Did Mallory and Irvine really reach the summit way back when? Who has the best kung fu? These are questions with easier answers than that of how to size your rock shoes. The V15-climbing gym rat will tell you that if your toes feel anything but searing pain, the shoes are too big. But what does he know — he's probably only 12 years old anyway. The veteran trad will insist that you need to leave room for three pairs of wool socks. Should you completely trust someone who might suffer from altitude-induced brain damage?
While it isn’t a black or white issue, a general rule dictates that soft shoes require a tighter fit, two to three sizes smaller than your street shoe size. We recommend you fit your trad shoes one to two sizes under your street shoe size. A thick midsole creates a platform on which you stand, while a slip-lasted slipper-type shoe relies on your crammed toes to create an edging platform.
Once you determine your needs, try on several boots in that genre. Different last types fit different feet -- that's why we make lots of lasts. If it feels good, it probably is. Remember to factor in stretch. Unlined slip-lasted shoes tend to stretch a bit more than lined shoes -- about one full size. Lined shoes stretch about a half size. Remember: a well-fit comfortable shoe will work better than an ill-fitting tighter shoe.
La Sportiva's diverse last families have been specifically designed to conform to the widest possible range of both foot shape and climbing use. We constantly strive to revolutionize climbing shoe development and to provide every individual absolute freedom of choice in finding a shoe that is perfect for both their foot AND their climbing style.
And you thought buying a new car was tough... Getting the perfect fit in a pair of hiking boots is rarely as simple as relaying your size. Most good boot fitters will measure your foot on a Brannock device. Overall length is actually a minor element of boot fitting. In the ideal world, our left foot would be a mirror image of our right, while the ball of our foot would line up exactly with the last-maker's idea of the perfect foot. This is almost never the case because other factors such as heel to ball length, volume, and width are critical in gaining a perfect fit. A good salesperson will address each of these issues.
To use our size chart to fit mountain boots, find your American size then go across to your European size, and then add one half size. When trying on boots make sure to bring the socks you would normally wear and any orthotics or custom footbeds you use. Another note: our shoes are handmade, and you can experience minor variations in sizing from pair to pair in a given size. What you’re looking for is the size that holds your toes ever so slightly away from the front of the boot while the lacing system is snug across the top of your arch. To check the length, you should be able to slip one finger behind your heel when you are standing up with the boot unlaced and your toes touching the front. The fit across the top of your arch is the single most important factor. If the lacing system here does not hold your foot in place, the boot will not be stable on your foot while you walk. If the boot is too short, your toes will get smashed walking down hill. Too long and your heel will slide up and down and give you blisters. Be patient, ask questions and make sure you’ve got the right size and the right fit and the right boot before you hit the trail.
Here are a few tips to make sure your new boots fit properly:
• Try your boots on with the socks you intend to wear in the field.
• Try them on later in the day since feet are prone to swell slightly as a day progresses.
• Wear them only indoors until you are confident about the fit.
• Your foot should feel snug (not tight) from the arch back into the heel pocket with just a minimum lift as you walk. If your heel lifts make sure the lacing is snug and not too loose.
• Your toes should not touch the front of the boot, but when you kick the toe into the floor, you should know where the front of the boot is. You want just enough room to wiggle your toes.
• If your toes or sides of your feet feel squished, most likely the width is too narrow.
• If your toes touch the front of the boot, most likely it is too short and you need the next half size up.
• Retain all original packaging which came with the boots until you are sure that you are happy with your purchase.
Our hiking, backpacking and mountain boots use only the best leathers available. We hand-craft our boots using old-world traditions and high-tech components to provide the finest technical outdoor footwear available. We could use cheap leathers and cut corners, but we think that making boots in the Italian Dolomites, our way, makes a better boot. Most of our boots feature a one-piece leather upper which creates the highest level of water impermeability and durability. We use several different leathers created specifically for La Sportiva to meet the rigid design specifications for each model.
ANFIBIO (2.5-2.8 mm): Extremely water repellent full-grain leather with the grain layer, or top-grain, facing out. A special tanning process is used for optimal water resistance.
LORICA: A synthetic leather that is constructed from extremely small micro-fibers for a water-repellant, breathable and highly durable material.
IDRO-PERWANGER (2.8-3.2+ mm): This premium silicone impregnated rough-out leather is made for us by Perwanger Leather of Italy. Perwanger has been making leather in the Southern Tyrol region of Italy since 1780 and tans their Idro-Perwanger hides with a special process to make them extremely water repellent while still remaining breathable. This leather is the most durable available and is made from the corium, the strongest part of the leather.
NUBUCK (2.8-2.9 mm): Very supple and full-grain, the top-grain is micro-abraded for a soft finish of close fibered and water resisting leather. Because the grain layer is sanded, this leather accepts water repellent formulas very easily.
LEATHER (1.0-2.0 mm): Leather with a buffed surface in varying degrees of nap, from fine to coarse brushed. This leather is used in our rock shoes where sensitivity and breathability are most important.
Treat the leather on the outside of your boots- If applicable, treat the leather on the inside of your boots as well.
How do I care for my boots?
Use a seam sealer for extreme conditions
Pay attention to seams and rivets when waterproofing
Clean your boots after each use and re-treat as needed
Allow boots to air dry- Do not use a heat source
Take boots to a knowledgeable cobbler for repairs
What should I use to treat my new boots?
For a general purpose waterproofing product, we have found that Nikwax Aqueous Wax Leather Waterproofing performs the best
Re-apply this product as necessary or after every use in severe conditions
We also recommend that you occasionally condition the leather Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather
It is possible to use petroleum-based products too much, so apply only occasionally
A seam sealer will also help to keep water out
* Please note these products may darken the color of the leather
What if my boots are Gore-Tex®?
We recommend treating the leather on your Gore-Tex® boots the same as you would on any other leather boot.
The durable waterproofness of the Gore-Tex® membrane is not affected by leather conditioners, silicone, oil or shoe polish.
Choosing the best crampon depends primarily upon your intended usage and secondarily on boot construction. Like all other gear, certain types are suitable for certain situations, others are not, and there is always overlap. Seek professional advice when shopping for crampons, take your boots to the store and make sure the crampons fit — sometimes adjustments or minor modifications are required. For general mountaineering, where lower angle snow and moderate ice climbing are the main course, flexible or semi-rigid crampons are the tools of choice. These will be adequate for less severe terrain and much more manageable for walking than their more technical brethren. This type of crampon can be affixed to your boots in three basic fashions: Strap-On, Newmatic (aka Rapidfix), and Step-In (aka Automatic).
Strap On Crampons:
A Strap-On will work on just about any type of boot, using webbing or neoprene straps to keep the crampon in place. These are great for versatility, but can be slow to put on.
Newmatic Crampons are rapidly gaining popularity for their ease of use, and multiboot compatibility. These have straps over the toe, and a heel lever and bail in the back. This allows you to use them on boots, such as our Trango Alp, which are designed to have crampon grooves in the heel only. This will allow you to use only one boot and still keep the rock climbing performance you need, long after stepping off the glacier. You can use these on any of our other mountaineering boots as well. Strap a pair onto your Nepals and you're ready for the Black Ice Couloir. Don't worry about using Newmatics with overboots — they fit securely over the extra layer, and are difficult to put on wrong.
A Step-In Crampon has bails in the front and back and a heel lever to tension it onto the boot. For these to securely fit, it is necessary that the boots have crampon grooves on the heel and toe, or a full welt for the toe bail and heel throw to rest on. These are the fastest to put on and take off and there won¹t be any loss of circulation from straps over the top of your foot. Semi-rigid or rigid; dual and mono point versions are available and will it any of our Mountain Boots. Choose these according to your climbing needs.
La Sportiva HIGHLY recommends that heat molding is carried out at a specialist shop! The company does not accept any responsibility for damage caused to third parties due to incorrect use of product.
Steps to follow for the correct adaptation of the shoe to your foot:
1) Turn on the oven and set to the ideal temperature of 130 degrees C.
2) Put the La Sportiva liner in the oven and leave to warm up for 10/12 minutes.
3) Make sure the external boot shell is completely open and that it is kept at room temperature.
4) Insert the foot bed into the liner to determine the "top-cap" height within the boot. Use a sock to help the foot slide easily into position.
5) Remove the liner from the oven and insert your foot. Make sure that the underfoot seams present are not deformed. Proceed as quickly as possible so that the lining does not cool down thus losing its properties.
6) Fasten the liner tightly.
7) Allow the foot to slip within the liner and the liner shell, keeping the gaiter open - Be careful not to damage the liner in any way.
8) Make sure the heel is well positioned towards the back of the liner.
9) Buckle the external shell with just sufficient adjustment in tension and set the boot aside until completely dry (about 10 minutes).
• Remove the liner after every outing
• Allow the boot to dry naturally, never by a heat source
• Avoid over heating the liners
• Store in a cool dry place during the summer months
• The liners can be hand washed in cold water