la sportiva skwama review

La Sportiva Skwama Review

Sometimes it’s actually best to find a climbing shoe that is really good at two or three things so you know what you are getting into before buying the shoe.

There isn’t one shoe that can do all of the things you are looking for, so trying out one specific shoe can definitely give you more precise experience. 

If you are looking to be great at edging, or having high comfort, or better ability at pockets, you should find a shoe that fits a couple of your highly important areas and then use that shoe and continue reading this la sportiva skwama review. 

If you are looking for a shoe that can be expert in specific areas, especially if you are going on climbs that only require a couple of different skills. 

You may be a really experienced climber and looking for the best possible climbing shoe to add to your collection. However, the La Sportiva Skwama is a great addition.

In Depth Guide of the La Sportiva Skwama Climbing Shoe

la sportiva skwama review

La Sportiva Skwama Review Climbing Shoe Score

Sensitivity – 9 out of 10

Pockets – 8 out of 10

Comfort – 7 out of 10

Cracks – 9 out of 10

Edging – 8 out of 10

How Does the La Sportiva Skwama Climbing Shoe Actually Perform?

Edging is Really Good

Built into the shoe is its P3 platform that is designed to be permanent. It gives a lot of support without having to have an aggressive downturn that most high quality shoes have. They are pretty soft, however, so they don’t get a high of a score as some other similarly priced and similar quality climbing shoes. 

Obviously, the “no edge” technology in the Genius or the Futura climbing shoe is going to be a much better option for edging. However, even though the Skwama doesn’t have this kind of design, it still presents a pretty good alternative to these shoes. 

The shoe is pretty asymmetrical, distributing your weight evenly across the shoe. However, it isn’t completely centered, so it still allows your big toe to receive as much of the force and power as possible. Because of this, it allows you to get a much more precise feel when you are trying to grab onto those small holds. 

However, the midsole of this particular climbing shoe is pretty soft, you most likely won’t get the level of support when you have to use really good footwork skills. Since they are soft, they will definitely help you when you are on the climb and are trying to smear or need a flexible stretch. 

Crack Climbing is Great

The La Sportiva Skwama has a really thin profile, while at the same time having a pretty wide midfoot. This is a really great design for crack climbing because this climbing shoe will be able to fit really well into those harder to get into cracks. Also, you get a good amount of support while your fit is actually in the crack. 

Since it’s also a soft shoe, you’ll be able to wiggle your toe into the toughest cracks. Even when climbing shoes have low profiles, some of their material is just too hard to get into without really pliable material. 

Also, the closure system only has one velcro strap and it’s pretty high up near the ankle, so you shouldn’t struggle with the strap getting in the way of your climb. 

It is a little bit too low around the ankle, so it doesn’t give much protection while you are climbing in the cracks. You might want to wear good socks while you are wearing the Skwama climbing shoe to give optimal protection. 

Pocket are Not a Problem

The same design that allows this climbing shoe to have pretty great edging ability is the same design that gives the Skwama great pocket support. As much of the energy as possible is transferred to your big toes so they can provide the needed support while your shoe is resting in the pockets. 

Still, the shoe is soft and sensitive, so there are going to be a good amount of climbing shoes that are better at this skill. The lack of downturn also makes it a less likely shoe for pockets. 

Super Sensitivity 

One of the most sensitive shoes in the La Sportiva collection, you should have no trouble finding those hard to feel surfaces that will really help you on your climbing route. Granite is usually a tough surface to climb on, but with the Skwama’s superior sensitivity, this type of surface shouldn’t be much of a problem for you. Crack climbing, edging, and also smearing are really easy with this kind of sensitivity. You should be able to do all of these technical skills while you’re on the climb. 

A long term climb should also be really possible with these shoes, as longer climbs usually involve a variety of different skill sets. 

Because of their sensitivity, it still isn’t a great supportive shoe. This may balance out your decision in getting the shoe. However, your level of footwork can be increased while using this shoe, and the skill you gain may also balance out the effectiveness of the shoe. 

However, knowing that it doesn’t give great support will still give you a much more informed decision. 

Does the La Sportiva Skwama Climbing Shoe Have Good Fit?

Great Initial Fit

The Skwama has a pretty glove like fit right out of the box. The snug fit is usually what most higher performance shoes have. This usually affects most of the technical skill that you want to be able to do. 

The heel of the Skwama is an S-heel that fits like a glove to the back of your heel. This also aids in heel hooking as there aren’t any dead spots in this part of the shoe that prevents you from feeling the rock face.

Since the shoes are aggressively fit, you’ll feel a good bit of tightness at first, but after a good number climbs you should be able to break the shoe in pretty well.

Wide Fit

For an aggressive shoe, the Skwama is pretty wide, which would usually be a problem, but it’s able to accommodate more oddly shaped or higher volume feet. Also, there is a good amount of unlined leather in the shoe. The lining doesn’t take up all that much room, but when you are looking for the best possible fit, the deletion of this extra material really helps. This really helps the toe box of the climbing shoe in particular, as this is usually where there is the most need for as much need as possible. 

Since the shoe is fitted so well, it really boosts your comfort level. Most of the reasons bad fit affects comfort are dead spaces in the shoe and lack of security. Dead spaces are areas where the shoe doesn’t actually touch your feet. And the lack of security of the shoe causes discomfort. 

There is a good bit of elastic at the ankle, which increases the fit, and it’s also backed up by the single strap which uses velcro to close up the shoe. 

Is the La Sportiva Skwama Climbing Shoe Comfortable?

Ok Comfort

Under the arches of the Skwama is where you’ll find the least amount of comfort. Unfortunately, the midsole is notorious for pushing up into your foot. This allows it to keep the downturn the shoe provides, which is really great at eliminating dead in the shoe and forcing your toes forward to get the best stability, but not so good at over comfort in that area. 

Luckily, after the initial break in period, you may feel these uncomfortable effects go away. Some of this is due to the leather upper that works well with whatever shape of foot you have. The upper will eventually do its best to stretch to fit your foot, and this may detract from the discomfort of the downturn. 

However, compared to other shoes with better leather upper, the stretch of the Skwama isn’t very good. The stretch doesn’t really contract back well like other shoes. Most of the time, the upper will stretch in a good way during the break in period, then shortly after the material will contract and conform more precisely to your foot shape. But the leather doesn’t contract nearly as well as other climbing shoes as well other full leather upper shoes. 

Size Down

Sizing the shoe down a half of a size should get you the kind of comfortable fit that you need with this shoe in particular. This is going to give a pretty slow period of breaking in the shoe so you can more easily assess the fit. And even though the strap is only a single, it does a pretty good job of keeping comfort level stable while climbing. 

Single straps usually don’t give this kind of fitted comfort, but the Skwama does a good job of this. 

La Sportiva Skwama Climbing Shoe Pros and Cons


  • Crack Climbing
  • Sensitive
  • Comfort


  • Too much stretch

Does the La Sportiva Skwama Climbing Shoe Have Good Value?

The Skwama has pretty good construction design and it gets good points for versatility. It ends up being a little less expensive than other high performing shoes that have similar abilities. 

It isn’t as comfortable as it could be, so beginners and intermediates might have a harder time with this shoe. However, the fit might make up for this flaw and attract people who are attempting to level up their climbing skills.  

How Does the La Sportiva Skwama Climbing Shoe Compare?

Skwama VS Katana

The Katana is a good bit more expensive than the Skwama, and for pretty good reason. They only compare equally in crack climbing and pocket climbing. The Katana has a better closure system because of its laces, which are always going to be better at adjusting fit. 

However, the Skwama does perform a little better in the sensitivity area. You should feel the rock face a little bit better while wearing the Skwama versus the Katana. It isn’t a huge 

difference, but if you tend towards needing a more sensitive shoe, the Skwama will be a little bit better for you. 

Skwama VS Solution

Both of these shoes score pretty much the same in their sensitivity. You should get a pretty good feel on hard to hold onto surfaces. 

Edging and pockets are going to be where the Solution outshines the Skwama. The Solution does a great  job at pushing the power towards your big toe to get edging skills up to par. And the same technical skills that provide great support for edging are the same ones that allow the Solution to be decent at pockets as well. 

Skwama VS Futura

Crack climbing is where the La Sportiva Futura falls behind the Skwama. You are going to get a good deal more support when you are in a crack with the Skwama than with the Futura. It utilizes a much slimmer profile than the Futura and should be able to get into cracks that its counterpart just can’t. 

Skwama VS Genius

The Skwama also outpaces the La Sportiva Genius climbing shoe in crack climbing. This is the only area where it exceeds, however. In all the other areas of performance it definitely falls a good pace behind. 

The Genius is a way more expensive shoe than the Skwama, so the higher price tag might convince some to not get this shoe. And the Skwama does perform relatively well, so it might be a good entry to higher performance before getting into a much higher price range. 

What is the Verdict La Sportiva Skwama Climbing Shoe?

Affordability and Versatility

Though these shoes are still expensive, they definitely don’t come into the range of others that have similar performance but much higher price tag. 

You can definitely go on a variety of climbs with these shoes, which really add to their value. Also while on all those climbs, you should find a good amount of comfort. 

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