Profile and featuresThe down turned and fiercely asymmetric profile sets the VS out as a technical model which is great for steep terrain. Rather than being a one trick pony, however, it serves as a surprisingly good all-rounder for technical trad, sport and bouldering. Downturned shoes are often quite soft and less good for edging, but the Miura VS somehow retains a great stable stiffness which worked well on vertical climbs. The pointed toe profile also makes it a great weapon for pockets and precise foot movements. For this reason this shoe is great both on routes and for bouldering. The closure system also contributes to this versatility - the triple Velcro strap design giving a great compromise between the security of laces and the convenience of Velcro. The only exceptions to this – where the VS didn’t perform so well – were on slabs and toe hooks. The down turn didn’t do too badly on slabs but I would prefer a flatter shoe (like the lace up, which is excellent on slabs). Likewise, the lack of rubber across the top of the toe got me reaching for a different pair of boots when toe hooking. The heel, on the other hand, fitted me nicely with no dead space. It gave a nice mix of firmness and sensitivity and came into its own on every heel hook or foot cam I tried it on.
SizingAs a bouldering shoe I sized the VS pretty tight. I am around a EU42 (UK8) but take a EU38 in Miura. La Sportiva sizing seems somewhat out of kilter with other brands but once you find the right size you can be sure each pair will feel the same (unlike some brands which vary widely). Route climbers might decide to go up a size to give the shoe a little more comfort and a less of a down turn. The build quality of La Sportiva speaks for itself, and on first acquaintance you realise this is a well made shoe. An unlined leather upper means a tight fit is recommended as the shoe will stretch around half a size. This might result in a short period of pain while breaking them in but it will also leave you with a pair of shoes that mould nicely to the shape of your foot. In my experience this gives a secure, high performance fit and a decent level of comfort rolled into one.
RubberLa Sportiva use Vibram rubber on all their footwear. This is the same stuff you will find on Scarpa shoes among others, and it is well established as one of the market leaders. Like other rubbers, Vibram comes in different compounds for different uses. Mountaineering boots, for example, tend to feature harder, more durable compounds than the softer stickier stuff found on climbing shoes. The climbing range tends to use either XS Edge or XS Grip, summarised as follows by La Sportiva:
- XS Grip — This proprietary formula surpasses all others in edging ability and smearing performance while remaining durable and even wearing.
- XS Edge — The best possible rubber formula for technical edging. This rubber compound is exceptionally resistant to deformation on razor sharp edges and it will not creep when smearing.