The No Edge Concept unveiledRenaat
Every year, top cyclist Tom Boonen appears at the start of the Ronde van Vlaanderen with a new bike. It’s always an exclusive prototype, with aerodynamic wheels and the strongest carbon frame ever. I always think: “yeah, whatever, 6000 euro for a bike, isn’t that a bit much?” Why don’t they ever say anything about comfort?
I feel the same about climbing shoes. Many new brands appear on the market. Top brands develop a new climbing shoe every year. They launch a different kind of rubber or a revolutionary fastening system. Sadly, this is often all talk. Creating a shoe that is both comfortable and performant remains difficult. Having climbed with 5.10, Boreal, Scarpa, La Sportiva, Rock Pillars, Millet, Montrail, not to forget Asolo (my very first pair of climbing shoes); I thought I had seen it all. A climbing shoe is not a smartphone.
So I did raise an eyebrow when Belgian Fontainebleau legend Ivan Moreels praised his La Sportiva Solutions, saying that he climbed better than ever thanks to these shoes. But I kept his remark in mind. Sadly, my feet are too broad for the Solutions. However, I gladly accepted the offer to test the Futura…
The shoes have a very sleek look: a popping light blue color, a small strip of rubber, like the Speedster, which runs from the sole over the tip and the big toe to the top of the shoe (the toe-hook zone). You immediately notice that the Futura only has one goal: concentrating power onto the big toe. With a regular climbing shoe, your toes fill the shoe and you climb with your entire foot. With the Futura it seems as if your foot only consists of a big toe, comparable to monopoint crampons, but then stable and with more feeling. With no other shoe did I experience such a feeling.
The ‘No Edge Concept’ reinforces this precise touch: the rubber on the tip of the shoe follows the curve of the big toe and is not cut in a corner. This makes it possible to fold the foot on the hold without popping off. It allows a more precise, flowing and harmonious contact with the rock, according to La Sportiva. And it is true! It takes some time to get used to, but after a while you can climb with less precision, while still being sure that your foot won’t slip off. You certainly don’t have to worry about the hard rubber edge so common in new climbing shoes. Breaking in the Futuras is not necessary. Just unpack and send…
The Futura is an accessible shoe: the ‘Lorica’ layer of neoprene inside the shoe is detached on one side so the shoes are easier to put on. The Futura fits like a glove and makes the typical vacuum-sucking noise. It’s neither too assymmetric nor too aggressive. No spontaneous calf-cramp because of too much ‘toe-down’ – the strong grip is already assured by the No Edge Concept.
The heel is comparable to the Testarossa, which is exactly like a heel should be: not too deep and not too thick. The heel is sufficiently supple so you can feel the hold. Furthermore, the Fast Lacing System ensures enough tension on the heel so the shoes stay put even during the most demanding foothooks. The Cobra-phenomenon, where you immediatly look for another pair of shoes when you have a heelhook in your project, will not happen with the Futura.
One minor flaw is that ribbon used to tighten the shoe breaks easily, like the Solutions (strange that this flaw was not repaired). The Futura is made of leather, which stretches considerably. You’ll suffer during the first few sessions. Furthermore, the lacing system creates an unbalanced feel after a while, with more tension on the ball of your foot and less tension towards your toes.
Many people look forward to the launch of the Futura (never before have I been asked so many questions about a pair of climbing shoes), with good reason. For people who found the Solutions a bit too extreme but still like to climb with feeling, try the Futura!
Material: Suede leather and Lorica®
Rubber: Vibram® XSGrip2 3 mm
Size: 32 - 46 (half size available)
Weight: 450 grams
Public advisory price: 139 Euro