La Sportiva Genius Review – Climbed & Tested

La Sportiva Genius featured image

When you’re looking for high-quality climbing gear, look no further than La Sportiva climbing shoes.

Today we’ll look at one of my favorite models: The La Sportiva Genius.

Not only have I tested this shoe, but some of the world’s most famous climbers have as well. You’ll be able to perform better on your next climb with this footwear.

Let’s get into the La Sportiva Genius review…

La Sportiva Genius Review – A Complete Climbing Shoe Review

The Genius was La Sportiva’s first high-end shoe, and it was described as ‘the tip of a very sharp spear.’ Does the shoe meet lofty expectations?

The Genius is a lace-up version of the pre-existing Speedsters (slipper) and Futura (velcro). With No-Edge technology, it’s La Sportiva most sensitive yet aggressive shoe.

Once you start using the product, it’s easy to tell that it operates differently than other products in its class. Whether you’re climbing in your own backyard or trying out a hardboard problem, the toes on this product will grip tight, even if the surface is extremely slippery.

I’ve been using them for close to three years now and have climbed some of my hardest climbs while wearing them. I can’t say that I’ve ever really found any big issues with their design or function.

The La Sportiva Genius – Toe Box

La Sportiva Genius review close up

The best aspect of the No-Edge shape is that the toe is already rounded. This provides a ‘molding’ effect on many footholds, allowing the shoe to ‘squish’ onto small feet securely.

The shoe functions better on larger overhangs and more difficult terrains because small, sharp edges can cause the shoe to not work as well.

Like its predecessor in La Sportiva’s range–the previous best shoe–it features a toe bump placed above your toes’ knuckles which makes placing and securing toe hooks much simpler.

The La Sportiva Genius – Heel

The heel on the Genius is very sophisticated, just like the toe hook mentioned earlier.

The lacing closure system provides zero slippage and the heel cup will fit snugly for most people’s feet. Some complain that it is slightly roomy, although I have not noticed this myself.

The shoe’s hyper-aggressive downturn and tighter fit around the foot lets you utilize your heel and toe more effectively, giving you more control when swinging on tufas or another featured terrain.

The heel features two different rubber strips – one dyed red and extremely soft. If your heel slips while exploring, beware that it will leave stains on surfaces like rocks or walls.

The La Sportiva Genius – Rubber

With the No-Edge concept, you don’t have to put any extra effort into breaking into your shoes. The XS Grip 2 rubber allows for a softer feel on most of Sportiva’s downturned shoes, but where this really shines is in its no-edge design and flawless performance.

Some commentators state that the No-Edge is detrimental because it encourages people to have lazy or sloppy footwork.

While I’m not entirely convinced that’s accurate, it is reasonable to say that you can sometimes struggle without an edge. However, the shoe is still incredibly effective and allows for unparalleled levels of control on footholds in both steep and horizontal terrain.

No-Edge shoes are designed to be thinner and more sensitive than traditional shoes, rubber included. However, over time Sportiva has made changes to the shoe’s rubber that have increased its lifespan.

The La Sportiva Genius – How They Fit

The La Sportiva Genius review side view

As stated earlier, the No-Edge concept modifies our perspective of shoes, particularly the idea of “breaking them in”. Despite wearing two pairs of Genius shoes over a few years, I discovered that it still requires several wears to make them feel “ready”.

The aggressive shape of the skis means that they should be sized accordingly, which can occasionally mean discomfort. Some users have also found the skis difficult to wear comfortably.

A great number of climbers, including some of the best users, say they feel as comfortable or more so than with other high-performance shoes. I definitely second that opinion from my experience.

The neoprene inner, combined with the laces, gives a suction-style fit that allows significant amounts of customization. For example, I wear mine with extra give around the toes for more comfort but keep the heel locked in with tight lacing.

The sizing for Sportiva shoes usually tends to run about 1.5 to 2.0 sizes larger than your standard street shoe size.

Value For Money

It is true that the La Sportiva Genius falls into a higher price range than some other shoes.

However, given its innovative design and excellent performance, it offers great value for money when you consider how long the shoe lasts. The XS Grip 2 rubber gives it better durability and longevity compared to other downturned shoes on the market.

In conclusion, the La Sportiva Genius is a great option for climbers looking for an aggressive, lightweight shoe with excellent performance. Its unique design and features make it an ideal choice for experienced climbers who need a reliable shoe when exploring new terrain.

Despite its price tag, the shoes offer excellent value and durability that will last you many years of climbing.

The Verdict

When climbers as experienced and successful as Adam Ondra and Molly Thompson-Smith choose a shoe, it’s definitely worth looking into.

I don’t think it’s as well-suited to more technical hard climbing, and I usually only break them out if the angle is more than 15/20 degrees overhanging (or if the footholds are exceptionally polished).

Although they might be expensive, they are definitely worth it. They offer a significant bump in performance compared to a mid-range shoe that might only be $20-$30 cheaper.

Try and keep them in good condition to avoid going through the thin rubber too fast though!

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