La Sportiva Spire GTX Climbing Sneakers Evaluate

Closeup of a hiker tying the laces of the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Considered one of La Sportiva’s most uncommon footwear, the Spire GTX, is a mountain climbing boot masquerading as a path runner. These footwear have acquired excessive reward in each the fastpacking and mountain climbing worlds – however do they reside as much as the thrill? We put the Spire GTX by way of rigorous testing over tons of of miles from the muddy trails of the Cascades to Colorado’s tallest peaks to seek out out for you. Preserve studying for our in-depth evaluation.

Fast Specs


Males’s La Sportiva Spire GTX

Finest shoe-boot hybrid

Value: $209

Weight (Pair): 1 lb. 15 oz.

Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6 mm

Execs

  • Comfy
  • Breathable
  • Waterproof
  • Secure
  • Glorious traction

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Single-lace eyeholes
  • Restricted sturdiness
  • Lengthy break-in
  • Not the very best for scrambling
  • Costly

Full-body shot of a hiker sitting down on rocks to tie the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Execs


Consolation

Consolation is a trademark of the Spire GTX. The preliminary break-in interval was longer than we needed, at about 15-20 miles, the place the footwear felt inflexible and agency. As soon as they relaxed, although, it felt like we’d been carrying them for years.

That is the right footwear for those who love the construction and burliness of a boot, however need the breathability and dexterity of a path runner. La Sportiva describes the Spire as a “mid-duty hiking boot”, however we predict they look and feel like a stout mountain climbing shoe. Due to the sturdy midsoles and thick foam, the Spire feels nice, nimble, and quick on well-groomed trails, however they actually excel on assorted and uneven terrain.

La Sportiva makes use of compression-molded EVA for the midsole of the Spires. This is similar agency cushioning used to construct their longest-distance path runners, which implies your toes received’t tire as rapidly, and also you’ll keep comfy even by way of the longest days. This molding retains the footwear feeling sturdy on all the pieces from river crossings and slippery logs to dusty, gravelly ascents. The Spires are greater than cushioned sufficient to run in, however hefty sufficient for slopey, technical mountain climbing routes. 

The lower half of a hiker crossing a flowing creek in the La Sportiva Spire GTX shoes
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Breathability

The Spire GTX ventilates so properly they’re aggressive with lots of our favourite path runners. They’re extraordinarily efficient at moisture management. Due to the Gore-Tex Encompass membrane, our toes stayed dry on path. This Gore-Tex system permits sweat and built-up moisture to exit rapidly not solely by way of the highest of the shoe however vent by way of the edges and the footbed itself. The Spires saved our toes impressively and constantly dry on sizzling days, within the direct solar, for hours on finish.

The La Sportiva Spire GTX men's hiking shoes in the foreground with a blurry view of snow-capped Colorado mountains in the distance
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Waterproof

These footwear are additionally reliably waterproof. We put the Spires by way of the wringer over two weeks in soggy fall circumstances within the excessive Colorado Rockies, with a number of hikes by way of frozen creeks, deep mud, fields of tall grass soaked with the prior evening’s rain, and patches of mushy snow. The decision? These footwear carry out. They by no means allowed moisture in and saved our hooves constantly dry. This stage of breathability and waterproofing additionally makes the Spires an excellent alternative not only for summer time, however for frigid and moist spring and fall adventures.

The tongue design is essential to the water resistance of this pair: it’s linked all the best way to the collar, so there’s no probability of moisture soaking your socks except you’re in water over your ankles. And, since they measure over 4 inches excessive, it possible received’t matter for those who slip right into a deep puddle or mis-step close to a creek.

A hiker checking the fit of the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes by inserting a finger behind his heel
Picture credit score: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Sizing and match

Sizing was common and correct, though they don’t are available in slim or large variations. La Sportiva’s footwear have a status for working a bit slim. Up to now, this made the model a favourite for individuals who like tight-fitting footwear, however lower than ideally suited for these with wider toes. The Spire GTX bucks this pattern with a well-known, comfy match.

The toe field provides loads of room and the midsole provides a beefy, structured really feel. Nevertheless, we discovered the heel runs surprisingly large. This extra broad design could be a problem for people looking for a slim heel pocket, or for those who’re utilizing this shoe for climbing numerous steep terrain. To keep away from slippage or sizzling spots, the laces needed to be cinched tightly and knotted securely. That stated, after many dozens of miles and a number of other thousand toes of climbing, the broader heel was not finally a problem (minimal rubbing and no blisters!), and getting used to this match seems to be a part of the break-in interval.

Be aware that La Sportiva is an Italian firm, in order that they use European shoe sizing. European shoe sizing measures the foot from heel to longest toe in centimeters, as a substitute of inches, so there are smaller increments than with American footwear. In our expertise, meaning a precise match. For instance, in case your foot measures 25 cm, you’ll sometimes put on a European measurement 40 however may measurement up or down one cm (about .39 in) for consolation. This makes the Spire an awesome alternative for various foot varieties and shapes.

Closeup of a hiker bending the sole of the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoe on a steep incline
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Secure

These footwear are unquestionably four-wheel-drive footwear, constructed to deal with most landscapes. Sitting at 4.1 inches tall, they’ve a excessive reduce in comparison with path runners, however a low reduce versus mountain climbing boots, touchdown within the candy spot between the 2. If you happen to favor a medium-to-high drop and a stiff heel, you’ll love the Spire GTX.

The standard lacing system, tall tongue, and heel tab make them really feel acquainted and robust, however the brawny Vibram outsoles set them aside. The aggressive lug sample creates an extremely grippy, dependable, and secure mountain climbing expertise. The Spires felt safe on trails, grass, mud, and angled terrain. 

The Spire GTX has TPU inserts. TPU stands for thermoplastic polyurethane. It’s a really versatile and sturdy sort of plastic utilized in mountain climbing footwear so as to add assist and safety. The inserts work properly to reduce foot ache, and the good use of waterproof supplies and heavier weight will make you’re feeling assured and quick on the paths.

Closeup of the lugs on the bottom of the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Traction

These are severely grippy footwear. The Spires are outfitted with the identical sticky Vibram XS Trek outsoles that La Sportiva makes use of on lots of its mountain climbing and mountaineering boots. This compound is extremely dynamic and cheesy, so the footwear really feel secure on all the pieces from moist rock to sand and pebbles. We discovered the self-cleaning outsoles are additionally remarkably environment friendly at releasing mud, rocks, and free filth, with no problems with clumping or caking after mountain climbing by way of even the deepest sludge.

The Spire GTX options massive, tightly-spaced lugs for a reliable grip whereas crushing an ascent. The busy, aggressive tread can also be thoughtfully designed for lengthy descents. La Sportiva additionally makes use of their Influence Braking System – a grip sample that gives management and enhanced traction when coming down inclines. We discovered the Spire GTX made simple work of climbing, descending, and working.

Cons


Weight

Two kilos is heavy. The Spire GTX is without doubt one of the heavier pairs in our high ten checklist of Finest Males’s Climbing Sneakers. Versus aggressive waterproof mountain climbing footwear just like the Merrell Moab 3 or the Solomon X Ultra 4 GTX, the Spires are notably heavier. If light-weight is your high precedence, there are a lot of different much less heavy waterproof choices. Try our Finest Males’s Climbing Sneakers and Finest Girls’s Climbing Sneakers to see our favorites.

Regardless of the load penalty, these footwear by no means felt cumbersome. The Spires are a superb alternative for multi-day adventures in addition to shorter excursions. Just a few further ounces mustn’t deter you from making an attempt these out. However we predict they’re too heavy for prolonged adventures like thru-hikes (and 20-mile days), which demand extra flexibility and lighter soles to maintain you comfortable because the miles stack up.

A full-body view of a hiker wearing the men's La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes on a mountain ridge in Colorado
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Single-lace eyeholes

Sadly, the Spire GTX solely comes with single eyelet lace holes on the high of the foot as a substitute of two like on many aggressive path runners and mountain climbing footwear. Double-eyelets permit for a number of lacing configurations that may supply a custom-made tighter or greater match for various foot shapes or becoming wants. For instance, the broader heel of the Spire wouldn’t be a problem if there have been two eyelet holes since we may have laced the footwear tighter to stop even occasional heel slippage or rubbing. With just one eyelet, an adaptable lacing system shouldn’t be potential. 

Closeup of a hiker tying the La Sportiva Spire GTX shoelaces
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Restricted sturdiness

Don’t get us flawed – the Spire GTX are very sturdy. We even named them one of many 4 most sturdy footwear on our high ten checklist of Finest Males’s Climbing Sneakers. Nevertheless, all-synthetic uppers are merely not made for longevity, and for us, it is a con of the Spire GTX.

Although the chunky Vibram outsoles really feel bombproof, it’s necessary to spotlight that the development of those “boots” is similar as most path runners: mesh wraps from the edges to the highest. This materials is robust, however typical mountain climbing difficulties like roots, sharp rocks, mud, and constant abrasion will blow out this material.

After solely 70 miles, we discovered the substitute uppers have begun to point out put on. There may be predictable fraying the place the mesh forefoot creases, stitching is coming undone on the toe, and there may be slight separation of the midsole from the aspect mesh on one shoe. We’re nonetheless assured we’ll get 500+ backcountry miles from the Spires, and they’re going to outlive most lighter footwear – however, in our expertise, this fast put on and tear is par for the course with absolutely artificial footwear.

The weakest ingredient of the Spire GTX? The shoelaces. Like most of La Sportiva’s laces, these footwear make the most of artificial fiber wrapped in a sheath. This sheath tends to wear down, often lengthy earlier than the shoe does. We suggest shopping for a backup pair of shoelaces on the time of buy or swapping them out for a more durable pair instantly.

La Sportiva Spire GTX
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Lengthy break-in interval

Considered one of our favourite issues concerning the Spire GTX is how stiff they’re because it makes for a really secure shoe – however that is additionally a con. The thick midsole and beefy, inflexible outer sole made for a protracted break-in interval when in comparison with different choices. They’re definitely comfy, nevertheless it took about 10-12 hours of mountain climbing, or round 15-20 miles earlier than the footwear absolutely loosened up and tailored to our toes. That is considerably longer than a number of the Spires’ competitors, lots of which match properly proper out of the field, or took solely a few miles to melt.

Picture credit score: Dave Collins (CleverHiker.com)

Not for scrambling

We seen a scarcity of flexibility when mountain climbing extraordinarily rocky trails and traversing prolonged, sharp scree, talus, and boulder fields. The stiffness of the footwear made foot placement on rocky terrain difficult. The excessive rise of the Spire GTX felt wobbly on prolonged, precarious, jagged surfaces for the reason that outsoles stay considerably inflexible even after the break-in interval is over. Nevertheless, on most different terrains – from slippery stream crossings to difficult ascents – the stiffness of the shoe made them really feel very secure and safe.

Moreover, the Spires don’t have a strengthened toecap. As a substitute, they function an additional layer of tough, abrasion-resistant materials that provides construction to the shoe and somewhat further safety to your toes. If you happen to’re searching for a greater scrambling possibility, contemplate a lower-profile, extra versatile path runner for extra agility. Check out our Prime Path Runners for Girls and our Prime Path Runners for Males for solutions. 

A hiker testing the La Sportiva Spires on loose scree
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Value

The Spire GTX is without doubt one of the most costly pairs on our checklist of Finest Males’s Climbing Sneakers. In case you are available in the market for footwear or path runners, you’ll possible have some sticker shock. Nevertheless, they carry out like a high-end mountain climbing boot with a water-resistant lining, burly traction, and excellent stability. Although they’re spendy in comparison with our different high mountain climbing footwear, they’re on the low finish for value in comparison with boots with related options. If you’d like a burly boot-like shoe and this pair matches your toes properly, they’re an awesome alternative. Nevertheless, if you need a lighter-weight shoe, there are different budget-friendly choices that carry out equally.

Backside Line


The Spire GTX are dynamic. They provide stellar efficiency on most terrain, whether or not moist or dry, steep or flat, secure or semi-loose. Due to some fancy tech, your toes will keep ventilated, comfortable, and supported irrespective of the place you’re mountain climbing. These footwear felt secure, dependable, and cozy whether or not we have been chasing a number of summits and 20+ mile days, taking quick afternoon hikes to the river, or grabbing some greasy pizza and a chilly beer on the town.

At round one pound per shoe, although, they’re notably heavy. The Spires even have a longer-than-average break-in interval. Like most artificial uppers, this pair is liable to put on and tear, they usually fall quick on scrambles. Plus, they carry a big price ticket in comparison with our different high mountain climbing footwear.

Nevertheless, total, we’re nonetheless massive followers of La Sportiva’s Spire GTX. They do an beautiful job of mixing the very best options of a standard mountain climbing boot – like stability, nice traction, and a water-resistant liner – with our favourite points of high-quality path runners – like breathability, consolation, and correct sizing. These footwear are so versatile that they’re value for nearly any journey, whether or not you’re a day hiker, obsessive weekend warrior, or love multi-day backpacking journeys and part hikes. The Spire GTX earned a spot on our checklist of the Finest Males’s Climbing Sneakers – they usually may simply turn out to be your go-to pair of mountain climbing footwear.

The lower half of a male hiker sitting on a rocky slab in hiking pants and the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Extra Data


We hope this overview helps you establish if the La Sportiva Spire GTX is best for you. As all the time, please depart a remark beneath when you’ve got any suggestions, questions, or solutions. And are available examine us out on Facebook and Instagram to hitch the neighborhood dialog. If you happen to discovered this overview useful, please share on social media!

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