_Summary | the new classic with style and aggression
The FUTURA is a new Classic in the LaSportiva lign up. Although relatively new, launched in 2012, just take a sneak peek at the hard-movers in your climbing gym and you will undoubtedly agree it’s extremely popular. After launching a new edge-less sole concept in 2009 with the SPEEDSTER, the FUTURA is the velcro version of that model. In theory at least. Reality shows they are 2 completely different shoes. What the SPEEDSTER lacks in stability, sensitivity and performance, the FUTURA does not. It’s also a much more agressive model. The hefty price tag and the ‘in your face’ design have not limited its popularity.
The feature set clearly shows the profile of a shoe for the harder stuff: limited comfort, high tension, strong heel and limited performance on slabs. The key differentiator is the new sole of the FUTURA, which has the same rounded edges as the SPEEDSTER.
Overall the FUTURA convinces during bouldering sessions with sharp ledges, hooks and pockets.
I would not recommend it for Fontainebleau or Castle Hill, rather for Bishop or the Swiss/Austrian bouldering areas. You wont have much fun on slabs or structureless rock.
_Features | Perfect at the start, but losing cohesion during life-time
The biggest strength of the FUTURA is it’s combination of aggressiveness and comfort. Although it won’t win the ‘comfort-comp’ against alpine or slab-shoes, it definitely wins that category for me compared to other aggressive high-performance models, like the LaSportiva SOLUTION or the Scarpa VELOCE. But don’t expect a companion for a full climbing day, you will need to get out after every route, but it’s mainly because of the shoe’s strong tension that makes any non-climbing movement a limited enjoyment.
The FUTURA‘s biggest weakness is its fit, while not uncomfortable, the shoe quickly loses its tight fit from when you bought it. It takes round about 2 weeks as most and you need to wear socks and another 2 weeks and even with socks it feels less snuggly. I have resorted in buying the shoe 2 numbers smaller than my normal climbing shoes, and still after 4 weeks it’s a very comfy companion. Problem is, this counters the stability when doing heel-hooks and even standing on small crimps. This is definitely not ideal, but a sickness I encountered also with the SPEEDSTER (not with the SOLUTION though). Connected to this issue is the lacing in my view, while the velcro provides a perfectly tight fitting shoe at the beginning, it also loses that ability the wider the shoe gets. Up to a time when the velcro even fully closed to a max, does not seem enough. If you need high performance over the whole life-time of your shoe, probably pack a spare pair for the trip.
The new sole design of the FUTURA is definitely a better match on the velcro than on the slipper (SPEEDSTER). While the slipper loses precision and stability on small footholds, the FUTURA is the exact oposite. However what needs to be mentioned is the fact that the new sole means the FUTURA cannot be resoled at a reasonable price. I didn’t test it because in my view a normal resoling excercise with a traditional shoe already massively reduces the sensibility and general usability of climbing shoes. Thus this feature earned the shoe its low score in the ‘sustainability’ category.
However it’s surprisingly durable. Although my climbing schedule varries heavily from month to month, but on average I can climb with it indoors for about 4 months. Outdoors I do not use it anymore, mainly due to the softness of the front-sole. The only point that usually shows significant signs of usage is the area just in front of the hallux. That is however normal for heavy indoor application, but something that is prominent with the FUTURA.
_Rock Terrain and Technique | Avoid slabs and make sure you have a new pair for small crimps
The performance in these categories is closely related to the features. As a high-performance shoe the FUTURA is a weapon in overhanging and steep terrain, little crimps and pockets. On slabs, forget about it. He has that weakness in common with many of the high performance models. The fact that the FUTURA is a very sensitive shoe, it makes it less of a performer in the harder technical terrains, when jamming with your feet in cracks in particular. In addition the sensitivity (triggered by a very soft sole and in general soft but sticky rubber) makes the FUTURA a great shoe for bouldering independent of the terrain. As long as the routes are short. In longer routes the comfort depends on the type of rock; sandstone and softer, rounder rock is generally ok. Sharp rock, such as Kalymnos or Southern France, is to be avoided, too soft is the rubber on the sole, too painful the climbs, there are better shoes in the LaSportiva portfolio for those areas, i.e. KATANA, SOLUTION.
- FUTURA test blog: http://kletterschuhtest.wordpress.com/dauertest/la-sportiva/la-sportiva-futura/
- FUTURA bergzeit blog review: http://blog.bergzeit.de/13943/testberichte/kletterschuhe-la-sportiva-futura-im-test
- More Tests at OutdoorGearlab