Climbing is a sport where not only inches but actual millimeters matter. The closer a climber can get to the rock, the better feel they’ll have and the easier they’ll be able to ascend. Climbing shoes have always presented a bit of a challenge as there’s material between the climber’s body and the rock itself. La Sportiva’s patented No-Edge technology helps get the climber’s feet just about as close to the rock as possible without actually climbing barefoot.
Alex Honnold recently set a speed record on El Capitan, at Yosemite National Park, and the expert climber relies on the No-Edge technology for most of his climbs.
The current technology actually has roots that go back about 20 years. Giuliano Jellici is the head of La Sportiva’s research and development, and in 1998 he helped the company create the Mantra, a shoe that was ahead of its time. It was the first shoe that really brought the idea of creating a “natural” feel to fruition.
The big difference between La Sportiva’s No-Edge shoes and other climbing shoes is that the No-Edge models get rid of the unnatural edges that most other shoes have, wrapping the sold of the shoe around the climber’s toes and giving them the ability to better feel the rock beneath their feet.
The increased feel allows for climbers to stand solidly on smaller and smaller cracks and holds. Ultimately, it comes down to simple science. The No-Edge sole allows for the climber to put more rubber on the rock, increasing the friction, and thus their ability to hold.
The actual rubber used on the soles is pretty thin, too, which allows for even more sensitivity. Again, it’s almost as if the climber is tackling the rock in bare feet—able to feel every crack and ledge with their toes. This allows climbers to become more aware of potential holds than ever before. It doesn’t matter if you’re into long, leading routes or bouldering, the No-Edge technology will, quite simply, make you a better climber.
The No-Edge technology can currently be found in many of La Sportiva’s models, including the Futura, Genius and the kids’ model, Maverink.