equipment | La Sportiva KATANA

_Summary | the best friend – comfy and reliant

La Sportiva | Katana | evaluation

La Sportiva | Katana | evaluation

This one looks a bit strange. The test summary seems to hint at a mediocre shoe, seldom hitting the top ten. That’s not completely true. The KATANA scores best notes in all the key basic feature categories: fit, comfort and stability. Key for the KATANA is exactly this great basic performance. You can wear it all day, in 30 degrees heat, or cold days where you need to wear socks during climbing. It’s the most comfy shoe I’ve ever worn, in all circumstances.

Bottom line: yes it’s indeed not the top performer across the board, but with a consistently strong performance throughout it is the companion you are looking for if you need reliability, stability, and if you need to worry about other things than your shoes. In short, if you just want to enjoy a chilled climbing day, are not looking for peak performance and climb in your comfort zone, this is the tool you need!

Material | mix of artificial leather with natural leather
Sole | Vibram Formel XS Edge (4,0 mm)
Price |
Shop | Bergfreunde | Sporthaus Schuster | SportScheck.CH (men)/(women)

_Features | Solid performance along key kategories

lasportiva | katana | on Kalymnos

lasportiva | katana | on Kalymnos

The KATANA is  a strong contender to the throne of being the most reliable friend ever. The strong performance in the fit, comfort and stability categories makes the KATANA the perfect tool during a relaxed day on Kalymnian rock, followed by a dip into the cristal clear Mediterranean. Due to the very basic and straight cut, the relatively low heel and the flexible two velcros the KATANA is made for an easy fit on most feet. The velcros provide enough flexibility for securing the KATANA in the front and mid-section. The heel is a different matter, it sits comfortably enough, but without the tension it is only reliable for the odd foot hook or so, not for a fully fledged hook fest. Not a spectacular cut or a brutal prestress as with the SOLUTION, but still a very safe fit in normal circumstances.

Actually a pretty boring design and in the new version with a coloring requiring getting used to at best. I’m not sure what the designers smoked when the coloring was decided or whether that’s just the left over from a product development gone bad, but guys, please! The 80′s are long gone!
Anyhow, the sole is stable and not particularly sensitive, but particularly in rough conditions, i.e. sharp rock or long climbs on steep walls with lots of pressure on the toes, this is exactly what you need. The relatively thick (4mm, that means 0,5mm thicker than other La Sportiva models) and stiff sole relieves the front foot and lets you focus on climbing. A similar success is the leather which barely stretches and is strong enough not to be affected by sharp edges. I’m not 100% sure why, despite being the same leather the FUTURA widens so massively while the KATANA barely stretches even after 2 months. This in addition to the fact that the simple sole design makes a re-soling easily possible without losing a lot of performance leads to a 4 point rating in the sustainability category.

_Rock Terrain and Technique | a classic Allrounder for most terrains

Slabs are the home turf of the KATANA. Pockets, pebbles and ledges particularly on straight faces or steep rock are the KATANA‘s second home. For overhanging routes the KATANA only works if you can use the front part of it. It’s certainly not at its best if you use it for hook moves, despite a great fit of the simple cut the heel of the shoe is simply not sitting close enough to provide a secure heel hook. I use the KATANA preferably in hot climate and during route climbing on plastic. I would not recommend it for bouldering (outside or on plastic), at least not for harder routes.

This result is somewhat consistent with other test on the net, and in my view that just underlines the fact that the KATANA is probably the best compromise from LaSportiva, strong on the basics, very well crafted, and extremely reliable: the ideal best friend…

_Additional ressources