May 26, 2021

La Sportiva Katana Lace Review

by Roger

The La Sportiva Katana Lace climbing shoes are well-versed shoes that perform well in almost all climbing styles. They are incredibly versatile and therefore can be handy in numerous terrains such as boulders and trad climbing. This climbing shoe is perfect for climbers searching for high-performance footwear that they can carry for all types of climbing, from vertical and overhang faces, to crack climbing and bouldering. 

Sure, there are numerous all-around climbing shoes, but you will not be disappointed by what the Katana Lace has to offer. Its relative downturn, tacky rubber, and asymmetrical toe box make it excellent for smearing and edging. 

It is suitable for climbers with low-volume feet, and it would be best if you downsized your shoes by half a size or a full size beneath your standard street shoe size. This is so you can optimize its edging ability. If you are looking for a versatile, low-volume shoe and prefer one with laces, then this is the climbing shoe to go for. 

What we like:

  • Durable and versatile;
  • Rigid;
  • Comfy.

What we don't like:

  • Reduced sensitivity;
  • Expensive. 

La Sportiva Katana Lace Feature Highlights

A lace-up version of the iconic Katana; the ideal shoe for every type of climbing. Revolutionary tubular construction with P3® technology provides ultimate comfort and performance.

La Sportiva Katana Lace Toe-2

Feature Toe Box

This excellent climbing shoe features an asymmetrical and pretty downturned shape, giving room for incredible precision on overhangs. We compared it to trad-specific climbing shoes, which usually feature a flat profile. The difference is considerable in terms of capability to pull, grab and hold onto small footholds by focusing all your weight on the toes. 

The rigid midsole offers the much-needed support for standing on a small edge on slabby and steeper terrain. The rigidity also guarantees that when on longer adventures, your feet will not get tired fast. Nonetheless, some climbers might find that following multiple climbs; the big toe is sore because of the restricted toe box. 

If, on the other hand, you prefer going to the gym, you will see that this edging machine is not as good when it comes to toe hooking. This is because the rubber added on the forefoot is thin; thus, holding onto technical toe hooks is extremely difficult and almost impossible.

La Sportiva Katana Lace Heel

Feature Heel

The Katana Lace climbing shoe's heel is no joke; it will undoubtedly get the job done. Its profile is carefully constructed with a tight fit around the Achilles, and there is no room for your toes to move around. For this reason, when you need to pull a technical heel hook where plenty of pressure and pull is needed, you don't need to worry that the Katana will slip. 

In addition, the heel of the Katana Lace is low-volume; thus, if you find it difficult to find a climbing shoe that is comfy in the heel region, this is the one to go for. 

If you have had problems with the heels of your climbing shoes slipping off when heel hooking, this is the climbing shoe for you. One of our testers had this problem with the original Katanas, but after using the Katana Lace, she has not had this problem thanks to the fit this heel has to offer. 

Nevertheless, this is a huge downside. There is a plain portion on the heel, meaning for the situations where you require heel hooking utilizing the outer part of your foot, you might slip off. This is especially evident when heel hooking on minor holds and surfaces.

La Sportiva Katana Lace Rubber

Feature Rubber

The La Sportiva Katana Lace utilizes the Vibram XS Edge rubber compound, which is an excellent pick for this shoe. This 4mm medium-stiff rubber is engineered to balance control and sensitivity, which is critical in producing a balanced climbing shoe. 

Indeed this is an upgrade from the heavier rigid rubber compounds on beginner climbing shoes. However, don't hope to manage to bend and control this climbing shoe the same way you would with a high-performance sport climbing shoe such as the Scarpa Furia and La Sportiva Futura.

Nevertheless, the absence of agility does not necessarily translate to a lack of tackiness. The XS Edge rubber compound is highly sticky; thus, you'll have no problem edging or smearing as you do what you love. They may seem highly rigid when they are new, but you will begin to experience the sensitivity it has to offer after a few climbing sessions.

While it has a semi-stiff sole, this shoe is rather sensitive. In some way, the Katana manages to achieve a similar exceptional edging performance to the TC Pro, though minus the bulky feel that puts off numerous climbers from using it. 

But, don't hope to feel all the minor features beneath your feet, as you might expect from high-performance ultra-soft climbing shoes. On the other hand, some climbers aren't strong enough to climb using an ultra-soft climbing shoe for extended hours. Moreover, if you compare the Katana to the most reliable, versatile rope climbing shoes, they offer outstanding sensitivity.

Feature Comfort and Fit

The La Sportiva Katana Lace is a comfortable climbing shoe by all standards, which is surprising for a technical performance shoe. Being shielded from the rock when climbing is crucial, and this is why this shoe has a leather upper to keep your toes from getting hurt while jamming your feet in thin cracks. Besides, the sole provides sufficient stiffness, meaning you will not feel like you're wearing socks when standing upright. 

Even though this climbing shoe did not bag any specific awards, it will perform well on different terrain. It is a performance shoe that will keep your feet comfortable during long adventures. Maybe this is why most professional climbers prefer it over ultra-soft climbing shoes for long routes.

After our testers put this climbing shoe to the test, they concluded that you should buy a pair that is less by a half or full size from your average street shoe size. The Katana has a break-in period of several weeks, at which point they will minimally stretch because of the leather upper.

Another thing to remember is to fit this shoe snugly enough; as they expand, they will stretch in the toe box and lose a bit of their edging ability. Some of our testers have low-volume heels when it comes to fit, and they fit pretty well in this climbing shoe. However, climbers with high-volume feet might have a problem with the heel cup and how it fits, making it extra tricky to heel hook in it. 

A Great All-round Shoe for Bouldering and Technical Routes

All-round shoe designed for beginner climbers seeking to up their climbing game as well as experienced climbers in need of a versatile shoe that can perform in any situation. The La Sportiva Katana Laces also have a wider fit than the original, so it should feet those with medium feet better this time around. The more precise fit and stabler feel of the shoe will be ideal for anyone who leans towards more vertical climbing with lots of edging, but this is still a great all-round shoe and can be used for bouldering and technical routes.

The Verdict

La Sportiva has manufactured an obvious winner with the Katana Lace in the competition to produce the ideal all-around climbing shoe. The impressive versatility this shoe has to offer means it is no longer necessary to fill your shoe wrack with different climbing shoes for different styles of climbing. 

With the funds you will eventually save from not purchasing all these unnecessary shoes, you can travel worldwide and climb through various terrain across the globe. Also, this shoe is simple and cheap to resole, and our testers saw that the high buying price would be worth it eventually. 

The Katana Lace is rigid enough to stop your feet from getting tired on long adventures and is ideal for crack climbing; it performs better than some crack climbing-specific shoes. In addition, this climbing shoe can maneuver any terrain you wish to explore, from granite surface to the highly featured terrain. 

If you are searching for a high-performance bouldering shoe, this might not be it, but it can handle every other discipline of rock climbing. For this reason, you should try it out!

The rankings on are curated to save you time by aggregating the best reviewed products from the most reputable companies. We may receive a commission if you buy something using a link on this page.

About the author 


Roger was born into a family of climbers. As the youngest of his siblings, he was also the most ardent climber of them. Small and agile, he practiced climbing all day. Today, Roger teaches children how to climb the large rock walls safely.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}


eBook: Rappelling Equipment Guide

 $ 29.99  FREE

Download our Rappel Rapport eBook: a Rappelling Guide for Beginners. It's free.