Okay, nobody expects to climb hard routes in the footwear they use to get to the base of a crag. The flexibility of walking footwear can’t handle tiny holds or friction smears. However at the easier end of the climbing scale, on scrambles and via ferrata routes where holds are much bigger, there is room for footwear that can successfully handle both climbing and walking. The Granda Guide is La Sportiva’s crack at this niche market.
The Granda Guide, a mid-height boot based loosely on the approach shoe the Granda, uses a tough combination of leather and suede upper matched with a Vibram climbing sole. To meet the climbing part of the spec it has decent edges, top-to-toe lacing, minimal padding, a toe rand and a trim profile. For walking the Vibram sole has a clean but sufficiently cleated sole, and there is sculpted, shock-absorbing PU in the mid-sole. Clearly La Sportiva have had to make some compromises, but they have gone a long way to negating these by making the front end of the boot ‘slip lasted‘ and the rear end ‘board lasted’. This mix-and-match approach means the toe box slip-lasting offers sensitivity for exploiting holds whilst the board-lasted rear maintains a good level of support for the heel while pounding the paths.
So what are the Granda Guides good for? Well, if your idea of a good day out is bagging lots of Diffs and V Diffs on high crags or cruising around a series of scrambles with a minimal amount of fuss and weight on your back they will be an ideal choice for you. You will run the risk of wet feet as they don’t have a waterproof lining, and you could end up on your bum when descending wet grass as the cleats aren’t overly deep. But teamed with the growing range of lightweight climbing gear and ropes, a pair of boots like the La Sportiva Grande Guide are the trimmed- down future of adventure climbing and will help banish monster climbing rucksacks to the past.
Sizes 37-47 including half sizes
Weight 1220g (pair, size 46)
Made in Italy
Stockist details – tel. (015396) 25493; www.lyon.co.uk
The La Sportiva Granda Guide is a specialist approach and climbing boot that performs well enough on crag and path to open the door to truly lightweight adventure climbing.
Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine April 2011