La Sportiva TX2 Evo Review
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La Sportiva TX2 Evo
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|$169.00 at Backcountry|
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|$158.95 at Amazon|
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$149.00 at REI
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|Pros||Excellent for climbing, light and compact, comfortable||Stiff for edging and standing in aiders, light weight, excellent climbing ability, good hiking support||Awesome balance of hiking and climbing abilities, great support||Precise feel for climbing, supportive, durable||Moderate price, dirt-proof ankle cuff, comfortable over long distances|
|Cons||Not the best for long distance hiking, not much support||Narrow fit is a problem for wide-footed users, major durability concerns||Relatively heavy and bulky||Heavy, thin sole makes hiking less comfortable, stiff leather upper||Can be difficult to pull on, rolls in cracks on narrow feet|
|Bottom Line||These shoes climb great, hike pretty well, and disappear into a pack while climbing||This shoe can do it all, from precise climbing on mid-5th class terrain to rugged hikes to long aid climbs||This model combines high performance with the ability to handle big loads||A great all-round approach shoe that is supportive and great for climbing and comes at an attractive price||These approach shoes are well balanced for moderately long approaches and easy scrambling|
|Rating Categories||La Sportiva TX2 Evo||La Sportiva TX Guide||La Sportiva TX4||Scarpa Crux||Black Diamond Missi...|
|Climbing Ability (30%)|
|Hiking Comfort (25%)|
|Weight and Packability (15%)|
|Construction Quality (15%)|
|Specs||La Sportiva TX2 Evo||La Sportiva TX Guide||La Sportiva TX4||Scarpa Crux||Black Diamond Missi...|
|Outsole||Vibram Idrogrip||Vibram Mega-Grip||Vibram Mega-Grip with Trail Bite heel||Vibram vertical approach||Black Diamond BlackLabel-Mountain rubber|
|Upper Material||Recycled knit, PU toe & heel||synthetic TPU, PU||Leather||Leather||polyester enduro knit|
|Weight (per pair)||26.4 oz (size 13)||29.8 oz (size 13)||26.2 oz (size 9.5)||27.2 oz (size 9.5)||23.6 oz (size 9.5)|
|Mid Height Available?||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Midsole||Traverse lite injection MEMlex with co-molded TPU shank||Dual-density compressed EVA, TPU Torsion Shank||Traverse injection MEMlex||EVA||EVA, protective rock plate|
Our Analysis and Test Results
One of the lightest approach shoes we've ever tested, the TX2 Evo disappears into a pack or onto a harness while climbing, making it the best choice for multi-pitch climbing when the descent requires shoes.
These shoes are expert climbers. A thin, yet moderately stiff sole provides good sensitivity for slab climbing and delicate foot placements, yet also allows for solid power transfer while edging on small holds. The toebox has a low profile, allowing for great jamming in cracks of all sizes, down to tight hands. Our testers were comfortable climbing all sorts of easy to mid-5th class terrain with these shoes.
The TX2's climbing ability is enhanced by a tight lacing pattern, with eyelets every 3/4 inch. This allows a tight and customized fit throughout the foot, from the toebox to the ankle. The mesh-lined fabric upper stretches tightly over the contours of the foot providing a snug fit, and preventing any movement of the foot inside the shoe. The heel girdle also features a thicker padded lining above the heel bone at the achilles tendon, comfortably locking the back of the foot down into place.
While the TX2's sole is thin, it has plenty of torsional rigidity, meaning the shoe won't slide off of small edges when pressure is applied to the toe edge. The Vibram Idrogrip rubber is extremely sticky, providing great traction on wet rock and lichen-covered talus. Our testers grew very confident in this rubber throughout the testing period, allowing them to push the limits of this shoe in 5th-class terrain.
For a lightweight approach shoe, the TX2 Evo hikes remarkably well. The mesh-lined upper and tight lacing pattern allow a precise fit, and the padded lining is comfortable against the skin. The ankle opening has a stretchy fabric cuff that envelopes the ankle's skin, which feels great. The heel lock prevents any rising in the back of the foot.
However, the TX2 Evo can't compete with more beefy approach shoes for hiking comfort. The thin sole is more comfortable than we expected it to be, but we still feel the strain of terrain roughness through the sole rubber after about an hour of trail smashing. The low-profile fit is great for climbing, but it also can feel a little tight and constricting after hiking for a long time. And, although we love the feel of the mesh-lined fabric upper, it doesn't provide the support of the heavy-duty approach shoes on the market.
Some approach shoes are engineered to keep the foot locked into place, tight to the rubber sole, and don't allow the foot to rotate very much relative to the ankle. While this design can save climbers' feet and ankles over long, arduous approaches to alpine climbs and treks through talus fields, the TX2 Evo employs the opposite strategy. It has a comfortable fit, snug and yet unrestrained, thanks to the thin fabric upper that remains flexible and supple all the way down to its junction with the sole. So while the TX2 Evo doesn't provide the locked-in support of the most heavy-duty approach shoes on the market, its padded lining and heel lock keep the foot remarkably stable. Through tough descents over loose rock and talus, we were pleasantly surprised by the support that these minimalist approach shoes provide.
That said, these shoes aren't designed for long-distance trekking and big-wall climbing. They allow plenty of lateral movement and agility, and while other approach shoes will protect climbers' ankles from rolling, these shoes provide about as much support as lightweight trail running shoes, which is to say, not much. But for the sacrifice in support, they gain agility and nimbleness.
Weight and Packability
Weighing in amongst the lightest approach shoes we've ever tested, the TX2 Evo delivers remarkable performance across the board. A thin sole and upper, along with clever omissions of superfluous components and a narrow profile, allow these shoes to remain light as a feather.
The mesh upper compresses easily, and the shoes feature a fixed shock-cord loop around the heel, allowing the shoes to be stowed together with the soles facing out. This small package can then be clipped onto the back of a harness for multi-pitch climbing without a backpack, or stuffed into a pack without taking up too much space. These shoes are so light and packable that our testers hardly reached for a different model whenever the objective demanded carrying approach shoes up and over the route. If you climb regularly in a venue where walk-offs are the norm, these shoes are the best choice out there.
In the pursuit of low weight and easy packability, the TX2 features a thin rubber sole, very little protective rubber around the sides of the upper where it attaches to the sole, and a thin fabric upper around the entire foot. All of these thin materials are likely to wear through more quickly than those on thicker, heavier approach shoes.
Owners of these shoes can expect abrasion to have an impact on the mesh upper in particular. Also, the thin rubber soles require resoling more frequently than other shoes with thicker soles. As such, these aren't the best choice for users who regularly take their approach shoes on long alpine treks and rugged talus crossings. But for users who mostly approach and descend on short sections of trail, or perform these tasks on 4th and 5th-class terrain, where precise footwork is needed, these shoes have enough integrity to last a reasonable lifespan.
Should You Buy the La Sportiva TX2 Evo?
These shoes deliver excellent performance at an attractive price. They perform among the best approach shoes on the market, yet they are priced among the lowest. They do everything well, including hiking, climbing, and disappearing when the rock shoes come out. The only place they don't excel is on long approaches through rugged terrain, where a more burly approach shoe will provide more support and long-distance comfort. For climbers who spend most of their time approaching over relatively short distances on well-groomed trails and scrambles, these are the only approach shoes they'll ever need.
What Other Approach Shoes Should You Consider?
The La Sportiva TX2 Evo is a high-performance shoe for most approach conditions, at an attractive price. But, if you spend more time on medium to long approaches, or regularly cross rugged terrain like talus fields and poorly maintained trails, the La Sportiva TX Guide will serve you better. If you plan on standing in aiders, carrying a haul bag to the base of a big wall, and then carrying the haul bag down from the top, check out a more supportive shoe like the La Sportiva TX4 or Arcteryx Konseal AR. If you are looking for a lightweight shoe for technical mountain running, these aren't supportive or comfortable enough, and we'd recommend the Scarpa Rapid. And if you are pinching pennies and want to save a few bucks without sacrificing much performance, the Scarpa Crux is a great option.
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