Gear Review: La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoes
MSRP Price: $104.95
Summary: A supportive, gippy shoe that’s ideal for easy climbs, long approaches, or wearing around town.
Weight: 36 ounces/pair
The La Sportiva Boulder X approach shoes are ideal for hiking, climbing, scrambling, walking, and playing in the mountains. From tundra to talus to tarmac these approach shoes can literally do it all. La Sportiva has an outstanding reputation with mountain enthusiasts and the Boulder X approach shoe lives up to the hype.
I’m on my third pair of La Sportiva Boulder X approach shoes. They are my go anywhere, do anything shoe. I will often wear them for weeks on end. They are the only shoe (besides flip flops and ski boots) that I take on extended trips to South America or when skiing in India. I’ve logged hundreds of days in these approach shoes and I keep coming back for more. They have taken me up the Sphinx, to the base of Beehive Peak, and all over Smith Rock. The La Sportiva Boulder X offers comfort, traction, and support for pretty much any activity in any terrain. It’s a top contender for best shoe of the mountain lifestyle in my opinion.
Why do I like an approach shoe? Approach shoes can travel miles down a trail with a fully loaded pack stuffed with rack, rope, water, and gear. Then they can lead climb a 5.6 ridge in confidence. At the end end of the day they can get you home with a comfortable stop at the bar after a big day. It’s all about balance of all of these activities and the La Sportiva Boulder X can do it all.
Yes there are shoes that can do all of these things better than the La Sportiva Boulder X, but I haven’t found a shoe that can do all of these things in one push. That’s why I like it. It’s tough. It’s durable. It’s versatile. It’s comfortable. I even like how it looks. This approach shoe is designed to live, work, and play in the mountains.
Let’s take a closer look at the La Sportiva Boulder X. A durable rubber rand, sole, and tread wraps around the entire lower portion of the shoe. It supplies the shoe with super grippy “Vibram® Idro-Grip V-Smear™ Impact Brake System™”, which is “sticky when wet.” It also makes it ideal for water resistance on the hike in. The grippy rubber allows the shoe to edge and smear well for an approach shoe. It’s good to note that the La Sportiva Boulder X is neither a climbing shoe or a hiking boot.
As we move up the shoe, all leather uppers give the La Sportiva Boulder X a stylish and functional look. The leather uppers offer more weather resistance, while keeping the shoe relatively breathable. A snug tongue helps to keep debris out of the shoe. The laces tighten around the ankle to help reduce heel lift. The Mythos lacing system allows for easy micro-adjustments as the laces extend a good distance toward the toe. The ability to adjust the lace also allows the wearer to feel supported throughout the entire foot. A secure, snug fit helps to improve mountain performance.
I’m on my third pair of La Sportiva Boulder X approach shoes. I’ve logged more than a few miles and bagged more than a couple of peaks. I keep coming back to these shoes for the same reasons – durability and versatility. But not everything is perfect…
- The Mythos lacing system acts like a saw when you aggressively tighten your laces. This sawing action weakens the leather lace loops and they are prone to failure.
- The interior foam against the achilles heel will wear out eventually. This was uncomfortable and prompted me to purchase a new pair.
- The round laces tend to come untied regularly. Tying a double knot in your laces is an easy solution for this.
- The grippy rubber soles are fantastic on any terrain with even the tiniest bit of friction. They are not ideal in packed, slippery snow conditions.
La Sportiva updated this shoe recently. It is very similar to the old model. The one difference I saw was a softer lace and change in color color. Otherwise it is the almost exactly the same shoe. I have logged about 80 miles hiking and climbing in my new shoes. They break in very quickly and I have had zero issues so far – except that the rubber will leave black marks on your floor if you start break dancing inside.
I wear a size 45.5. The pair weighs 36.1 ounces. They aren’t the lightest approach shoe on the market, but I do find them to be more weather resistant and more durable than competitors like the Scarpa Crux or the Five Ten Guide Tennie. That being said, if I did have to climb with the La Sportiva Boulder X’s clipped to my harness for an alpine route, I’d prefer to have a lighter shoe.
La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoe Tech Specs
WEIGHT: 16.97 oz/ 481 g
CONSTRUCTION: Board Lasted
LINING: Mesh (back half and tongue only)
MIDSOLE: Micropore EVA
INSOLE: 2mm Polyproylene/2mm La SpEVA
SOLE: Vibram® Idro-Grip V-Smear™ Impact Brake System™
SIZES: 36 – 48 (half sizes)
COLOR: Light Grey
La Sportiva is a mountain focused brand. They seem to know what they’re doing. That’s why La Sportiva Boulder X is at home cruising up the trail, striding over roaring creeks, tip-toeing across granite dripping in snow melt, summiting a 14,000′ peak, scrambling over a boulder field, climbing a 5.7 route, or ordering a beer. Why not get a pair?
Every person has different feet. Go and try a pair of La Sportiva Boulder X approach shoes on to see if they fit your foot. La Sportiva shoes tend to run a bit narrow. If you try them on and like them, buy a pair. If they fit your foot, you’ll love these shoes. I wear mine practically every day.
Learn more about the La Sportiva Boulder X on the La Sportiva Website.
Buy La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoe
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