Three years ago, I pulled my very first pair of LaSportiva Women’s Miura VS climbing shoes out of the box and stuffed them into my climbing pack. I hiked up to the Monastery near Glenhaven, Colorado, and after a quick warm up, I pulled out my shiny white shoes, dubbed my “Scooby Doos” because of their flower design. I ripped the tag off, slipped them on, and sent Grand Ole Opry (5.14b). First time out of the box, and they worked like a charm.
Grand Ole Opry, Andy Mann photo
Three weeks ago, I tested my VS shoes on America’s first 5.14, To Bolt or Not to Be. After 7 days of effort, they carried me to the top, sticking precisely to each smeary little edge I encountered throughout the 120 feet of blank vertical climbing. Nicely broken in and well loved, they withstood the test.
To Bolt or Not to Be, Rich Crowder photo
A few days later, I took that exact same pair on a lap up Zebra Zion, a classic three pitch 5.10 gear route at Smith Rock. I didn’t have a larger, “comfy” pair for long routes, since this was my third ever route beyond one pitch. So, I wore my snug little sport climbing pair, and my feet didn’t hurt at all. Allegedly too tight and small for that style of climbing, my Miura’s didn’t fail me.
How is it that one shoe can meet my every demand in a moment’s notice? LaSportiva created a down turned edging shoe, which sounds like a contradiction. Typically, down turned shoes are a bit softer, giving the climber more feeling and control over their footwork on steeper terrain. Edging shoes are typically flat and stiff, allowing the climber to stand on small, precise edges without the rubber rolling or the climber’s arch being strained. But when you combine the power of a high performance down turned shoe with the precise edging capabilities of a stiffer shoe, you get the VS.
But there’s more to the VS than its ability to stand on dime edges. It’s still a powerful pulling shoe, and I’m more than comfortable wearing the Miura on steeper terrain. The VS also provides comfort in an age when climbing shoes are cranked down so small they squeeze the tears from your eyes. I say forget the idea that your shoes should be painfully small. If my feet hurt, I’m unwilling to put all my weight on my feet and trust whole heartedly in my foot placements. With the VS, I don’t have to downsize to a toddler’s fit – just one size below my street shoes allows me to trust my toes. For that reason, the painful “breaking in” process is non-existent with the VS. They’re ready to go straight off the sewing table in Italy.
From that first time out of the box, my Scooby Doos have been my most reliable friend and trusted climbing partner. I know we’ll spend many more years on the rock together.