For the longest time I've wished that La Sportive Solutions could be my go-to shoe. The Solution toe is absolutely amazing, the shoe pulls on even the smallest footholds as if by itself and particularly on steep terrain Solutions give me a free boost of body tension and foot precision that I've felt wearing no other shoe. However they don't smear so well and the heel is, well, ... special to say the least. Bulbous and insensitive, it's a heel shape that people seem to love or hate (and I just can't find what's to love). It's a shame because on steep routes in the Bluies and Nowra the powerful toe is a great asset but these routes inevitably involve heal hooks as well. So I wear Pythons; soft and sensitive, they fit like a glove and have a brilliant heel. I sacrifice some toe power for a great all-round package. Until now...
Enter the Solution Comp. The Solution I've been waiting for. The Comp features the same toe shape with the powerful P3 rand tension system but a softer midsole and a little more width across the ball of the foot (also present on the new Theory). This allows for great smearing while still retaining a large proportion of the full-on pulling power of its wise old cousin. And the heel ...finally it’s great. It's lean and tight and confidence inspiring just like a climbing shoe heel should be. And this time it comes with the full package too.
The Solution comp, as it's name suggests, is oriented towards climbing on plastic (although not so much as the Theory which is softer still). Straight out of the box they feel great on all kinds of plastic terrain from smearing blank volumes to squeezing polished feet on the Moon Board. There is rubber extending a long way up the top-side of the shoe so they'll toe-hook anything and the closure system inherited from the rest of the Solution family offers a better tensioning system than simple Velcro tabs.
All up, the Solution Comp is an extraordinary high performance climbing shoe. If the gods insisted that I could only have one pair of climbing shoes these would definitely be them. And although they are ostensibly designed for climbing indoors I have not a shadow of a doubt that when the time comes to return to the rock, the La Sportiva Solution Comp will be the shoe I reach for first.
By Phil Staples
Phil Staples has been a "staple" in the Sydney climbing scene for many years. He's known far and wide for his gym setting and has worked both as an in-house setter and guest setter for a number of New South Wales gyms. You will also regularly catch him around the Sydney boulder scene where he's got a project at every crag.