Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Very durable, great foot support, snug fit.
Cons: Heavy and stiff.
Best Uses: Ridge scrambles, backpacking, casual wear.
The La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 is a good-looking and robust shoe. The stiff leather uppers and burly shank and midsole inspire a feeling of confidence on rough terrain and with a pack. It delivers great traction, and we gave it the highest score for foot support. These characteristics helped the shoe out-perform many of its competitors when we were carrying moderate loads, and we've awarded it a Top Pick for Backpacking. We also loved its casual unassuming appearance, which let our testers keep them on from landscaping the yard to office meetings.
This shoe fits narrow to average feet and captures a narrow heel well. The Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo is very similar in support and feel and comes in narrow, regular and wide sizes.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 earned top scores for support and durability, both of which earned it our Top Pick for Backpacking. One of the heavier shoes we tested, it is surprisingly cool and breathable for a mostly leather model.
In terms of comfort, the La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 feels pretty firm and uninviting at first. The sole is quite stiff, the leather uppers are substantial, and the footbed is solid. As this shoe started to break in though, we grew fonder of its supportive nature and strong backbone.
The lacing system is of this shoe basic. After first passing through a webbing loop on the mesh forefoot, the laces continue through five traditional round metal eyelets. This gets the job done, but doesn't provide the adjustability of more modern lacing systems. The mesh portion of the upper, which forms the forefoot flex point, provides just enough room for this shoe to breathe better than we anticipated.
This model weighed in at 2.51 lbs, the third heaviest of the bunch. The dense sole, extremely protective toe-cap (which is reminiscent of approach shoes), and the thick leather uppers contribute to its weight, but also contribute to the benefits of this shoe, namely support and durability.
This product's design prioritizes support, and it received the highest score we awarded. This shoe excels during long days out in rough terrain and on backpacking trips. For folks that choose a hiking shoe to carry light or moderate backpacking loads, the ECO provides firm mid foot support in flexion and great torsional stability. The result less tired feet at the end of the day! This stiffness also makes the shoe a top performer for scrambling rocky ridges and playing in the talus.
The La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 surprisingly let us down a bit in the traction category. While the sole holds well on dry rock and in the mud, wet granite slabs and gravel are not its strong suit. The Vibram River sole seems to be one of the harder soles we tested.
This shoe is a bit heavy and stiff for smooth trails and short dayhikes, but is a favorite for backpacking and longer hikes in rough terrain. It takes well to moving fast in rough terrain, but running is not comfortable. This is a good-looking shoe and the only one we tested with only one color available. Good thing this light tan makes for a great casual shoe. At work or out to a casual dinner, these look great.
This model is another standout in the waterproofing category. They kept our feet dry as a bone and the leather resists absorbing water very well. After some use and scuffing up, the leather does soak up water and get heavy – using a leather conditioner to revamp water resistance is a great option.
Our first assumption about this shoe's durability turned out to be flat wrong. The only place where La Sportiva integrates on the upper is right at the forefoot flex point. We figured it would wear quickly, especially since this is a common wear spot on hiking footwear from abrasion. However, La Sportiva's 100 percent recycled mesh shows no signs of wear after lots of scrambling and rough hiking. Add the quality leather and relatively hard sole and this boot was a top scorer.
The La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 feels most at home on rougher trails and carrying a pack, in addition to being a fine casual shoe.
At $150 list price, this model comes in the middle of the shoes. Folks with narrow feet that want a very supportive, durable shoe think it's a great deal.
Coined as a "low top, waterproof, versatile shoe" by La Sportiva, we feel like they achieved what they set out to accomplish. This model is stiff and requires some breaking in, and is perfect for rough terrain and backpacking. Our narrow-footed lead tester loves them for ridge traverses and light backpacking.
Other Versions and Accessories
The FC ECO 2.0 - Women's, are the women's version of this shoe.
The La Sportiva FC Eco 3.0 GTX and La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 GTX - Women's, $175, are the slightly lower cut version of the the Eco 4.0 men's boot about which we did a full review. The appearance and specs for the two are virtually the same aside from modest differences in weight, color and price. The 3.0 Weighs 18.6 ounces rather than 21, comes in a different color, costs about $5 more, has a different lacing system, and does not offer as much ankle support. The 3.0 still has full ankle coverage but leans more in the light hiker and mid category.
— Brandon Lampley and Tommy Penick
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Most recent review: October 5, 2014
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