La Sportiva Otaki Climbing Shoe Review
I’ve been climbing in the La Sportiva Otaki shoes for about a year now after my previous La Sportiva Solution shoes finally wore out from two years of hard gym climbing (and a few outdoors trips). I picked these up at REI back in July (it’s now early September) and have been only gym climbing in them so far.
I split my time half and half between roped routes and bouldering these days, so I’ve had a chance to get a feel for them as an all-around shoe.
I bought the Otaki mid-summer 2016 after my Solutions wore through the toe after two years of hard sport climbing and the occasional bouldering outing. I decided to try something different from the Solution because while the Solution is precise, it is also a substantial shoe and I wanted something more lightweight that I would be able to wear comfortably at the gym. The Solution felt like a boot, whereas the Otaki feels like a pair of streamlined running shoes.
The Otaki has a dual velcro enclosure, one high up on your foot to keep your heel down and one lower down that cinches the other direction to keep your toes precise.
The Otaki fits very similarly to the Solution, and most La Sportiva shoes, in that it is made for mid to wide feet. My feet are not wide, but they have some weird bone angles that make skinny shoes quite uncomfortable (don’t even get me started on ski boots…). So the Otaki is a great fit for me.
Fit and Breaking in
So far, I have found the Otaki to be incredibly comfortable. I have an average width foot, but I also have a bump on the outside of each foot that often turns into a pressure point. These shoes have not irritated that pressure point at all.
One thing to note with the Otaki is that it will be super comfortable and still feel like it will not slip even when it is a size bigger than you usually climb. I started with a size 10.5 and ended up buying a 9.5, which still fits like shoes I am used to and does not slip.
I have owned these shoes for two months now. After approximately a dozen times top roping and a dozen times bouldering, they are beginning to feel broken in and like they fit me well, instead of stiff new shoes. I did not wear them in the shower or warm water like some people suggest to break in new shoes.
So far, the Otaki have held up well. I tend to take very good care of my equipment, wiping off chalk and removing it from the soles before I climb, so my shoes do tend to last a long time.
I normally wear through the toes of my shoes before anything else wears out. I did this with the La Sportiva Solution and my Scarpa Instinct S shoes before that. On that side, the Otaki are wearing a bit quicker than I normally expect, so we will see how they are in a year’s time and after some strong outdoor climbing.
The Otaki have the Vibram XS Edge sole, which is a mid-hardness sole that works across bouldering and sport climbing. Hopefully they last longer than a year, as $170 is not a cheap price for a pair of shoes!
I wear a men’s 10.5 in almost all shoes, but I’m wearing a 36.5 in the Otakis. I almost went with a 37 or 37.5, but kept sizing down until they felt snug but not too tight. I am treating them like the all-around pair of shoes that they are, so I didn’t want a toe-crushing bouldering fit.
Type of climbing
I have used the Otaki for both top roping and bouldering, and they shine in both. I have great control over my toes and heel hooks are a breeze, even easier than in my old Solutions.
Because the Otaki are downturned, they are not comfortable for a long period of time. I usually take them off between climbs and bouldering problems, or at least loosen them up by releasing the velcro.
The Otaki are not recommended for trad climbing or long multi-pitch climbs.
Price and Details
The Otaki retails for $175.
According to the manufacturer, the Otaki has:
- P3® patented technology for a down-turned performance fit for slicing and dicing where needed
- Patented S-Heel™ construction provides optimal heel hooking maneuverability and the perfect heel cup fit
- Laser-cut uppers reduce stitching and bulk