Certainly one of La Sportiva’s most uncommon sneakers, the Spire GTX, is a mountain climbing boot masquerading as a path runner. These sneakers have acquired excessive reward in each the fastpacking and mountain climbing worlds – however do they stay as much as the excitement? We put the Spire GTX by means of rigorous testing over a whole bunch of miles from the muddy trails of the Cascades to Colorado’s tallest peaks to search out out for you. Maintain studying for our in-depth evaluation.
Males’s La Sportiva Spire GTX
Rugged & sturdy waterproof mountain climbing sneakers
Value: MSRP: $209
Weight: (PAIR): 2 lb 2.3 oz
Sizing: True to dimension
- Glorious traction
- Single-lace eyeholes
- Restricted sturdiness
- Lengthy break-in
- Not one of the best for scrambling
Consolation is a trademark of the Spire GTX. The preliminary break-in interval was longer than we wished, at about 15-20 miles, the place the sneakers 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 mountain climbing 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 various 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 ft gained’t tire as rapidly, and also you’ll keep comfy even by means of the longest days. This molding retains the sneakers feeling sturdy on every thing 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 Spire GTX ventilates so effectively 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 ft 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 perimeters and the footbed itself. The Spires stored our ft impressively and constantly dry on sizzling days, within the direct solar, for hours on finish.
These sneakers are additionally reliably waterproof. We put the Spires by means of the wringer over two weeks in soggy fall situations 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 sneakers carry out. They by no means allowed moisture in and stored our hooves constantly dry. This degree of breathability and waterproofing additionally makes the Spires an excellent 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 related all the way in which 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 gained’t matter for those who slip right into a deep puddle or mis-step close to a creek.
Sizing and match
Sizing was common and correct, though they don’t are available slim or broad variations. La Sportiva’s sneakers have a popularity for working a bit slim. Previously, this made the model a favourite for individuals who like tight-fitting footwear, however lower than splendid for these with wider ft. The Spire GTX bucks this pattern with a well-recognized, comfy match.
The toe field provides loads of room and the midsole gives a beefy, structured really feel. Nonetheless, we discovered the heel runs surprisingly broad. This extra broad design could be a problem for people in search of a slim heel pocket, or for those who’re utilizing this shoe for climbing quite a lot of 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 ft of climbing, the broader heel was not in the end a problem (minimal rubbing and no blisters!), and getting used to this match seems to be a part of the break-in interval.
Word 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 sneakers. In our expertise, which means a precise match. For instance, in case your foot measures 25 cm, you’ll usually put on a European dimension 40 however may dimension up or down one cm (about .39 in) for consolation. This makes the Spire an excellent selection for various foot sorts and shapes.
These sneakers 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. Should you choose a medium-to-high drop and a stiff heel, you’ll love the Spire GTX.
The normal 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 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 sneakers so as to add assist and safety. The inserts work effectively to reduce foot ache, and the good use of waterproof supplies and heavier weight will make you are feeling assured and quick on the paths.
These are significantly grippy sneakers. The Spires are outfitted with the identical sticky Vibram XS Trek outsoles that La Sportiva makes use of on a lot of its mountain climbing and mountaineering boots. This compound is extremely dynamic and cheesy, so the sneakers really feel secure on every thing 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 mountain climbing by means 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 be thoughtfully designed for lengthy descents. La Sportiva additionally makes use of their Impression Braking System – a grip sample that gives management and enhanced traction when coming down inclines. We discovered the Spire GTX made straightforward work of climbing, descending, and working.
Two kilos is heavy. The Spire GTX is without doubt one of the heavier pairs in our high ten checklist of Finest Males’s Mountain climbing Footwear. Versus aggressive waterproof mountain climbing sneakers just like the Merrell Moab 3 or the Solomon X Extremely 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 Mountain climbing Footwear and Finest Girls’s Mountain climbing Footwear to see our favorites.
Regardless of the load penalty, these sneakers by no means felt cumbersome. The Spires are a wonderful selection for multi-day adventures in addition to shorter excursions. A number of 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.
Sadly, the Spire GTX solely comes with single eyelet lace holes on the high of the foot as an alternative of two like on many aggressive path runners and mountain climbing sneakers. Double-eyelets permit for a variety of lacing configurations that may supply a personalized tighter or larger 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 sneakers tighter to forestall even occasional heel slippage or rubbing. With just one eyelet, an adaptable lacing system just isn’t doable.
Don’t get us fallacious – the Spire GTX are very sturdy. We even named them one of many 4 most sturdy sneakers on our high ten checklist of Finest Males’s Mountain 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 similar as most path runners: mesh wraps from the perimeters to the highest. This materials is powerful, 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 synthetic uppers have begun to point out 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 facet mesh on one shoe. We’re nonetheless assured we’ll get 500+ backcountry miles from the Spires, and they’ll outlive most lighter sneakers – 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 sneakers make the most of artificial fiber wrapped in a sheath. This sheath tends to wear down, normally 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.
Lengthy break-in interval
Certainly one of our favourite issues in regards to 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 actually comfy, nevertheless it took about 10-12 hours of mountain climbing, or round 15-20 miles earlier than the sneakers absolutely loosened up and tailored to our ft. That is considerably longer than a few of the Spires’ competitors, a lot of which match effectively proper out of the field, or took solely a few miles to melt.
Not for scrambling
We observed a scarcity of flexibility when mountain climbing extraordinarily rocky trails and traversing prolonged, sharp scree, talus, and boulder fields. The stiffness of the sneakers 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 secure and safe.
Moreover, the Spires don’t have a strengthened toecap. As a substitute, they characteristic an additional layer of tough, abrasion-resistant materials that provides construction to the shoe and a bit of further safety in your toes. Should 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 Girls and our High Path Runners for Males for recommendations.
The Spire GTX is without doubt one of the costliest pairs on our checklist of Finest Males’s Mountain climbing Footwear. If you’re out there for sneakers or path runners, you’ll probably have some sticker shock. Nonetheless, they carry out like a high-end mountain climbing boot with a water-proof lining, burly traction, and excellent stability. Although they’re spendy in comparison with our different high mountain climbing sneakers, they’re on the low finish for worth in comparison with boots with comparable options. If you need a burly boot-like shoe and this pair suits your ft effectively, they’re an excellent selection. Nonetheless, if you’d like a lighter-weight shoe, there are different budget-friendly choices that carry out equally.
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 ft will keep ventilated, completely satisfied, and supported regardless of the place you’re mountain climbing. These sneakers felt secure, dependable, and cozy whether or not we had 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 susceptible to put on and tear, and so they fall quick on scrambles. Plus, they carry a big price ticket in comparison with our different high mountain climbing sneakers.
Nonetheless, general, we’re nonetheless large followers of La Sportiva’s Spire GTX. They do an beautiful job of mixing one of the best options of a conventional mountain 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 sneakers 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 checklist of the Finest Males’s Mountain climbing Footwear – and so they may simply turn out to be your go-to pair of mountain climbing sneakers.
We hope this overview helps you identify if the La Sportiva Spire GTX is best for you. As at all times, please go away a remark under in case you have any suggestions, questions, or recommendations. And are available examine us out on Fb and Instagram to hitch the neighborhood dialog. Should you discovered this overview useful, please share on social media!
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