Monday, February 26, 2024

La Sportiva Spire GTX Climbing Footwear Evaluation


Photograph credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

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

Fast Specs


Males’s La Sportiva Spire GTX

Rugged & sturdy waterproof climbing footwear

Value: MSRP: $209

Weight: (PAIR): 2 lb 2.3 oz

Sizing: True to dimension

Professionals

  • Snug
  • Breathable
  • Waterproof
  • Secure
  • Glorious traction

Cons

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

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

Professionals


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 proper footwear in the event you 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 climbing boot”, however we expect they appear and feel like a stout climbing shoe. Because of the sturdy midsoles and thick foam, the Spire feels nice, nimble, and quick on well-groomed trails, however they actually excel on diverse and uneven terrain.

La Sportiva makes use of compression-molded EVA for the midsole of the Spires. This is identical agency cushioning used to construct their longest-distance path runners, which suggests your toes received’t tire as rapidly, and also you’ll keep comfy even by means of the longest days. This molding retains the footwear feeling sturdy on every part 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 climbing routes. 

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

Breathability

The Spire GTX ventilates so properly they’re aggressive with a lot 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 means of the highest of the shoe however vent by means of the edges and the footbed itself. The Spires stored our toes impressively and constantly dry on scorching 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
Photograph credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Waterproof

These footwear are additionally reliably waterproof. We put the Spires by means of the wringer over two weeks in soggy fall circumstances within the excessive Colorado Rockies, with a number of hikes by means 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 stored our hooves constantly dry. This stage of breathability and waterproofing additionally makes the Spires an impressive selection not only for summer season, 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 likelihood of moisture soaking your socks except you’re in water over your ankles. And, since they measure over 4 inches excessive, it probably received’t matter in the event you 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
Photograph credit score: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Sizing and match

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

The toe field provides loads of room and the midsole affords a beefy, structured really feel. Nonetheless, we discovered the heel runs surprisingly broad. This extra broad design could be a difficulty for people searching for a slender heel pocket, or in the event you’re utilizing this shoe for climbing a number of steep terrain. To keep away from slippage or scorching 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 in the end a difficulty (minimal rubbing and no blisters!), and getting used to this match seems to be a part of the break-in interval.

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

Closeup of a hiker bending the sole of the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoe on a steep incline
Photograph 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 minimize in comparison with path runners, however a low minimize versus climbing boots, touchdown within the candy spot between the 2. In the event you choose 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 powerful, however the brawny Vibram outsoles set them aside. The aggressive lug sample creates an extremely grippy, dependable, and steady 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 kind of plastic utilized in climbing footwear so as to add help 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
Photograph credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Traction

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

The Spire GTX options giant, tightly-spaced lugs for a reliable grip whereas crushing an ascent. The busy, aggressive tread can be thoughtfully designed for lengthy descents. La Sportiva additionally makes use of their Affect Braking System – a grip sample that provides management and enhanced traction when coming down inclines. We discovered the Spire GTX made straightforward 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 prime ten listing of Greatest Males’s Climbing Footwear. Versus aggressive waterproof climbing footwear just like the Merrell Moab 3 or the Solomon X Extremely 4 GTX, the Spires are notably heavier. If light-weight is your prime precedence, there are various different much less heavy waterproof choices. Take a look at our Greatest Males’s Climbing Footwear and Greatest Ladies’s Climbing Footwear to see our favorites.

Regardless of the load penalty, these footwear by no means felt cumbersome. The Spires are a wonderful selection for multi-day adventures in addition to shorter excursions. A number of additional ounces mustn’t deter you from making an attempt these out. However we expect 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
Photograph credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Single-lace eyeholes

Sadly, the Spire GTX solely comes with single eyelet lace holes on the prime of the foot as an alternative of two like on many aggressive path runners and climbing footwear. Double-eyelets enable for a variety of lacing configurations that may supply a custom-made tighter or increased match for various foot shapes or becoming wants. For instance, the broader heel of the Spire wouldn’t be a difficulty if there have been two eyelet holes since we might have laced the footwear tighter to stop even occasional heel slippage or rubbing. With just one eyelet, an adaptable lacing system will not be attainable. 

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

Restricted sturdiness

Don’t get us mistaken – the Spire GTX are very sturdy. We even named them one of many 4 most sturdy footwear on our prime ten listing of Greatest Males’s Climbing Footwear. Nonetheless, all-synthetic uppers are merely not made for longevity, and for us, this can be 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 identical as most path runners: mesh wraps from the edges to the highest. This materials is robust, however typical climbing difficulties like roots, sharp rocks, mud, and constant abrasion will blow out this material.

After solely 70 miles, we discovered the synthetic uppers have begun to indicate put on. There’s 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’ll 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 advocate shopping for a backup pair of shoelaces on the time of buy or swapping them out for a extra sturdy pair instantly.

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

Lengthy break-in interval

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

Photograph credit score: Dave Collins (CleverHiker.com)

Not for scrambling

We observed a scarcity of flexibility when 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. Nonetheless, on most different terrains – from slippery stream crossings to difficult ascents – the stiffness of the shoe made them really feel very steady and safe.

Moreover, the Spires don’t have a strengthened toecap. As an alternative, they function an additional layer of tough, abrasion-resistant materials that provides construction to the shoe and a bit of additional safety in your toes. In the event you’re searching for a greater scrambling possibility, think about a lower-profile, extra versatile path runner for extra agility. Check out our High Path Runners for Ladies and our High Path Runners for Males for recommendations. 

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

Value

The Spire GTX is without doubt one of the costliest pairs on our listing of Greatest Males’s Climbing Footwear. In case you are available in the market for footwear or path runners, you’ll probably have some sticker shock. Nonetheless, they carry out like a high-end climbing boot with a water-proof lining, burly traction, and excellent stability. Although they’re spendy in comparison with our different prime 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 suits your toes properly, they’re an incredible selection. Nonetheless, 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, steady or semi-loose. Because of some fancy tech, your toes will keep ventilated, completely satisfied, and supported regardless of the place you’re climbing. These footwear felt steady, dependable, and cozy whether or not we had been chasing a number of summits and 20+ mile days, taking brief 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 brief on scrambles. Plus, they carry a big price ticket in comparison with our different prime climbing footwear.

Nonetheless, total, we’re nonetheless huge followers of La Sportiva’s Spire GTX. They do an beautiful job of mixing the perfect options of a standard climbing boot – like stability, nice traction, and a water-proof liner – with our favourite points of high-quality path runners – like breathability, consolation, and correct sizing. These footwear are so versatile that they’re price taking a look at 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 listing of the Greatest Males’s Climbing Footwear – they usually might simply change into your go-to pair of 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
Photograph credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Extra Data


We hope this evaluate helps you identify if the La Sportiva Spire GTX is best for you. As all the time, please go away a remark beneath you probably have any suggestions, questions, or recommendations. And are available examine us out on Fb and Instagram to affix the group dialog. In the event you discovered this evaluate useful, please share on social media!

In the event you favored this listing, you’ll love the CleverHiker Gear Information the place we check and advocate tons of out of doors journey gear from a wide range of classes. Listed here are some sources to take a look at:



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