HomeTactical & SurvivalFear the Smear? These No-Edge Climbing Shoes Up Your Slab Game

Fear the Smear? These No-Edge Climbing Shoes Up Your Slab Game

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No edge, no problem. That’s a quick way to sum up La Sportiva’s collection of No-Edge climbing shoes, which feature a rounded toe to enhance sensitivity and precision, increasing surface area for better grip. 

The shoes are designed to make smeary climbs a walk in the park, and the comfort and versatility of the Italian brand’s trademark technology can turn a good day on rock into a great one. 

“For me, shoes are by far the most important piece of climbing gear I use,” said La Sportiva athlete Keenan Takahashi. “Aside from my hands, they’re the only thing in contact with the rock and therefore having the right shoes has always been something I consider very carefully.”

Learn More About No-Edge Shoes

Exploring the La Sportiva No-Edge Family

There are four shoes in the La Sportiva No-Edge family. The Mandala is the newest addition, with a supportive design that does well on challenging outdoor climbs. It’s on the stiffer end of the No-Edge line, especially compared to the soft, gym-oriented Mantra shoe. 

With a strong background in bouldering, Takahashi knows how much the nuance and precision of a climbing shoe matter. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to projecting hard routes, and the California-raised athlete has run through the gamut of every shoe La Sportiva makes. 

“I have used No-Edge shoes a ton in the gym and for specific outdoor projects where there are some hard smears, and I need to get more surface area than I could with a regular edge shoe,” he explained. 

Comfort and Approachability for Every Climber

A lot of climbers agree that No-Edge shoes are generally more comfortable than others, as the round toebox makes it easier to stand up with less precision. Takahashi likes to warm up in a No-Edge shoe, as he has more peace of mind knowing they’re less likely to slip. 

While it certainly stands up to the pros, No-Edge can also be more approachable for less experienced climbers, since you don’t have to be quite as precise with your footwork. It’s forgiving and comfortable, a truly confidence-inspiring climbing shoe. 

Durability is another huge component of the No-Edge shoes. Takahashi explained that with an edge shoe, performance can decrease drastically once the edge wears down even a little bit. That could mean a few weeks or just a couple of days, depending on how much you’re climbing. The round toes in the No-Edge shoes wear down more evenly (Takahashi says his last 5-10 times longer) for consistent performance for a long period of time. 

The Mandala Climbing Shoe

The latest addition to the No-Edge family, the Mandala shoe optimizes grip and support on challenging climbs while providing all-day comfort. The high-performance heel shape allows for solid heel hooks, with an extra sticky rubber-coated toebox for confidence while toe hooking. Closure is a single strap, with 3D Flex technology that allows for natural ankle movement as well as providing necessary support. 

Shop Mandala Shoes

La Sportiva No-Edge: A Specialized Tool for Your Climbing Quiver

That’s not to say a No-Edge shoe is universally better in every application. It’s a great option to have in the quiver, but one that many climbers will own as a second shoe. Steep climbs or cracks don’t do quite as well with a rounded toe, and it can be challenging for toe hooks. 

On some of the hardest climbs, Takahashi frequently uses different shoes on either foot to give himself an extra margin for specific cruxes. Recently, he climbed a new V15 first ascent in Bishop, Calif., with a Mandala on his right foot and a Solution on his left.

“It was amazing how much of a difference [the Mandala] made for the crux move. This one was right at my limit, and I was really struggling. I tried every single shoe La Sportiva made [for this route]. They really changed the game!”

Every climber has their own personal preference, but for folks looking for a little extra grip, this could be the ticket. “It’s been cool to see that the No-Edge line has expanded greatly, and now has versatility in basically any climbing terrain,” Takahashi added. Whether you’re new or experienced, spend time in the gym or outside, there’s a No-Edge shoe that fits the bill.

This post is sponsored by La Sportiva.

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