Hands-on Gear Review
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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.
Manufacturer: La Sportiva
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
They are available in a mid height boot, the Boulder X Mid GTX, best for approaches in rugged terrain where added ankle stability is desired. 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
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