User Review: La Sportiva Men's Katana (Velcro)
Price Paid: $125
Awesome shoes! If you're doing advanced bouldering (v7+) you may want something a little more sensitive and down-pointing, but for intermediate bouldering these shoes are fantastic.
The Good: Almost everything! Great for edging, smearing, and heel-hooking. Rubber stickiness is excellent and sensitivity is good. These shoes look cool, fit great, and have the best Velcro system of any shoe I've ever tried; the wide straps strap down tight and you get some customization in terms of where you want the straps affixed due to the large circular Velcro patches.
Also the opposing-direction straps (one strap pulls one way, one the other way) provide a balanced fit, whereas most Velcro shoes feel like they're being pulled to one side. These shoes stretch very little...how they feel in the store is pretty much how they'll feel a couple of months down the road; so don't buy a painfully tight size thinking they'll loosen up a lot...they won't.
Lastly, the shoes feel very well made and they're made in Italy.
The Bad: The trim around the heel cup digs into your Achilles area somewhat — it's not terrible but definitely noticeable. However, over time it does soften up and becomes more comfortable (I don't notice the issue at all anymore). Also, the metal "rung" that the lower Velcro strap passes through can be felt on your foot (on the inside of the shoe). I haven't noticed it being a problem/painful while climbing, but it's still worth noting.
Overall I love these shoes and highly recommend them. When these wear out, I suspect I will replace them with an identical pair.
For sizing: they are a bit on the narrow side, but wide enough for me. Prior to these I had the Evolv Pontas which were so narrow that my big toe would tuck under the toe next to it, even though I only downsized 1/2 size.
The Katanas are about 1/3" wider than the Pontas and fit my foot just right...but if you have wide feet, the Katana may be too narrow for you. For sizing, I would go down one full size from your street-shoe size for comfort. 1 1/2-2 sizes for performance (you can go smaller but they are going to be punishingly tight).