La Sportiva Katana Lace Review

One of our favorite rock climbing shoes is the La Sportiva Katana Laces. I have never found a climbing shoe that is versatile for all climbing styles, built for high performance AND can be comfortable to wear.

If you’ve shied away from La Sportiva climbing shoes in the past because they were too narrow for your feet, I have some good news. I found these shoes to be wider than other La Sportiva shoes, like the Miura Lace.

Depending how you size these shoes, they good be a great single pitch sport climbing shoe or all day trad climbing shoe. The shoe has a slight downturn for high performance over hung climbing. And crack climbers will love the low volume toe to get solid james in tiny and narrow cracks.

Let’s jump in to our La Sportiva Katana Lace review.

La Sportiva Katana Laces

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  • Padded tongue and extremely comfortable
  • Fantastic edging power
  • Slight downturned shape for steep climbing
  • I was able to boulder and sport climb hard routes and then do a few laps on a crack climb with the same pair of Katana Laces


  • One of the most expensive shoes on the market
  • Some of the stitching was unravelling on my after ten climbing sessions
  • Lack of sensitivity when smearing
  • Uglier (in my opinion) than the old version of Katanas
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Katana Lace Tech Specs

La Sportiva Katana Lace Tech Specs
Sizes34 - 46 (EU half sizes)
Weight8.8 oz / 250g
Amount of StretchAround half size
Rubber Sole4mm Vibram XS Edge
FitMedium Asymmetry
ColorYellow/Black or White/Black
Midsole1.1mm LapsoFlex with P3 System
ProfileSlight downturn
Upper MaterialMicrofiber & Leather
LiningPacific lining on forefoot and back

Katana Lace Features

  • Breathable tongue and inner lining create an extremely comfortable environment for your foot
  • New edition (2022) of the Katana Lace added more rubber to the heel cup and created a narrower heel sole design to improve heel hooking precision
  • Fast lace up closure system makes it almost as easy to put these shoes on as if they were velcro straps.

La Sportiva Katana Lace Performance

The Katana Lace is a high performance shoe. When we say this, we mean that it really is a great shoe for hard rock climbing.

What I loved most about the Katana Lace is its versatility. I have mine comfortably sized, and I was able to climb 5.11 sport climbs as well as boulder in the V5-V7 range. I was able to leave the shoes on for a long period of time without feeling any extreme pain in my foot.

Depending on how you size these shoes, it’s possible for them to be your go to redpoint sport climbing shoes or a comfortable shoe for long trad climbs. There aren’t too many other climbing shoes that can take that honor.

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Since there is 4mm of rubber on the sole of this shoe, you’re going to lose some sensitivity when you’re smearing. If you’re trying to feel every nook and cranny while smearing, the Katana Laces aren’t going to give that to you.

But they do perform perfectly fine on blank smears. I was climbing at a notoriously slick crag in Northern Virginia and I stuck a few desperate smears on blank greasy slabs. I had my left hand in a small two finger pocket, and my right on a good undercling.

I did notice that I didn’t have a great feeling of the smear. But since I was able to see the foot placement, I visually located the best location and smeared away with no issue. It would have been nice to have a bit more feeling in the smear, but no shoe is perfect.


Since the Katana Lace is a stiff shoe, I found them to be the best edging shoe in my quiver. Maybe it’s because the rubber is literally called Vibram xs edge rubber that gave me a boost in confidence, but I found these shoes to edge very well. The asymmetrical design of the shoe gave a lot of standing power on tiny edges.


The Katana Lace won’t perform as well as other aggressive climbing shoes on steep overhangs. The Katana Laces work fine for overhangs, but if you’re looking for a purely overhang shoe you may want to shop around other aggressive shoes. One complaint I had with the Katana Laces was with toe hooking. I don’t like the feeling of my leather upper getting scratched against big indoor holds and I could quickly see some wear after a few toe hooks.

Crack Climbing

This shoe works well for crack climbing, but one area it works surprisingly well in is thin cracks.

The Katana has a lower volume profile than other famous climbing shoes, like the TC Pro, that allows the shoe to fit easily in to small cracks. The volume of the shoe refers to the height, the distance between the rubber sole and upper lining, while the width refers to the distance across the toe box.

That low volume is perfect for getting as much shoe rubber in to a crack as possible. This shoe is perfect for making toe jams in the tiniest of cracks.

Comfort and Fit

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Despite having a slight downturn out of the box, the La Sportiva Katana are not uncomfortable like other aggressive climbing shoes. I have noticed that if I stand around and belay in the shoes, that profile becomes flatter and flatter. If you want to maintain their downturn, I recommend taking off the shoes when you’re belaying and standing around. It’s impressive that these shoes manage to be downturn and flat at the exact same time.

In the La Sportiva Miura I wear a 45.5, the La Sportiva Mythos I wear a 44 and the for the La Sportiva Katana Lace I wear a 45.5.

The first thing I noticed when putting on the Katna was how much roomier they were than the Miuras. Not only was the toe box wider but the shoe felt longer than the Miuras. I have been climbing in my Miuras consistently for almost a year and my Katanas still felt bigger out of the box despite the two shoes being the same size.


My Katana Lace ups are the same size as my La Sportiva Miuras and I immediately noticed how different they felt than my Miuras. For starters, the shoe felt much wider in the width, but the shoe felt tighter since its lower volume.

In my opinion, the shoe’s length did not feel the same as the Miura. The length of the Katana was a bit longer than the Miura.

I sized down one full size from my street shoe size. From a 13 down to a 12 (45.5 EU size) and it’s a good fit for all styles of climbing. If I was ordering this shoe purely for climbing cracks, then I would size up a half size to give my toes more comfort in cracks.

Materials Used

  • Microfiber fiber and leather is used in the upper lining
  • Laces are made from 100% recycled polyester
  • Rubber sole is 4mm of Vibram XS Edge Rubber

La Sportiva has made an effort to incorporate more recycled materials into their climbing shoes. The only recycled material on the Katana is the laces, which are made from 100% recycled polyester.

Toe Box

The toe box on this shoe is wider than I expected and definitely wider than the La Sportiva Miuras.

This is great news for anyone who has wider feet and struggled with the Miura. You’ll be right at home in the Katana. But since everyone has different shaped feet, this could be hit or miss for you. I highly recommend trying these on in person if you can before buying.

I personally found the toe box to be a bit too wide for my narrow feet and preferred the tight fitted Miura. But the increased toe box width did not have a negative impact on my climbing and did make the shoe more comfortable to wear than the Miuras. Depending on the style of climbing I’ll be doing for the day, it’s a tradeoff I will have to make.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Katana Lace good for bouldering?

The Katana Laces are the best all arounder shoe that can be used for bouldering, sport climbing, and trad climbing.

How much do La Sportiva Katana Lace stretch?

These shoes won’t stretch too much, in my experience they stretched about a half size.

What is the difference between new and old katana laces?

The most obvious difference in the old versions is the new version has a new design and has more padding in comfort on the tongue and inside the shoe.

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Rob developed ORB to help himself categorize and find all the outdoor gear he needed at great prices. He loves writing about the outdoors and climbing. Rob is a certified Single Pitch Instructor through the AMGA.

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