Designed in collaboration with Tommy Caldwell in the midst of his Dawn Wall project, the TC Pro from La Sportiva are a fantastic all around shoe. In my opinion they are just about the perfect trad shoe, offering strong edging and crack climbing performance and all day comfort.
- Rubber- XS Edge
- Upper- Unlined leather
- Mid-Height Ankle
- Foam Padding
- P3 System
Sizing wise my TC Pro’s are 41.5, which fits me perfectly. My toes are right to the end while still laying flat and the shoes are snug but not painfully tight, even when they were new. La Sportiva designed them to have your toes lay flat to help keep a low profile toe box to weasel into thin cracks. For reference I wear a 43.5 La Sportiva street shoe, and 43 with their approach shoes.
The TC Pro have a fairly average width, and combined with their laces allow you to dial in a good fit for any foot shapes. Due to the flat last, they will be comfortable right out of the box, and will only get better as the unlined leather molds to your foot as they break in. Once they are fully broken in holy hell are they comfortable. Seriously, these are about the only performance shoe I’ve tried that I can wear all day without destroying my toes.
The two things the TC Pro absolutely nail are edging and crack climbing. They’re one of the stiffest, if not the stiffest shoe on the market and the best I’ve seen when it comes to standing on tiny little granite edges.The XS Edge rubber, a relatively harder rubber, has precise, long lasting edges that stick onto granite with ease. Side note, on harder rock types, such as granite, harder rubber tends to climb better as it won’t deform or be cut when smashed into super hard little crystals. The edging prowess allows the TC Pro to climb exceptionally well on techy face climbs.
The stiff construction also helps the crack performance. It provides support and essentially stops you feet from being smashed too much as you torque them into cracks. The toe box is extremely low profile, allowing it to fit into thin cracks around an inch wide (insecure fingers and ringlocks). The high ankle padding protects your ankle in wider cracks where your entire foot is jammed in the crack. From thin to wide, the TC Pro dominates it all.
No shoe can be perfect for all types of climbing, and the TC Pro does have its drawbacks. The stiff construction means this will not be a particularly sensitive shoe. The sole just can’t flex and bend to feel every little variation in the rock the way soft shoes like the Scarpa Chimera’s can.
The other big area the TC Pro falls short in is in anything overhanging. Because they aren’t downturned at all it’s impossible to hook and pull your body the same way aggressive shoes can. This isn’t really a flaw, as they weren’t at all designed for this style of climbing, but it’s something to keep in mind when looking at shoes.
I own two pairs, both lasted me about a year of climbing, saving them solely for outdoor climbing, before needing a resole. As you would expect from a La Sportiva shoe they hold their shape extremely well thanks to the P3 tensioning system. This means that I can resole them many times before the actual performance of the shoe will degrade enough for me to retire them. Hypothetically for the use I’ve been getting out of them they should last approximately five years before needing replacement.
The TC Pro comes in at $190, making it one of the more expensive shoes out there. That does get you one of the best shoes for trad climbing though, so if you’re looking for performance I would highly recommend them.
Overall, TC Pros dominate on cracks and face on vertical or less than vertical terrain. This makes them ideal for trad climbers, who don’t spend too much time in overhanging terrain. In particular they are just about perfect for granite, and if you go to an area with popular granite climbing such as North Conway New Hampshire or Yosemite they will probably be the most common shoe.