La Sportiva Miura VS - If it ain't broke... Review

© Rob Greenwood

Some pieces of climbing equipment have stayed unchanged for many years because they just do the job well and you know what you're getting. Normally I wouldn't put climbing shoes in this category because pretty much every shoe on the market over the last decade seems to have undergone updates that make the current version feel very different from the original - and that's assuming your favourite model hasn't been dropped altogether.

A performance fit plus a supportive sole for solid edging - a winning formula  © Rob Greenwood
A performance fit plus a supportive sole for solid edging - a winning formula
© Rob Greenwood

But there is usually an exception to every rule, and lucky for lovers of the Miura VS, La Sportiva know they are onto a good thing when they have it. Despite being in the brand's range for over 15 years, this is still one of their biggest sellers, and a popular favourite for many rock climbers worldwide.

in a world where performance shoes are getting softer, the stiff edging power stands out

When La Sportiva announced an update of the Muira VS we all got a little nervous, since newer isn't always better when it comes to climbing shoes. Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief because (spoiler alert) they've really not changed much from the previous version, a model dating way back to 2008. Thankfully the key attributes of fit and performance will be familiar to existing Miura fans.

Pros: A classic performance edging shoe that still ticks the boxes over 15 years after it was launched! This shoe will serve you well on lots of rock types in the UK or abroad 
Cons: Takes a bit of breaking in. Maybe not a shoe for the modern climbing gym environment

What's changed?

The previous model of the Miura VS dates back to 2008 so perhaps it was, if nothing else, in need of a cosmetic update. La Sportiva has done a nice job with a new design on the straps using artwork that is PU injected. But the most important change comes in a new heel design which is narrower than the previous version, designed to be more precise and more in line with other La Sportiva shoes.

Other than these two elements the shoe is almost identical to the last version, and I see this very much as a positive. There are a lot of elements that work very well within the Miura VS and in a world where performance shoes are getting softer, the heritage of stiff edging power arguably stands out more than it did ten years ago.

In Use

The Miura VS's popularity over such a long period of time comes down to the fact that it offers very reliable performance across many different rock types, and versatility across a range of climbing disciplines whether that be trad, sport or bouldering.

One thing I think worth mentioning about the Miura VS is that, in my opinion, it's a 'rock' climbing shoe, a supportive model designed before the boom in climbing gyms and the comp style that developed in recent years in climbing walls. That's not to say you couldn't go to the climbing wall and have a good time in them, but this definitely isn't a shoe made for smearing on volumes and clamping macro holds. If you're someone that spends a lot of time in the climbing wall it might not be the best choice for you. But if you like climbing on lots of different rock types these shoes cover a lot of bases, particularly if you're a regular sport or trad climber, the disciplines in which it really excels.

Rob Greenwood appreciating the support of his old Miura VSs on Archimedes Principle, Eureka Wall (pre access ban)  © Rob Greenwood
Rob Greenwood appreciating the support of his old Miura VSs on Archimedes Principle, Eureka Wall (pre access ban)
© Rob Greenwood

Out of the box, there is no doubt this is a stiff edgy shoe with a lot of support and I'd go as far as to say that this might be one of the stiffest velcro shoes currently on the market. When it comes to standing on micro edges with pinpoint accuracy there isn't much else like it. This is due to the asymmetric shape (a bit like a banana), slightly downturned sole unit, and 4mm of XS Edge rubber, which is pretty chunky compared to most shoes, on a 1.1mm midsole. It's worth noting though that on the women's version it's 3.5mm of Vibram XS Grip rubber. Why the difference? Well I guess on average women's feet are smaller, hence less leverage, hence less flex, and therefore less need for thickness for support.

Once broken in (which does take some time compared to a soft performance shoe) the Miura VS becomes a great all-rounder which offers good support and a reasonable amount of comfort. Being a performance shoe it's not one you're going to put on and leave on for the whole day, but when it comes to climbing multiple pitches in a day the supportive sole unit is a big help, giving good arch support and some hope that you might still be able to stand on the small edge at the top of pitch six!

One of the main changes that has been made to the shoe is an update to the heel unit. This is now slimmer and less bulky which is nice when it comes to heel hooking as it's more precise and sensitive. But the change is subtle enough that it wouldn't be a deal breaker if you're used to the previous version.


Coming in either a men's or a women's fit (the same shape as men's, but softer to account for the smaller sizes), the Miura VS is aimed at intermediate to performance climbers and has a fit to match, which is tight and techy. The toe box is designed to have your knuckles raised, toes firmly against the end and your foot pushed forward by the 'P3 tensioning system'. I'm a UK 8.5 street shoe and have been wearing a 40.5, which is about right. I have a medium width and volume foot that suits the Miura VS, but if your feet are narrow and low volume, or particularly broad and square, then you might struggle. The front of the shoe is quite pointy and this can be a problem for some people. As always, try before you buy.

Triple velcro closure for more adjustability  © Tim Hill
Triple velcro closure for more adjustability
© Tim Hill
A narrower heel for improved heel hooking  © Tim Hill
A narrower heel for improved heel hooking
© Tim Hill


The velcro closure system on the Miura VS has always been a little different to the norm, as it's a 3-strap system rather than the standard 2-strap you would find on most other velcro shoes. With more straps does come more adjustment, providing a more personalised fit and the ability to pull things tight when you need that extra bit of performance.

When it comes to the upper of the shoe, it's suede leather plus a really low stretch rand rubber. The suede leather can be a little stiff out of the box but soon softens and moulds to your foot. The shoe rand isn't overly thick but does take a few climbs to break in. Breaking in shoes doesn't get mentioned as much nowadays because most performance shoes have become softer and more stretchy, but this does come at the price of durability and longevity. The Miura VS might need some breaking in and time to mould to your foot shape but they are a pair of shoes that will last and are built of hardy materials - so much so that La Sportiva has made the latest edition of the Miura VS easier to re-sole than the previous version.


The Miura VS has been a much-loved favourite of many climbers for over 15 years, and the good news is that the update has not watered down what this shoe does best. It continues to provide out-of-the-box edging performance, which turns into all-round reliability as the shoe softens up. If you've worn the Miura VS for years, you'll no doubt be pleased. If you're someone who has grown up with the more recent trend of softer shoes the supportive Miura VS may be a shock to the system and take some adjustment, but the power of the Miura toe on small precise edges and the general midfoot support is not to be overlooked. Old duffers like me know a good thing when they see it - and thankfully so do La Sportiva.

For more information

17 Apr

A good review and write up.

I also thought "Oh no, what have they done!" when I heard the Miura VS was going to be "updated!" Recently, that has often meant, changed significantly from the previous version. I am pleased the change hasn't been radical and the heel works really well if needed.

As a heavier climber, I really rate the support the VS's provide. I wear a slightly smaller pair for redpointing as they give just that little bit more support than the larger, more comfortable, pair I wear for onsighting.

Coming from the Blancos (looks mistily into the distance with fond memories and thinking how could Five Ten get rid of those?) the Miura VS's did take a bit of getting used to, but I wouldn't go back, even if the Blancos were reintroduced.

In the wall, I wear Skwamas, as the VS's are just a little bit stiff for a lot of the modern indoor bouldering.

Let's hope they stay part of the La Sportiva line up for a long time and don't go the way of that other awesome Sportiva shoe, the Kendos in the nineties.


I can't help but feel we need to have some sort of a campaign to bring back stiff/supportive shoes, because the modern trend is definitely to soften seemingly everything. There's definitely a time and place for this, but for the vast majority of us who're trad/sport climbing in the UK it's definitely a detriment to performance.

Something else I'd applaud La Sportiva for doing, aside from not changing it much, is actually keep it in the range. There's nothing more frustrating than your favourite shoe being discontinued!!

17 Apr

Miura was released in 1997, that's bit more than 15 years.

17 Apr

Yes, but wasn't that the lace up version of the Miura?

The Miura VS came out in 2008 and is a very different shoe to the lace up version. Both fantastic, but quite different.

17 Apr

Quite. I was utterly dismayed by the "purely cosmetic" update to Miura Laces, until I tried a pair and found that they really had only changed the colours

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