive climbing. However, you will be hard-pressed to find a shoe that gives you as much fighting chance on various surfaces and obstacles. From crack climbing and slabs to moderate bouldering and vertical routes, the Finale delivers impressive performance.
However, in the Gym, the shoe truly comes to its own, showing excellent reliability across various moderate pitch climbs. This La Sportiva Finale review looks at the four main areas essential to a sport climbing shoe performance and sees how the Finale fares.
La Sportiva Finale Feature Highlights
Excellent for all-day comfort and reliable performance, the Finale is a lace-up rock shoe that is equally capable in the gym or the crag.
Feature Toe Box
The toe box is one of the areas where the La Sportiva Final departs from the tradition of performance shoes. It is, therefore, one of its main drawbacks, so don't go on trying any technical toe-work with it.
It is quite symmetrical for a climbing shoe giving it average performance at overhands and pockets. Its saving grace is the fact that it will not squash your toes. The front section is as flat as a climbing shoe can get, and it has no downturn.
Unfortunately, it also lacks the extra rubber that you get from shoes meant to conquer overhangs and bouldering. As a result, it loses precision and gives an okay performance on the toe hooks.
Because the La Sportiva Finale climbing shoes have a less pointed toe box with their symmetrical design, it is not a good choice for steep climbing. However, it is not all doom and gloom for the toe box. The shoe has excellent smearing and edging ability which makes it excellent for slab climbing.
It is also a reliable performer of crack climbing thanks to the extra amount of rubber on the sides. The rubber sticks the shoe in cracks and provides excellent traction. There is also enough padding that saves your feet from any pain you would feel from the cracks.
The heel is the one area where this shoe demonstrates some of its performance nous. Sure, it still has some setbacks; for example, the tension is relatively light, denying you some power, and the grip is not at a premium level. However, the low tension adds to the flat design of the shoe to provide extra comfort.
Further, the heel rand does retain some tension, and the heel cup is solid enough, all of which give you excellent support. The shoe also has a sufficient dose of rubber covering the heel, which provides it with a reliable grip. This factor, in turn, makes the shoe excellent at heel hooks.
If you are going to be grappling for support on aretes as your rope climb or you want your heel to hold your weight in bouldering, the Finale will deliver. It may lack the refined and technical extras of a premium show, but it manages to balance performance and comfort much better in the heel compared to the toe box. For a shoe that tries to give you a level of reliability at every surface, that's all one can ask for.
As usual, we start with the drawbacks, which aren't many here, really. The La Sportiva Finale uses 5mm of Vibram XS Edge rubber. The thickness is both a drawback and a strong point. Rubber that thick means you are losing out on sensitivity.
As such, the shoe may feel a bit unresponsive to the wall, and it may derail you in areas where sensitivity is vital for the climb. Another setback is that the rubber at the bottom section of the heel can become smooth and even shiny to the eyes. If this happens, there is a risk of slips though you are more likely to notice the slickness first before you feel it while climbing.
The smoothness and wear at this portion come from walking since you hardly use this section for climbing. Fortunately, there is a quick remedy for this, you only need to give your shoes some rough sandpaper treatment, and you will be good to go.
The thickness of the rubber gives the shoe excellent durability. This aspect means you do not have to limit your climbing activities nor keep changing shoes every season. Any sports climbing learner will appreciate that.
To the eye, this version of Vibram rubber may not seem sticky as the other versions, but it proves its mettle on the wall where it excels. You can hardly fault any slip for lack of friction. Its stickiness is a major strong point for the La Sportiva Finale as it gives the shoe most of its performance attributes. For instance, the shoe has the excellent edging ability even in small holds.
This ability is further enhanced by the forefoot's flat profile and the stiff sole. For its midsole flex, the shoe uses a thinner amount of rubber at 1.1mm. The other technical ability you get from this sticky rubber is its excellent smearing. It is reliable and comes in handy when you need to use friction for stemming or slab climbing. The rubber will stick on any surface.
Feature Comfort and Fit
A good part of these climbing shoes' attraction is comfort. La Sportiva designed the Finale such that you will never have to remove them at any moment during your climbing session because your feet need some respite. The lack of aggression means you can also walk in them comfortably.
Even the little aspects of the shoe add to its overall comfort and convenience. For example, the lacing system allows you to get them on and off quickly. You can also use it to remove any dead spots by tuning the lace-up to a proper fit.
Because the Finale gears towards comfort, it comes in a big size, so you will size down from your street shoe size. The ideal size should be half a size to one full size. So, someone with a street size 10 to 10.5, for example, will be better served to go for a size 9 or 9.5 of Finale. The choice between the two is one between performance and comfort.
The smaller shoe size (if you downsize one full size) may offer you a slight performance edge on the toe box. However, it may not be worth it if comfort is a priority for you. That's because the shoe stretches very little after the break-in period by about ¼ to size.
A point you may want to consider is the V design at the top of the heel. Some La Sportiva Finale users complain that it pinches on the ankle. However, since not many, including us, have seen this problem, then it is likely an issue of specific foot shapes. You, therefore, may want to pay attention to the area when trying the shoe.
Another excellent attribute of the shoes is that its leather interior comes with no lining and retains its brand-new freshness. Users, therefore, have no worry in case you borrow a pair or loan others your shoe.
The Finale is a Lace-up Rock Shoe that is Equally Capable in the Gym or the Crag.
The La Sportiva Finale is a comfortable beginner, relaxed and durable multipitch climbing shoe designed with support and all-day wearability in mind. The sole of the La Sportiva Finale is 5mm, which is about as thick as they come in climbing shoes. This extra durability will be ideal for beginners with sensitive feet as well as multipitch or big wall climbers who are after a tough sole that won't wear down too quickly.
There are several ways you can describe the La Sportiva Finale climbing shoes, but at the end of it all, you cannot deny it delivers on its promise. Its comfort is charming, and despite its performance compromises, its build quality is stellar.
Evidently, this is not a specialty shoe, but for a beginner or intermediate climber who wants versatility at a bargain price, this shoe is of excellent value. The average price point, excellent quality, and the ability to do a bit of everything have made the La Sportiva a popular shoe in the climbing circles.
That much of this demand is fuelled by word of mouth makes the feat even more impressive. The shoe is also widely available, so you should not have a problem finding yourself a pair.
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