The all-around aggressive gym shoe for those on a budget, the La Sportiva Python has surprisingly great edging capabilities for a slipper. Not a newcomer to the climbing scene, but new to the gear shops of all three of our gyms (instead of just being sold at our Dallas location), the Python delivers power, precision, and surprising comfort to a high-performance slipper. Here's the lowdown of this flashy, aggressively down-turned shoe, and why it's a great staple for anyone's shoe arsenal.
The Lowdown: Slippers are very often seen as one of the best shoes to wear when climbing indoors, but there is a lot that is normally sacrificed with a slipper-like fit. Sometimes imprecise and sloppy, slippers — especially when improperly sized — lack in precision what they make up for in comfort and ease of putting on. The Python managers to compromise in this regard — while it still maintains that easy, breezy slipper slide-on, its velcro closure and aggressive asymmetric fit lock it down onto your foot, giving it an assertiveness that most slippers lack. We would definitely recommend down-sizing quite a bit, to get the most out of this shoe. I downsized a full European size from what I would normally wear in La Sportiva — resulting in a shoe that is 2.5 to 3 sizes smaller than my street shoe size, which does seem a little crazy, until you slip the Python on. Even before breaking in the midsole is quite soft, giving the shoe some flexibility.Despite being so, so tiny on my foot, the Python always slipped on like a dream, with a distinct "pop" as my heel locked into the heel cup. One thing about the Python is once it's on, it's on, and with a proper fit, you will feel very little to no movement within the shoe. My only complaint was the excessive roominess I felt in the leather upper. I have a narrow, flat feet, and felt that my feet lacked the necessary volume to fill the Python's voluminous upper. Even after cinching the shoe down with the velcro straps, I encountered some uncomfortable bunching. This did not affect the shoe's performance in any way — it was merely for my own comfort. The shoe is unlined leather, and should be expected to stretch quite a bit, so some pretty aggressive downsizing is recommended. Minus the discomfort of the bunching, with a higher volume foot to fill the shoe out, the Python is actually very comfortable. The unlined leather does not rub, and the roomy toe box dissipates any pressure spots that might otherwise be created in this down-turned shoe.
The shoes edge like a dream, with Vibram XS Grip 2 rubber wrapped around basically the entire shoe. They really shine with toe-hooking — their soft last and extensive rubber coverage over the toe makes them very effective with toe-hooking. The heel cup suctions to your foot, creating a very exact fit — and the relatively thin layering of rubber over the heel cup lets you feel through the shoe as you heel hook, allowing you to adjust your heel for the most accurate heel-hooking power.
For its price, the Python ends up being a whole lot of shoe. You'd normally have to shell out $170+ for a shoe with the Python's performance level, making it a really solid choice, and an affordable shoe for steep indoor climbing and bouldering.
Who it’s for:
The primarily indoor climber, who also occasionally projects outside on steeper angles. Very great for price-conscious boulderers, or for lead climbers keen on the steep stuff.