La Sportiva Testarossa Climbing Shoe Review
The Testarossa is a climbing shoe with the hallmarks of a sports car. It's sleek, powerful and designed for one reason alone: performance. Plus, it has the aesthetics to match its namesake.
How does the La Sportiva Testarossa fit?
My initial impression of the Testarossa was, Is this a lace-up version of the La Sportiva Solution?. It has a similar shape, the same rubber and rubber thickness, as well as a relatively similar heel cup. Once I pulled the Testarossa on, I realised I couldn’t have been further off.
The shape and volume of the Testarossa is wildly different from that of the Solution. Once it's on your foot, the radical asymmetry of the Testarossa is instantly noticeable.
The Testarossa is clearly designed for a higher volume, wider foot. For my pencil-thin foot, it isn’t exactly ideal. But I can tell that the Testarossa would feel fantastic for lovers of the Miura VS. The lacing system will also accommodate people with high arches or broader feet.
How does the La Sportiva Testarossa perform?
So, how does the Testarossa perform? Much like its predecessor, the 2019 Testarossa is a sport-climbing machine. It offers some of the best sensitivity you can get, thanks to its thin 3.5mm XS Grip 2 rubber sole and high-volume toe box, which allows you to really get your toes right at the end of the shoe.
The Testarossa's high asymmetry gives an extremely precise climbing experience, while remaining soft and sensitive. I found that I can't get as much toe into pockets as I can in my Solutions. This may be something to consider if you have grand plans to travel to the plethora of limestone cliffs around the world.
Updates on the new Testarossa
The updated Testarossa climbing shoe introduces some welcome updates to increase the longevity of the shoe. Most notably, the heel cup feels more similar to that of the Solution. Before you panic – no, not in shape! La Sportiva has added extra rubber around the Testarossa's heel to make heel-hooking feel much more secure. Compared to the Solution, the surrounding rubbers feel softer and will conform to the hold you’re cranking on when you need it to, without making heel toe-cams make you swear and curse.
I also appreciated the lining La Sportiva added to the heel and toe of the Testarossa, while leaving the middle of the shoe completely unlined.
While I’m not a user of the original Testarossa, my friends expressed their frustration at the old version's amount of stretch (particularly in the heel) that made it deform on hard heel hooks. Thankfully, with the extra rubber reinforcements, you can expect better performance, even a few resoles down the line.
What type of climbing the Testarossa is designed for
It's clear to me that designers of the Testarossa didn't have the demands of modern indoor bouldering in mind when it came to the redesign. The lack of a significant toe patch (partially to accommodate the awesome lacing system) is a drawback for those wanting to get the most out of marginal toe hooks.
Boulderers also won’t appreciate the incredible fit this asymmetric lacing system provides, as it does take a little bit longer to get on and done up properly compared to say, a Python.
In my opinion, the Testarossa is geared more toward the sport-climbing crowd. Its sole is surprisingly supportive for hard, longer routes. However, I’d save these for the steep stuff, because they’re still far from a stiff shoe. (On thin vertical lines, you'll prefer a shoe with more structure in the toe.) However, if your goals are more aligned with the steep caves of Nowra rather than the thin, long and technical routes of the Blue Mountains, then the Testarossa is worth checking out.