La Sportiva Women's Theory Review
New to the La Sportiva line up for 2020 is the Theory. The Theory has by far become my favorite climbing shoe in my quiver.
Prior to the release of this shoe, the La Sportiva Futura was my go to shoe. I've been a huge fan of the no edge technology of the Futura, so when I heard that the Theory would be a combination of no-edge technology and edge performance, I was super interested in checking them out. Climbernews.com summarizes the combination of the no-edge technology and edge performance of the Theory wonderfully: "essentially instead of having no edge at the front, it's at the sides of the shoe the rubber pulls up and over for no edges. There is still a defined and pointed edge at the front. This allows for micro edging on tiny foot chips but better continuous contact with modern, strangely shaped volumes."
La Sportiva made a good design choice using hibiscus and black as the color scheme for the Theory, the colors play so well off each other. It is definitely the prettiest shoe I own. Slipping my feet into the Theory felt like slipping on Cinderella's glass slipper. The shoe fit my feet perfectly, leaving no deadspace in the front of the toe without being uncomfortable. The Theory did not irritate the skin on my achilles as the Kataki and Solution used to do when I was breaking them in. For as downturned as the Theory is, I was surprised at how comfortable they are. I find myself taking my Solutions and Futuras off during my climbing session much more frequently than the Theory. That's not to say these fit like an "all day" type of climbing shoe, but the Theory is probably the most comfortable aggressive shoe I currently own. While I prefer the fast lacing system of the Futura and the Solution, the single velcro strap of the Theory works just as well.
The rubber on the Theory is phenomenal. Between countless homewall sessions in my garage to my first trip outside for the year in Yosemite this past July, the Theory exceeded my expectations. Trusting my feet on tiny footchips of Yosemite granite felt like a piece of cake in the Theory. Similar to the Futura, you can really feel the rock/holds you're standing on thanks to the shoe's no-edge technology. If you're unfamiliar with no-edge technology, it basically brings your foot closer to the rock because there’s less rubber, which means increased foot sensitivity, maximum surface area that’s in contact with the foot, and more of a homogenous push on footholds. Smearing in these shoes is a dream. The rubber is super sticky so I hardly worry about my feet sliding off the wood paneling of my homewall.
I unfortunately had a limited amount of time in the valley, so I didn't get to try any heel hooks or toe hooks to see how well they performed on the rock. I'm also a terrible routesetter for my homewall, but the limited heel and toe hooks I've been able to perform in the Theory have been perfectly fine. I was hoping by the time of publishing this review that my local gym would be open so I could test heel and toe hooks more thoroughly, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and California's guidelines for reopening, gyms in the San Francisco Bay Area remain closed. I plan on updating my review at some future point in time to comment more in detail on the Theory's toe and heel hooking capabilities and its performance on volumes and comp style problems, which was what they were initially designed for, so stay tuned.
Overall, the Theory has become my favorite go to climbing shoe and I'm looking forward to updating this review in the near future!