La Sportiva TX2 - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Lightweight, great climbing ability, comfortable
Cons: Not as durable as some
Manufacturer: La Sportiva
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Our Editors' Choice award winner, the La Sportiva TX2 is a fabulous blend of lightweight style and sleek climbing performance. Though not as cushioned or durable as some of its competitors, we found the comfort, support, and weight to be unparalleled.
A lot goes into technical climbing performance, and it's the main feature that makes an approach shoe so much more than a hiking shoe. As climbers, we're often boulder-hopping, talus-scrambling, or kicking steps in snow to reach our objectives, whether they're alpine peaks or hidden boulders. Climbing performance often comes with diminished comfort, as a cushier shoe is much less sensitive to precise movements. Our testers found the TX2 to excel in climbing performance without sacrificing too much comfort, helping to win it our esteemed Editors' Choice award.
With a firm edge and a rigid sole, the TX2 has excellent edging abilities, making it a fierce competitor in this category. This shoe has few competitors with comparable climbing ability, soaring away from most of the pack. The smearing zone is similar to that of the TX4, but with a secure lacing system that reaches down the foot and lighter weight, the TX2 is superior. Also, the toe was significantly thinner than the TX4's, which significantly aids in its competency at crack climbing.
Whether scrambling around Yosemite or running up peaks in the High Sierra, the TX2 surpassed our expectations for this scoring metric, earning one of the highest scores of any of its competitors.
To separate "comfort" from "support," two closely linked metrics, our expert testers decided "comfort" would refer mostly to the top of the shoe, leaving "support" to describe the bottom. We looked at fit, sizing, materials, breathability, and lacing to determine the overall feel of each product.
One of the first things our testers noticed about the TX2 was its soft fleece lining around the heel and tongue. The heel is incredibly comfortable, sitting at a great height and full of plush padding. The width is ideal, and the toe is narrow enough for excellent climbing precision but wide enough for hiking comfort.
The TX2 has a knit upper that is lighter and more breathable than the leather of the TX4. The tongue is wide and padded with comfy fleece to the toes. The tongue is attached to the side of the shoe on the inside half, and this ensures the tongue stays in place and never bunches up. The lacing extends down the foot to the toes, which we'll explain a bit more when we talk about technical climbing performance. As far as comfort goes, it was easy to pull the laces tight for moving on technical terrain or loosen them up for more casual outings.
Overall, our testers found the TX2 to provide a significant amount of comfort, especially for its weight, but we did notice that it is a bit slimmer than some of the other shoes we tested. If width is a big concern for your feet, we would likely suggest sizing up a half of a size.
For our reviewers to judge support, we looked at each shoe's stiffness, arch fit, stability, and ability to protect your feet from the elements. These are approach shoes, after all, and what good would they be if they couldn't carry us through talus, up snow slopes, or on loose trails? The TX2 has an above-average amount of support due mostly to a solid and rigid base.
The TX2's sole is very rigid, especially when compared to other shoes in its weight class. Compared to other lightweight shoes that tendy to have floppy constructions, this shoe is a much better fit for variable terrain. While it still may not be the #1 choice for high alpine terrain, many of our reviewers found the TX2 to be a perfect fit for rocky scrambles and loose talus approaches.
The toe is well-protected when compared to many of its competitors, but when laid side-by-side to the TX4, it's clear that the latter is the much burlier shoe. The TX2 lacks the lateral support of the TX4, a crucial factor in both long-distance hiking comfort and protection from loose rock. The TX2's heel is impressively sturdy but is still a measure behind its big sister. The only element the TX2 does not protect from is water. The knit upper has zero waterproofing capabilities, though they do dry quickly. While this may not be our first choice for prolonged wetness, we wouldn't mind getting a little damp, knowing how quickly we'll be dry once again.
This shoe is above-average in this category, and it was impressively stable on uneven terrain. It performs decently even when carrying heavy loads. The sides are reinforced adequately, much more so than some of its competitors. Ultimately, this shoe performs well on a wide variety of terrain, making it our number one pick for short approaches and alpine missions alike.
Weight and Packability
Weight in an approach shoe is important for a few reasons, and to make sure we got the right measurements, we put each shoe on our own scale to see how it stacked up. We didn't need a scale, however, to be immediately impressed with the TX2 as soon as we took it out of the box. Its low weight makes it an incredible shoe for multi-pitch climbing, and it is much more comfortable in casual settings for this reason as well.
Weighing in at a remarkable 8.4 ounces per shoe, the TX2 is the second lightest shoe in this review. While there are a few products that are up to two ounces lighter, they generally lacks the structure and comfort of the TX2. Compared to the TX4, at 10.5 ounces per shoe, it's easy to see where the TX2 shines. We'd happily strap these shoes to our harnesses or stuff them in our packs for long days, especially if the descent route requires a lot of hiking, scrambling or boulder-hopping.
We here at OutdoorGearLab often suggest using weight as a secondary category once you've established which of the other metrics are more relevant to you and your objectives. With approach shoes, the ratio of weight to stability is an important consideration, especially if you participate in the full spectrum of climbing types and environments. This ratio is the thing that is so impressive about the TX2. No other shoe that weighs less than 10 ounces has even close to the amount of comfort and support of the TX2, which makes its weight even more impressive. If you frequently climb in areas like Yosemite and Red Rocks that require technical descents off long routes, we can't imagine a better shoe.
The TX2 is priced at just about average for today's approach shoes. With a price that's typical for modern approach shoes and performance that soars above the competition, we think the value here is tremendously high.
It didn't take long for our testers to recognize the awesomeness of the La Sportiva TX2, and as the weeks of testing went on, we only found more things to love. It climbs excellently, is astonishingly lightweight yet comfortable and supportive, and is suited just as well to the crag as it is to the alpine.
— Lauren DeLaunay