La Sportiva Boulder X Shoes
The Italian brand La Sportiva, one of the best known in the panorama of trail running and mountaineering, brings us one of the latest shoes oriented to more relaxed activities, such as trekking or “mountaineering”. And we say mountaineering in inverted commas since the shoes that we will show you next have a certain protection, rigidity and characteristics that make them suitable to take in ascents to high summits with technical difficulty. A shoe suitable for climbing mountains with steep terrain, beyond the typical hiking we may be used to.
By the way, we forgot the name of the shoes. The model in question is the Boulder X, a model for all mountaineering enthusiasts with a lot of quality and prepared for the most demanding outings. Among their main virtues are their elegant design, the quality of their materials, and their great grip and protection on all types of surfaces. We used them on a typical ascent to the roof of the Iberian Peninsula: The Aneto and its 3.404m.
About the upper
One of the main advantages of La Sportiva Boulder X over their competitors is their upper. A very dense mesh and that is the hallmark of this model for the most technical hiking. Made from a suede leather compound that provides great protection against the possible adversities of the mountain.
The toe cap has a protection that wraps around the entire front of our toes with a rigid and very durable material that will also help not to tear the upper mesh. This protection is, in addition, of a rubber that favours the grip in situations where we have to climb or go up steps that are not too complicated. We can see how it extends over almost the entire shoe, up to the rear part, although the front part up to the midfoot area is the one with a double layer.
The sides also have the same protection, inspired by La Sportiva Mythos, one of the highest quality climbing shoes from the Italian company. This area extends to the heel, an area where the name of the Italian brand is clearly projected. It joins at the bottom of the heel to unify the midsole with the upper and favour protection.
As for the laces, we can see the clear orientation of this model towards climbing. Typical hiking boot laces: thick and multi-stranded. These laces wrap around the entire collar of the shoe to give it greater support as well as high resistance. Instead of eyelets it has inner steps to avoid loosening and is more to the consumer’s liking.
Finally, a very padded tongue will prevent rubbing against the laces and, given its size, it will also prevent stones or other elements from entering the boot.
This is what the midsole looks like
As for the midsole of the La Sportiva Boulder X it does not stand out for having any specific technology. It is a fairly soft EVA rubber, with only 2mm thick that gives us a fair but comfortable cushioning for those trekking hours and hours in which you need a good shoe.
The most outstanding technology is the Impact Brake System. It is a kind of internal skeleton with properties that minimise the impact on the joints to enjoy all the adventures and all the way you consider.
One of the most important parts of the La Sportiva Boulder X and of any shoe you take to the mountains is the sole. The brand uses Vibram to provide great security in any type of terrain and area in which we face.
The compound is relatively hard. And that’s because they’ve prioritised abrasion resistance and durability over grip. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t get good grip, as Vibram always offers it whatever the compound used. A really curious sole, different to what we are used to and with a very different pattern, not only if we compare the front and the back, but also the whole sole.
The forefoot area features a rounded lug pattern with a horseshoe-shaped pattern on the inner area randomly placed to improve grip. In the toe these lugs become a uniform layer that favours support in rocky areas and walls to overcome them without losing traction. There is also a difference between the outer and inner area in terms of the dimensions of the studs, their arrangement and their shape.
If we look at the heel area, the rounded lugs give way to huge lugs typical of shoes where durability is sought and for areas that require more technique. Longitudinal studs that project inwards, leaving a small central channel.
On the feet
We have been able to test La Sportiva Boulder X in a classic ascent to Aneto, at 3,404m. We were pleasantly surprised by the performance of the shoes, especially knowing the type of trail we were running. An uncomplicated first part of track and trail where comfort and support are put to the test. We continue through an area of rocks and large monoliths that require traction as well as protection in the front and sides of the foot to avoid hurting ourselves. And this is where the protections played their role. At the end of the route, after almost 11 hours of hiking, we had our feet without a single scratch.
The only downside to so much protection and suede leather is breathability. Depending on where you’re going to use them, especially if it’s hot, this feature is something we’ve been missing. Although the good thing is when you face areas with snow, which prevents the entrance to the bootie.
If we talk about the sole, it is at the level of all the other components found in the La Sportiva Boulder X. After the use in the ascent to the Aneto they didn’t even have any small sign of wear or tear, or the typical thing that can happen – breakage of some lugs. They were still at 100%. The grip is one of the aspects that impressed us the most. They don’t skid even on wet rock or even if you go on rocky screes. A real surprise to see the versatility of the Vibram compound.
La Sportiva ‘s signature continues betting for the world of the outdoor and sample of it are these shoes. Beyond running in the mountains, the brand has made a strong commitment to other disciplines, such as climbing. And with these Boulder X , La Sportiva has unified concepts to leave a shoe halfway between hiking and climbing, ideal for those technical climbs that require a well-protected footwear and features suitable for it. Thus, La Sportiva Boulder X are a model that provides mountain lovers with all-terrain shoes for the most technical trails. Their sole and reinforced toecap make this new model from the Italian company the delight of all adventurers looking for technical quality, elegant and refined aesthetics and the best materials in a shoe.
The new La Sportiva Boulder X are an ideal mountaineering shoes for those hikers looking to take their adventures to another level and tackle mountain peaks where the approach route is technical, with rocky terrain and boulders, but also very useful for via ferrata. Thanks to the Vibram sole and the reinforced toe cap, these shoes are also very suitable for climbing.
Warm for summer
Mesh and suede with rubber protection band
Vibram Impact Brake System
From 37 to 47
Red, grey, orange, black
More information here