La Sportiva is consistently ranked as one of the best climbing shoe brands out there. The Nago Women’s is La Sportiva’s shoe designed specifically for beginner female climbers and boulderers. It is meant to be comfortable, relatively cheap, and able to do what beginner climbers need a shoe to do.
Our La Sportiva Nago Women’s review concluded that this shoe is a great option for beginners. Our reviewer owned them for three and a half years and over that period did nine months of consistent climbing in them.
The shoe is comfortable enough to wear for an entire gym session. Indeed, after the brief break-in period they feel more like rubber tennis shoes than uncomfortable climbing shoes. (Check out our list of the most comfortable climbing shoes if comfort is what you’re looking for.)
If you’re looking for your first pair of climbing shoes, you can compare the Nago to our list of the best women’s beginner climbing shoes. Otherwise, you can check out our list of the best climbing shoes for men and women.
Wear them for beginner sport climbing routes or boulder problems, indoors or outdoors, and they’ll do all the things you need them to do. The rubber around the toes might wear thin after half a year or so and leave your feet vulnerable to sharp outdoor footholds, but you’ll be able to indoor climb in them consistently for up to a year.
The shoe could also function as a comfortable crack climbing shoe. Intermediate to advanced sport climbers who are looking for a soft, sticky shoe they can jam into cracks could use the Nago Women’s for that purpose.
When buying them online, buy the shoes a full size below your street shoe size (in US sizes) and expect them to stretch quite a bit in a relatively short amount of time. Wearing a leather shoe for your first shoe will let you experience what it’s like to have a pair of climbing shoes stretch. Buy them with confidence that they are well-crafted and worth the money, and welcome to the sport!
- Weight: 7.79 oz / 221 g
- Fit: Tech w/ Medium Asymmetry
- Upper: Leather / Synthetic Leather
- Lining: Dry-Best© (tongue and arch only)
- Midsole: 1.1 mm LaspoFlex
- Sole: 4 mm Vibram© XS Grip2™
- Sizes: 32-43 (half sizes)
- Color: Sage
The rubber on the toe box held up well even after nine months of use.
EDGING (3 / 5)
Being a beginner’s shoe, the La Sportiva Nago Women’s is not highly aggressive and thus not the best at edging. The toe box is mostly rounded and the sole is flat, so it can be challenging to get a foot on those thin microholds.
However, as a beginner, you won’t need the best edging shoe because you won’t be climbing routes or problems with unbearably small footholds. Overall the shoe is not great at edging because it’s not trying to be. It’s simply trying to be a well-rounded, comfortable shoe for beginning climbers.
For intermediate to advanced climbers looking for greater precision and edging performance, the La Sportiva Miura VS is exceptional at edging.
POCKETS (3.5 / 5)
Like most non-aggressive climbing shoes, the Nago Women’s is mediocre at using pockets as footholds. Its blunt toe box means it’s not the easiest shoe to jam into pockets.
HEEL/TOE HOOKING (3.5 / 5)
Though not the best shoe for hooking, the Nago Women’s heel hooks and toe hooks fine for a beginning climber or boulderer. The shoe’s heel cup fits the foot well and your heel won’t slip out while heel hooking. The rubber is thin so your toes don’t have the best protection for toe hooking but our reviewer wore the shoes for nine months and couldn’t recall toe hooking once in them since the move is rare to begin with and usually the domain of more advanced boulderers.
SENSITIVITY (4.5 / 5)
The Nago is a soft shoe which makes it highly sensitive. While wearing them you can feel virtually every feature of a foothold. When the rubber wears out a little bit they might be overly sensitive, though, especially if you take them outside and use them on some sharp rocks.
PRECISION (3 / 5)
Like most beginner’s shoes, the Nago is not highly precise. As a beginnier climber or boulderer, though, the footholds you’ll be using will likely be large and forgiving. You won’t need the most precise shoe in the beginning of your climbing career.
SMEARING (2.5 / 5)
The Nago Women’s comes with a rubber called the Vibram© XS Grip which is advertised as being great as smearing. The shoe might be great at smearing in the beginning of its life, but after a while of wear this stickiness of the rubber wears off. Our reviewer was unable to smear in these shoes to the point where her foot would slip off the wall when she tried.
If you’re a beginner climber and don’t know what smearing is, don’t worry. You won’t need to do it for a while, especially if you’ll be doing mostly indoor climbing. More advanced climbers should be aware that, though the Nago Women’s rubber is sticky in the beginning, it becomes slippery after a while of wear.
CRACKS (4 / 5)
This shoe could work well for intermediate to advanced sport climbers looking for a comfortable crack climbing shoe. It is soft and can be jammed into cracks nicely. It also has laces which are better for crack climbing than Velcro straps.
These shoes are a great introduction into leather climbing shoes since wearing them lets you experience what it’s like to have a shoe stretch. These shoes, like most leather shoes, will stretch quite a bit so we recommend getting your pair of Nago Women’s a full size smaller than your street shoe size (in US sizes).
Our reviewer personally wears a size 9 in street shoes and her size 8.5 Nagos were a little loose; a size 8 would have been the Goldilocks size. The shoes might be slightly uncomfortable at first, but they will stretch out fairly quickly.
Because our reviewer got her pair a half size too big, there was a small air pocket in her heel that would squeak when she jumped down onto the mats in our bouldering gym. Though embarrassing, sizing the shoe properly will do away with this problem.
If sized right, the shoe fits great.
The lace-up closure style allows the shoe to fit a variety of foot shapes easily. Our reviewer has wide feet and the Nago Women’s still fit her foot comfortably.
These climbing shoes hold up well, especially if you’re going to be doing mostly gym climbing. Our reviewer climbed in the shoes for nine months and had only minor durability issues.
The rubber does soften as you wear the shoes, and — as is expected of soft shoes — it will begin to wear away in the toe box after a while. If you treat the shoes well you might be able to get a year’s worth of consistent gym climbing out of them before the rubber wears through entirely. By that point, you can choose to upgrade to a higher performance shoe if you choose.
These shoes feel less like climbing shoes and more like a pair of comfortable leather tennis shoes. This comfort makes the shoe great for beginners. You won’t need to obsessively trim your toenails or take your shoes off your feet after every climb like you might with more aggressive shoes.
After the brief break-in period, you will be able to do an entire gym session in these shoes without taking them off.
Our reviewer has owned her pair of Nago Women’s for three and a half years and they only have a minor stink to them. The shoe has perforated sides which let your feet breathe and help reduce smelliness.
Though you clearly wouldn’t want a candle that smells like them, these shoes will not stink a lot like some brands are known to do.
Climbing shoes usually have a bland design, but the La Sportiva Nago Women’s is a refreshingly attractive shoe. The shoe’s leather is a pleasant teal color and the laces have a neat houndstooth-esque patchwork design to them. (The color on our reviewer’s pair faded after a couple years but they were attractive shoes in the beginning.)
The single loop at the heel of the shoe is large enough to fit on a belt and helps you easily slip your foot in and out.
After our La Sportiva Nago Women’s review we confidently recommend them to beginner climbers and boulderers looking to own their first pair of climbing shoes.
As far as other beginner climbing shoes go, the Nago Women’s performs about as well as the Evolv Elektra. The Elektra is cheaper and the rubber on its sole retains its stickiness a little bit longer, but it quickly develops a noticeable smell.
The Nago Women’s smells less and lets you experience what it’s like to have leather climbing shoes that stretch as you wear them — something that will be important when you want to buy tight-fitting, more aggressive shoes in the future.
For these reasons, we think the few extra dollars for the Nago Women’s is worth it.
However, if you find a good deal on either one of the shoes then we say take it. Both are great beginner shoes that will help you enjoy the awesome sport of climbing. Usually climbing and bouldering gyms have pairs of both the Nagos and Elektras (or the male version, the Evolv Defy) available for rent, so you could also test out one or both that way.
At this point, though, just getting started is the important point. Don’t stress out about the shoes in the beginning.
This review was conducted by an infrequent contributor to the site.