May 25, 2021

La Sportiva Futura Review

by Jullie

La Sportiva Futura climbing shoes build on the success of the slipper-style, ultra-soft speedster but precede the viral Genius. However, you may be asking, "Does this mean that the Futura is a better speedster but an inferior Genius?'' Far from that, the Futura is great for bouldering and sport climbing, and it brings lots of great futures to the table. 

All three shoes, the speedster, Futura, and Genius, are great no-edge shoes despite what the price tag may suggest. The Futura and speedster are highly specialized, whereas the Genius is a superb all-rounder. However, you may be asking what the mysterious no-edge technology means. Most gear reviews and manufacturers state that what you want in a climbing shoe is a shoe with a laser-cut edge that can stand on a dime and cut through a block of soft cheese.

What we like:

  • They have a fast lacing system;
  • They have an incredible amount of sensitivity;
  • They are the best at edging because of their no-edging technology.

What we don't like:

  • They wear quickly;
  • Their price tag.

The no-edge design follows a complete approach. It tracks your foot's natural profile rather than a defined edge on the front and side of your shoe. Also, instead of a conventional rim, the shoes have a thin layer of rubber wrapped over the shoe's front. The rubber helps maintain a constant volume throughout the toe box, which allows the climber to get in close contact with the rock.

In theory, this helps provide the climber with better sensitivity, improved power transmission, and applying uniform pressure to footholds over various orientations. La Sportiva Futura climbing shoes' downturned profile and asymmetric last helps users feel at home on steeper climbs on bolts and above pads. However, the Futura comes alive during on-sight climbing, where users are not familiar with the terrain.

Places where users don't use all their holds in the best way. This is where the no-edge technology particularly triumphs. The soft midsole on the Futura plays complementary roles with the no-edge technology, especially on less productive footholds, pray moves, shallow slopping dishes, padding paste, and smears. When climbing indoors, this can translate to a more comfortable experience on holds that most people are afraid of, like dual texture, awkward volumes, and sloping holds.

While no-edge shoes edge well counter-intuitively, you'd be better rewarded if you went for the Genius when tackling edges unless or until you have enough toe strength to counter the soft midsole. However, suppose you are a lighter climber. In that case, you are better suited for the Futura on edges since they have a softer midsole that provides you with better sensitivity than the Genius.

La Sportiva Futura Feature Highlights

A high performance climbing shoe that utilizes patented No-Edge™ Technology to excel at all modern climbing applications requiring technical footwork.

La Sportiva Toe

Feature Toe Box

It doesn't take a lot to notice that the Futura lacks the modern, highly technical toe patch present in most performance climbing shoes. However, size doesn't matter as long as they have an excellent performance.

Most hook maneuvers are more about body positioning and your toe hooking technique than rubber when climbing outdoors. However, the Futura is also quite capable when climbing on limestone and granite terrains.

If you are into indoor bouldering, then the Futura may not be the best climbing shoe to use, especially if you regularly climb world-class sets or if you like overhung routes. The reason is that the Futura doesn't have a healthy amount of rubber covering its top, which makes it challenging for climbers to get a good grip.

However, Futura still ranks well compared to other brands like Butora Acro. The Futura is the narrowest shoe made by La Sportiva, which means that the toe box is pretty snug. How does it compare with other la Sportiva lines?

Compared with other shoes built for similar intended uses, the Futura feels lower volume than the Skwama. The Futura is comparable to the Katana Lace or the Kataki. It would be good to note that climbers who have "Greek" feet may get a hard time making the no-edge shoes work for them.

La Sportiva Futura Heel

Feature Heel

La Sportiva Futura climbing shoes' heel pocket can be described as fairly basic. They are more sensitive than the molded ball heel found on the Solution's; however, their performance is surprisingly just as good, but they may have one problem.

Putting on the Futura, the heel can feel shallow, especially if you have your shoe aggressively downsized. However, it works fine, but they aren't a huge confidence booster, and they don't give you much to work with.

The Futura's heel can be surprisingly comfortable out of the box, especially if you're not crack-climbing it. However, for a high-performance climbing shoe, this isn't a given. The heel often takes some time before softening to make you feel comfortable. This is a plus, especially when you are looking at the shoe's long route potential.

La Sportiva Futura Rubber

Feature Rubber

La Sportiva uses the Vibram VX Grip 2 on the Futura, a 3 mm rubber that's one of the thinnest coatings available, making the shoe quite comfortable. Like with most shoes, the Futura will have a break-in period.

During this break-in period, you'll get to wear the shoes' rubber to help you get more comfortable because of the added sensitivity; plus, you'll also get to soften up the shoe. The break-in period for the Futura is relatively short because of their thinner 3 mm rubber coating.

However, as stated earlier, the no-edge Futura design means that the shoes cannot be re-soled. This can be an issue with climbers who don't want to tie their shoe's lifespan with their rubber. However, this is offset by the idea that the no-edge design is meant to help Futura's rubber to last longer than most conventional edge designs.

The Futura may not last as long as intended, especially on surfaces like alpine granite, a challenging arena for most shoes to shine regarding durability. However, on less harsh surfaces like polished limestone, or sandstone, there is a possibility that the Futura will be more than likely to have more extended durability.

Feature Comfort and Fit

Understanding La Sportiva's categorization system can be puzzling, especially if it is your first time. However, the process becomes quite intuitive once you come to grips with it. La sportiva uses its PD75 last on the futura. The PD is short for power down, and it helps drive the toe down, focusing more energy on the hallux and the long toes.

The number "75" reflects Futura's asymmetry regarding the climbing shoe's offset degree. The PD75 is La Sportiva Futura climbing shoes' second, most aggressive last, and it comes after the PD85 used on the Genius, the speedster, and the Testarossa.

Although the Futura is not the most aggressive shoes produced by La Sportiva, they're still quite bold. But what do we mean by that? Historically, an "aggressive" shoe means that the shoe is quite uncomfortable.

However, in recent years brands have begun associating aggressiveness with performance, comfort, and fit. The Futura is no exception when it comes to comfort. The Futura has a micro-fiber upper that's quite similar to the solution, the Genius, the Kataki, and the Katana lace.

They provide a next-to-skin feel that's quite comfortable and a sleek fitting sensation with a sock-like fit over your foot's top. The lined-in leather builds and soft construction makes the shoe quite relaxing when it's worn in after a few sessions. However, you should expect half a full European size stretch when wearing them in.

Despite all this comfort, the Futura has some drawbacks that prevent them from being all-rounder climbing shoes that can tackle long stretches of multi-pitch routes. Their biggest drawback is their fit. For the no-edge technology to work well, then the shoes have to fit snugly. Unfortunately, to achieve a snug fit, you'd have to size the shoes down by about half a European size. 

However, if it chances that you want to wear your Futura shoes on a long route, you'd be fine, but you'd be better off not wearing socks. Your climb would also work best if you keep them on at every belay; however, it is not much of a hassle as most climbers like to make it out.

La Sportiva Futura climbing shoes' fast lace system is great for getting your shoes off and putting them on when you are in a hurry. The system is very similar to the solution's closure system. Some climbers say that the lace often breaks after repeated use; however, the chances are that if you use them correctly, then it would be tough for them to break.

Better Edging Performance, Increased Sensitivity and More Homogeneous Wear

The Futura is one of La Sportiva's best-selling high-performance climbing shoes with patented No-Edge® technology for increased sensitivity and friction on blank rock. The velcro version of the Genius, the Futura has a smaller volume and will be better suited for people with narrow-medium feet. Designed for technical sport climbing and steep bouldering, the La Sportiva Futura features all of La Sportiva's not-so-secret recipes for their top-spec shoes.

The Verdict

During our La Sportiva Futura review, we found out that the Futura could be a fantastic buy provided that you apply them on the correct route. They don't have quite the edging power compared to the Genius; however, they make up for this through their superior fit. They easily fit on most climbers' feet.

If you consider purchasing a pair, you'll be better off adding them to your quiver and deploying them on the correct route when the time is right. I hope you enjoyed this La Sportiva climbing shoes review. Have fun climbing!

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About the author 


Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

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