La Sportiva Kataki Climbing Shoes – Ideal Crack Climbing Shoe
If your feet fit La Sportiva climbing shoes, then lucky you… they’re the best in my opinion. For years I’ve used the La Sportiva Katana Lace as my go-to trad and crack climbing shoe, so I was curious about the new Kataki shoe – it looks really similar to the time-tested Katana Lace. I climbed in the Kataki this summer on rock ranging from high-country gneiss and thin-edge quartzite in Colorado to grit-like granite in Index, Washington, and I’m super impressed with these shoes. They are my new go-to crack climbing shoes.
This shoe is very similar to the Katana, with a few notable differences. First, similarities: they share the asymmetrical toe box which focuses edging power on the big toe, and the offset lacing which protects the laces from cutting while jamming thin cracks.
Now differences: The Kataki is a bit more slender in the last and the toe box, which lets you get more purchase jamming in thin cracks (however broader feet might prefer Katana Lace). The Kataki is also both slightly more aggressively down-turned AND slightly softer than the Katana, some wizardry achieved by the combination of the P3 platform underfoot (which transfers weight to the point of the big toe) and the S-heel design which lets the shoe hold your foot in a natural down-turned shape.
The result is a shoe that edges extremely well, can be torqued into any shape of crack, and smears better than the Katana Lace because it’s a bit more soft and sensitive. In short – the ideal shoe for varied crack and face climbing found on most trad routes.
Review of La Sportiva Kataki Climbing Shoes
For super-tech bouldering or fierce 30-degree overhangs, there are probably more ideal shoes. That said, if you were traveling and only brought these, and happened to climb in a steep cave, I wouldn’t worry about it – these are very versatile. $175