Jake and I were lucky enough to get our feet into some new La Sportiva Mix urban approach shoes. The Mix are a mix of a low profile, good-tractioned walking shoe and smooth-toed climbing shoe. The results not only look cool, they’re fantastic for routesetting.
The sole of the Mix is fairly flat, like the soles of the skate shoes most setters I know prefer setting in.
The “climbing zone” is sticky and smooth and works well for all those little forerunning moments in the middle of a setting day. They are really good for smearing and, if sized snugly, do just fine on smaller footholds as well. They aren’t a performance rock climbing shoe, but they beat all the running and skate shoes I’ve ever tried to climb in by miles and miles. Just look at me standing on this foot hold:
The shoe itself has a nice toebox–wide enough so our toes aren’t cramped but snug enough to make climbing feel reasonable. The heel is cut low but fits like a glove on both my foot and Jake’s. They are lightly cushioned–comfortable, but not floaty.
I broke these shoes in by wearing them on an unexpectedly long bouldering approach (2.5 miles each way) followed by three 12 hour days straight setting for Psychedelia. The shoes were amazing–they felt great on and off the wall and ladders, I was able to forerun easier boulders and try harder moves in them, and a bunch of people asked me what my cool shoes were. Jake just got his this week, and they’re already his favorite shoes. I call it a win all around.
The Mix come in several colors of leather or canvas. Jake and I both have leather, though Jake’s (the lighter ones) are a sample only color. Other colors including the darker blue/gray that I got will be available in stores this spring. If you’re a route setter, these are the shoes for you.
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