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La Sportiva Boulder X Review

   

Approach Shoes - Men's

  • Currently 3.3/5
Overall avg rating 3.3 of 5 based on 8 reviews. Most recent review: July 31, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $78 - $105 | Compare prices at 8 resellers
Pros:  Durable, great traction, good value
Cons:  Heavy, not ideal for long hikes
Best Uses:  Cragging and short and burly approaches. It's a workhorse approach shoe.
User Rating:     
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 (3.5 of 5) based on 7 reviews
Recommendations:  83% of reviewers (5/6) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ September 27, 2010  
Overview
The La Sportiva Boulder X offers a great balance of durability, hiking toughness and value. They are geared more toward short rugged approaches than long hikes. They don't climb as well as the Five Ten Guide Tennie or La Sportiva Ganda, but they handle the trails better and are tougher. For that toughness, these approach shoes are not light. The Guide Tennie feels much lighter when clipped to the side of the harness on a multi-pitch climb. We would get the Guide Tennie if we wanted more climbing performance and a lighter shoe. We would get the La Sportiva Exum Pro or Evolv Escapist if you mainly want an approach shoe that hikes well and is extra light when clipped on the side of your harness. But if you want an approach shoe that is rugged and gives good value, this one is hard to beat for the money.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
These shoes are suitable for rugged trails, shifty descents and long talus fields: something that a lot of other approach shoes are either too thin for or will blow apart quickly. The sole has an aggressive tread that gives great traction in dirt, on boulders and in mud. The toe rand wraps around the entire shoe for extra durability.

Dislikes
This shoe is not light and you feel it when clipped to the side of your harness. If you do a ton of multi-pitch climbs we would lean toward something a little lighter that will pack smaller in the pack. Their heftyness also does make them the most sensitive on slabs and edges.

Best Application
These are an ideal cragging shoe. They excel on short burly approaches. They are not light enough for massive approaches like a trail/approach shoe.

Value
These shoes area a great value. At $95 they are among the cheaper approach shoes. More importantly, they generally have above average durability which means you should have them around for longer than many other shoes in the same price range.

Other Versions
The La Sportiva Boulder X - Women's, $105, is the women's version of this shoe. This shoe takes our Best Buy Award and is a durable, comfortable, and very sticky shoe.

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: July 31, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.5)

83% of 6 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
7 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 57%  (4)
3 star: 29%  (2)
2 star: 14%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 7 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 31, 2011 - 07:31pm
cultureshock · Climber · Mountain View
Pros:
* Very sticky rubber
* Good tread pattern
* Climb and hike well
* Leather is weather resistant
* Good price

Cons:
* Heavy
* Not very breathable
* Laces come untied easily
* Not recommended for jumaring (aid climbing)

Full Review:
http://www.dreaminvertical.com/2010/11/sweet-gear-review-la-sportiva-boulder-x/

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Oct 1, 2010 - 11:12pm
 
Mark Hudon · Climber · Hood River, OR
I did my solo this spring in a pair of these. They stand in slings well and I was surprised at how well they free climbed and they inspired confidence on the hike down.

The toe box is a little bit tight and the toe rand wore through in three days of aid climbing.
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   Jul 31, 2014 - 07:54am
Cladonian · Backpacker · Sofia
Dear friends, today I decide to write a review of these shoes. As I know from friend La Sportiva is one of the best trade marks for mountain boots. Usually I'm buying Asolo, but now their models are not as good as before.
First the positive side of La Sportiva boulder x:
1. Stable and tight, good support of the feet. Comfortable for climbing rock and making trial over rocky paths in the high mountain.
2. Good design and durable materials.
3. The sole is stable over wet rocks.
The negative things:
1. Very worm and absolutely non breathable. This makes them uncomfortable for summer time even in the high mountains. My Asolo highland is breathing twice more than this approach shoes. If La sportiva remove some of the polyester lining of the inner side and to reduce a little bit the outer rubber, this approach shoes will be the best on the market. All the positive things go to the basket if the feet are wet all the time in the summer. My old Garmont sticky beast keep my feet dry even in 38 degree. The other thing is that I'm not sweating so much at all comparing to most of my friends in tracking activities.
2. Tight in the toes zone, uncomfortable for long tracking.
3. If there is a drop of water it will go directly over your toes through the tongue and laces.
4. Half size smaller than it must be. If you decide to buy them, half size up.
5. This La Sportiva is not made in Italy. They are made in China.

These shoes will be good for the winter time in the city, and in the spring and autumn for some mountain activities, but without rain and dew.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 30, 2014 - 02:05am
Munge · Climber · Slab, CA
I think I've had these shoes for a year now, maybe a little less. Constant wear. Mostly abused on approaches to rock climbs. Daily to work and driving. Recently on a long hike with a lot of talus. So I've kind of seen the full range with these. My thoughts:
  1. Great fit. Lacing is good. At 10.5 U.S. try both EU comparative sizes.
  1. Good on easy rock. Rubber is plenty sticky.
  1. Inside the heel pocket they've finally started to tear apart. I've never had an approach shoe that doesn't wear out the heel pocket. ymmv
  1. weight seems neglible. Lighter than many, but sturdy.
  1. Not enough midsole support for talus for multiple miles, unless you want your feet to hurt a bit. But just once to hit a peak and avoid buying a new pair of shoes? Yeah, it is serviceable, just double up on advil. (a usual trade off in approach shoes is weight for capability)
  1. no noticeable wear around the toe box and front end lacing.


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 24, 2013 - 12:53am
Brokedownclimber · Climber · Douglas, WY
Even though I have just used these shoes for a couple days at Vedauwoo, I'm completely satisfied with them. The rubber is very sticky and allows some slab climbing, and the fit is perfect for my very narrow foot. I found them very comfortable for a brand new, out-of-the-box shoe; I experienced no blisters or any fit problems. The weight isn't excessive, and was comparable to my trail hiking boots, or even a bit lighter. A major selling point is the cost: very reasonable for a durable pair of shoes.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 5, 2013 - 12:16pm
FortMental · Climber · Albuquerque, NM
Very sticky rubber and a good, customizable lacing system. However, these shoes provide little support during long wearings in conventional settings like technical hiking, slabbing around, especially if done with a heavy pack. The leather does stretch and they will turn into completely different shoes if you get them wet (even walking through early morning meadows).

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Apr 16, 2012 - 11:40am
Andrew B · Hiker · MA
After tons of research (thanks mostly to Outdoor Gear Lab) I decided on the Boulder X from La Sportiva. I do climb about once a week but I bought these shoes more for everyday use and for hiking then just strictly approach. I have had them for a week and I can honestly say they are one of the better shoes I have ever worn. They are well made, seem quite durable and of course very comfy. They stay comfortable all day, the support is great for a low top shoe, the tread/sole is aggressive and sticky and the lacing allows for a tight precise fit. I normally wear a 9-9.5 (42-42.5 Euro) and I went with the 42.5 as I read they run a little on the snug side. While they are tight, it in no way causes discomfort. I find that they are tight enough to be precise for careful foot work and loose enough to be good for all day wear or with a light hiking sock. I have not got them out on the trails yet but I am sure they will perform beyond my expectations. I am considering getting the Boulder X mid gtx as my hiking boot, it is a mid height version of the boulder x with gortex and a fully gusseted tongue. Give the Boulder x a shot, they are a nice shoe.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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La Sportiva Boulder X
La Sportiva Boulder X
Credit: sportiva.com
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