La Sportiva Miura VS Shoe Review

by ako shillitoe
Posted: 19th May 2013
Tags: La Sportiva, Miura VS, review

With names such as Testarossa and Miura casting allusions towards Italian supercars, I was expecting big things of La Sportiva rock shoes. And I wasn't disappointed! Good looking, high performance and comfortable are some of the things that come to mind, and just like the Lamborghini its name points towards, the Miura VS is packed with technology and power.

La Sportiva say that the Miura VS is perfect for competitions and for the most demanding climbers, and while I'm sure that this is definitely true, this is much more of an accomplished all-rounder than they give it credit for. I used my first pair of Miura VS for 12 months on a variety of rock types. Tradding at Gogarth, limestone sport routes, bouldering on grit and a winter's worth of hammer on the wall. A thorough testing you might say!

One reason for this is that despite being a high performance shoe it is actually very comfortable even when worn with a snug fit. In fact I'd go so far as to say that this is possibly the most comfortable performance shoe I have ever worn. And I did buy them eye wateringly tight, in fact on their first outing I did wonder if they were too tight! However by the third outing, they were breaking in nicely, stretching and moulding to my feet and feeling precise, but also comfortable.

So, is the Miura VS a Velcro version of the classic Miura lace-up (a thoroughbred that has been with us for some time now)? Well it is in as much as it shares it’s name, but that's not the whole story. The new Velcro version has been 'enriched', as La Sportiva put it, with some innovative technical features. This builds upon the success of the lace-up but also gives the convenience of a quick fit thanks to three Velcro straps. To climb in, I would actually say that the Miura VS is more akin to a Katana Lace-up, being stiff but having a slightly aggressive, toe-down profile.

The Miura is based on a slip last (the last is a piece of 3D foot-shaped plastic that a shoe is built around). It is pointy with a high level of asymmetry (the shoe really emphasizes your big toe) meaning the toes can easily be placed precisely into pockets or onto small edges. All this combined with a down-turned toe means that you can grab edges and pockets with your toes and generate more force through them on steep ground.

Now usually with these toe down type boots, I find that edging power is compromised on vertical walls and slabs. However this was not so with the Miura Velcros, lateral stiffness being very good. I'm not saying this is an out-and-out edging boot, (try the standard Miura lace or Katana lace instead) but I certainly couldn't blame my shoes for being the limiting factor on edgy routes and problems, as they were very supportive indeed.

The heel of the shoe is very secure and fits my foot perfectly. Combined with the security of three velcro straps that pull the shoe snugly around the foot, as well as a neoprene tongue that sits over the top of the foot (very comfortable!), the Miuras performed magnificently on all heel hooking terrain.

The upper is constructed from one-piece leather that is then lined with Dentex (a synthetic material that minimizes stretch). However the shoe is left unlined under the foot to maximize sensitivity. This does actually work, as the Miuras are a very precise and sensitive shoe. All of this is then finished off with La Sportiva's P3 (Permanent Power) Platform, which is supposed to guarantee the retention of the shoe's shape over time.

So does the P3 platform work? Well to be honest I was sceptical. I usually find that any shoes I have bought with a performance fit eventually bag out and become floppy resulting in them becoming unusable for their intended purpose. However, this has not happened with the Miuras. I am still wearing mine on sport routes and boulder problems that are at my technical and physical limit. They are comfortable but are maintaining their shape and performing admirably.

The rubber
The Miura VS feature a 4mm Vibram XS Edge sole. This is a compound from Vibram that is designed for maximum support, edging and durability. Vibram say: “Vibram® XS EDGE compound allows you to focus your weight on the tiniest of holds. Thanks to improved plastic deformation resistance, Vibram® XS EDGE keeps its shape through hours of repeated abuse, whether in hot or cold weather.” I’ve definitely found this to be true and as I’ve said previously, edging performance is great but sensitivity is not compromised and they perform well on all angles. Durability is also good. I haven’t used them in very warm conditions yet, but my experience of this rubber on other shoes, has always been positive when I’ve used them in warmer climates.

On the technical delights of Psycho, Caley (Copyright, Stuart Littlefair)

 

Any problems?
This is the third pair of Miura VS I have owned and I have to say I have had no problems at all with them. The first pair I originally reviewed and tested for UKclimbing.com and had some issues with the durability of the velcro closure but this has since been rectified and my subsequent pairs have held up fine. One slight downside is the price, but I believe in a lot of ways, you get what you pay for and the Miura VS is a top quality product that should last a while.

Sizing
La Sportiva rock shoe sizing is a little odd and a major downsizing is needed from your shoe size. I take a UK 8 (Euro 42) in trainers but tested a UK 51/2 (Euro 38 1/2) in these and once worn in they were actually quite comfortable. The most important thing about a rock shoe is the fit. It must fit you well if it is going to do its job properly. What works for me may not work for you so I would always recommend trying as many different models in a shop as possible, before making a choice.

Conclusion
This is a superb shoe. Great for sport climbing and bouldering, but also brilliant for trad. They excel on steep ground but handle slabs and edges with ease due to the superb Vibram XS Edge rubber and lateral stiffness. They are comfortable, precise and sticky and the three velcro straps offer a secure but convenient fit. The only downside is they’re not cheap, but personally I'd say they're worth it! I know I've said it before but the Miura Velcro really is the most comfortable performance shoe I've ever worn!

Kevin Avery http://www.climbinggearreviews.com

 

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Comments

1 comment so far. Add yours!

carl dawson

21.05.2013 09:08:35
Probably the most effective shoe I've had in nearly 50 year's climbing... the evidence being that I've been able to climbed my hardest grades ever in them! Also, they have taken a resole better than any other shoe I've had which says a lot about their build quality (well done Feet First though, who do a careful job). I would still use the resoled pair for serious sport climbs, they're that good. A brilliant shoe... on my third pair.

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