The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
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La Sportiva Women's Miura: There's No Going Back
Posted on: August 22, 2008
I still remember buying my first pair of Miuras almost ten years ago. At the time, the jump in price compared with my previous pair of climbing shoes meant a big investment. I'll never forget that feeling of taking them on their first routes at Sinks Canyon and feeling like I suddenly had super powers! Routes I had struggled on before miraculously revealed an immaculate palette of footholds that easily directed me up the route. "Edging on a dime" finally had meaning to me, and I quickly learned to trust holds that previously felt impossible to use.
Since then, I have gone through six pairs of Miuras. Despite new models being introduced regularly, I have bought and resoled my many pairs because their fit and feel. I was excited to test the new women's model, curious to see what improvements La Sportiva had made.
I found the men's and the women's Miura performed similarly—a pleasant realization. They both offer Vibram XS Grip rubber soles with a slingshot heel band; this helps focus power to the toe box. Both also feature an asymmetrical toe box that directs power under the big toe, making for easy edging. One difference between the models is the heel, which has been padded to add comfort and create a more snug fit for women. Overall, I found the women's shoe is more comfortable than the men's due to this revised heel and a padded, breathable tongue.
When choosing a climbing shoe, personal fit is paramount. For this reason, I am always surprised to see so many people with varying foot types wearing the Miura. This says a great deal about its relatively universal design. Personally, I have a very narrow foot with high arches, and the Miura is the only shoe I have found that holds my heel down while still offering aggressive edging power. I used to buy excruciatingly small sizes, but now I find that my Sportiva boots are size 41 and my Miuras are best at 38.5. Since a smaller size is needed to fill in the toe box and maintain edging power, they need some breaking in. That said, I use my tighter-fitting Miuras for face and steep climbing but find them rather painful on slab or cracks. Bigger pairs are, of course, more suitable for a wider range of climbs.
I believe that these are the best shoes on the market and hope that La Sportiva never stops making them. If you like a stiff and aggressive shoe that offers supreme advantages for edging and toeing in pockets, then this is the shoe for you. Be wary though, because once you have a pair, you'll never go back!
Pros: Incredible edging power; great fit for varying foot types; durable and consistent; women's model offers added comfort.
Cons: More painful on smears and cracks if fitted tightly (but what would you expect?).