Test of the Best: 3-Season Walking boots review (2018)


Is it worth paying more for a top quality 3-season boot? We reviewed boots with price tags from £175 to £250 to find what benefits they offer.

Ankle Cuff

To reduce weight and price of footwear the ankle cuff may be cut quite low in some boots. However, this can be a false economy, as a lower ankle cuff more easily allows water, mud and debris to enter the boot while also providing less ankle support to the foot, which means your foot has to work harder on more uneven ground.

Upper

A traditional leather upper, made with minimal stitching, will last for many years if cared for well – and will probably outlast the grip on the sole. Conversely, an upper that is made of lots of synthetic fabric, mesh and thin strips of suede leather is unlikely to be as durable– due to extra stitching – and often tends to be slow drying.

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Midsole Flex

Grab the boot by the toe and heel and bend them together to test longitudinal stiffness, and then twist the sole to test lateral stiffness. A more flexible sole flex is better for comfort on level ground, while a stiffer sole flex is more comfortable on rockier ground and also allows a more precise use of small footholds when scrambling over rockier ground.

Toe Box

To protect the foot from stray boulders, a stiffened toe box is important. You can test this by pressing the top of the area where your toes will be in the boot.

Rand

To enhance durability on rockier ground, a rubber rand may be added at the toe. On the most durable designs, this rubber rand extends around the whole of the boot, between the sole and the upper.

Outsole

Well-spaced deep lugs can bite into soft ground without clogging. A deep heel breast – the step between the heel and midfoot area of the sole unit – is vital for providing braking power in descents.


Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX £190

  • Men’s 7-13
  • Women’s 4-9
  • Weight 1584g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This boot is lighter than most others in this category and has a little more flexibility in the ankle cuff and sole unit too, which adds up to this being better than many others here for walking. The upper is made from suede leather, with some synthetic materials in the tongue, there’s a Gore-Tex waterproof lining inside and a full rubber rand on the outside to increase durability. Underfoot, you get a very aggressive sole with a good heel breast and deep lugs. On the foot, this feels great as the ankle cuff and softer sole flex all make walking very comfortable. But the sole has good lateral stiffness too, so it scrambles well on easier rocky routes.

However

The Salewa’s upper is quite soft and flexible, so this forces your foot to work a little harder on more uneven terrain – which may take some getting used to. Stray boulders impacting the top of the foot are more noticeable in this boot compared to one with a stiffer upper. The fabric tongue, and the upper in general, may also wear out sooner on rockier ground than boots with leather in this area or with less stitching. So, for me, this boot is probably best used for general trekking here in the UK or abroad, over a range of path types, rather than too much dedicated use on very rocky ground.

Verdict

An interesting mix of a very good sole unit for mixed path use, as well as a softer and more flexible upper for comfort when walking.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 5/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 88%

Asolo Greenwood GV £190

  • Men’s 6-13.5
  • Women’s 3.5-9
  • Weight 1514g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

New for 2018, this boot replaces the popular Asolo Tribe. First, check out the weight, as this boot is lighter than most at this price point. The upper is made from Perwanger leather, with minimal stitching, and there is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. There is a rubber rand at the toe and good stiffness in the upper for general hill and mountain walking. The outsole is an Asolo Vibram Duo Radiant design with a very deep heel breast and good sole lugs for softer ground. On the foot, this boot feels noticeably lighter and more dexterous than others, and easier to place on small footholds when scrambling. The toe-to-heel flex is good and this feels good for walking.

However

The toe area is slightly narrower than some, which is great when scrambling, but you may want a little more room here. If I was being picky, I would say some higher-priced boots flex slightly more smoothly across the forefoot area, but this is a tiny difference. Higher-priced boots do often have a full rubber rand and the upper on some other boots is softer against the foot, too. So, this boot may lose out on overall comfort, and potentially on durability, but it’s a small drawback when you look at the price and weight benefit. For most British hill and mountain walkers I think this offers an excellent package of benefits. 

Verdict

The weight and performance is very good for general hillwalking. So, at this price point, it is a superb option but pay more and there may be additional benefits.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 92%
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Mammut Trovat Advanced High GTX £199

  • Men’s 7-12
  • Women’s 4-8.5
  • Weight 1776g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

A well-established boot that for has provided the right goods for hillwalking over rougher terrain for some years. The upper is nubuck leather with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and this is well stiffened for support and protection on rougher rocky ground. A rubber rand at the toe and heel adds further durability. The outsole is Vibram with a good set of deep lugs and a heel breast. On the foot, this has a closer fit around the toe than others and it feels quite good for scrambling. The ankle cuff is a little stiffer than on other boots too, so it feels more supportive on scree slopes. So a good boot for scree and rougher terrain.

However

Some others are lighter, have a slightly smoother roll when walking and feel a little more dexterous when scrambling, giving this a slightly clumpier feel on the foot by comparison. Also the toe area is offering a slightly closer fit around the foot, so some wider-footed people may prefer those with more space in this area particularly for walking rather than scrambling. Some higher-priced models have a full rubber rand and less stitching on the upper, which may promote even more durability for the hardiest of users. Mammut does offer the excellent Trovat Guide High (£219), with a full rubber rand, but also more sole stiffness. All in all, there’s not a lot wrong here, but there are some small details to consider.

Verdict

Solid performance on rock and scree mountain terrain, but lighter and more flexible boots are available.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

La Sportiva Trango Trek Leather £200

  • Men’s 41-48
  • Women’s 37-42
  • Weight 1714g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

A unique welded upper construction keeps weight down and, potentially, durability up. There is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and a rubber rand at the toe for durability. The sole unit is a very stiff Vibram Mulaz unit with very deep lugs and an aggressive heel breast, so this is great for grip in mud and softer terrain. The ankle cuff benefits from an exceptionally soft forward and lateral flex compared to others, which makes walking far more comfortable and scrambling easier. The close-fitting toe area is particularly good for scrambling, as it allows more precise foot placement and, when combined with the stiff sole and easy ankle movement, this is great when used on rocky via ferrata-style terrain.

However

The toe box is a little snug, so broad-footed hillwalkers – or those that just like more wiggle room – may prefer different boots. The outsole is pretty stiff, and while this is great on rockier ground, if you are walking on easier terrain then a more bendy boot will suit you better – with the additional benefit of less weight and a lower price. One slight concern is that the fabric tongue extends to the toe, so this area may be less durable compared to other boots when used on scree and rock regularly. Some people may also prefer a stiffer lateral flex in the ankle area than is offered here. 

Verdict

Superb ankle flex, combined with a welded upper, make this boot ideal for rockier scrambles and via ferrata routes.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX £200

  • Men’s 38-49
  • Women’s 36-43
  • Weight 1756g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This boot is stiffer than many others in this price range, making it particularly suitable for scrambles and rockier walks. The full-grain leather upper has minimal stitching for maximum durability and there is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. The sole has good, well-spaced lugs for general walking, as well as a good heel breast for grips during descents. This is a stiff boot, but it still feels great when walking on the level, due to a curvature of the sole that allows a reasonably natural roll from heel to toe – while the ankle cuff flexes forward a little, too. This is superb for walking over typically rocky British mountains and ideal for scrambles, as it feels precise on the foot.

However

The toe is a little neater and closer fitting than on some boots, which is great for scrambling. But those who are more walking-oriented will probably prefer boots with a slightly wider toe area. There is no rubber rand, so those who want maximum durability for very regular jaunts onto rocks and scree may prefer others. These boots are slightly heavier than some others too – due to the extra stiffness. Of course, if you are not tackling rockier ground then boots with a softer ankle cuff and softer sole flex are all you need – with the benefit of less weight, a cheaper price tag and more comfort.

Verdict

Excellent boot for scrambling and rockier terrain, but it has no rubber rand and other boots are slightly better away from the rocks.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 88%

Scarpa Trek GTX £200

  • Men’s 40-48
  • Women’s 36-42
  • Weight 1684g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

Built around a low-volume last for a closer fit, the Trek has a 1.8mm nubuck leather upper with minimal stitching on the outside to improve durability as well as a Gore-Tex waterproof lining inside to maintain dry feet. You get a rubber rand that fully encloses the boot, too. The sole is a Vibram Biometric Fly unit with deep, well-spaced lugs and a good heel breast. The sole flex between toe and heel is good for rockier ground, and the sole also resists pressure from jagged rocks well. We also liked the slightly more precise fit on this boot around the toe – it made scrambling a little easier and neater when placing the foot. 

However

This is not the lightest model around, so if you don’t need all that durability and stiffness you can definitely get lighter boots. Also, if you are not going to be heading onto rocky ground regularly you could choose a boot without a rubber rand, which would be lower in price and lighter. As with any boot that is stiff enough for rocky ground, if you walk on moors or paths then you will find boots with a softer flex more comfortable, of course, until you hit the rocks. So, something like a Scarpa Ranger at £180 may be all you need if you plan on backpacking over paths, rather than regularly clambering over rocks. 

Verdict

An excellent general-purpose hill and mountain trekking, and scrambling, boot that is great for regular use on rockier terrain.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 5/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 92%
 

Alt-Berg Nordkapp £205

  • Men’s 4-14
  • Women’s none
  • Weight 1670g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This boot has remained the same price for a couple of years now, which is impressive in the current climate. Equally impressive is the weight when you realise what you are getting. This boot has a nubuck leather upper, without much stitching, so durability is good. But you also get a full rubber rand for even more abrasion resistance and, inside, you get a Sympatex waterproof lining to ensure dry feet. The sole is a Vibram Masai unit with good lugs for grip. There is a nice rolling action on the foot, making easier ground comfortable, but also plenty of stiffness for rockier ground. This is great for tackling rockier routes on Lakeland fells, Scottish Munros and Welsh 3000ers. 

However

There is no women’s version,of this boot, but it does come in a good size range, from 4 to 14. While this boot does roll exceptionally well with the foot, from toe to heel, and the toe box is very spacious, it doesn’t feel quite as neat and precise as others might when scrambling over rock. So, if you’re planning to do a lot,of scrambling, these boots may not be,your best bet. While this is a relatively lightweight model, you could go for an,even lighter boot if you don’t really need the impressive stiffness and durability on offer here – and this would save you cash at the checkout, too. 

Verdict

Superb for general mountain walking over rockier ground with an excellent heel to toe rolling action, but others are more precise on scrambles.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Meindhl Bhutan £210

  • Men’s 6-14
  • Women’s 3.5-9
  • Weight 1794g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

The Bhutan is a popular boot that replaced the classic Meindl Burma back in 2014. It is a very solid boot with a little more stiffness in the sole than some lower-priced options, making it better for rockier ground. The upper features nubuck leather, with Gore-Tex waterproof protection, and there is lots of padding inside for more comfort against the foot. A full rubber rand provides even more protection on scree and rockier routes. Underfoot, a Vibram sole, with deep lugs, and a good heel breast help keep a decent grip. This is a well-proven and very popular boot for regular trips to rockier British mountains. 

However

This boot is heavier than other others in this category and it also feels a little less precise and neat on the foot – so, when scrambling over rocks, it feels a bit more clumpy, in general, than some of its competitors. There is also slightly more stiffness in the sole than in other boots, here – which is great on rockier ground but, obviously, if you are tramping across moorland or sticking to well-trodden paths for the most part, a boot with a softer flex will provide all your needs. It would also give the benefit of less weight on the foot and be quite a bit cheaper. It’s still a great boot, but there are other models that are starting to show some desirable benefits.

Verdict

A popular boot for regular jaunts over rockier ground – but new trends towards lightness and dexterity are starting to challenge its dominance.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Arc'teryx Bora Mid GTX £250

  • Men’s 6.5-13
  • Women’s 3.5-10
  • Weight 1376g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

Boot design is changing rapidly, with lower weights the norm and ankle cuff design becoming more and more flexible. The Bora Mid GTX pushes the term ‘lightweight’ to new levels, with this super-light boot. Inside, your foot sits within a Gore-Tex sock which is fixed to the outer shell, while the outside is made of synthetic PU-coated materials and features a rubber rand. The sole features Vibram for grip and the result is unparalleled forward flex and dexterity underfoot, but with the sort of performance you’d expect from, say, a boot priced at £175 or above. Very impressive. The outer is also very durable as there is no stitching, and the mesh and PU-coated materials feel very durable.

However

The toe box and sole flex are softer than other 3-season boots in this price band – and the sole flexes when standing on jagged rocks, so comfort is not ideal on rock. But the lateral stiffness is good, so it’s useful when scrambling. Compared to other boots, it doesn’t have the deepest sole lugs or most pronounced heel breast. Then there is that Gore-Tex sock liner – it is too early to say how durable it will prove to be, so the jury is out on that for the moment. Water can get between the liner and the shell easily, which feels cold, but it does pump out while walking. The price is painfully high though.

Verdict

The low weight, flexible ankle cuff and durable outer shell are major benefits, but the price and potential durability of the sock liner are concerns.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 2/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Test of the best: 4-season walking boots

ANKLE CUFF
The ankle cuff helps prevent mud, snow and grit from entering the boot. It also protects the ankle against being scraped by rocks. The stiffness in the ankle cuff reduces the strain on the ankle when traversing slopes, by adding extra support, which makes it less tiring and easier to get a stable foothold, particularly on lower slopes.

MIDSOLE STIFFNESS
Grab the boot by the toe and heel and bend the toe towards the heel, then twist the toe while holding the heel stationary. The harder it is to bend the boot in these two directions, the better the boot will perform on snow and ice and be compatible with crampons. A 4-season boot will be almost totally rigid, a 3-season boot will be very bendy and a 3- 4-season boot will be somewhere between these extremes.

OUTSOLE LUGS
Deep, widely spaced lugs will bite into snow without clogging, while also providing many years of wear before they are too shallow to give a good grip.

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DURABILITY
As these boots are destined for the particularly challenging conditions of winter, they need to be durable, so look for uppers with minimal stitching and a rubber rand at the toe box. For maximum durability, look for a rubber rand that encloses the whole boot.

FIT
No boot is worth having if it does not fit. The inside of the boot should be 13-15mm longer than your foot, which you can gauge by putting on the boot without the laces tightened up and then placing your forefinger down the inside of the boot at the heel. Better outdoor stores will measure your feet. The upper should be snug and comfortable across the foot.

CRAMPON COMPATIBILITY
The 4-season boot is rated as B2, which means it is compatible with a C2 rated crampon (stiffer than a C1 crampon used with 3-4-season boots). To make it easier to fit crampons, 4-season boots may have a ledge at the heel that allows crampons with heel clips to be fitted. These are easier and quicker to fit than strap-on crampons, which is important in very cold conditions.


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Mammut Magic High GTX £230

  • Mens 6.5-13
  • Womens 4-9
  • Weight 1878g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD Compared to other 4-season boots, the price and weight are instantly more appealing. The upper is made with a mix of velour leather and synthetic textiles, with lots of stitching, but there is a full rubber rand for more durability and a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. The outsole is Vibram, with a good set of deep, well-spaced lugs. There is slightly more flex in the sole and ankle cuff than some boots, making this better for easier ground than pure mountaineering designs. The toe area feels reasonably precise for scrambling, but you also get a wider forefoot area, which makes this better for more general use. Better than most at this price.

HOWEVER The complex upper may be less durable than simpler designs with less stitching, although this will only be an issue for the hardest of mountain users. While this has a good weight, it does not feel quite as precise underfoot when scrambling as some heavier boots, which is due to it having more padding and a less precise fit to the upper, compared to others. As there is slightly more flex in the upper and sole than some designs, your foot has to work a little harder when traversing slopes or negotiating scrambles, so again this points this boot more toward general use than high grade mountaineering. 

VERDICT A very good all-round boot with a good weight and price that should be ideal for many, unless you really cannot live without specific benefits.

  • Features: 4/5
  • Fit: 5/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • In use: 4/5
  • Value for money: 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 84%

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Asolo Elbrus GV £230

  • Mens 6-13
  • Womens 4.5-9
  • Weight 1802g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD The weight and price set this apart from other 4-season boots, but also you get some important performance benefits. Firstly, the upper does not have too many layers of material, with large panels of suede leather and synthetic Schoeller materials in use, while a full rubber rand adds further durability benefits. There is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining too. The outsole is a very aggressive Vibram unit with deep, widely spaced lugs and a good heel breast. This has a good general fit. The toe is slightly narrowed, to improve performance when scrambling over rock. The ankle cuff gently flexes to allow easier walking but it remains supportive. The outsole has a good rolling action. 

HOWEVER The foot does sit slightly higher from the ground than some higher priced designs, which means this does not feel quite as stable and precise on rockier ground, although this is probably only an issue for those needing the ultimate in performance. The synthetic materials around the ankle cuff may be less durable than other boots. If you want an out-and-out mountaineering design, then others are slightly better, and you can get a lighter mountaineering design if you have more cash. Hard to fault for general mountain walking in winter conditions, though. 

VERDICT Unless you need the absolute best performance, then this is a superbly priced boot for general winter mountain use, which is very difficult to improve upon.

  • Features: 5/5
  • Fit: 5/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • In use: 4/5
  • Value for money: 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 92%

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Zamberlan 1000 Baltoro GTX £230

  • Mens 40-48
  • Womens none
  • Weight 1828g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD The weight and the price tag are both great and, for this, you get an upper that is primarily made from Hydrobloc Perwanger leather, with Cordura nylon in the tongue and ankle cuff areas. There is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining inside and a rubber rand at the toe and heel. The Vibram outsole has well-spaced lugs and a good heel breast. On the foot, the upper is noticeably stiffer than some, particularly around the ankle cuff, which is great for more uneven ground when more support is of benefit. The toe box is spacious and good for general mountain use. Overall, a good all-round performance. 

HOWEVER There is no women’s version of this boot. Also, the fit does feel less precise and neat on the foot, compared to higher-priced designs. While the stiffness on the ankle cuff, in particular, is a benefit on really rough ground due to its increased support, there is a less comfortable forward flex in the ankle cuff, which means this is not the best for comfort when walking on level ground. In terms of the sole, the lugs are not as deep as others, so this does not quite have the best grip on soft ground or snow when not wearing crampons. Others with a more narrow toe are also better for more precise climbing or mountaineering. Others get a full rubber rand for harder use. 

VERDICT A good price and weight for a general use mountain boot, but others are better for more natural walking on level ground and for climbing on more technical ground.

  • Features: 4/5
  • Fit: 3/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • In use: 4/5
  • Value for money: 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 80%

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Hanwag Ferrata Combi GTX £235

  • Mens 6-13
  • Womens 3.5-9
  • Weight 1852g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD An appealing price tag and weight compared to other 4-season boots. The upper is made from Cordura synthetic textiles with leather overlays and a Gore-Tex waterproof lining as well as a full rubber rand for durability. The outsole is a Vibram Climbing II unit with well-spaced lugs that are slightly more shallow than some designs and there is a smooth climbing zone under the toe. The ankle cuff is slightly softer than some others for more comfort. On the foot this feels slightly more spacious than some designs, so good for general users and also the upper is slightly softer so again great for general use. Walking is reasonably natural in this boot although others have a slightly smooth rolling action from the sole. 

HOWEVER The outsole lugs are not the deepest, making this good for rocky ground, as you get a more precise feel from more shallow lugs, but less good on softer ground or snow, as the grip is not so great without crampons. The upper is softer throughout than others, which is great for use on easier ground, but this means it lacks a little support for more technical ground or traversing slopes. I do find that the tongue area is less well padded, so I had to be a little more careful with the lacing to prevent creating a firm spot on the top of my foot, something I did not have to be so careful about with other boots. 

VERDICT A relatively low priced and relatively low weight boot that is good for general use.

  • Features: 5/5
  • Fit: 5/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • In use: 4/5
  • Value for money: 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 88%

Aku Tengu GTX £260

  • Mens 5-12
  • Womens none
  • Weight 1812g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD The upper is stiff and supportive and made from a nylon fabric with some small areas of suede leather and a full rubber rand for extra durability. There is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining on the inside. The outsole is a Vibram Curcuma unit, with deep and widely spaced lugs. This provides a good general fit, being neither too narrow nor too wide. The upper and ankle cuff are stiff and supportive, so again, great for general use. Toe flex is smooth and the ankle cuff flexed forward nicely to allow a reasonably natural walking for this category of boot. It is also pretty lightweight compared to other 4-season boots. The price is slightly less than some too. 

HOWEVER The good overall performance and features of this boot are let down by there not being a women’s specific option, but at least the unisex size range does extend down to size 5, so some women may find this boot does fit them. The upper is made from nylon, rather than a thicker and more durable leather, so really hard users may want to consider other models. While great for general mountain use, others are better for more the precise footwork needed for more technical climbing or scrambling on harder grades of rock. Some boots have a little more padding and softer flex at the ankle cuff for more comfort, if that is your priority. 

VERDICT A great all-round mountain boot with a good weight and price to suit general users, but specific benefits are available in other boots.

  • Features: 4/5
  • Fit: 3/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • In use: 5/5
  • Value for money: 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 84%

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Salewa Vulture Gore-Tex £270

  • Mens 6-13
  • Womens none
  • Weight 2012g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD This eye-catching design uses suede leather on the upper, with synthetic materials around the ankle cuff, as well as a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and a full rubber rand. The ankle cuff is lower than others and also more flexible. Underfoot, you get a Vibram sole unit with very deep lugs for biting into soft snow and there is a smooth climbing zone under the big toe for scrambling. To ensure a good fit, this boot comes with a choice of footbeds to manage the volume. On the foot, the toe feels slightly narrow and lower in volume than some, but it widens at the forefoot and the ankle cuff is very flexible in the forward flex when walking, as well as laterally. 

HOWEVER This is not available in a women’s specific size range. The ankle cuff is so flexible that this means your foot has to work harder on more uneven ground, as you are not getting the support from the boot, so this makes this more of a walking than a mountaineering design for me. But then, the narrow toe means it is not quite as comfortable as other more walking-orientated designs, but also it is not the most precise for scrambling either. So, overall this is great for walking over level snow and glaciers, but on ground when you need more support from the ankle cuff, or precision at the toe, it is not quite the best. 

VERDICT An unusual mix of features with the benefit of a more flexible ankle cuff and deep sole lugs that are great for walking over snow-covered mountains.

  • Features: 5/5
  • Fit: 3/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • In use: 3/5
  • Value for money: 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 76%

La Sportiva Cube GTX £290

  • Mens 41-48
  • Womens none
  • Weight 1962g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD This is exceptionally lightweight for a 4-season boot, at just 1692g (size 46). It also features a unique seamless upper construction of abrasion-resistant nylon and a thermoplastic covering. Inside, you get Gore-Tex for waterproofness and there is a full rubber rand on the outside. The tongue is a softer and more flexible synthetic material, but overall this upper is very durable in design. The outsole is a unique Vibram Cube unit, with deep, widely spaced lugs, with a smooth climbing zone under the big toe. The fit is narrow and neat and, when combined with the low weight, this boot is ideal for scrambling and more technical ground, as well as walking in general. 

HOWEVER There are no women’s specific fit options here and the size range is relatively small. The fit is narrower than some, too, which may hinder those with wider feet. Also, the ankle cuff is lower and has less forward flex, which means walking is not quite so comfortable. There is also a little less cushioning around the foot in general compared to some, so this does not feel quite as comfortable as others in general. It’s not uncomfortable, it is just that others are more comfy. The price is still quite high compared to some options, but if you want that low weight, then these are the drawbacks you have to consider. 

VERDICT A very lightweight and durable boot, that is ideal for technical ground, but walkers may prefer the extra comfort on offer elsewhere.

  • Features: 5/5
  • Fit: 3/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • In use: 4/5
  • Value for money: 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 76%

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Meindl Jorasse GTX £295

  • Mens 6-12
  • Womens 3.5-8
  • Weight 1858g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD The upper is a mix of leather and synthetic materials, with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining on the inside and a high rubber rand on the outside for extra durability. This boot has a double tongue design, for more comfort around the top of the foot and at the top of the ankle cuff a small additional elasticated cuff to lock out debris. The outsole is a Vibram unit with good well-spaced deep lugs and a substantial heelbreast. There is a little more volume around the foot than some others, to suit chunkier feet, and there is also more cushioning around the foot too, particularly under that double tongue. So, in terms of comfort this has a slight edge over some other designs. 

HOWEVER While this has a good weight, it feels slightly less precise on the foot, and slightly clumpy, which is not an issue for general walking, but is noticeable when more precise footwork is needed, such as when walking or scrambling over more uneven rocky ground with crampons. While this has a good weight, you can get even lighter designs and some boots have a lower price tag, but of course those boots may not have the extra comfort and space around the foot offered here. It is possible that boots with less layers of material and less stitching will be more durable on the feet of really hard users. 

VERDICT A great boot for mountain walks if you prefer a more spacious fit and more cushioning but it does feel slightly less precise on rocky steps.

  • Features: 5/5
  • Fit: 5/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • In use: 4/5
  • Value for money: 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 88%

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Scarpa Manta Pro GTX £300

  • Mens 40-50
  • Womens 36-42
  • Weight 2074g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD Setting the standard of 4-season boots for British mountain use, the Manta Pro has a Gore-Tex waterproof lining that is protected by a stiff leather upper, with additional synthetic materials and a rubber rand. The ankle cuff is particularly comfortable and allows forward flex to allow easier walking, yet it still maintains lateral support. The Vibram sole has deep well-spaced lugs and a heel breast and, while it is fully stiffened, it also provides a reasonable forward roll for this class of boot, to make walking below the snow possible. The forefoot and toe area is slightly wider than some, more climbing-orientated, designs and this makes it great for general walking over snow and glaciers. 

HOWEVER If you are looking for a boot for mountaineering, where lots of precise toe placement is needed, then others are slightly better, owing to them having a more narrow toe, that allows more accurate placement of this area onto smaller footholds while climbing. In an ideal world, a little fewer layers of material and less stitching may be more durable for really hard users. Other boots are also slightly lighter but of course they may have additional drawbacks. Then there is the price tag, which is more than most but, on the bright side, the price has remained the same over the past couple of years. 

VERDICT For regular mountain walks in snow and ice the Manta Pro GTX remains the first choice but others do have benefits in more climbing focused situations.

  • Features: 5/5
  • Fit: 5/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • In use: 5/5
  • Value for money: 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 92%

La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX (2016)

Features

The La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX weighs just 1732g per pair, yet it still has a B2 rating for stiffness. The weight saving comes from the upper construction, which is seamless and incorporates a Gore-Tex waterproof lining, an abrasion-resistant nylon and a thermoplastic covering. You get a rubber rand too for more durability. Underfoot a Vibram Cube sole unit provides very deep and well-spaced lugs. 5/5

Fit

Sizes are just men’s 41-47 with no women’s option. The fit is quite narrow but it does feel quite neat and precise on the foot. The toe box has good volume, though, so you can wiggle your toes up and down. The cuff is a good height but there is less forward flex than in some models. 4/5

Comfort

The low weight adds to the comfort to some degree, but the La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX isn’t quite as luxurious as some models that are heavier. The narrow fit and stiffer forward flex of the ankle cuff all impact a little on overall comfort. But that’s not to say it’s uncomfortable; it’s more that others are just slightly more comfortable. 4/5

In use

The weight is a benefit here and also the precise closer fit, as that makes the La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX better for mountaineering, scrambling and placing your feet on the snow when knackered! The outsole grip is great and you get a smooth area for climbing precision, but this isn’t needed when walking of course. The toe flex isn’t quite as smooth as some others so walking action isn’t ideal. 4/5

Value

You are paying to save weight, so it depends on how much value you place on that. 4/5

Verdict

The La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX is a very lightweight boot that’s great for more technical ground, but when walking others have a smoother flex and more comfort. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine January 2016

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La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX (2015)

Features

The La Sportiva Trango Alp is a very stiff and robust boot yet it weighs just 1914g per pair, which is light for its features. You get a very stiff upper with synthetic Flex Tec material and leather overlays. There is a huge rubber rand too. Gore-Tex provides waterproof and breathable protection. The sole is a stiff Vibram unit with very deep and widely spaced lugs. 5/5

Fit

The men’s model is sized 41-48 and the women’s comes in 37-42, and on me this boot provides a closer and neater fit than most. The ankle cuff is about 1cm higher than most boots and this area fits closely. The toe box is more pointed than most others, and generally it felt narrower and more precise in terms of its fit. 5/5

Comfort

That close fit and high ankle cuff are very comfy with no hard spots even for my bony feet. The ankle cuff flexes forward more easily than most, which allows a relatively easy walking action, although softer boots are even easier on the foot. The toe flexes just enough to make walking below the snow easier, but it doesn’t offer the smoothest rolling action. 4/5

In use

On rock and snow the La Sportiva Trango Alp has the edge over many boots we looked at as its neat fit, narrow profile and precise feel make it ideal for more delicate work while its deep lugs are great for keeping a grip. But when walking its higher ankle cuff, stiffer sole and narrower profile make it a less natural fit to the terrain. So a great all-rounder with a bias towards more technical ground. 5/5

Value

This is a high price tag as you are not getting the one-piece leather upper that is generally a feature of costlier boots. 4/5

Verdict

For a slightly more mountaineering bias the La Sportiva Trango Alp has the edge, but walkers may benefit from others. 4.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine December 2015

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La Sportiva Trango Trek GTX (2015)

Features

Low weight combined with stiffness and support are what sets the La Sportiva Trango Trek GTX apart. It only weighs 1614g (pair, size 11) yet you get a stiff sole unit from Vibram with deep, well-spaced lugs. Add in a full rubber rand and the weight saving is then achieved by using suede leather and synthetic fabric on the upper, rather than full-grain leather; but you do get a Gore-Tex lining. 4/5

Fit

There is only a men’s version of this boot available and it comes in sizes 41-47. The fit is typical of La Sportiva, being quite close, neat and precise, making it ideal for scrambling and walking on rockier ground. The ankle cuff height is about average but it is slightly more supportive while maintaining flex where needed. 4/5

Comfort

The closer fit makes the La Sportiva Trango Trek GTX feel a little more restrictive, but it is well-cushioned and some will prefer this to ‘baggier’ boots. The roll of the foot is good, but as the toe is a bit more precise and profiled this doesn’t feel quite so nice as others for pure walking. Use it on rock for scrambling and it is the clear winner though. 4/5

In use

As is often the case with La Sportiva there is more of a mountaineering /  mountain walking / via ferrata performance edge to this boot, which sets it apart from everything else here. You can still use it for hillwalking and Munro-bagging perfectly well, but others just feel a little easier on the foot for those activities. But if you like moving over rock, this is perfect. 4/5

Value

There’s no one-piece leather upper so the price of the La Sportiva Trango Trek GTX is a little high compared to others, but good performance balances out the value. 3/5

Verdict

The La Sportiva Trango Trek GTX is perfect if you want a boot that’s slightly biased towards moving on rock and scrambling. 3.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine May 2015

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La Sportiva Cube GTX (2014)

Features

The upper is made with a seamless construction method that incorporates a QB3 waterproof material with a thermoplastic covering through which the eyelets are formed. A deep rubber rand encloses the boot and there’s a very aggressive Vibram sole unit with deep, widely spaced lugs underfoot and a smooth climbing zone under the toe. 5/5

Fit

The La Sportiva Cube GTX  is available in sizes 37-48 for men and 36-42 for women. The fit is neat and precise and narrower than some, particularly at the toe. The ankle cuff is slightly lower than most other boots here but is slightly more restrictive too as it does not flex like some options. Overall this gives the boot a feeling of a closer fit. 5/5

Comfort

There is less padding but the neat fit is comfortable. As the toe area is slightly less spacious it feels more restrictive. This boot only weighs 1736g and this improves the comfort as it does not feel ‘clumpy’. This boot is stiffer than most 3-4 season boots and is more of a 4-season boot, which makes it less comfortable when walking below the snowline.  4/5

In use

The 4-season stiffness makes the La Sportiva Cube GTX ideal for use on snow when edging and kicking the toes in. Also its neat and precise toe area is ideal for scrambling, climbing and mountaineering. Add in that low weight and this boot is stunning for use on snow. But that stiffness limits comfort and performance below the snow, making it feel ‘clumpy’ compared to softer-flex boots. 4/5

Value

The La Sportiva Cube GTX is a great price for a stiff boot of this weight, but for 3-4 season use you needn’t spend £275. 3/5

Verdict

A superb 4-season mountaineering boot, but below the snow others are better overall.

4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine December 2014

www.lasportiva.com

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La Sportiva Trango Cube (2014)

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.

Specifications:

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)

Website www.lasportiva.com

Verdict

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

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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.

Specifications:

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)

Website www.lasportiva.com

Verdict

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

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La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX (2014)

La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTXs are at the top end of the scrambling boot range both in terms of capabilities and cost. In truth they are very lightweight mountaineering boots, but despite this they fully deserve their place in this review. This is because scrambling is such a diverse branch of mountain sport, and at the higher grades it overlaps both summer and Alpine climbing. These boots are warm enough to tackle Scottish winter challenges and the higher peaks of the Alps in summer, yet because of their superb design they will happily cruise over any scramble in the UK. Use them in summer on home ground and you might find them a tad warm, but this aside there is no limit to what grade of technical ground you can cover in them. Jamming, balancing on tiny edges or smearing over slabs, they stick just as well as any other of the boots reviewed. So long as they fit your shape of foot they are amazingly comfortable and feel almost featherweight in action. The La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX’s cost makes them a fairly serious investment, but if you are an ‘out and out’ mountaineer then it is an investment worth making.

Upper materials Cordura, Flex Tec 2 and Lorica

Waterproof lining Gore-Tex

Sole unit Vibram with climbing zone

Women’s sizes 37-43 (inc half)

Men’s sizes 41-48 (inc half)

Weight 1676g (pair, size 46)

Website www.lasportiva.com

Verdict

The La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX is a popular mountaineering boot, great on any grade of scramble. But its insulation makes it best suited to chillier temperatures and lower-priced boots provide adequate performance in warmer climates.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft

First published in Trail magazine April 2012

Update: The La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX was reviewed again for the April 2014 issue of Trail magazine, but narrowly missed out on appearing in the review as it was bettered by the La Sportiva Ganda Guide boot.

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La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX (2013)

The La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX combines all the essential features needed to provide performance below and above the snowline. It weighs in at 1874g (pair, size 46), which is lighter than many similar boots and gives it a real advantage when you consider its performance. The upper is a mix of leather with synthetic overlays and a rubber rand, so you’re getting a slightly more durable option here. The ankle cuff has some forward flex to allow more comfort when walking, while also maintaining support for climbing. You get a very aggressive pattern of lugs that make the boot ideal for clawing your way up soft gravel, earth or snow, but there’s also good stiffness that makes use with crampons very secure. The rolling action below the snow isn’t quite as smooth as lower-priced and more flexible boots, but this needs to be weighed up against the extra support on offer. There isn't quite the same precision at the toe as other models, so this isn’t the best option if precise foot placement on scrambles is what you're looking for. But as an all-rounder with good grip on softer ground, as well as good performance on rock and with crampons, the La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX is an excellent boot.

Upper materials Perwanger leather

Waterproof lining Gore-Tex

Sole unit Vibram

Men’s sizes 41-48

Women’s sizes 37-42

Weight 1874g (pair, size 46)

Website www.lasportiva.com

Verdict

The La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX offers great general performance below and above the snowline, while others are slightly better for more precise mountaineering and climbing. The higher-than-average price tag is a drawback.

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine December 2013

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La Sportiva Boulder X (2013)

The La Sportiva Boulder X is designed as an approach shoe with good performance when scrambling on rock. There is additional cushioning underfoot for comfort on longer walk-ins and walk-outs too. The upper is suede leather with lacing extending all the way to the toe, for a more precise fit and feel when climbing. There is good rubber reinforcement, which extends around the full shoe to ensure durability on rockier ground in the long term. Underfoot the Vibram sole unit is made from grippy ‘sticky rubber’, while a smooth ‘climbing zone’ under the toe aids the precise feel on smaller footholds. The sole lugs aren’t the deepest or the most widely spaced, and the heel breast is less aggressive than some, so in terms of grip on softer ground the La Sportiva Boulder X is not the best option. But put the shoe on, and the comfort and fit are outstanding, and ideal for precision climbing and scrambling as well as general walking. The underfoot cushioning eases the pounding on hard surfaces without restricting feel when climbing. The only slight drawbacks are that you don’t get a waterproof lining, and the sole unit isn’t quite as good as some on muddier ground.

Upper material suede leather
Waterproof lining none
Sole unit Vibram Idro-Grip
Men’s sizes 36-47.5
Women’s sizes none
Weight 1038g (pair, size 46)
Website www.lasportiva.com

  

Verdict

The La Sportiva Boulder X is well-priced, reasonably light and with excellent bouldering, scrambling and approach shoe performance; but others are slightly better for muddier ground.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine May 2013


La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo Light GTX (2013)

There are various versions of the Trango in the La Sportiva range, and this Extreme Evo Light GTX version is designed for the alpinist, rather than the more general mountaineering user who would suit the Trango Light GTX or Trango S Evo GTX. To that end the Trango Extreme Evo Light GTX has an insulated lining, and it does feel warm as soon as you put it on. The upper is made from synthetic materials to keep the weight down and yet it maintains a good, close fit and allows very precise foot placement. For extra durability there is a full rubber rand too. The outsole is a Vibram unit with a good set of well-spaced, deep lugs that are great for biting into snow, while there is also a smooth area under the toe to enhance grip on rock when climbing and mountaineering. Walking in these is surprisingly comfortable thanks in part to the ankle cuff flex and the softness of the materials that line the ankle cuff. The La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo Light GTX is ideal for mountaineering and glacier travel, particularly with the extra insulation inside; but for walking up British winter peaks other boots at lower prices will provide all that most walkers will need.

Upper materials Cordura, Flex Tec 2, Lorica, Duratherm Insulated
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram
Women’s sizes none
Men’s sizes 41-47.5
Weight 2056g (pair, size 46)
Website
www.lasportiva.com

 

Verdict
The La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo Light GTX is a superb boot for the mountaineer or walker who needs extra insulation for colder and more technical winter terrain.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2013


La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX (2012)

The La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX is a very lightweight boot for its class, and yet it still manages to offer the all-important stiffness and support that are needed when wearing crampons on easier winter terrain. The upper is a mix of leather and synthetic layers with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and a full rubber rand for durability. The lacing has a good locking eyelet at the ankle that works very well to ensure good tensioning along the forefoot. The outsole has a very deep set of widely spaced lugs and a deep heel breast, which is ideal for soft ground such as mud, scree and snow. The stiffness is very good too for 3-4 season use, being solid enough to use on snow; and yet it features enough flex for comfortable walking below the snowline. You do not get quite the quality of rolling walking action on every step that you get with the best boot in our test, but that is a very minor drawback. The main problem with the La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX is the price, which is quite a leap above other boots without offering major benefits over the competition to justify it.

Upper materials Perwanger leather
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram
Men’s sizes 41-48
Women’s sizes 36-43
Weight 1874g (pair, size 46)
Website
www.lasportiva.com

 

The verdict
The La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX is an excellent weight and a very good performance for 3-4 season use, but the price lets it down considering what is on offer.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2012


La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX 2012

The clue is in the name, as the La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX is very much an Alpine-orientated boot. It has a neater and narrower profile than some other options we looked at, which makes it feel slightly better for climbing and mountaineering on a mix of snow, ice and rock. The boot is slightly lighter than others, which again makes it particularly suitable for climbing when you need good dexterity. The upper is a mix of leather and fabric, and the ankle has a good flex area due to the use of fabric. There’s a full rubber rand, so even though the upper has more panels and lines of stitching, the La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX should be durable. Underfoot is an excellent Vibram unit with deep, well-spaced lugs and a particularly deep heel breast for better braking downhill. You also get a Gore-Tex waterproof lining to keep your feet dry. I really liked this pair of boots, but for me they are slightly better for climbing and mountaineering compared to the broader and more stable platform provided by boots that are more dedicated to walking. So it depends what you are looking for. If you like a narrower boot and want to do some climbing on mixed ground, the La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX would be ideal.

Upper materials Perwanger leather, Flex Tec 2 fabric
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram
Women’s sizes 36-43
Men’s sizes 41-48
Weight 1912g (pair, size 46)
Website www.lasportiva.com

 

The La Sportiva Trango Alp GTX superb boot for winter mountain travellers who want to tackle some easy mountaineering rather than easy walking.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2012


La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX 2011

The La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX is the lightest 3-4 season boot we looked at, at just 1724g (size 46 pair), and yet it has the performance to compete alongside the heavier boots even on the toughest terrain. The lightweight upper is made from synthetic materials, but you also get a full rubber rand to add extra durability. The upper is very supportive and you also get excellent flex in the ankle cuff, to make this comfortable and easy to use for a walk on steeper ground. The flex is ideal for 3-4 season use, being stiff enough to hold an edge when scrambling or kicking steps in snow as well as flexible enough to allow easy walking. The outsole is a Vibram unit where the lugs are a notch shallower than some others and there is also a smooth ‘climbing zone’ under the toe – and this makes this boot better for climbing than most here, but possibly not quite so good for general walking. If you want a boot for more technical 3-4 season use such as scrambling and mountaineering then the La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX is the best boot we looked at, but for pure walking others have advantages.

Upper materials Cordura, Textile
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram
Women’s sizes 37-43
Men’s sizes 41-48
Weight 1724g (pair, size 46)
Website www.lasportiva.com

The La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX relatively lightweight boot that still offers excellent 3-4 season performance with a bias towards climbing and mountaineering rather than walking.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2011


La Sportiva Trango Guide GTX 2011

At first glance you’d think the La Sportiva Trango Guide GTXs were technical boots, ideal for balancing on small holds or jamming in cracks when scrambling. Pick them up, however, and their light weight suggests walking. Though light weight and technical features aren’t mutually exclusive, climbing boots generally tend to be a bit stiffer and heavier. So, if a boot is as light as this, you have to ask what compromises have been made.
From a walker’s perspective, they have a lovely rolling action and a progressive, light touch in terms of ankle support. They have an extremely comfortable tongue, and thanks to a Gore-Tex liner they’ll keep the worst vagaries of British mountain weather at bay.
For climbers and scramblers, the trimmed-down profile and stiff lateral support will allow you to take advantage of small holds and cracks, while the low profile ‘sticky’ Vibram sole offers excellent friction.
It’s an attractive package, but there are drawbacks. First, it’s crucial to get the lacing right for comfort and support, and you’ll need to monitor this all day. So, if you like to put boots on and then forget about them, they’re not for you. Second, you need to ensure you look after them: wearing gaiters in rain, and – at home – drying and cleaning them at the end of each hill day.
So yes, the La Sportiva Trango Guide GTXs will cover all mountain situations, but with that low-profile tread take care on mud and snow. They’ll provide a platform on small holds, as long as you lace them well. And as a bonus, they’ll also take lightweight crampons – but don’t expect to tackle overly steep snow or ice.

Price £200
Upper leather, stretch fabric, Lorica reinforcements
Lining Gore-Tex
Sole Vibram
Sizes 37-48, inc half sizes
Weight 1360g (pair, size 46)
Made in Italy
More info www.lyon-outdoor.co.uk

The La Sportiva Trango Guide GTX is a very lightweight mountain boot that pushes the season boundaries while still delivering great support and a high level of precision.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine September 2011




La Sportiva Wizard

Arguably the best looking shoe out there, the Wizard is something that would definitely double-up for more casual wear without looking too technical. In use on stony paths, flagstone and exposed rocky sections there is an excellent amount of grip emanating from the Frixion sole – even on wet rock. As they have been designed as an approach shoe, they are great for a bit of gentle scrambling too, with a tough rand that helps protect the toe box. The assymetrical lacing also helps get a snug fit with ease. They are let down when the ground becomes muddy, though. The excellent hard surface grip doesn’t really translate to wet grass and they aren’t waterproof. The tongues aren’t sealed and so water can seep in around them.

VITAL STATS
Sizes:
37-47
Materials: Suede/leather/fabric
Sole: Frixion AT with Impact Brake System
Weight: 973g
Women’s version: No
Contact: 015396 26260; www.lasportiva.com
• Review from Country Walking magazine, June ’11