La Sportiva Boulder X (2014)

The La Sportiva Boulder X is designed as an ‘approach shoe’, which means it’s built to be more abrasion-resistant and to have good performance when scrambling over rocks during the ‘approach’ to a climbing crag. So for durability the upper is made from suede leather with a rubber rand enclosing most of the shoe. There’s also good stiffness in the heel cup, and reasonable stiffness in the toe box to support and protect the foot when traversing rocky ground. The lacing extends all the way to the toe, so you get a more precise fit and feel. For grip underfoot there’s a Vibram sole unit, which has widely spaced lugs; they’re not the deepest available but they are reasonably good on grass or mud slopes. However, on rock the sole is better than most as it’s made from sticky rubber for better grip, while a smooth ‘climbing zone’ under the toe aids the precise feel of the shoe on smaller footholds. There’s also additional cushioning underfoot to ensure that longer walks on hard surfaces to the crags are comfortable. This all adds up to the La Sportiva Boulder X having an outstanding level of comfort as well as precise performance when climbing, scrambling or walking on rockier ground. You don’t get a waterproof lining, though, so this isn’t the best option for tramping across wet and boggy moorland.


Upper material suede leather

Waterproof lining none

Sole unit Vibram Idro-Grip

Men’s sizes 36-47.5

Women’s sizes none

Weight 1060g (pair, size 46)



As there’s no waterproof lining, the La Sportiva Boulder X is relatively low in price, and when used for approaching crags it is excellent.

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine May 2014