la sportiva skwama vegan
The La Sportiva Skwama Vegan; (photo/La Sportiva)

La Sportiva Skwama Vegan Forgoes Leather, Hunts Performance

Check out the Italian rock shoe maker’s Skwama Vegan, a welcome version of a La Sportiva sport climbing staple.

Earlier this year, La Sportiva announced a new generation of Skwama for climbers looking to leverage the shoe’s high-test capabilities on rock without the use of animal-derived materials.

The Skwama Vegan uses a material La Sportiva calls “SkinLike” on the insole and forgoes the standard Skwama’s leather upper. That means the shoe uses no animal-derived products — and, according to La Sportiva, could lead to benefits in fit and feel.

The shoe should arrive in the U.S. sometime “in the next few weeks,” the brand said. It emphasized that the only significant difference between the Vegan and its leather-bound cousin is the SkinLike insole. However, it also replaces the leather on the top and sides of the shoe with microfiber.

SkinLike, it said, seeks to support breathability and contour to the climber’s foot. It aims at that utility with three-layer construction. A 0.6mm anti-odor microfiber goes on top, and a “breathable adhesive” (layer two) bonds it to a 1.6mm “structural” microfiber below.

From there, the signature Skwama elements take over. A low-profile but slightly stiff rand helps minimize stretch. S-Heel construction helps heel hooks and keeps the shoe tight on the toes. An elastic insert under the upper also promotes rebound over time. And a split-sole pattern lets it stretch whenever you flex a heel or step down flat.

la sportiva skwama vegan
(Photo/La Sportiva)

The 4mm Vibram XS Grip2 rubber anchors the slipper, which lags down via one Velcro pull strap. A men’s Skwama Vegan weighs a claimed 8.1 ounces; a women’s shoe checks in at 7.1 ounces.

The men’s Vegan comes in black and “flash green” in sizes 34-46. The women’s variant arrives in turquoise with ash-colored accents, in sizes 33-42. “Consumer conscious climbers who still demand performance,” as La Spo puts it, can pick up a pair for $199 MSRP.

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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.