Using these shoes will make you climb three grades harder.
The above is true, if only for a given value of true; in this case that value being if you climb for long enough and train a lot, there is every chance you will, in fact, climb three grades harder.
But in a world where climbing gear is now subject to the whims of fashion, popularity and how cool it makes you look, what have these puppies got that the other myriad climbing shoes on offer don’t? What is that one special feature, that je ne sais quoi, that certain sparkly sparkle that will make you choose these over all the others on the rack? Do you make your decision based on the rubber, the fit, the design, the coolness rating? Do they scream ‘purchase me! You beautiful climber god, I will make you climb twice as good as before, and help you meet other interesting climbers!’
The nice Bolognese quaffing people at La Sportiva have a long history of making very good boots. And as well as being possessed of a high technical standard and quality, they have also mastered the modern art of Bling; that is to say, they are the Gucci, the Coco Channel, the Christian Dior of the rock shoe world. Don’t believe me? Just look at the Solutions…need I say more? The Insane Rocks, the Five. Eights, the Green Chilies, the Scrapers, Devlov’s, they are all very good in their own right, but fail to measure up to the bar Sportiva has been setting since the early 1600’s, or whenever it was they started making shoes.
The Miura VS combines technical prowess, elaborately futuristic design, and sexiness all in one package. And more importantly, they stand out a mile away. Not only will you be able to stand on dime edges and do drop-knees with wild abandon, you’ll also create the effect of two enormous bumble bees trying to eat you from the bottom up. And as we all know, half of climbing is all about looking good while doing it. Eye-catching.
Like the name implies, The VS is no more than an updated version of the time tested Miura. Or is it? Well yes, actually, but it has a few added bits and pieces that will be of interest. Notably they come fitted with the patented P3 midsole system that made its debut in the Solutions. Assign any three P words you like to this, but they actually stand for Power Performance Platform. Nifty. This means that, due to a rather clever tensioning system on the rubber throughout the shoe, you can bash them to death while still retaining a nice tight, supportive fit from the toe-box to the heel. Be warned that the leather will stretch roughly half a size or so over time, so walking to your local dairy to pick up a Cosmo in them isn’t recommended. And like the Solution, the opening is covered with a stretchy elastic sock, so fit them tighter than you otherwise normally would because this too will have a tendency to loosen up more than you may like. While the original Miuras had a fast lacing system, the pedantic on-off needs of the modern climber have been met with three Velcro straps, giving you the option to tighten the shoe just how you want it. They also make a satisfyingly annoying tearing sound every time you take them off.
he toe-box itself is centre pointing, and slightly more down-turned than its lace-up dad. If you’re a bit old school and don’t like all that bendy banana nonsense of the Testarossa or the Solution, but young enough to still enjoy a bit of precision in the last, then the VS sits in the happy mid-zone. Thanks to a hinge in the material at the base of the lowest strap, you can not only monkey about on big overhangs, but also press into smeary slabs with confidence once they have worn in a wee bit without the usual agony and torture that go with wearing slip lasted shoes.
Speaking of smeariness, one of the most important things to consider when spending your hard won coin on a shoe is its rubber. After all, you can have as many P’s in your platform, and as many straps and cool buttons and whistles as you like, but if the rubber on the bottom makes it feel like you have two blocks of lard attached to your paddles, then they’re all but useless. La Sportiva use, as I’m sure you’re already aware, XS Grip. Clever name. It probably means the rubber grips excessively, but we’ll never know. They used to imprint the name right into the rubber, and usually right into that very small area of the sole that touches the rock 90% of the time. Thankfully they have stopped doing this. But the real question I’m sure you’re wanting answered is ‘is the rubber actually sticky? I mean really? Come on now, sure they all say it does, but does it…really?’ And the answer would be yes…it is, and it does, but not for all time. That Sunday afternoon stroll down the beach or to the pub will inevitably wear the rubber out, and too much use on all those smooth plastic knobs in your local gym will create a glassy effect, drastically reducing the friction. As obi wan said to a plucky, youthful looking Mark Hamil in the first Star War: use the Miura VS, and the Force, wisely, my young apprentice.
So, will buying the Miura VS make you climb like Patxi Usobiaga? If you are not Patxi Usobiaga, then no, they won’t. If you’re expecting them to climb your project for you, then be prepared for severe disappointment. They do certainly tick a lot of boxes however. Their eye-watering yellow-and-black zigzag design will attack any passing climber like an alligator at a watering hole, and they have the super advanced technical specs of a Japanese washing machine to boot. In an age when shoe companies are considering attaching handbags, gold chains and silver buckles to their products in order to gain that all important edge over the competition, the Miura VS is running—until the next pimped out foot-glove comes out at least—ahead of the pack.
Star rating: 4ish
Where?: Stoney Creek, Tauranga