The much awaited update to the La Sportiva Testarossa is here and we are a little bit excited. I say "little bit" because we were apprehensive that La Sportiva was changing one of our, and a heap of climbers, most favourite models. Why fix it when it's not broke? The original Testarossa is well over 15 years old and yet when you compare it on the climbing shoe market it still stands tall against models released recently. Its construction gives amazing power VS sensitivity (or maybe power WITH sensitivity is a better way to put it), and the two stage lacing system that runs a long way down the toe box means that it perfectly fits a heap of different foot shapes.
So how does the new Testarossa stack up...?
First of all the best thing... they didn't change much. La Sportiva didn't reinvent the whole thing, they just tweaked the finer points of the Testarossa. One thing they did a massive improvement on though was the heel. At the turn of the century, technical heel hooking wasn't really a big deal. It is now. They've now lined the heel with a synthetic liner. They've also redesigned the rubber layup to be on par with their other new models making the heel super stable so that it doesn't collapse under a heap of pressure. It's also a lot stickier.
The second point is the aesthetics. I know, I know it's not a real big deal but La Sportiva have kept one of their best models "current" by keeping the look current. It's not too outlandish and keeps well to the original style.
All the changes apart from these two have been minor tweaks. Tweaks to the rubber P3 layup, tweaks to the last, and tweak to the upper construction. But nothing too dramatic and certainly nothing that would make you with you had the original back again.
KEY POINTS ABOUT THE LA SPORTIVA TESTAROSSA -
Often with more aggressive models of rock climbing shoes, the fit (or last) of the shoe is quite limited, meaning it will fit a certain foot type - think narrow or wide as the basics. The key difference with the Testarossa is that the asymmetric lacing system is a two stage lacing system that goes all the way to the toe box. It lets you perfectly adjust the toe box how you like it, then gives you a quicker in-and-out style lacing towards the top. This means that a huge range of different feet can fit the Testarossa perfectly, unlike velcro or slipper models.
One of the main points that everyone loves about the Testarossa is its sensitivity. Carefully constructed uppers using both leather and synthetics combined with a carefully designed sole means that you can feel every little crystal you stand on but do not sacrifice power.
The dramatic asymmetric last of the La Sportiva Testarossa focuses the maximum amount of weight on the smallest point. Meaning you can get the most friction and power from the smallest foot holds imaginable. The P3 Platform rand is also precisely make to give progressive tension. Like a leaf spring in a car, it is super soft when first flexed to allow you to get the most surface area of rubber on the hold, but press it in harder and it stiffens right up giving you maximum power.
The updated La Sportiva Testarossa features a brand new heel that is going to be your favourite companion on hard heel hooks. Now lined, it also features new rubber and rubber layout.