La Sportiva Women's Tarantulace Review
The La Sportiva Tarantulace is a wonderful shoe for folks looking to transition from rental shoes to their first pair of climbing shoes that doesn't break the bank.
The Tarantulace is a neutral shoe that's comfortable for all day wear at the crag or the gym. The only time I found myself taking off the shoes were either to change them out for a more aggressive shoe or once I was done with my session. Although I prefer climbing shoes with velcro straps as opposed to laces, I do like how the laces on the Tarantulace extend far down the foot, allowing for a tailored fit. I also like that La Sportiva updated the color schemes on the Tarantulace - the white, grey and red color scheme is aesthetically pleasing, especially when compared to the prior model's color scheme (aqua, grey and white). I will say the tongue of the Tarantulace will stain the top of your feet red as you start to sweat in the shoes/break them in, but not to worry, it comes out easily while showering. One thing to keep in mind is that the Tarantulace is a leather climbing shoe, meaning that the shoe may stretch over time, so size your shoes accordingly.
Photo by Walter Koning
I've tested the Tarantulace on my homewall in my garage and at Pie Shop and Christmas Valley in South Lake Tahoe, California and am pleased with the Tarantulace's overall performance. Obviously the sensitivity of the Tarantulace is not going to be similar to my current favorite shoe, the La Sportiva Theory, but I could still easily feel where I was placing my toes on the rock. The FriXion RS rubber on the shoe is extremely sticky and will definitely inspire newer climbers to trust their feet on the rock and plastic. I felt completely secure edging and smearing in the Tarantulace while giving the above pictured boulder multiple burns (the crux was getting my right hand onto the huge hold) before I finally got the send. The midsoles on the Tarantulace are also stiff, meaning they're supportive so your feet won't be as tired. For instance, while we were taking some close up shots for the Tarantulace outside for this review, I had to hold foot placements for a fair amount of time to make sure we got the shot just right. My feet only started to get tired as we neared the end of the session for the day.
Photo by Walter Koning
The rubber on the Tarantulace also feels much more durable when compared to other softer rubber type shoes, like the Solution and Futura, which is a huge plus since the Tarantulace will be able to hold up to a newer climber's bad footwork/technique and not immediately blow a hole through the rand of the shoe. Generally as a newer climber you're not going to want to spend a ton of money on your first pair of climbing shoes as you'll probably wear through them quickly due to poor technique (don't worry, we've all been there). Technique will obviously come with time and more practice on the wall, but paying $130+ for a few months of use of a climbing shoe before you have to resole them for another $100 seems silly. As of the time of writing this review, the Tarantulace is retailing for $85.00 (without tax), which is hard to beat price wise when compared to similar shoes from other companies like the Scarpa Origin ($98.95 without tax) or Black Diamond Momentum ($94.95 without tax).
Photo by Frank Lee
All in all, I'm very happy with the performance of the Tarantulace and I cannot recommend these shoes enough to newer climbers. You will not regret your purchase.