Once in a while, there comes a product that stands the test of time. Something that never fails to deliver, regardless of the challenge. Something that strikes an immaculate—if perplexing—balance between performance and versatility. A "silver bullet" of sorts.
La Sportiva's Katana Lace has become my silver-bullet climbing shoe. I've used it for every different style of rock climbing imaginable, and it continues to stun me with top-tier performance across the board. Whether I'm climbing on razor-thin limestone edges, slick sandstone slopers, polished granite splitters, or steep featured schist, the Katana Lace always feels like the right shoe.
What really makes this shoe stand out is how well it performs when sized to a comfortable fit. Unlike competition bouldering shoes (soft sole, aggressive downturn) or traditional crack-climbing shoes (stiff sole, flat profile), the Katana Lace pairs a stiff sole with aggressive downturn to yield a shoe that is comfortable to jam in cracks, but still edges like a beast. I've been able to climb at my max grade in a pair that are sized comfortably enough to wear for hours on end during multipitch routes, so there's no need to torture my feet with too-small sizing.
A common weakness of aggressively downturned shoes is that they lose their shape and become flat over time. But La Sportiva's "P3 Platform" keeps the shoes holding their powerful out-of-the-box shape throughout their entire lifetime. In fact, even after multiple resoles, Katana Lace feels just as aggressive as on day one.
To sum it up, the Katana Lace will handle whatever you throw its way. So if you're looking for a versatile, lace-up climbing shoe, look no further.
Available at lasportivausa.com; $219.