Mark Puleio is a New Englander whose passion for skiing naturally led him to a life of exploration in the mountains. He received a degree in Wilderness Leadership from Prescott College in Arizona in 1994, which provided a solid and diverse foundation for him to become a IFMGA/UIAGM licensed mountain guide. He owns and operates Alpine Guides International and spends most of his professional time in the European Alps. When not in the mountains, Mark works at his magnum opus, co-raising and homeschooling his three children in a small village in the hills of Vermont. – Alpine Guides International
When spun out on the amazing hormonal cocktail of climbing, I love looking down at the next foot placement and see my trusty purple La Sportiva Mythos stick it. They have transcended all other shoes since cutting my teeth as a rock guide in Linville Gorge, NC in the early 90’s to current day alpine and rock guiding in the European Alps. I am sure being part Sicilian has something to do with my shoe fetish. Of all the beautifully hand-made Italian footwear I have, the Mythos are, bar none, my favorite. If there has been one constant in the last 20 years of my climbing experiences it’s been the Mythos rock shoe, a tried and true partner always there to do its job of allowing upward progress.
As a mountain guide I am introducing new folks to the wonders of the vertical world as much as I am moving through terrain with well experienced climbers. I have always done my best to dispel the myth of “you can’t climb hard in comfortable shoes.” Bottom line, if you can’t stand up comfortably in a pair of shoes, how are you supposed to move gracefully, while in balance? Regardless of what the retail person at the gear store says, comfy feet mean happy people and happy people make great climbers. I spend all day in these shoes and even with swollen hot feet they are unbelievably comfortable.
Mark is a big fan of the discontinued purple color
This comfort comes from being a slip-lasted unlined suede leather upper with a rand that is perforated for stretching, allowing a form fit. An added benefit of an unlined upper means they are less likely to hold the odor. These shoes literally take the shape of your foot. It’s like climbing barefoot but with rubber pads of VibramXS Edge glued to your feet. Thanks to the unique lace system you can customize the fit all the way down to the toes and all the way around the heel. I also love the fact that the sweet spot of the sole is only 4mm thick allowing a very sensitive feel while also strengthening the feet. I am size 45 street shoe and I size down two full sizes to a 43 in the Mythos for a technical and comfortable fit. I also have size 44 for use with socks and all-day guiding when it’s hot.
These are truly the one shoe that can do everything really well. They excel in cracks of all types and smear like a dream. The one common complaint is the soft and thin edges tend to round quickly making them less of an edging shoe. Remember the better the footwork, the longer this edge will perform. Having two pairs of shoes minimum is standard for me in order to always be able to send one off for a re-sole. If folks are unhappy with the rubber they can switch it at this point and still have the benefit of a well broken in upper.
With long routes comes many different types of climbing techniques and having a shoe that does it all gives you the confidence to ascend and the comfort to stay the course all the way to the top. Having had many opportunities to use different shoes over the years these are still the ones I always make sure I have two of all the time. The Mythos offers dependable comfort and performance and it’s the shoe I recommend most for my clients. I just hope I don’t have to put a call into my “Family” to get La Sportiva to start making the Purple version again!