Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Sticky and high friction for climbing, more cushion and support for long hikes with heavy loads.
Cons: Heavy and hot.
Best Uses: General approaches.
The Boulder X is a durable, comfortable, and very sticky shoe. It offers more support and protection for your feet than the La Sportiva Exum Pro - Women's and lasts through more abuse as well. The Boulder X gives you a lot of shoe for a reasonable price. If you are looking for a light and easy-to-carry shoe, look into the Five Ten Daescent - Women's or the Exum Pros. If you need a shoe that has even more support for carrying a heavy pack, the Camp Four with its PU heel cage is a comparable option.
Check out our complete Women's Approach Shoe Review to see how these compared to others.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
In the Boulder X, La Sportiva used technology and tips they learned in past approach shoes to come up with a pleasing, high-performing shoe. On older models, like the Cirque Pro, the narrow heel made it easy to roll your ankle. At first glance, the Boulder X looks like it has a similar design, but the heel actually tapers out to create a very stable and supportive base. These shoes are comfortable and supportive for long hikes, heavy loads, and they climb quite well.
These shoes are relatively heavy, so they are cumbersome and bulky to carry on a route. They have an all-leather upper so they don't breathe very well, but less dirt gets into your shoes than with mesh shoes such as the Daescent or the Exum Pro.
Since the Boulder X's have more cushion in them than the Exum Pro, they make great shoes for carrying heavy loads. I used these shoes to lug an enormous rack up to the cliffs at Indian Creek and thought they were the perfect shoe. Since they are durable and protective, they work well in sharp talus and on scrambly approaches and don't let much sand in. At the Creek, the Exum Pros and the Daescents filled with sand and were more uncomfortable. The Boulder X's are less clunky than the Camp Four, so they climb better.
For $95, with the Boulder X's you get the most shoe for your money. If you add up the "cents per mile" you get out of your shoes, these end up as the best deal. The Five Ten Daescents are slightly less expensive. However, they have a much more limited purpose and wear out more quickly. The Boulder X is not significantly cheaper than the other shoes reviewed, but with this model you get a versatile, supportive shoe that will last you quite a while.
La Sportiva Boulder X – Men's
— McKenzie Long
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: June 2, 2011
Credit: La Sportiva
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