June 2, 2021

La Sportiva Skwama Review

by Kevin

With the climbing market being filled with numerous climbing shoes, it's becoming more difficult to find one that stands out. However, La Sportiva has managed to manufacture high-performance unique climbing shoes, and among them is the La Sportiva Skwama.

This versatile and extremely sensitive slipper-style climbing shoe is perfect for steep routes, typically featured on boulders and sport terrains. But, perhaps, the most remarkable feature of the Skwama is that it is constructed on a wide last; thus, it is comfier than many aggressive climbing shoes. 

We recently decided to take the La Sportiva Skwama for testing through multiple terrains and rock climbing fields. We were very impressed with how decently this shoe performed in multiple routes but mostly in smearing and overhang terrain. Want to know more about this amazing climbing shoe? Here is the La Sportiva Skwama review.

What we like:

  • Suitable for crack climbing;
  • Impressive sensitivity;
  • Comfy.

What we don't like:

  • The upper stretches a bit too much;
  • Challenging to resole. 

La Sportiva Skwama Feature Highlights

Sensitive, snug fitting, flexible climbing shoe ideal for top performance both on rock walls and in the gym, designed for use on overhangs and slabs.

La Sportiva Skwama Toe

Feature Toe Box

Among the many fascinating features, this climbing shoe sports is the toe box. The tensioning mechanism blended with the "power downturn" across the heel concentrates your weight to a specific point in the toe box. 

This is evident during all your crucial moves, and it lets you optimize accuracy on the minor features of the rock. Shockingly this climbing shoe excels at smearing. Out of all the aggressive shoes we have reviewed, not many have managed to retain their edging ability. This is due to their aggressively downturned shape.

The smooth rubber and split sole flatten slightly when smearing, offering your foot the chance to optimize grip on a flat wall. The other impressive feature of the Skwama is the toe rand. This will especially come in handy if you like toe hooking.

The toe rand is impressive, and it will make those technical toe hooks feel like a walk in the park. In addition, the forefoot is covered using an extended rubber portion and is speckled with raised rubber parts to look like snakeskin. Not only does this come in handy when toe hooking, but it as well makes the Skwama superb for crack climbing. 

On the other hand, these climbing shoes are not very good for edging. This is because they do not feature the common "no-edge" technology, which comes in handy if you are looking to stand on small edges in all kinds of terrain. Anyway, the vast and somewhat asymmetric profile of the La Sportiva Skwama positions the big toe in an ideal situation to feel the minor edges. However, they have a soft midsole for smearing and flexing; you will not feel a lot of support on intense climbs like you would if you were wearing a more rigid climbing shoe.

La Sportiva Skwama Heel

Feature Heel

The heel cup of the Skwama sports the S-Heel technology. This is a rigid portion of rubber on the heel's side, and it is of significant importance for this climbing shoe. The reason for this design is that it aids in maintaining the heel cup's rigidity and prevents it from slipping off when maneuvering tricky heel hooks. 

This construction is so handy that the manufacturer integrates it in other climbing shoes such as the La Sportiva Otaki. Besides, the heel is relatively rigid than the other parts of the shoe, and it is constructed into Skwama's tensioning system. 

Regardless of the Skwama being this soft, the other parts of the shoe are broken in; thus, the heel maintains its shape. Additionally, it features the snakeskin feel like the heel rand translating to additional friction, which is always an appreciated bonus with climbing shoes. 

La Sportiva Skwama Rubber

Feature Rubber

This climbing shoe features the Vibram XS Grip2 rubber compound. This compound is infamous for its softness and excellent grasp. In addition, most La Sportiva men's models feature the XS Edge rubber compound, a more rigid and long-lasting rubber. 

The only other climbing shoes that feature this compound are the sensitive and soft Testarossa, Genius, Solution, and Futura, but it is relatively common among the high-performance women's models. 

Generally, our testers had a good time climbing with this shoe since the softness of the XS Grip2 rubber offered a more sensitive experience which was ideal for most terrain. However, we've heard of men who prefer women's climbing shoes, and after testing these out, we now know why - the XS Grip 2 rubber. 

The XS Grip2 compound is not quite durable compared to the XS Edge when it comes to robustness. However, the Skwama does last for some time, and it is easy to resole. The P3 platform does help better this shoe's edging ability, though their softness somewhat restricts their performance.

Feature Comfort and Fit

Even though the Skwama is constructed with performance in mind, it is very comfortable. The shoe is unpadded and unlined, designed to fit your feet like a sock, and it provides extra sensitivity. Moreover, the upper is a combination of microfiber and leather, giving room for marginal stretch for a snug fit but not sufficient for the shoe to lose its original shape. 

Lastly, the spacious last allowed our testers with wide feet to climb comfortably without pain. However, they do require some time to break into. On the other hand, this climbing shoe is not ideal for multi-pitch adventures. Remember that this shoe is soft, which means that you will need to work a bit harder to support yourself as compared to a more rigid climbing shoe. For this reason, do not rely on it as all-day footwear.

Our testers sized them the same way as TC Pros and Miura VS climbing shoes. When they sized them tightly, they fit pretty well as performance climbing shoes. The last is somewhat wide, considering this is an aggressive shoe, and the unlined upper and toe box stretches minimally to accommodate wide feet when breaking in. 

This offers a substantial increase in terms of comfort during the break-in period. Additionally, the Velcro strap closure system is handy in reinforcing the shoe in case your size them a bit up. While the velcro straps might not offer as much adjustability as laces, they add to the comfort this shoe has to offer.

Advanced Bouldering and Sport Climbing Shoe Known for Its Unusual Comfort 

The La Sportiva Skwama is a feature-packed advanced bouldering and sport climbing shoe that’s known for a level of comfort unusual in such a sensitive high-performance shoe. La Sportiva have designed the Skwama to be adaptable across all types of climbing, and it will perform best on steep and overhanging technical routes that also include edging, smearing, toe hooks, and heel hooks. The comfort of a slipper coupled with the snug fit of a hook and loop closure, the Skwama promises precision and performance.

The Verdict

The La Sportiva Skwama is an excellent addition to the La Sportiva climbing shoes line up with one Velcro strap for making it easier to wear and take off. Also, the extremely soft midsole and the sock-like fit this shoe offers are convenient. We found this climbing shoe to perform impressively in crack climbing, sport climbing, and steep boulders. 

The seal, the S-heel design of the heel cup, makes this a great shoe offering a snug fit without any space for the toes to move around. The version we tested felt too tight at first for multi-pitch climbing, though after breaking in, which took about ten pitches, we were able to wear them on extended expeditions on the condition that we removed them between climbs. 

These climbing shoes are everywhere, and they are swiftly becoming the favorite of most climbers with good reason. They are relatively affordable, considering they are high-performance climbing shoes. Also, they are versatile enough for multiple climbing styles, and they offer comfort throughout your adventure. 

As with all climbing shoes from La Sportiva, the Skwama is a reliable and durable climbing shoe. While the rubber might not be as durable as other compounds, it is soft, increasing sensitivity. This means that when climbing, you can feel every minor feature beneath your feet.

Also, this shoe is ideal for crack climbing, adding to its versatility. With the La Sportiva Skwama, you will not need to have multiple pairs of shoes for different purposes. Well, there you have it, a complete review of the La Sportiva Skwama climbing shoes. 

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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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