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Gear Review: La Sportiva Otaki

A girl can always use a new pair of shoes, right?

I’m in a bit of a pickle. I need new shoes for the upcoming Threshold bouldering comp. Because my Miuras are still in repair, and my Tarantulaces are unfit to wear bouldering. I’ve considered ordering new shoes online, but I’m not sure if they would arrive in time to break them in. Also, I want something in-between the Tarantulace and Miura regarding aggression.

Consulting the Masses

So, I asked on a couple of women’s climbing groups which climbing shoes they would recommend with my criteria on Facebook. Many responded back with good recommendations. What I did with those posts was then make a tally of which shoes had the most mentions. I then narrowed them down to a top 5 lists to choose. However, I still wasn’t sure if I should buy them online.

Finding the Right One

Over a week and a half ago, I saw Threshold, the gym I’ve been practicing at was having a shoe sale. Seeing that prompted me to check it out. I saw Miuras there and considered buying them, but couldn’t find my size.

I saw they carried Scarpa Vapor V and asked an associate if I could try some. The reason why is because the brand was on my top 5 lists for shoes. None of the sizes worked. The Vapors felt too narrow, and my feet didn’t fit right in them.

Next, I tried the La Sportiva Otaki climbing shoe. They were also on the list, and they fit fine. I climbed a little with them on to test them, they didn’t hurt but did need some breaking in. I thought these shoes would work well, so I went ahead and bought them for a reasonable price.

Tech Specs

My new La Sportiva Otakis.

The La Sportiva Otaki have some aggression but not as much as the Miura. From what I read, they are an update to the Katanas. The Otaki has P3 which is Permanent Power Platform support. This kind of construction system leaves the arched shape of the climbing shoe unaltered, without compromising performance. Which also means I won’t have part of it digging into my big toe knuckle as my Miura would. That would start to hurt if I wore them too long.

These are hook-and-loop climbing shoes made with leather and microfiber. The heel shell has an S-Heel™ which maintains stability in torsion, accentuating performance and adaptability for heel hooking. There is some unwanted space around the heel. Apparently, this is a common complaint with climbing shoes in general. What’s nice is Otakis do have Vibram XS Edge rubber for the shoes.

Pros and Cons

I admit I’m not the biggest fan of the Otaki colors; they are loud. The bright yellow and coral are not my first choices to use for a shoe. Ultimately, you deal with unfavorable colors when buying climbing shoes. But they are slowing growing on me.

The shoes could be slightly smaller, somewhere between a quarter to a half a size. They do have some leather that can stretch. I wouldn’t have any problem initially stretching them out. However, I am a little concerned about when they do; they’ll get too loose down the road.

Overall, the Otakis do feel good on my feet. I have climbed in them; I just need to break them in a little more before the comp. So far, I haven’t had any problems with them. I think I made the right decision in buying them. If you are able, I would recommend checking these out for an aggressive but not overly aggressive climbing shoe.