Much to my surprise, the latest Girl Tested, Girl Approved award goes to La Sportiva’s new womens-specific Miura VS.
I am saddened to say that my beloved pre-redesign, 2008-era Red Chili Corona Velcros — my favorite climbing shoe, which I’ve had resoled over and over and over… are finally on their last legs. Or toes. Or whatever.
Also, I’d rather shop for swimwear than climbing shoes. So the prospect of trying — again — to find a perfect pair of shoes made me Not Happy.
To make matters worse, earlier this spring, I got to fit test models from across the industry at an event at Smith Rock. Based on that widespread try-on of numerous pair of shoes in multiple sizes each, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t actually find a replacement for my Chilis. I seem to be in between sizes in just about everything, and while I can tolerate quite a bit of discomfort to break in a pair of shoes, I can’t tolerate just-plain-too-small.
Enter a sample pair of La Sportiva Miura VS that arrived on my doorstep for me to demo after I admired them at Red Rock Rendezvous this summer. I’d heard about the model at a shoe show from Mike with Pinnacle Sales NW, and then seen it during its pre-release in events.
I was initially VERY skeptical. I haven’t had much luck with La Sportiva’s fit in the past, especially in womens specific models. I have a bit of width in my forefoot, and sometimes their models are too narrow for me and cause pain and/or foot cramps. The sample size (size 37) were a snug fit right out of the box, but not intolerable, and they felt like they would break in just perfectly (I wear a size 8 womens street shoe).
Pretty much out of the box, I sent a project in them and fell in serious “like” for the Womens Miura VS. Here’s me, finally, leading Son of Jesus at Exit 32 in them, on one of their first days out.
I’ve been slowly breaking them in ever since — they are a bit more “aggressive” than I’m used to in a shoe, so I wasn’t sure that my feet would actually learn to love them. After a few climbing trips, enjoying the benefit of the precise footwork these bad girls allow, it was clear that they were worth fully breaking in despite the break-in discomfort.
Now, I’m in full on shoe love.
- Last: My friend (a dude) who wears the lace-up Miura indicated the last feels different on these; Sportiva identifies the Miura VS as a WPD 75 last, and the Miura lace as a Womens PD 75. I can’t say for sure — but if you are going from the Miura lace to this model, you should try them on rather than presume the same fit.
- Leather upper, with Dentex lining
- P3® with 1.1mm LaspoFlex midsole
- SOLE: 4mm Vibram® XS Grip2
As an aside, said dude friend climbed a pitch at Squamish in my sample pair, and even though they’re decorated with daisies, I’m pretty sure he’ll be picking them up for his next pair of shoes. At Red Rock Rendezvous, I saw more than one guy on the bouldering wall trying them out.
Daisies or no daisies, these are a killer model for lower volume feet and higher performance climbing. The are usefully downturned, though I never expect that to last much past the initial break-in, and La Sportiva went with the new-ish Vibram® XS Grip2 rubber to allow for better sensitivity over the XS Grip Edge used in some other models (more durable, less sensitive).
I have found the XS Grip2 to exceed my expectations: I am more of an edger than a smearer, and traditionally I’ve preferred a firmer rubber and midsole, but this model provides a perfect balance of support and sensitivity.
I spent a day on heinous (to me) Squamish slabs in them, and was shocked at the all-around performance on tiny edges, smeary slabs, and for toe-ing in on pockets and other small indentations.
I like the three velcro strap adjustment — I’ve had trouble with heel slip in the ladies’ Katana velcro, and that’s not an issue at all with the Miuras.
It’s been a long time since I’ve raved about a pair of climbing shoes, but the Womens Miura VS deserve the raves and get two thumbs (and ten toes) up. I’m looking forward to putting a lot of vertical miles on them.
And an edit…
I’ve seen user reviews like this:
“Girls who climb seriously don’t want flower petals on their shoes. I’d sure get a lot of crap from the boys at the crag.”
from women who don’t care for the flower print on the upper.
I’m going to go on record as a flower lover. Pastel pink, not usually. The same blue that everyone always uses for womens climbing shoes, meh. White with cute little black flowers? I’m totally in. I have enough unisex and girl-climbing-shoe-blue footwear.
Thanks, La Sportiva, for trying something a little bit different and hitting it out of the park. And if the boys are giving you crap at the crag for having flowers on your shoes, then go send sick hard-and/or-fun … whichever suits your fancy. And when the guys ask to try your shoes, daisies and all… well… I’ll leave that up to you.
Find them online at:
What’s your new favorite of the season? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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