Reducing weight in many products is relatively easy, but when it comes to stiff mountaineering boots there are limits to what can be achieved. Or at least that used to be the case, before La Sportiva turned to modern technology for an answer.
Mountaineering boots have to be stiff to allow them to take crampons, hold an edge when climbing and kick steps in snow. So you cannot just strip out all the stiffening as you can on a summer boot. You also need ankle support, a deep pattern of lugs on the sole and really good durability, as these boots need to be able to take a hammering. So to save weight the La Sportiva Trango Cube incorporates seamless construction on the upper.
This involves a waterproof fabric with a thermoplastic covering through which the lace eyelets are formed. There is no stitching to leak or fray, so this boot should be more durable and more waterproof for longer than more conventional stitched designs. This method also helps keep weight to a minimum as there are fewer overlays of material to stitch together. The size 46 test pair weighed just 1696g, which is very light for a B2-rated crampon-compatible mountaineering boot (many tip the scales at 2000g).
The La Sportiva Trango Cube offers plenty of features for that low weight too, as you get a Gore-Tex waterproof lining plus a full rubber rand. To keep a grip on rocky climbs or when crunching through snow, there’s a new Cube sole unit, which has been specially developed for this boot with Vibram. This sole further reduces weight but also has a really good set of lugs, which are deep and well-spaced for maximum grip without clogging. Under the toe there is a smooth climbing zone for better grip on rock when mountaineering, while a good heel breast and deep lugs on the heel improve grip in descent. As you’d expect from a B2-rated boot there is excellent stiffness here too, both toe-to-heel and across the width of the sole, with some toe flex to allow easier, comfier walking between climbing sections. This adds up to a perfect recipe for mountaineering on a mix of challenging rocky terrain and scrambles.
For comfort you also get a shock-absorbing heel pad plus an integrated stretch tongue, and an ankle cuff that flexes with your foot when traversing slopes. So the La Sportiva Trango Cube does feel very comfortable and far less restrictive than many mountaineering boots. I particularly liked how the ankle cuff was comfortable even when severely flexed while traversing slopes. When climbing there is some toe flex, so this isn’t a totally stiff boot, and there’s a good ‘feel’ around the toe to allow precise foot placements – making this a great option for scrambling on rocky terrain and challenging ridges.
All that for £275 – while admittedly a big investment – actually makes the Trango Cube well-priced compared with other options that offer this performance. But the big benefit is the lack of stitching to fray and leak, while that low weight is appealing too.
Upper QB3 waterproof fabric, Flex Tec 2 fabric, Thermo-Tech Injection TPU lacing system
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit La Sportiva One by Vibram
Men’s sizes 37-48
Women’s sizes 36-42
Weight 1696g (size 46)
In the Trango Cube, La Sportiva’s use of the latest manufacturing technology has produced a 4-season boot that’s fit for the rockiest of mountain ascents, as well as walking with crampons on snow and ice.
Review by Graham Thompson
Published in Trail magazine September 2014