There’s one thing I won’t hit the rocks without. Can you guess what it is?
The right pair of climbing shoes, and in many cases, the La Sportiva Tarantulace may just be that right pair. No matter the occasion or type of climb, I always make sure to take the right pair of shoes for the job. Okay, unless in the rare (but awesome) event of going deep water soloing – that’s just asking for some bare foot action.
Anyway, why do I care about climbing shoes so much? Because I’ve learned the hard way just how wrong the wrong pair of shoes can be. From uncomfortable climbs to weakened grip, ill-fitting or poor climbing shoes can affect your climb in a variety of ways:
The good news is the solution is simple—find the right pair, or pairs, of climbing shoes for all your climbing needs. This can often be easier said than done. That’s not because of a lack of quality shoes, however. Instead, finding the right pair of climbing shoes for you can be difficult because there are so many different quality shoes available.
How’s that for a true first-world problem?
All jokes aside, getting the pair of climbing shoes right for you is no laughing matter. To help make this a bit easier for you, I want to take a look at one of the most popular shoe options on the market today: La Sportiva TarantuLace.
If you’ve been into rock climbing for any period of time, it’s likely that you’ve come across this brand before. A well-respected company in the rock climbing community, La Sportiva is known for bringing quality equipment to the table.
But how does the TarantuLace stack up? Below, we’ll take an in-depth look at the TarantuLace while examining both its advantages and disadvantages. Only then will you be able to determine if it’s the right pair for you.
What Makes a Good Climbing Shoe Anyway?
Before jumping into my review of the TarantuLace, I want to take a brief moment to answer one important question. What should you be looking for in a pair of climbing shoes anyway?
I’ve covered this question in depth more here, but a brief recap is in order. Climbing shoes can be evaluated in a number of ways, including:
One of, if not the, most important aspects to keep in mind when selecting climbing shoes is the fit. This refers to how well a pair of climbing shoes fits your feet.
And if you’ve never worn climbing shoes before, it’s important to note that determining fit for climbing shoes is a bit different than what you’re used to. In other words, you’re not looking for the same kind of fit you are when you buy running or casual shoes.
Instead, you’ll want your shoes to fit a bit tight—without being so snug that they cause distracting pain. That being said, it’s normal to experience discomfort when wearing climbing shoes—you just don’t want the pain to be so bad that it interferes with your climb.
Having tighter shoes allows for a better grip, giving you more freedom and flexibility as you navigate the rocks. With that in mind, there’s one more factor that goes into determining the fit of your climbing shoe. It’s also a consideration that you should make when you look to find the pair that’s right for you.
Unlike most shoes, rock climbing shoes are designed for specific levels of climbers. For instance, beginner climbing shoes and advanced climbing shoes differ in fundamental ways.
One of the most obvious areas this occurs in is in comfort and fit. Beginners, who aren’t doing very challenging or long climbs, generally find that shoes options available to them are relatively loose-fitting. Though they may still be snugger than shoes that you’re used to wearing throughout the day, they are much more comfortable than advanced rock climbing shoes.
Medium and advanced shoes, on the other hand, sacrifice comfort to provide a better feel for the rocks. This makes it safer and easier for experienced climbers to navigate difficult passages and climbs, allowing for the climbers to do more and enjoy a greater level of freedom.
Another important factor to consider is the grip. How well do your shoes adhere to the rocks? Are they slippery, or do they give you the added traction you need to enjoy a safer climb?
As you can imagine, the grip your shoes have can be determined in large part by the material they’re made from. For this reason, shoes made from soft, yet adhesive, materials make for popular rock climbing options, as they provide the mixture of comfort and grip necessary to really enjoy one’s time on the rocks.
Type of Climb
Another aspect of choosing a pair of rock climbing shoes has more to do with you than the shoes themselves. That is, the type of rock climbing shoes that you need may depend on the type of climb that you want to attempt.
Even advanced climbers, for instance, may choose to wear more intermediate shoes for certain climbs, especially those that cover large distances. This helps from placing too much burned on the feet and allows climbers to go farther distances without giving out as easily.
Who said that your rock climbing shoes can’t be stylish? If fashion is important to you, make sure that you look at the different design options for your favorite shoes. This will allow you to look and feel your best as you navigate through different climbs while on the rocks.
With these characteristics in mind, let’s now take a look at the TarantuLace itself and see how it stacks up in light of the above comparisons.
La Sportiva TarantuLace
From one of the hottest rock climbing equipment makers on the market, the TarantuLace has generated a lot of buzz among rock climbers.
But is it the right shoe for you?
Consider the following specs:
The TarantuLace features a strong unileather design that gives it a nice, comfortable feel. It also enhances the look, making it an attractive option for many wanting a stylish climbing shoe option.
What’s more, its rubber design proves quite aggressive, allowing for a better grip on the rocks. This makes it a popular option among climbers of all skill levels. This added traction is especially important for intermediate to advance climbers who can these shoes for more advanced climbs.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of the TarantuLace. Then, we’ll see how they stack up against the considerations you should make when choosing new rock climbing shoes.
The TarantuLace enjoy positive reviews from many buyers across the board. What really seems to set them apart is their accessibility to climbers of various different skill levels. This makes them a great choice for many climbers no matter their experience.
Additional pros include:
- Comfort—The TarantuLace are known for featuring a super soft leather design that provides great foot support. This makes them unique among many different climbing shoes—which generally have a reputation for being extremely uncomfortable. Those with foot conditions or who experience foot pain may find the TarantuLace a powerful option. By providing climbers with the support they need, the TarantuLace make climbing more fun and accessible for a large number of climbers.
- Versatile—Reviewers have noted the extra versatile nature of the TarantuLace line. As mentioned, the design of these popular climbing shoes makes them more accessible for a wider variety of climbers. But that’s not all. It also allows for a greater number of climbs and of different types of climbs, as it gives climbers more flexibility. For this reason, it’s a great pair of shoes to buy for those who are just starting out and for those who already have experience.
- Moisture Control—Adding to TarantuLace’s comfort, these shoes feature a lined tongue that help manage moisture in the shoes. For those who have been rock climbing before, you know just how important this is. Trust me—you don’t want your feet to stay sweaty and smelly during your climb. Not only can this be an inconvenience, but it also makes for uncomfortable or even unsafe conditions as well, as such discomfort can cause distractions while on the rocks.
- Great Grip—As we’ll see, much of what makes the TarantuLace so versatile has to do with the shoes’ great grip. This helps make it a solid pair of shoes for many climbers.
- Respected Brand—Coming from La Sportiva, TarantuLace enjoys quality manufacturing. Consumers can be reasonably sure that when buying the TarantuLace that they are also buying into the quality of the La Sportiva brand. And as a brand that makes man of the best-selling or highly-rated rock climbing equipment, La Sportiva has built a reputation of which any company would be proud.
That being said, however, it must be noted that not all of TarantuLace’s features are positive. With this in mind, let’s examine some of the main cons of this respected shoe brand.
I’ll start out by saying that through my research, it appears that the cons with the TarantuLace are often quite minor and don’t outweigh the benefits of getting these shoes for many climbers. Still, it’s important to understand some of the common complaints behind the TarantuLace, as you’ll only be able to get the pair of climbing shoes right for you if you stay well-informed.
With this in mind, consider the following cons of the TarantuLace line:
- Appearance—though TarantuLace boasts a fashionable design, it does prove to be limited in some regards. Namely, the TarantuLace is currently only available in one color—orange. This can be off-putting for many who would prefer other colors. What’s more, this gives the shoes a rather garish look that might not be to some buyers’ tastes.
Also, do keep in mind your foot size when ordering shoes. Make sure to take exact measurements and check them against the TarantuLace so that you get the size you need without issue. This will also help ensure that you have the right fit to safely enjoy your climb.
This being said, let’s see how the TarantuLace stacks up against our aforementioned characteristics of great climbing shoes.
Worried about fit? Don’t be. La Sportiva notes that the TarantuLace features a “quick pull lacing harness that delivers a snug, precise fit.”
In other words, the TarantuLace is specifically designed to offer an incredible fit that climbers of all sizes. This ensures the maximum balance of utility and comfort.
As noted, the unique design of the TarantuLace makes it suitable for climbers of all skill levels. This proves especially true for beginning to intermediate climbers. Even more advanced climbers, however, may find occasion to use them, such as when they undertake longer climbs.
La Sportiva’s patented Durable FriXion© RS rubber technology helps give it incredible grip. Even better, it provides for long-lasting durability, maximizing their value for consumers.
Type of Climb
As we’ve seen, the TarantuLace are great for many types of climbs. From short to long routes, the TarantuLace allow climbers to conduct most basic climbs.
Despite having only one color option, the TarantuLace has a sleek, modern design with a slightly-downturned tip. Interlaced with black rubber patterns, TarantuLace feature a designed many find pleasing.
The Final Verdict
So how does the TarantuLace stand up? As we’ve seen, this incredible pair of shoes possesses many of the features one should look for in a quality pair of climbing shoes.
Cons, when present, are fairly minor and have little-to-nothing to do with the performance of the shoe. Instead, they may influence a buyer’s decision based on personal preference.
Ultimately, only you can decide if the TarantuLace is the right pair of shoes for you. As you work to make this decision, be sure to compare the TarantuLace against some of the other popular options on the market. By keeping the above review in mind—as well as some of my other climbing shoe reviews—you can streamline your search for the right climbing shoes.
As always, until next time: happy climbing! And stay tuned for more rock climbing equipment reviews!