"Dawn Wall brought a focus to my life. For seven years I looked at the world through the lens of what would help me reach this dream," Caldwell told us via email. "One of the major breakthroughs was the opportunity to design the TC Pros." (They were launched in 2009.)
La Sportiva has an enormous arsenal of shoes in its catalogue, but unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on how you see it—it's not as simple as choosing the best footwear. There is no best climbing shoe, only the best climbing shoe for a specific use case, whether it's slab climbing, edging, bouldering, or aggressive crack-climbing.
For a big wall climb like the Dawn Wall, Caldwell wanted the best-of-both-worlds, something which is notoriously difficult. "The La Sportiva designers were shooting for the moon. We wanted make a shoe that was precise enough to stand on the smallest holds imaginable yet comfortable enough to wear all day," he wrote. "A shoe that would hold up to the abuse of big wall free climbing and protect my foot and not compromise performance."