Below we take a look at what makes the La Sportiva TC Pro one of the best climbing shoes of all time, as well as what makes the new TC Pro climbing shoe a welcome upgrade.
- La Sportiva TC Pro: The G.O.A.T Designed by The G.O.A.T (Tommy caldwell)
- Old vs. New TC Pro Climbing Shoes
- TC Pro Updates, Build, And Materials
- Good And The Bad of The New TC Pros?
While TC Pros are far and away the best trad and big wall shoes you can get, they also excel at technical face climbing and bouldering. The La Sportiva TC Pro is a solid climbing shoe for any level climber on any type of climb.
A stiffer build and robust slingshot rand design surrounding a high contoured ankle all built on top of La Sportiva’s proprietary XS Edge rubber allow this shoe to keep its edging ability over time while easily transitioning from face to crack climbing to off width and back.
Sure there are more technical shoes for overhangs, precise face climbing, or the gym, but the TC Pro remains an all-around shoe capable of excelling in any environment.
Recently, La Sportiva released an updated and improved TC Pro.
But, can the best climbing shoe really get better? Read on to find out.
We take an in-depth look at Tommy Caldwell’s climbing shoe from toe to tongue to help you understand why we think they are the G.O.A.T of climbing shoes.
La Sportiva TC Pro Climbing Shoe
A versatile all around shoe that excels on hard trad routes, long face climbs, and technical boulders. The TC Pro features a slightly down turned toe, XS Edge rubber, a full length LaspoFlex midsole with P3 power system technology to maintain shape and rigidity over time, a single continuous rand, low profile lace insert, an improved tongue design, and style for days all built on a tastefully aggressive PD 55 last. If you are looking for the swiss army knife of climbing shoes, the La Sportiva TC Pro is it.
Materials: Eco leather w/recycled material laces and webbing
Last: PD 55
Toe angle: Slightly downturned
Rubber: XS Edge
Weight: 8.71 oz / 241 g
Pros & Cons:
• All-around performance
• Ankle protection
• More comfortable for crack climbing
• New models require longer break-in time
• Precise edging w/decreased foot fatigue
Be sure to check our deal finder before purchasing your next pair of TC Pros. Simply type, “La Sportiva TC Pro,” in the search box and press search. When you scroll down to the results, you’ll see possible deals and discounts from over 40 of the best outdoor gear websites.
La Sportiva TC Pro: The G.O.A.T Designed by The G.O.A.T (Tommy caldwell)
The TC Pro was developed by Tommy Caldwell and the team at La Sportiva.TC stands for Tommy Caldwell.
He got his first pair in 2008 and they were released to the public in 2010.
Inspired by his work on the Dawn Wall, Caldwell helped create a shoe that could edge, jam, and be comfortable all day on a big wall.
Before the TC Pro, big wall free climbers often hauled two pairs of shoes; one for technical edging sections and another for crack climbing.
Caldwell freed the entire Dawn Wall (including the notorious horizontal 5.14d/9a crux pitch) in TC Pros.
Since then, the TC Pro has become a staple of nearly ever trad climber’s and multi-pitch climber’s arsenal.
The 2021 TC Pro Brings One More Pro to The Table
When they set about redesigning the TC Pro, Caldwell and the team at La Sportiva wanted improvements rather than refinements.
They enlisted long time TC Pro enthusiast Alex Honnold (who wears them on nearly all his climbs including his legendary free solo of Freerider) to help with the changes.
Together, two of the greatest big wall climbers and the team at La Sportiva, accomplished yet another seemingly impossible task; making the new TC Pro even better than the original.
As a testament to both the climbers and the shoe’s accomplishments, the new TC Pros are embossed with a topo of both Freerider and the Dawn wall on the upper-outer ankle.
Old vs. New TC Pro Climbing Shoes
While the old TC Pros were extremely well built and high performing shoes, they still had a few minor issues.
In the updated model La Sportiva has fixed each of these issues in smart and functional ways.
In addition to these functional upgrades, the new TC Pros have a more modern look, a stylish green toned color scheme (similar to Honnold’s signature harness), and an ever so slightly sleeker more technical toe shape.
Whether you are projecting a techy face climb, jug hauling overhung tufas, or spending the fall in Indian Creek; the upgraded TC Pro is a beast on any terrain.
Let’s take a look at a few of the improvements as well as the over all build and materials on the new La Sportiva TC Pro climbing shoe.
TC Pro Updates, Build, And Materials
The major updates to the new TC Pro are as follows: continuous slingshot rand with P3 LaspoFlex midsole, eco-materials, improved tongue, and a low profile insert at the inner toe.
Rubber and Rand
The TC Pro climbing shoe is constructed with XS Edge rubber and edgeless technology. By using a stronger-stickier rubber and removing the extra rubber around your toes, this gives the shoe a more natural and secure feel on even the smallest edges or steepest smears.
One of the most common complaints with the old TC Pros had to do with the rands coming apart.
Previously, TC Pros had a two piece rand with a seam at the side of the shoe.
This area quickly became a point of rand wear and delamination with frequent crack climbing.
La Sportiva solved this problem by using a single continuous rubber rand all the way around the front of the shoe. The rand itself also has a higher profile around the toes where most of your toe jamming happens.
Some complaints have come in saying that the rand still rolls off after frequent crack climbing but it does still seem to be an improvement over the previous model.
The TC Pro also utilizes La Sportiva’s P3 Tensioning System with a slingshot rand. P3 stands for permanent power platform.
This is a single piece of rubber that wraps around the ankle then under the foot in a continuous infinity pattern.
As the name implies, this helps maintain tension on the shoe create a slight downturn while maintaining shape throughout the life of the shoe, keeping it agile and precise.
While I never experienced this problem myself, older TC Pros were knowing for the tongues rolling over or bunching when putting them on.
The new Pros fix this issues by adding a small microfibre insert at the toe to prevent rolling and decrease overall tongue profile while keeping the breathable cushioned upper tongue that helped make the old Pros so comfortable.
A low profile coated leather insert was added to the outer toe area (see image above) to create less of a hotpoint on the toes during jamming as well as to help this area stand up to frequent abrasion.
Last and Midsole
The TC Pro uses La Sportiva’s P3 System with 1.1 mm LaspoFlex and a continuous slingshot rand built on top of a flat-lasted PD 55 sole.
LaspoFlex is a light fiber laminate running the full length of the shoe. PD 55 provides a slightly aggressive toe angle for all around precision and comfort.
Together, these construction details keep the TC Pro rigid under tension and torsion to help reduce foot fatigue while also keeping the heel and toes snug, reducing internal foot migration or smearing, ultimately increasing overall precision.
The new TC Pros features an eco leather upper and laces and webbing made entirely from recycled materials.
Eco leather means no heavy metals are used in the tanning process.
There have been reports of the new eco leather holding foot odor more than the previous models.
The original TC Pros were one of the least stinky climbing shoes I have owned. And while I have only used the new model a handful of times, they do seem to be slightly stinkier, but not any more than your average climbing shoe.
TC Pro Sizing
In terms of length, the new Pros seem to fit a bit larger than the older model, however they feel slightly more narrow in the toe box. As per La Sportiva, the TC Pros are best suited to medium to wide width foot.
As far as stretch goes, they do stretch a decent amount with minimal wear. However, it does seem that the break-in time for them to feel truly comfortable is a bit longer compared to the previous shoe.
Once broken in, older TC Pros fit like a glove, but when allowed to dry out completely could get a little stiff.
The new models once broken in completely don’t shrink down so much when completely dry.
Still, when sizing your TC Pros keep in mind that they are meant to be worn comfortable.
As per La Sportiva (see minute 3:19 in the video below), the new TC Pros fit a bit larger than the older Pros right out of the box.
If you are new to crack climbing, remember you don’t want your toes bent up like in your technical cave shoes. This will make foot jamming unbearable and ineffective.
Good And The Bad of The New TC Pros?
Overall, the new La Sportiva TC Pro brings some useful improvements to the old shoe.
The new TC Pro is built on a last, midsole, and edgeless technology that all reduce foot fatigue over time during both technical face climbs and long crack climbs while improving feel on precision face climbs.
However, many TC Pro enthusiasts are finding they prefer the feel and fit of the old shoe over the newer model. The new eco leather does feel a bit rigid but this seems to be alleviated by a longer break in period.
The low profile toe insert seems a little unnecessary although we have yet to hear from anyone who has found it to be a hinderance in any way.
Tommy Caldwell’s climbing shoe lasted over a decade in its original iteration, time will tell whether or not the new TC Pro can match that. Still, regardless of the model, the TC Pro remains one of the best climbing shoes available.
The La Sportiva TC Pro is one of the best all around climbing shoes developed by one of the best all around rock climbers.
These shoes are built to last with a full length LaspFlex rand, stiff midsole, and comfortable eco materials.
TC Pros excel at long trad routes but are just as capable on technical sport climbs or bouldering.
While the toe might not feel as sensitive as your sport or gym climbing shoes, the P3 power system and XS Edge rubber with No Edge technology make them surprisingly precise red point machines.
Coupled with a LaspoFlex midsole, continuous slingshot rand, and a padded-breathable tongue, the TC Pros reduce foot fatigue underrepeated tension and torsion for a climbing shoe you can wear all day on any route.
The original TC Pros were a quality shoe that many climbers have grown to trust.
La Sportiva’s new TC Pro model brings some welcome improvements to an already incredible rock climbing shoe.
For any climber looking for one shoe to do it all or for the best trad climbing shoe for their next big wall, the TC Pro is always a great choice.
The La Sportiva TC Pro
The best of the best rock shoes should be comfortable enough to wear on multi-pitch and excel on any terrain. The TC Pro gives you the best of all worlds—comfort, support, durability, precise edging, solid crack jamming.
The La Sportiva TC Pro’s actually don’t stretch much. Having had 3 pairs over the last 8 years, I can say with confidence that these shoes only stretch about 1/2 size at the most. From new, after an entire year climbing and 1 or 2 re-soles, these shoes will remain comfortable and precise. The new TC Pros seem to fit a bit larger out of the box but stretch less overtime.