La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoes
Comfortable, multi-purpose, sensitive
Laces are hard to replace
The multi-purpose La Sportiva Mythos is by far the best rock shoe I have ever worn (read on for disclaimer at end). Rock climbing for over ten years now, I have been to all types of crags. Not laying claim to belonging to either sport climbing or trad climbing, I like to try it all. This can be both a blessing as well as a curse. Though the variety of choice is great, being a climber willing to tackle any route takes its toll when hauling large amounts of gear to the crag. That said, I’m much happier when one piece of gear performs multiple functions. The Mythos is that Holy Grail!
I have owed my Mythos since 1995. Two other pairs of shoes add to my gear: Five Ten Summits and a pair of La Sportiva Cobras. The Mythos remain my favorite all-around choice especially for comfort. I have worn them many times on multi-pitch routes with no major foot pain. They have been resoled twice and are about ready for another. I have seen no performance decline though over the past five years. There have only been two minor problems with my shoes. First, the shoelaces broke and I had to re-lace (very difficult). Second, one of the small leather straps that hold the laces in place broke. Both of these were very minor problems that left no major performance issues.
The Mythos has a few more advantages. Since there is no lining or last in the shoe, it is extremely flexible. Features in the rock will actually contour to you feet and you will feel subtle nuances in the rock. This makes for excellent smearing. An added benefit though exists in the realm of sport climbing. You will actually grab some of those holds with your feet. The Mythos is that supple. All this flexibility would lead one to believe that these shoes perform poorly when edging. This is actually not the case. The Mythos is just at home cranking down on sharp edges as they are dancing up the slabs.
A general disclaimer to this review that should be applied to all rock shoes: they can be the best shoes in the world, but it doesn’t matter if they don’t fit your feet well. As always, try them on with many other models. If the Mythos fits, you will definitely ignore that high-end price tag.
UPDATE: Ok, now it’s 2005 and I’ve added additional shoes since then: Boreal Spirit, Mad Rock Flash, and La Sportiva Miura. The Mad Rocks are my every day “gym” shoe, but the Sportiva Miura’s have bested the Mythos as the best shoes I’ve worn. Watch for an upcoming review.