La Sportiva Otaki vs Solution
One question we hear asked a lot is how the La Sportiva Otaki compares vs the Solution. I formerly climbed in the Solution and in the last few months switched to the Otaki, so this comparison is from firsthand experience.
Overview Otaki vs Solution
The Solution has long been a favorite of pro climbers and amateurs alike, so a few years ago when my Scarpa Instinct S slip-ons wore out (and I loved those shoes) I decided to go with the Solution. Two years later when those wore out, I decided to switch to the Otaki.
I discovered that I love La Sportiva, as the shoes fit my feet well. My feet are fairly average (10.5 US and medium width) and La Sportivas are neither too thin nor wide.
But how do the two shoes compare?
The Otaki and Solution both have the Vibram rubber sole, but the type is different.
The Solution have the Vibram XS Grip 2, which Vibram markets as competition climbing rubber and is best for overhanging surfaces.
The Otaki have the Vibram XS Edge rubber, which Vibram markets as precision grip and optimal for “extreme multi pitches”.
The Solution may be a tiny bit grippier, but if you are doing any sport climbing then the slightly harder Otaki rubber may suit you better.
The Solution is meant for steep overhanging bouldering problems and routes. Its sole is a bit more aggressive through the arch, which does make it a bit easier to keep your feet on those super overhanging problems.
The Otaki is a tiny bit less aggressive, which I did not really even notice until I put the two shoes on at the same time for the purpose of this review. That said, it feels a lot more sustainable for wearing on longer climbs, and I have also noticed that I do not feel the need to take them off as soon as I get off a problem or route.
When you look at the heel of the Solution vs the Otaki (image above), it is apparent that the Solution is optimized for heel hooks as it has a deeper heel cup and the one-enclosure velcro (which we will cover in the next section) cranks down your heel into the heel cup, not allowing it to go anywhere.
The Otaki’s heel cup is not quite as deep, as the Otaki is more optimized for longer routes than super hard and technical overhanging heel hooks like the Solution.
One more difference between the Solution and the Otaki is the enclosure setup.
The Solution has a one-velcro enclosure that locks down your heel. It’s easy-on, easy-off which is nice with such an aggressive shoe that needs to be taken off between climbs!
The Otaki has two opposing velcro enclosures. It’s a different setup from something like the Evolv Defy, which does not have opposing closures.
One final note is that the Solution is a much more high volume shoe than the Otaki. The Solution rides a lot higher on the ankle than the Otaki, which means that it feels substantial and keeps on your foot, even though it is a bit heavy.
The Otaki is a lot more minimal, which I love for longer routes. My feet feel a lot more precise and able to move and nail the foot holds I need to on hard routes and bouldering problems.
The Solution retails for $180, though it is possible to find sales around $130.
The Otaki retails for $175 at almost all major online and physical retailers, and is harder to find sales on though they occasionally appear for around $140.
Conclusion – La Sportiva Otaki or Solution?
After looking at the two shoes side by side, I have arrived at the following conclusion: