Every time I go to the crag or the gym I see the Miura, it’s quickly becoming a very popular climbing shoe. La Sportiva has two styles of the Miura, laced and velcro and both styles are available in both men’s and women’s. So, what’s the difference between these shoes? I asked five women (plus a review from myself) from around the country to do a review of whatever style they have. The result? Each of us have a different opinion of which style works best, but none of us can deny that the Miura is a great shoe.
Here we go….eight questions, six women’s opinions, four different styles – The Miura.
1) Which style(s) of Miura do you have? Velcro (VS), Laced, Men’s, Women’s.
Lizzy: I have Men’s and Women’s lace-ups and Men’s velcros. I’m lusting after another pair of M’s lace-ups.
Laurel: Men’s, lace, size 35
Elizabeth: Women’s VS
Terri: I have one pair of Women’s VS’s and one pair of Women’s Laced.
Katie: Women’s VS. Velcro all the way! (Katie previously owned the Women’s laced as well)
Whitney: I have the Women’s laced and Women’s Velcro Miuras.
2) What made you go for that style?
Lizzy: My first pair of Miuras were M’s lace-ups, which I acquired in 2003 as a much-needed upgrade from my way-too-big La Sportiva Cliffs. The W’s lace-ups and Miura VS weren’t an option yet, but lace-ups were a good choice for me because they allowed me to cinch the shoes on my narrow feet. Plus the rest of the shoe fit my foot really well, despite some extra space in the toebox that hasn’t really seemed to affect their performance.
Laurel: They were the last pair, they were my size, and they were on sale for $60! $60! I couldn’t afford not to buy them! They were my second shoes after my first pair of floppy beginner shoes. I don’t like to blame my equipment, so I thought I just sucked. But I wish I hadn’t waited so long to get them, climbing is so much more fun with nice shoes! I don’t know why people recommend that beginners get terrible shoes, switching to the Miuras was worth about 2 and a half number grades!
Elizabeth: They were on sale. I also liked the easy on/off of them, since they’re a more aggressive shoe, to give my feet a break between climbs. These are only my second pair of climbing shoes, and the first aggressive shoes I’ve owned. I had heard lots and lots of great stuff about the Miuras, so it made sense that they would be the shoe I would move to next.
Terri: My primary shoe before I got the Miuras was a trusty pair of Katanas that I have had since I started climbing 4 years ago and have resoled an uncountable number of time. Although I still love my Katanas I was looking for a more aggressive shoe to kick my footing up a notch. The laced Miuras fit the bill – I call my Miuras my “serious shoes!”
I got the laced first for sport/trad outdoor thinking the laced version was more adjustable. I ended up pretty much wearing the laced Miuras for all my gym climbing and for single pitch face climbs outdoors.
I wore the laced pair out & sent them off for a resole. I got the W’s VS’s to have as an alternate pair while the laced were gone. I like them just as much and don’t really feel a difference
Katie: I wanted an aggressive pair of shoes mostly for bouldering, but also for roped climbs with teeny dime edged holds. Some of the girls at my climbing gym had the Miuras (laced) and swore by them, so I figured I’d give them a try. I bought a pair and tried in vain to break them in, but just couldn’t deal with the pain. I experienced most of the pain on the knuckle of my big toes. It was painful enough that I’d skip harder boulder problems at the end of the night for fear I’d fall and have to land on my poor feet!
Whitney: When I started climbing I had no idea what kind of shoe I needed so I went to Wilderness Exchange in Denver and bought a cheap pair of La Sportiva Cliff climbing shoes. Three years later I decided it was time to step it up, so when I heard about the women’s laced Miuras I decided to go in that direction. I purchased a size 38.5 and it’s been a love hate relationship. I love how they perform, but my toes hate me. A year later while taking my laced Miruas to get resoled I decided it was time to start looking for a more “comfortable” aggressive shoe. I had the chance to buy the men’s La Sportiva Testarossa on pro- form, but first I wanted to try on all the other shoes at the local store just to be sure. As soon as I put the Miura VS’s on I knew I’d rather spend the full amount then miss out on having this shoe, they fit like a glove.
3) What have you used them for? (Trad? Sport? Bouldering?)
Lizzy: My lace-up Miuras are my go-to shoes for all my trad and multi-pitch climbing – I pretty much refuse to wear anything else. I still tend to take them off at belays unless it’s a particularly cold day, but I wouldn’t want to sacrifice performance for the convenience of not taking off my shoes. I also love them for pretty much any size of crack from tips to hands (and then there’s offwidth…). My lace-ups are in occasional service for sport climbing, although I tend to prefer the increased precision and down-turned shape of my Miura VS. I’m not bouldering too often these days, but when I do, my Miura VS are almost always involved, along with my W’s Katanas.
Laurel: Trad, sport, multi-pitch, etc. They’re my default outside shoes. I haven’t bouldered outside for years…
Elizabeth: I’ve used these for both sport climbing and bouldering.
Terri: I use them for both Trad and Sport outdoors – mostly for face climbs that require precise edging and some slab climbs. I sized both pairs of Miuras on the small side so I also have a pair of mythos for multi-pitch crack/slab routes. That way I don’t have to cry due to the pain after the first pitch. I am, however, a La Sportiva girl!
Katie: Mostly bouldering, indoors and outdoors. I’ve worn them on a few roped climbs, but find them still a bit too painful on extended routes.
Whitney: I use both shoes mostly for sport climbing and bouldering, but occasionally I’ve used my laced Miuras for single pitched trad climbs. For longer Multi-pitch routes I still use my Cliff shoe which is much less aggressive and sized larger.
4) Do you climb indoors or outdoors mostly? If outdoors, what kind of rock have you used them on (ie: sandstone, granite)?
Lizzy: I climb in the gym two nights a week, and am outside pretty often, usually several weekends per month. My lace-up Miuras spend more time climbing outside with me, and I’ve used them on a variety of rock types: granite, sandstone, basalt, welded tuff (think Smith Rock, OR), and metamorphic.
Laurel: All of the above. Indoors, outdoors, granite, basalt, diorite, andesite, sandstone, periodite, serpentine, quartzite, dolorite, slate, limestone, etc.
Elizabeth: I climb mostly indoors, but am adding more and more rock to my résumé. Last week I took my Miuras (VS) out to climb some sport routes on very slick limestone and they did really well.
Terri: I climb indoors 3 to 4 times per week mostly lead/top rope but some bouldering. I’ve used my Miuras outdoors on granite, metamorphic basalt, quartz monzonite at Joshua Tree.
Katie: I’ve been climbing indoors lately, but now that spring is finally here, I’ll get outside more! I’ve taken the Miura VS shoes outside several times and bouldered on granite and sandstone.
Whitney: I’ve used both the VS and the laced to climb indoors and outdoors, but since I’ve had the VS for less time, they’ve been used more for bouldering and indoors than anything. My Miura laced shoes have come with me to climb sandstone in Red Rock N.V., limestone at Shelf Road and granite (or similar to granite) crags in Golden Co.
5) What do you like most about them or what would you say they’re best for?
Lizzy: I like my lace-up Miuras because they are sensitive, but still stiff enough to support my feet. They are particularly good at the necessary skill (especially on granite) of “smedging”, where you smear your foot on a small slopey edge. I think the lace-ups are best for trad climbing – the lacing allows you to perfect the fit and don’t get in the way of sticking your foot inside of cracks. Also, the lace-ups don’t have the P3 Platform (like the VS do) so they get a little less aggressive as you break them in, making them more comfortable for trad or multipitch. I guess some people like softer shoes for crack climbing, but I like stiffer shoes better, and I’ve never felt my shoes were inhibiting my toe jamming.
I like my Miura VS because they are really comfortable but also climb really precisely. They stay more downturned than the lace-ups and so are great for sport climbing. They’re currently my go-to gym shoes for my “let’s get serious” routes, and they make a world of difference in my footwork after warming up in my W’s Katanas.
Laurel: This may be weird, but the lacing system is the best. Shoelaces might not be the sexiest thing, but it’s really important to me to be able to: 1) Get the fit exactly right every time 2) Be able to get them on and off quickly and easily between pitches (preferably one-handed so I can do it while belaying…). I also have 2 pairs of La Sportiva mountaineering boots and they did a great job with the laces on those, too.
Elizabeth: I love how solid smearing feels in these shoes. As long as I am actively pushing against that foot on the wall, it’s going to stick. I’ve also been able to edge on some very tiny holds with no problem. The design of the heel makes these pretty awesome for heel hooks, too. The first time I tried a heel hook in these shoes, it felt amazingly cool. These shoes are teaching me how to use my feet in a better way. They require that I be precise in my movements, and when I am, they are really solid.
They aren’t super girly, but they do have cool flowers on them, which is always a plus for me. 🙂
Terri: Definitely excellent for small edges and precise footwork. Not so good for crack!
Katie: One of my favorite features is the fact that the Velcro extends all around the tongue; you’re not stuck strapping into a specific spot on the shoe. I usually attach the bottom strap closer to my toes; it makes the shoe fit better, and I like that flexibility a lot. They’re just a generally fantastic all-around shoe; they work well for edging, smearing, and heel hooking. The heel is higher than other shoes I’ve worn, which protects my skin when I’m heel hooking. For me, they’re best for bouldering. They’re markedly comfortable than other aggressive shoes I’ve tried, but I still like ripping them off after a boulder problem than wearing them on a long route! But I do know girls who wear them all the time and for every kind of climbing. I ended up selling the laced version of my Miuras to a male friend at the gym, and he wears them all the time!
Whitney: Both the W’s VS, which is more down turned, and the W’s laced Miura use XS Grip2 rubber, which I’ve found is wonderful on vertical crimpy climbs, huecos, slabs and overhanging. Whenever I put on my old La Sportiva Cliff climbing shoes now (with XSV rubber) I feel I’ve lost a lot of the grip and precision I have in my Miuras.
6) If any, what complaints do you have?
Lizzy: That they don’t last forever! I sadly had to retire my first pair of Miuras (lace-up M’s) after 7 years of hard use and countless resoles. It was a sad moment. I’ve also found the padded tongue on my W’s lace-ups has actually gotten more uncomfortable with time, which has left me wanting another pair of M’s lace-ups as their eventual replacement.
Also, it can be awfully hard to find them small enough (especially since I apparently prefer the M’s version to the W’s).
Laurel: They are on the stiff side, so not the best for everything. I have some thinner, more sensitive shoes for that.
Elizabeth: As with any more aggressive shoes, these are tight and a little bit painful. They’ve broken in quite a bit, but are still difficult to wear for more than a short time.
Terri: No complaints.
Katie: I’d say my only complaint is that they’re uncomfortable, but any aggressive shoe will be. In terms of form and function, they’re great! Just be prepared for a longer-than-average break-in period.
Whitney: I’m really happy with both shoes, but the W’s VS make my toes happier.
7) Comparisons if you have more than one style of Miura.
Lizzy: I think the W’s lace-ups fit a little bit looser than the M’s, and I prefer the less-padded M’s version. The VS seem somewhat lower volume than the lace-ups – there’s extra space in the toebox of both my M’s and W’s lace-ups, but not in my M’s VS. The VS also stay more aggressive after you break them in, which is good for bouldering/sport climbing, not so good for trad (but Velcro shoes are generally non-ideal for trad anyways).
Terri: They (Women’s Laced and VS) don’t feel that different but I think I prefer the laced because there is the ability to more finely adjust the tension.
Katie: There’s something different about the way the W’s Miura VS model is constructed (compared to the Women’s laced) that makes the seams and tongue lay in a slightly different place. Though they’re still painful, as any aggressive shoe will be, I can actually wear them!
Whitney: I’ve had issues with my laced Miura being uncomfortable in the toe box on my right foot and I wish I would have tried on the Men’s lace-ups to see if they fit my foot better. Overall the precision of the laced shoe has been wonderful. A year later, when I tried the Women’s VS on, and realized they fit my foot so well, I decided to try the men’s VS on just to be sure I was buying the right shoe. The men’s VS didn’t fit my foot as well as the women’s VS.
Despite being a more down-turned shoe than the laced Miura, the W’s VS seem to have a little extra room for my not very bendy toes. I also really love the velcro on the VS it’s easy to get on and off when bouldering and sport climbing. (The flower design is pretty cute too.)
8 ) Any sizing issues?
Lizzy: I wear my VS (35) a half-size smaller than my lace-ups (35.5), and a half-size bigger than my Katana size (34.5) – the VS fit a little more tightly than my lace-ups (and similar to my Katanas), but this is a good thing for the way I use them. In the lace-ups, I think the W’s are a tiny bit looser than M’s for the same size.
Elizabeth: True to size, for me. I wear the same size in these as I do in my other climbing shoes. I am tall and, therefore, have large feet and was pleasantly surprised to find the women’s shoes in my size.
Terri: The heel cup is a little deep for me (same as the Katanas) so I couldn’t tolerate a size large enough to make them comfortable on multi-pitch climbs. I wear a size 9 street shoe, my Katanas are size 37 and both my Miuras are size 38 (I couldn’t get my feet into the 37 Miuras). I have to take them off between climbs.
Katie: I wear a 39.5 in the La Sportiva Mythos, but found I’m only comfortable in a 40.5 with the Miuras. They seem to run a little small, at least to me, and they don’t stretch much.
Whitney: I’m pretty sure my toes are unusually un-bendy, making it harder to find aggressive climbing shoes that are snug but don’t make me want to cry. My first mistake when buying the W’s laced Miura was buying a half-size too small for my foot and just assuming I’d get use to it or that they’d stretch out and not be so painful. Yes, after a year and one resole they finally stretched a bit, but I wish I had just purchased a half-size larger in the first place. Take my advice and instead of thinking that your first pair of “aggressive”, down-turned climbing shoes are suppose to be so small you can barely stand it, buy the shoe that you can still tolerate to be in. I’ve also found that another popular brand’s toebox fit pretty well on my toes but dug into my ankle; the Miura’s fit perfectly around my ankle and stay in place.
As crazy as it sounds, I ended up purchasing the women’s VS in a half-size smaller (38) then my laced Miuras (38.5). I tried the size up and down and the 38 just felt right. I think this proves how different the lace and VS fit (and that I have strange feet.)
About the Reviewers:
Lizzy: Lizzy has been addicted to trad climbing for the past 9 years. She is currently a grad student in geology at Stanford University, where she splits her time between studying rocks and climbing rocks. You can read more about her various escapades at http://www.dreaminvertical.com or http://twitter.com/lizzy_t
She has also written another review of the Miura VS at http://www.dreaminvertical.com/2009/08/sweet-gear-la-sportiva-miura-vs/
Laurel: Laurel is located in the beautiful, sunny Pacific Northwest where she can participate in and enjoy almost every genre of climbing. Follow her blog at http://www.mountainsquirrel.com/ or http://twitter.com/mtsquirrel
Elizabeth: Elizabeth began climbing two and a half years ago and now considers herself to be amongst a growing number of “late-blooming athletes.” You can find her fueling her passion for the sport in the gym and, more and more, on the rock at her local crags and across the country. Follow her journey on http://elizclimbs.blogspot.com or http://twitter.com/eliz_rocks
Terri: Terri has been a life long athlete but didn’t start climbing until age 50. That was 4 years ago and since then she has climbed anytime and anywhere she can. She is fortunate to have a wonderful group of partners developed through the Sacramento Rock Climbing Meetup group. She also enjoys snowboarding, sculling, running, and backpacking. She (says she) is too lazy to write a blog but very much enjoys reading her tweeps blogs! http://twitter.com/@rockmaven56
Katie: Katie is a competitive swimmer turned outdoor adventure addict with a passion for playing outside and sharing that passion with others. She’s a rock climber, ice climber, hiker, backpacker and a wannabe mountaineer. When she’s not strapping on a backpack or tying into a rope, she’s chronicling her adventures at http://www.adventure-inspired.com and on http://twitter.com/k8tlevy
Whitney: Whitney discovered climbing after moving from Florida to Colorado about 5 years go. You can read more about her adventures in Colorado (here) on https://bradleysadventures.wordpress.com/ or http://twitter.com/Whitneyio