La Sportiva TC Pro Review

Post by blogger | June 27, 2012      

I’d worked my old pair of climbing shoes for about six years. After getting them re-soled several times, they were finally so tattered I had trouble distinguishing them from the rags I use to check the oil in my truck. Time for an upgrade.

After trying on a couple dozen shoes, I settled on La Sportiva TC Pros. They are a little on the pricey side, but I figured if I make them last anywhere near as long as my old pair, they’d be well worth it.

TC Pros on top of The Chief, Squamish, BC

TC Pros, of course, are the “Tommy Caldwell pro model” I don’t care much about which pro uses what, however they have a few unique features that are right up my alley.

My favorite type of climbing is long, moderate trad (who doesn’t like those?), but I tend to use the same pair of shoes for all types of routes. TC Pros feature a stiff, thick sole, great for edging and crack climbing, ostensibly designed for freeing aid routes in Yosemite. The shoes also are slightly high-top, which serves to protect the ankles while not restricting range of motion. The uppers are leather and lace-up, two other features I like in climbing shoes.

I’ve been using these for a while now, and I’m impressed. While I’m not sure how much climbing shoes can increase your skill level, these certainly come close. With the stiff sole and ankle protection, stuffing my feet in cracks is decidedly less painful and more secure than with my old shoes. There’s no feeling like when your foot cranks down into a solid foot jam! After struggling up some offwidths recently in Squamish, I happily noted my ankles were less bloody than my partner’s shredded appendages. Edging is awesome as well. I got these shoes quite small, since I tend to do the opposite and end up with shoes that are comfy, but slightly too big. After walking around the house and quite a few climbing trips, they still aren’t as comfy as I would like, but they definitely climb well.

Smearing doesn’t seem to be these shoes’ strong point, but that is just about my only complaint. A small part of the toe rand is already peeling up, and I haven’t used them that much. I’ll glue it back down and see if it starts to peel up again.

While I might not be Tommy Caldwell, I’d say the Sportiva TC Pro is pretty sweet. I love the extra ankle protection, and the stiffness really makes for all-around performance that, in my view, favored cracks. The only weak point is perhaps smearing, but who likes slabs anyways? (Ahem, forget all those recent trips to Darington.)

Shop for La Sportiva TC Pro.



9 Responses to “La Sportiva TC Pro Review”

  1. harpo June 27th, 2012 9:38 am

    There smear much better after they break in, and even better after they have been resoled with something other than the original Edge? rubber. I don’t remember exactly what my resoler used. No problem smearing now, and they still edge pretty damn well.

    I used barge cememnt on the rands to glue them back down and then put freesole on top of that to protect the repair. Everyone I know who has the shoes has had the rands come apart here.

  2. Nick June 27th, 2012 11:49 am

    Harpo – interesting point. I am looking to replace my Mythos with something that handles cracks better (and I am on my 3rd resole of Mythos). Was thinking some Boreal Aces (which I love, but are difficult to find), but was also thinking about these.

  3. harpo June 27th, 2012 4:05 pm

    Nick, I have a pair of Mythos too. I still use them on slab climbs in Touloumne beause they smear better, but the rest of the time I am on the TC’s. The TCs are great in cracks, but also for sport climbs with micro edges.

  4. MorganW June 27th, 2012 7:54 pm

    I am a big fan of sportivas, particularly the lace up Katanas at the moment. I just hope that La Sportiva see the light and bring back the Barracuda!

  5. Erik June 28th, 2012 4:05 am

    I always appreciate Lee Lau’s posts which go into detail about how a boot fit with detail on his street shoe size, the selected size, foot type, and any customization or liner swaps. Louie, could you comment on the size you chose vs. street shoe size? Obviously the fit was a little on the snug size, but any idea what you think would have been ideal and how many sizes you think you missed by?

  6. Lou June 28th, 2012 8:10 am

    Hmm, I guess I forgot to say what size they are. I don’t have the shoes with me here, but I’ll add the size when I do. My street shoe size is 10/10.5 mens (in La sportiva street shoes I wear 44/10.5). I’m still not sure if I should have bought a bigger size, or they just need to break in more. If I wanted a super comfy long day shoe then a bigger size definitely would have been good.

  7. Robby June 29th, 2012 12:16 am

    I live in the Wasatch. Hands down the best shoe I have ever owned( uncountable pairs by the way). I have no complaints except, they take so many pitches to break in. Only thing I have found they don’t do is “hook”, heel or toe. Good thing they were never designed with that in mind!

  8. Louie June 29th, 2012 12:58 am

    The TC pros I have are 41s. Quite a few sizes downsized, but I tried on the next size up, and they seemed a bit roomy.

  9. tony July 22nd, 2013 3:38 pm

    definitely a hard shoe to locate for sizing. Rarely have I seen my guesstimated size in stock… but..I can get them mailorder…however… that means I need to make a pretty good guess about initial fit/size vs stretch factor etc.

    The mythos stretched out almost 2 sizes…
    with you in 41 tcpros…you sized down 3 sizes from your street shoes… Lasportiva advises 2 sizes reduction for good fit.. sizing from one model to another doesn’t really work either…

    now that you have had a chance to break them in.. how much did the TCpros finally stretch… and did the wider last make a difference in your choice too?

    every sales person I speak with tells me something different… but you are actually wearing the shoes… so your opinion of the fit issues is worth elaborating on for some of us… anyway… I know I would appreciate that kind of feed back… cause… its not like I can walk i and try two or three pairs on anywhere..

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