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Old La Sportiva

Original Post
John Maurer · · Denver, CO · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 530

34 years into climbing & I still don’t know what my first pair of shoes were . . . anyone know what these are? I purchased them in 1989 or so - they’re very soft, fit like a slipper, & always felt more plastic-y than a leather/synthetic/rubber combo.  

John Maurer · · Denver, CO · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 530

John Maurer · · Denver, CO · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 530

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 619

Looks like a lace up Ballerina - not sure the model name.

Shaniac · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 19
Long Ranger wrote:

Looks like a lace up Ballerina - not sure the model name.

Until we know the correct name, I propose:

Lil' Nas Boot
Sli Portiva
or Black Swan

I will check through some old Sportiva catalogues from that vintage, if I can get my paws on some from IME. Thx. 

Hank Caylor · · Livin' in the Junk! · Joined Dec 2003 · Points: 643

The Kendo was the best rock climbing shoe La Sportiva ever made, but that shoe certainly isn't the  Kendo, maybe the short lived Tao?

Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 10

Yes, it does look like the Tao.

Ignatius Pi · · Europe · Joined Jun 2020 · Points: 13
Hank Caylor wrote:

maybe the short lived Tao?

No; the Tao looked very similar to the Kendo - ie it laced all the way to the toe [but possibly performed more like the Futura] - but in a black synthetic material which could be the same as that used in the OP's slipper.

DGoguen · · Conway NH · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

I bought a pair of those Tao at IME back then and immediately went over to the South Buttress on a sunny day. By the third pitch that weird black "material" felt like it had shrink wrapped my feet in a burning synthetic hell. I have referred to those often as the worst shoe I ever bought. No doubt someone thinks they were the best. Ha.

Garth Sundem · · Louisville, CO · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 20

OMG I can't believe I'm about to disagree with Hank Caylor but the Synchro and not the Kendo was the best climbing shoe ever made. This comment has nothing to do with this post. LONG LIVE THE SYNCHRO, BITCHES! That is all. outdoorreview.com/product/p…

John Maurer · · Denver, CO · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 530

John Maurer · · Denver, CO · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 530
DGoguen wrote:

 that weird black "material" felt like it had shrink wrapped my feet in a burning synthetic hell.

Yes - this! The great news is that all subsequent shoes have been better than the first. This can also be said about other things.

Frank Stein · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 190

That is not the Tao. The Tao had a slingshot rand and was not particularly soft. I don’t recall ever seeing the OP’s shoes before. Perhaps a proto-Mythos?  The original Mythos were black after all. 

Also, on second look, if you remove the laces, the shoe does look a bit like a black Ballerina  

As for the Kendo, they were fantastic…for their time. A more painful shoe I have never worn. 

Frank Stein · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 190

Left to right. Tao, Tao Rosa, Mega. 

Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 10

Ah, the Mega!!! My heart flutters!!! That was my all-time favorite shoe—for me, the best edging shoe I ever used and, at the time, that was my favored style of climbing.

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 619

I wonder if the Tao's are what I started out with. I never figured out the model - similar to the Mythos but if they've never changed in like 30 years these aren't Mythos. Big difference I see is the top 3 lace eyelets are naked and don't have metal grommets.

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,103
John Maurer wrote:

interesting shoe.  it looks like it doesn't really take advantage of a lace up system OR being a slipper.  kind of like a horrible combination of the two.

Shaniac · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 19

The Sliportiva was released in 1988 to coincide with with the years highest grossing film, "Who Framed Rodger Rabbit." Sportiva was breaking into US sales, and like most euro-centric companies, they figured the US consumer was much less refined than we actually were. Thus the crossover into the Zemeckis film. You can see the product placement in many scenes, especially the classic escape scene where Rodger had to scale the sheer wall. Doubt me if you want, but dust off that old VHS player and play it back to see the true origins of the... Sliportiva.

Matthew Bell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2022 · Points: 5
Hank Caylor wrote:

The Kendo was the best rock climbing shoe La Sportiva ever made, but that shoe certainly isn't the  Kendo, maybe the short lived Tao?

I love my kendos. They still have the hard 90s og rubber and they still pull almost as hard as my solutions.

Garth Sundem · · Louisville, CO · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 20
Shaniac wrote:

The Sliportiva was released in 1988 to coincide with with the years highest grossing film, "Who Framed Rodger Rabbit." Sportiva was breaking into US sales, and like most euro-centric companies, they figured the US consumer was much less refined than we actually were. Thus the crossover into the Zemeckis film. You can see the product placement in many scenes, especially the classic escape scene where Rodger had to scale the sheer wall. Doubt me if you want, but dust off that old VHS player and play it back to see the true origins of the... Sliportiva.

Yes, this is exactly where this conversation wants to go. I'm here for it. 

Kai Larson · · Sandy, UT · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 436
Alan Rubin wrote:

Ah, the Mega!!! My heart flutters!!! That was my all-time favorite shoe—for me, the best edging shoe I ever used and, at the time, that was my favored style of climbing.

Back in the 80's, all the cool kids wore Megas.  (Except the cool kids with lots of money; they wore Scarpa LeMenestrels or One Sport Frenzys.)  

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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