I’ve been climbing since 2012, and in that time I’ve owned three pairs of climbing shoes, two of those have been the Mythos shoe by La Sportiva. Why? Simply put, it is the only one that fits, and holy hell it fits well.
New to climbing? Shoes shouldn’t hurt
From the get-go, I had so many people tell me “Your climbing shoes shouldn’t be comfortable” and when I complained that they were painful, “That’s how you know they fit right”. I’ve always hated this mentality. Granted, maybe it’s different for an aggressive climber, but for someone who does this for fun, joy, mild competitiveness between friends, and a bloody good workout, hurting feet is not something you look forward to. So why should your hobby cause you pain?!
The fact of the matter is, climbing shoes are to be used as a tool on the wall. If your feet and your shoes are aligned in perfect harmony, one can tell the other to do things that would normally not be possible in street shoes, flip flops, or your own birthday shoes. If you want to balance on a tiny rock, and you are in cahoots with your climbing shoes, they’ll make it happen for you. Climbing shoes can let you spidey up a wall with ease, lean at angles that would sink ships, and seemingly (but not actually) defy gravity. When you create space and movement between your feet and the shoes, this symbiosis is lost, and this is what ‘the pros’ mean when they tell you to suck it up and force your size 10s into baby shoes the shape of a banana. As long as they fit well, snuggly, and don’t allow your foot to move in critical situations, your new climbing shoes shouldn’t bring tears to your eyes.
What’s great about the Mythos climbing shoe?
I have narrow feet. Long, narrow, like a marrow. I used to get called golf club by my sister (only reason I don’t anymore is because I live 4000 miles away now). Regular shoes don’t fit me, and so maybe my first reason why I love the Mythos so much is a little weak – La Sportiva shoes are perfect for narrow feet.
But that’s not all. They’re really soft from the outset. This does mean they stretch quite a lot, so be warned that you will want to size down quite a bit from your street shoe size, and you might need to start off in them tighter than you’d prefer, but once you get them broken in they are a delight. They grip, they have a low profile which makes it good with smaller cracks and footing opportunities, and they don’t smell. Best of all, while all your friends are complaining and taking their shoes off between climbs, these are comfortable enough to keep on for the whole session.
My other pairs of climbing shoes
Any good climber will have a number of climbing shoes on rotation; some for bouldering, others for sport climbs, a pair for outdoors, and a couple of sets for switching out so people think you know what you’re doing. Well I have two pairs; my Mythos and…. some Mythos! This is my second pair as I wore through the first pair in record time. I’m going to get them patched up so I will have two lots in rotation.
Prior to my La Sportiva obsession, my very first climbing shoe was the Evolv Rockstar. Any REI staff member will suppress a giggle when they tell you that Evolv, well, aren’t particularly great shoes. I kinda liked mine, even though they were smelly as all hell, and didn’t grip that well to the wall. Oh, and they were hot pink because that’s apparently how you make things appeal to women. But they wore out quickly, and they weren’t a particularly great fit on my beanpole feet, so I looked at other options.
Will I continue to climb in the Mythos?
Yes! I absolutely love this shoe! We’ve recently started going to Obed and exploring the outdoor bouldering there, and as my requirements are continually changing, the Mythos continues to fit the bill. I do kinda wish they were velcro so I could slip them off easier, but other than that, they still haven’t found a way to let me down.