May 26, 2021

La Sportiva Genius Review

by Kevin

La Sportiva has been in the sports industry for a long time, and its shoes have a reputation for being reliable. We tested one of their most advanced climbing shoes, and here is the La Sportiva Genius review. La sportive built this shoe with performance in mind. Climbing firms typically make exceptional claims about their products. But, when La Sportiva launched the Genius and stated that they built it for performance, it certainly piqued our interest. 

This firm produced an iconic climbing shoe through a blend of quality workmanship, a reliable performance-based last, and advanced technology. As a result, the La Sportiva Genius climbing shoe can stand on virtually any surface. In addition to the No-Edge technology, the Genius is an aggressively downturned climbing shoe suitable for bouldering and steep bolt fastening. Our testers loved the reliable asymmetrical laces and the heel cup that offered a glove-like fit. 

What's more, this is one of the highest volume footwear among the La Sportiva climbing shoes, making it ideal for climbers with wider feet. Our testers with wide feet appreciated that they didn`t have to squeeze their feet inside this highly versatile climbing shoe. Below, we review the Genius' Toe box, rubber, heel, comfort, and fit. Continue reading to find out more.

What we like:

  • Reliable lacing system;
  • No-Edge technology allows for a secure fit and better sensitivity;
  • Ideal for edging.

What we don't like:

  • Pricey;
  • It can be challenging to resole due to the unique No-Edge technology.

La Sportiva Genius Feature Highlights

The Genius climbing shoe uses the innovative No-Edge technology by La Sportiva and features a lace-up closure system.

La Sportiva Genius Toe

Feature Toe Box

As seen above, the Genius features the No-Edge technology, which means that the toe is rounded. A rounded toe translates to this shoe forming into your foot's shape. This is a huge advantage since it means more sensitivity, though it also comes with its disadvantages, such as unimpressive performance on little sharp edges on steep routes. 

Even though some of the climbers who love this shoe prefer to wear it in technical crags, we found it to be best suited for huge overhangs and technical routes. Besides, it is one of the best climbing shoes for roof-style climbing, mainly since the toe hook is impressive.

Just like the La Sportiva Solution, the Genius has a toe bump over the toe's knuckles making toe hooking more secure. Our testers took this shoe for various adventures, and in one of them to fasten a quickdraw on a roof, and they were very impressed with the toe hooking ability of the Genius.

La Sportiva Genius Heel

Feature Heel

As mentioned above, the Genius is incredible at toe hooking. This is thanks to the highly advanced heel. The lace-up closing mechanism is secure, and it allows for maximum adjustment. Also, this shoe is ideal for climbers with wide and narrow feet, though some climbers have complained about it being too spacious. Nevertheless, this was not a problem for any of our testers had. 

Because of the shape of this climbing shoe, aggressively downturned and pulled throughout the foot, the toe and heel are ideally balanced and connected, letting you utilize the whole footwear to control movement on highly featured routes such as tufas.

A marginal shortcoming with the heel is that it has two different rubber strips, and one of them is very soft and dyed red. So be cautious in case of the heel slips since it will leave behind ugly red stains on the wall or rock.

La Sportiva Genius Rubber

Feature Rubber

This high-performance climbing shoe has a 3mm Vibram XS Grip rubber compound on the sole. This compound is the tackiest and softest among Vibram's rubbers, and it offers impressive grip, sensitivity, and edging ability (read what is edging in climbing). 

It is rare to have the XS Grip rubber featured in a unisex or men's climbing shoe since they typically have the more rigid and sturdy XS Edge rubber. However, this is the other way through which La Sportiva enhanced the Genius in terms of sensitivity. 

And even though most climbing shoes feature 4mm thick rubber on the outsole, this shoe only has 3mm, for a more accurate and closer feel of the features beneath the feet. 

However, resoling is a downside with the Genius' rubber compound. While many resole shops have reformed to the No-Edge technology and currently provide custom resole services for the Maverick, Genius, and Futura, the process is expensive. In addition, it is still hard to locate a shop that can manage to do this in certain regions. 

Nonetheless, this technology means that wear will extend to the toe box instead of concentrating on a particular part, meaning this climbing shoe will serve you longer if you resole it.

Feature Comfort and Fit

The spacious last, unlined uppers made of suede and the roomy toe box allow for a comfy arch in the toes making this climbing shoe very comfortable even when new. This is amazing, considering it is an aggressively downturned shoe. On the other hand, our testers' feet become somewhat exhausted because of the smooth midsole that lacks the support of the more rigid models. 

The improved sensitivity of the spherical edges can reduce comfort when standing on harsh features. Besides, our testers didn't think they were a suitable pair for multi-pitch or longer routes, specifically when used snugly for hard climbing and bouldering. They also stretch less than half a size marginally after a bit of breaking in. 

When it comes to sizing, the Genius offers the exact fit as most La Sportiva climbing shoes. This means it would be best if you sized them a bit beneath your standard shoe size. However, if you're searching for performance, you can go down a full size, but you'll end up giving up comfort.

The Most Advanced Performance-built Design on the Market

With innovative design features like the hyper-responsive No-Edge™ technology, an aggressive P3® rand, and a secure asymmetrical enclosure system, the Genius showcases the most advanced performance-built design on the market. Designed for technical sport climbing and steep bouldering, the La Sportiva Genius features all of La Sportiva's not-so-secret recipes for their top-spec shoes. 

The Verdict

The La Sportiva Genius climbing shoe is a high-performance shoe with an expensive price tag. Nevertheless, it is worth every dollar if you're looking for a comfortable high-performance shoe with No-Edge technology and exceptional sensitivity. 

Also, the 3mm rubber is thinner and softer than usual, which may reduce durability. Finally, it might be tricky to find a shop that will resole them perfectly, considering the No-Edge finish. But if you do find a reliable resole service, it will cost you a pretty penny. 

So, whether or not you love No-Edge climbing shoes, the value the Genius brings to the table is unmatched. As a blend of multiple designs, this shoe combines the finest features of some of the best climbing shoes to come up with an exclusive and complete product. While they might not be every climber's go-to shoes, they are a suitable choice for climbers who prefer enhanced sensitivity and steep climbing.

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About the author 


Kevin loves bouldering. Mainly because he can practice it alone without considering other people. Although he rediscovered this hobby in the last three years, the boulders turned out to be his most visited landmarks.

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