Maia B.

Maia B.

0 Comments

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on August 3, 2016

Not your daddy's Pythons
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: Runs large

I bought these shoes intending to use them as a replacement for the Python---as a softer, versatile, comfortable, low-cost gym shoe. After fitting them and handling them, I'd recommend them more as a less-aggressive, all-around alternative to the Solution rather than a sensitive replacement for the Python. I have not climbed in my pair extensively (not sure I will keep them) but I wanted to provide initial impressions. I'm comparing it a lot to the Solution here because its features and feel lend it toward that comparison instead of to its predecessor, the Python.

I love about 80% of this shoe. The toebox is wider than the Solutions (go down 1/2 size from Solutions) and felt more comfortable out of the box, but there's not really the same baggy feel of the Python. The shoe is also softer than a Solution but nowhere near something like a Futura or Python; it's a nice middle ground that should be capable on a lot of terrain. The toe is a little more blunt and less asymmetric than the Solution--it's built on the PD75 last (same as the Miura and Futura).

The heel is less bulky than the Solution and feels more precise---heel hook stability is achieved by adding a little stiffening rib (the s-heel) instead of a huge tumor of rubber.

However, the 20% of the shoe I do not love is the design oversights around the closure. Whereas on other LaSpo shoes, the closure area is thoughtfully cushioned by a soft sock (Solution) or a rim of leather (Futura, Mythos), on the Skwama it is rimmed by this sort of stiff, plastic-y faux leather material that feels like it will rub you raw after the first pitch. The achilles area suffers from the same flaw, and I know based on how much my Solutions dig in that after a long pitch the Skwamas will have me bleeding. (In the photo I posted, you can see the Solutions have a white semicircle cutout of soft leather to cushion the achilles, which the Skwamas lack.) I don't know if this plastic-y stuff will eventually soften up and be no problem, but I don't want to shed the blood to find out!

I think these shoes have a bunch of awesome tech and that they genuinely have some thoughtful improvements to make a comfortable, all-around version of the Solution. But the major oversight in the uncomfortable closure area is enough of a dealbreaker for me to look elsewhere.

(2)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 26, 2016

Runs narrow
3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: True to size

I tried a pair of these on as a possible replacement for an older pair of Guide Tennies (ca. 2013, before they were beefed up).

They are light and felt comfy out of the box, and their party trick of strapping together with the heel elastic is cool, but they don't pack down nearly as well as I expected---I can squash my old worn-out Tennies down to a more compact blob. The Vibram lugs on the bottom seem more pronounced than the dot rubber on the Tennies so I expect it might last a bit longer and grip a bit better in loose terrain.

They run pretty true to size---I tried on my street size and a half size up. My street size was snug and probably more of a climbing fit, half a size up was a nice looser hiking fit.

However the shoes are very low-volume, and I cannot even tie the laces. The asymmetrical tongue (attached along one side) lets my sock peek out on one side! I can't imagine how much dirt would get in my shoes on a sandy scree approach. Maybe I will try the men's version, if I can find it in my size.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 21, 2016

This is the best helmet.
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is the best helmet. It is also the ugliest!

I've owned it for about 1.5 years. I bought it after taking an inverted fall that cracked my old hardshell/foam combo helmet right down the back. I was scared at how little protection my helmet had against that kind of fall and I wanted something better.

Pros:
- This helmet is SO LIGHT. I forget I am wearing it all the time, wear it the whole descent, and get back in the car and start driving before I notice it bumping the car ceiling. It's also very breathable...for a helmet.
- Initially I heard a lot of concern about the durability of this helmet, but I have no complaints. I don't particularly baby it, but I do make sure that it's not underneath a bunch of heavy stuff when I pack it in the car, and I always pack it on the very top in my pack, dome up, to prevent it from being squashed off-axis. That's it. It's got some scrapes and scratches but it'll easily last several years more.
- It provides the excellent side and rear protection for your head, and its elastic foam material doesn't break on impact: it cushions and bounces back.
- I really like the magnetic buckle, which you can do one handed when you remember it's not buckled fifteen feet off the ground.
- As it gets dirty the orange color is a little less heinous. Plus, once it's on your head, you can't see how ugly it is! Unless your partner buys one too...

Cons:
- The straps are kinda thin and prone to twisting.
- The buckle can pick up magnetic dust and sometimes needs to be cleaned (quick brush of the thumb) to buckle.
- Ugly.

I paid full price for this helmet and I definitely feel like it was worth it---the comfort and protection it provides are the best out there right now. I'll buy one again even if they only ever make it in orange.

(0)

 

0 Comments

0 Answers

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 20, 2016

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought a single Trango Amphibian---the yellow one---to pair up with my single rope as a tagline and for parties of three. It's gotten the job done, especially since it's a great bang for the buck, but there are nicer half ropes out there.

Pros:
- Really lightweight especially for the 8.1mm diameter
- Dry treated
- Middle is marked!
- Satisfactory durability (~1.5 years of moderate use)
- Flexible, low bend radius, knots well

Cons:
- Dry treatment didn't seem to be very high quality (caught in rainstorm with brand new rope)
- Significant sheath slippage(~1/2" on 60m rope)
- A qualitative thing, but myself and my partners feel like this rope feels "flimsy" and tangles easily---which has earned it the nickname "Noodle"

Overall, I think the disappointing dry treatment, the sheath slippage, and the "flimsy" feel are enough to make this rope one I wouldn't buy again. Next time, the mental reassurance a solid, well-made rope provides is worth the extra coin to me.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 20, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got this 'biner more as an experiment than anything else. I like it a lot, but its limited versatility and the confusion it inspires in my partners means that it doesn't get off the ground much.

I'd say it's worth getting for a specific purpose---like a belay/rappel biner---but that if this is one of your first lockers, get more versatile "normal" lockers.

Pros:
- It's lighter than most other HMS lockers
- Bomber, elegant twingate mechanism is pretty much impossible to accidentally open
- Nice rounded stock shape is great for rappeling and belaying
- Super duper strong 'biner!
- With a little practice, clipping/unclipping from ropes/other round cord is a cinch and one of the easiest/fastest locking mechanisms out there

Cons:
- Even with practice, clipping/unclipping from webbing is annoying (webbing doesn't press the other gate open very far and tends to snag)
- Sometimes awkward to use because it takes a little more of a controlled motion to clip/unclip--e.g. if it's already clipped to something (like the anchor) and you want to clip another thing to it (like the pack)

(1)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 20, 2016

1 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought this carabiner more than a year ago because (1) I have a thing for weird lockers, and (2) it seemed like the perfect locker to use with a Grigri, since no point on the biner is too wide to pass through the device.

However, by the time I'd had this carabiner for a year, I had relegated it to the bail pile.

After only a year of mostly indoor use, the locking tab on this carabiner was so prone to jamming that the gate would not snap shut on its own when released from the open position (not to even mention auto-locking). As an open-gate carabiner is significantly weaker than a closed-gate biner (regardless of locked or not), I didn't feel safe using this biner.

I performed the manufacturer-recommended cleaning and lubrication, but the gate still closes unreliably. None of my other lockers or auto-lockers, which are older and dirtier, are finicky like this.

In addition, activating the slider tab to open the gate is really tough if your hands are sweaty or greasy, which happens a lot while climbing.

I definitely would not buy this biner again and though I'm sure it will make a great bail locker, it's so tough to open that I feel like leaving it to stump the next climber is a cruel prank.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 20, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This pack really hugs your back while climbing. I found that I could totally move freely with it, to the point that I could forget I was even wearing a pack. It's night and day vs. other packs that feel like they "slosh" around, pulling you off balance.

I also really like the rope strap and the overstuffable top. It feels like you can add a few liters for the approach and then vanish them once gear is racked on your harness. However, weight is carried on your shoulders, with an insubstantial waistbelt and sternum strap serving only to hug the bag to your body, so don't pack it too heavy.

The outer pocket on the back fits most guidebooks as well, making a quick reference easy. The internal sleeve just fits a 3L bladder snugly.

My only wishes are (1) that the outer pocket on the back had some sub-pockets so I could organize small things for easier access; and (2) that the hole for passing the bladder drinking valve out of the pack were larger.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 20, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large

I've gone through two pairs of Oasis. For size reference, I had a little extra heel space in a 6.5 Oasi; a 38 in the LS Futura and a 38.5 in the LS Solution are suction cup fits for me.

These shoes are cut narrow! I have a wide women's foot (La Sportiva Men's is perfect for me) and these shoes are still a little narrow for me in the toebox. I'm currently looking for something to replace them because of this issue.

Overall, these shoes are great if you want something soft, and between a Miura and a Solution in performance/capability. They are probably overhyped, but at the time of their introduction, they filled (and still fill) a relatively unoccupied niche of sensitive, comfortable, performance shoes.

Pros:
- Really sensitive shoe; but not so soft as to lack structure/support; shoe flex is designed to allow your foot freer movement
- Impressively capable for edging, smearing, smedging
- Solid but not excellent heel
- Trango stands by their product and sent me new closure tabs when mine wore out :)
- Well-made sole and rand have held up impressively well for thinness of rubber

Cons:
- Toe hooks are pretty meh, the boomerang-shaped patch of rubber on the toe is not very useful
- Lacing system is pretty bad; the hook tabs constantly detach from the loop patch, and the hooks wear out over even a year. They also slip on the straps.
- Soles are outdated Vibram XSGrip rubber instead of stickier (IMO) XSGrip2 rubber

(0)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 19, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I've worn a pair of Tennies almost to shreds over the course of about three years, all across North America.

These shoe are great for:
- Technical climbing. They climb better than just about all other contenders.
- Approaches where you are covering a lot of low fifth class / fourth class rock.
- Carrying on your harness for walkoff descents---they are relatively low-profile.

These shoes fall short for:
- Approaches on mud / scree / sand / any kind of "sloppy" terrain. They do not grip.
- Really long approaches: the footbed/support is good, but it's not nearly as good as a dedicated hiking shoe.

Overall, I'd say on the approach shoe spectrum of "climbing shoe" to "hiking shoe," these are as close to "climbing shoe" as you can get. If that's what you want, then this is the shoe for you!

Size them snug if you plan to climb in them. The leather upper will stretch and breathe.

(1)

 

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 19, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large

I've had these shoes for about a year. I've used them often for climbing approaches up fairly difficult terrain, and for some hikes as well.

They do run large---I'm usually about a size 9 and I needed a size 8.5 in these.

Pros:
- The slip-on lacing system is really fast and easy on-off
- SO MUCH GRIP
- Comfortable with just the right amount of flex and support, just where I want it
- Wide toebox allows your feet to splay and breathe, especially if you have wide feet like me
- Waterproofing has been great
- Surprisingly light
- I don't have particularly sweaty feet, but they have always been breathable/comfortable

Cons:
- The lacing system is starting to wear out a little, and gradually slips, needing to be snugged up periodically
- Still relatively bulky for carrying on your harness while climbing :P

These shoes have many more years/miles in them, and I'd happily buy another pair when they're done.

(1)

 

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 19, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: Runs small

I almost always need a small in bottoms, but I needed a medium in these. I wear a pants size 2-4. I was initially surprised that a small was too small, but when I checked a Roxy suit I've been using for ten years...yep, I had a medium bottom.

Coverage is great and they are really, really well made! Also I love the Seaspray pattern, the colors are more vibrant in person than in the photo.

Heads up that there are three small brightly colored fabric buttons on the left hip of the suit---they are just barely visible in the product photo so I didn't notice them and was pretty surprised to see them. If you hate orange, consider yourself forewarned!

(0)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 19, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: Runs small

A 34A is pretty generous for me, and the size S in this top fit perfectly. The cups are spaced pretty widely. The suit is really well made and really comfortable, though I wish the halter string was a little thicker.

I owned a similar Roxy suit for 10 years before finally retiring it!

(0)

 

0 Comments

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 15, 2016

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Let's just say 34A is a generous description of my size, but the size small in this bikini top had way too much room in the cups---would have fit better on a B cup.

Otherwise, comfy, good coverage, stays on, and pretty well-made. The loose cups tend to look lumpy on me though.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on May 23, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 135 lbs
Size Purchased: XS

I love this hoody! I have it in a different print, but the same weight and material. It's surprisingly really warm for its mid weight; the fabric is super soft and comfy; and has just the right level of looseness to make a comfy but not baggy hoody fit. It's very well made as well.

My only criticism would be that the head hole is a little small when pulling it on, but it snugs up better to my neck.

I wear the same size in all tops in Patagonia and this hoody was no exception.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on February 1, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large

First, sizing:

I'm a girl with a relatively wide forefoot and small heel, but with very tapered toes.

I saw in several places to size them 1/2 size down from the Solutions. I did so and found that at first the Futura was insanely painful due to being narrow---but that it was just the length I needed to snug my heel all the way into the cup while just lightly curling my big toe. I then took a hot shower with the shoes on to stretch them horizontally, which got me about 1/3 size stretch. Now they are quite comfortable without being sloppy, and I think they will stretch a little more yet.

If you don't size them tight enough, as other reviewers have said, you'll lose a lot of performance. You need to pick the size that has NO extra space along the line from big toe to heel. Unless you have very very wide feet, the shoe will stretch in width (seriously, try the hot shower) to accommodate you.

Second, climbing in them:

I read a lot of conflicting reports about these shoes before I bought them, which is one reason why I wanted to share my experience.

If you like barefoot-like sensitive shoes and feeling the holds under your feet (I do), and you maybe tend to use your foot/calf muscles to grip your shoe onto a hold, the Futuras are a game changer. You have to focus on the corner of your big toe instead of your forefoot, and you have to be somewhat precise in placing your feet; but your reward will be feeling incredibly secure and connected to the rock, since you'll be able to feel that you're putting your weight directly on the hold and even on which feature of the hold, instead of on a rubber edge cantilevered on the hold. Plus the midsole does you one better than barefoot and connects the power of your whole foot to the toe (rather than relying on your toe muscle alone). For me, the No Edge definitely worked as advertised right out of the box, and I'm completely sold.

If you prefer an edging shoe with a lot more support and/or your style is more to press a sharp edge or a stiff toe harder onto a hold to gain more security, the Futuras will probably not suit you. (But that doesn't mean you can't benefit from learning to climb Futura-style.)

The shoes excel at vertical and overhanging climbing especially on weird footholds that edging shoes roll off of. I would find them suboptimal for climbs with a lot of narrow cracks or tiny pockets that you want to shove a sharp edge or pointy toe into. They are also too aggressively downturned to be good slab shoes. I also would never use these for crack climbing shoes.... I found that they toe and heel hooked well, though not as well as the Solutions, but that I enjoyed the increased sensitivity.

Overall, I think the biggest issue I have with the Futuras is that they might cost me a lot of money: they're so amazing I just want to climb everything in them and wear them out faster while letting all the other expensive shoes I own gather dust...

(2)

 

0 Comments