The La Sportiva Pythons are indoor bouldering and route-climbing slippers that also have a place outdoors on steep pockets and edging climbs. They are one of the better slippers on the market—a new take on a classic design. The Python features some modern upgrades such as rubber on top of the toe for toe hooks, and a little out-of-the way Velcro strap to help keep the slipper on the foot. While it performs well on edges, smears, heel hooks and toe hooks, the Python is a bit baggy in the upper and could be better fitting.
Any climber who trains indoors ought to own a pair of nice, soft slippers. They’re easy to get on and off, and help build toe strength you need to climb outdoors. Slippers get my vote as the best type of shoe to wear indoors, where most climbers (especially those with jobs) spend a majority of their time. I’ve been using the La Sportiva Pythons as my go-to training shoe this year and have really enjoyed their performance both indoors and outdoors.
I was most surprised by how good the Pythons are at edging. For such a soft shoe with only 3.5mm of Vibram XS Grip 2 rubber under foot, the Pythons yield a lot of toe power—you can really snake your big toe behind flakes and edges. But where the Pythons shine are on nothing-smears and shallow pockets. The Pythons climb a lot like the much more expensive La Sportiva Solutions ($170)—one of the best and most popular shoes on today’s market—but because they aren’t so down-turned, they are more versatile though not as high performance.
One of the shoe’s more unique features is the bungeed Velcro strap across the top of the foot. This small, simple and greatly appreciated addition keeps the shoe on my foot even when I’m pulling really hard in a heel hook—something I can’t say about most slippers.
The only bummer about the Pythons was their fit. The leather upper was baggy on my foot, and it got even baggier as the unlined shoe stretched over time. In the model I tested, I wouldn’t have wanted to size the shoe very much tighter since my toes were already comfortably scrunched. Perhaps wider, higher-volume feet will find the Pythons to be a snugger, better fit.
• 3.5mm Vibram XS Grip 2 rubber sole
• Leather upper
• Sizes: 32-46 (half sizes)