GET FREE SHIPPING
CLIMBING PRO COLLECTION
WHO WE ARE
Jacopo Larcher - Strange Heroes
La Sportiva’s No-Edge Technology meets GB ParaClimbing team athletes with Robin O'Leary, talking about the advantages of the no-edge technology
Text and pictures by: Robin O'Leary
I have now been climbing for 10 years or so and for 8 of those years I have been wearing La Sportivas. Starting with the Katana (of which I had two pairs), then the Miura VS (4 pairs) and on to the Solution (3 pairs). About 4 years ago I slipped on a La Sportiva Speedster and it was a revelation. Straight out of the box I climbed on a project of mine outside and the shoe felt incredible. It was much more sensitive and I could trust the shoe on every foot hold as it gave me so much more feedback through my senses – the project went first go that day.
Since then I have been an absolute convert in the No-Edge technology. At any one time I like to have a pair of Speedsters, Futuras and a Genius that I can use. They seem to last well over a year for me and I literally cannot fault the shoe.
If you are new to the concept of No-Edge technology or have always been a bit reluctant to try it, then I urge you to go to a Sportiva boot demo when it is next in town. Essentially, by not having the edges, your toe can be so much closer to the rock/wall allowing for greater feel and trust as well as have more contact surface area. You can actually be slightly less accurate without an edge as well, so there is no need for multiple adjustments – you can actually speed up your placements and therefore have more energy to spend when it is most needed. This concept became very interesting when considering paraclimbers.
A year or so ago, I was asked to coach the GB ParaClimbing Team, which was a great honour. ParaClimbing is a rapidly growing aspect of our sport and I am in admiration of every para-athlete; no excuses, just hard work and determination – true inspirations to us all.
I work with two GB athletes that use No-Edge shoes; Martin Heald and Mikey Cleverdon.
Martin Heald is in a category classed as “Upper Leg Amputee”. Essentially, Martin has no left leg. This makes him considerably lighter than most adult males. As a result, one of his favourite shoes is the new Maverink. This is actually aimed at youth climbers as it encourages them to have more feel through their feet. But as Martin is a lighter climber, they suit him well.
As well as this, I’m sure you can all imagine that when you only have one leg, sometimes placing it carefully is very hard – having to take all of your weight on your arms and fingers a lot of the time. As I mentioned earlier, No-Edge technology allows for the climber to be slightly quicker with their placement. Due to the enhanced sensitivity, once the shoe hits the rock, the climber will know exactly whether or not it can be trusted, unlike a lot of edged shoes, which send the climber into becoming a tap dancer – testing the shoe multiple times before they either replace it or move off it.
'La Sportiva’s No-Edge shoes are definitely my go-to shoe now and they have been for the past few years. Not only do I love how they look but the No-Edge technology really helps me feel the holds. Having one leg means I need to be precise with my foot placement, as a slight slip could be costly, the No-Edge allows me to feel the holds due to their enhanced sensitivity, giving me the confidence to trust my foot placement.
As well as being super stylish and helpful they are also some of the most comfortable climbing shoes I have worn!
Sometimes, I have to stab a toe on a hold. Having worn other shoes and brands in the past, I am confident in saying that the No-Edge shoes allow me to be slightly less accurate due to the increased contact area that you have due to the rounded edges. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to other paraclimbers and climbers looking for more sensitivity. I’m looking forward to wearing them for the world cup this season. Hopefully, despite lacking edges, they’ll give me the edge on my competition.’
Mikey Cleverdon suffered from a stroke in 2011 which ultimately meant he can no longer feel most of his right side. Now, when this translates to climbing, this can be a real hindrance even on the most basic routes, let alone V13s which Mikey has climbed!
Now, due to the lack of this sense in his right side, Mikey relies on his sight and the shoe. No-Edge has been his go-to shoe ever since they were released – allowing him to watch his toe place and then just apply the pressure – giving it all of his trust – maximising the surface area is key for Mikey.
‘Personally, I’ve found the No-edge technology quite revolutionary in my climbing. It really does allow for more flow between movements, increased sensitivity and a with larger surface area hugging the rock or holds it definitely “sticks” much better. No climbing shoe is absolutely perfect for all types of climbing, I’ve tried a lot and worn all the models with no edge tech, loving each for their different characteristics. Now-a-days I regularly wear the Genius for sport climbing, but ever since the Futura model was released, it’s settled in to being one of my favourite and most worn shoes both on plastic and on rock, whether its bouldering, sport climbing or even trad, it’s superb on slabs and awesome on steeper terrain. Having no feeling in my right leg or foot definitely proves to be an issue when climbing, particularly when I’m pushing myself to my limit, there is nothing worse in your session when you fall off that redpoint or boulder project purely because you weren’t quite settled on that small edge or smear enough and the result being failure due to a slipped foot. For me the No-Edge technology really helps limit those occasions and having more of my weight in my toe without me knowing the difference of whether I am on the hold perfectly or not allows me to “get on with business”, keeping my focus on the sequence and transferring energy from one move to the next without faltering from not placing my foot quite perfectly. The results of this are continually proved from more enjoyable days climbing and more sends to boot!’
From reading this, you will probably be able to guess that blind climbers are those who could benefit from No-Edge technology the most. They say that when you lose a sense, your other senses are enhanced. When speaking with John Churcher, our GB ParaClimbing team member, he says that his hearing, feel and taste are hugely enhanced. I often have to sight-guide for John. This means I will be standing at the bottom of the route explaining where he needs to go for every foot and handhold. It still baffles me as to what John can climb and how long he can hold onto and lock-off a hold. These guys have to climb 7b+/c in their competitions. Imagine doing that with no vision! It is incredible.
As you can imagine, blind climbers will lack the precision with their footwork. They have to rely on their sight-guide and often scrape their feet down/up the wall onto the hold. They rely on feel and sometimes their initial placement for efficiency. Now, this is where No-Edge really is no-problem. The climber will get far more feedback through his Sportivas than any other shoe on the market. With No-Edge you are literally closer to the hold, the shoe has more contact area as well due to the rounded edges and therefore a climber relying on feel will immediately be able to get everything he or she needs from that initial placement.
If you’ve ever tried blindfold climbing, then you may appreciate some of the difficulties you face when climbing, but the sensation you get through your feet is crucial.
About the Author: Robin O’Leary is a performance coach based in the UK. He coaches many of the most dedicated climbers in Britain and a fair few GB youth climbers.
Robin also founded ROCUP Holidays (www.rocup.uk) and the Youth Climbing Symposium (www.youthclimbingsymposium.com) Robin is the coach and manager of the GB ParaClimbing Team.
Photo by the courtesy of Gary Philips
Lavaredo Ultra Trail: everything is ready for the first La Sportiva edition
Resole your climbing shoes at Arco Rock Star
Browsing from one of these Countries?
Accept and Continue
Cookies are small text files that contain information about your visit to our website and are stored on your computer or any other device able to browse the internet, for example a smartphone or tablet.
We use these cookies to make browsing our site easier, to show you content that is relevant to your needs and interests and to help us speed up your future visits and activities on our website. The cookies assist and simplify the interaction between the user and the site and allow the site to remember your preferences and individual activity, thus saving time and contributing to easier and more efficient browsing. Cookies memorise information about your visit online (for example; language, number of visits and dimensions of text) and aid the implementation of various services (user registration, contents of your shopping cart, subscription to newsletters or updates on products, etc.).
Cookies are also employed to create anonymous group statistics that let us analyse how visitors use our site, allowing us to improve the structure, content and services of this site.
Any services present that do not offer complete anonymity will be found in the third-party cookies list and you may deny them consent, safeguarding your privacy.
This site makes use of three different types of cookies:
These cookies ensure that the site works in a correct and fluid manner: they allow you to navigate between pages, share content, they memorise your sign-in credentials making access to the site faster and they keep your preferences and credentials active during browsing and purchasing. Without these cookies we would be unable to provide the services which motivate the user to access this site.
2. Statistical cookies
These cookies help us understand how our users browse the site and navigate the online store so that we may assess and improve its performance and create content that best matches our visitors' preferences. For example, these cookies show us which are the most and least visited pages, how many people access the site, how long is spent on the site by most users and how they find us online. With this information we can find out which are the best features and which could be improved, while ensuring that site content is uploaded quickly and displayed appropriately. The information these cookies collect is anonymous and not associated with any of the user's personal data. These functions on our site are managed by third-party service providers who render the data anonymous and untraceable to any single individual.
These cookies are distributed by third parties and not directly controlled or under the control of Zerogrey. Zerogrey does not therefore accept liability regarding the use of any information collected by the owners of these third-party cookies.
The cookies provided by such third parties can offer advanced features as well as more information and personalisation. These include the ability to share content across social network platforms and to maintain a personalised online site experience on the basis of any preferences expressed on pages previously visited. These services are for the most part offered by external operators. If you browse using an account or if you use third-party services on other websites, these may be able to track a user who has visited our site. The use of the data collected by these external operators through cookies must adhere to the respective privacy policies that you will find on the link copied below. Third-party profiling cookies are identified by the names of their respective operators in the list indicated below which also contains the tools for managing or disabling them.
You can change the settings for downloaded cookies on your computer or mobile device through the appropriate feature on your browser. You may also block the installation of third-party cookies and remove previously installed cookies, including those that define your cookie preferences that you may have may have set here. To check or adjust the settings on your browser you need to consult the instruction manual or your browser's help window.
The instructions regarding cookies for the most widely-used browsers are available here
Chrome : https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95647?hl=en&p=cpn_cookies
Internet Explorer: http://windows.microsoft.com/it-it/windows-vista/block-or-allow-cookies
Alternatively, to disable some or all cookies you can use the following tools.
Disabling our cookies may affect your browsing experience, diminish efficiency in accessing certain parts of the site and erase preferences for future visits to the site.
Remember to set the browser on your devices in a coherent manner so that each one may be adjusted to reflect your cookie preferences.
Further detailed information on cookie features and how to enable or disable them on most browsers is available online at www.aboutcookies.org or http://www.allaboutcookies.org/privacy-policy.htm. For in-depth information and assistance with cookies used for advertising purposes visit http://www.youronlinechoices.com/it/