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La Sportiva TX4 Review

This model combines all-around performance with the ability to handle big loads and big walls.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $140 List | $140.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Awesome balance of hiking and climbing abilities, great support
Cons:  Relatively heavy and bulky
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 25, 2017
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 12
  • Climbing Ability - 35% 8
  • Hiking Comfort - 25% 10
  • Support - 20% 9
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 4

Our Verdict

The La Sportiva TX4 takes home this season's Top Pick for Heavy Loads and Big Walls. This fully leather tank of a shoe had our testers crushing their way up talus fields. Before we knew it, we were making light work of low fifth and fourth class scrambles and standing comfortably in our aiders for hours. There are some folks out there who will buy a shoe for every foreseeable application, from easy climbing to a dedicated descent shoe, but for those in the market for the near-perfect quiver of one, the TX4 is the approach shoe you've been looking for.

Color Updates

Since our testing period, La Sportiva has given this shoe some more understated colors. See the current shoe in the image above, but rest assured that nothing has changed in the design or materials of this Top Pick award winner.

March 2019


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
La Sportiva TX4
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award   Best Buy Award 
Price $140.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$130.00 at Amazon$125.00 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$150.00 at Amazon$120.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
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Pros Awesome balance of hiking and climbing abilities, great supportLightweight, comfortable, supportive, climb wellSupportive, durable, very sticky rubberLightweight, very packableDurable, great traction in dirt and mud, excellent value, workhorse approach shoe
Cons Relatively heavy and bulkySynthetic uppers not as durable as leatherHeavyFloppy, not very supportiveHeavy and bulky, especially when carrying on your harness or in a pack
Bottom Line This model combines all-around performance with the ability to handle big loads and big walls.These are the best approach shoes out there for the majority of climbers.A good all-round approach shoe, especially for folks with narrow feet.These shoes are most suited to short, mellow approaches.These durable shoes are well-equipped for miles of hiking and scrambling at a great price.
Rating Categories La Sportiva TX4 La Sportiva TX2 Scarpa Crux Arc'teryx Arakys La Sportiva Boulder X
Climbing Ability (35%)
10
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8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
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9
Hiking Comfort (25%)
10
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10
10
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8
10
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8
10
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6
10
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7
Support (20%)
10
0
9
10
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7
10
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8
10
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7
10
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10
Weight And Packability (20%)
10
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4
10
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9
10
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3
10
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9
10
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1
Specs La Sportiva TX4 La Sportiva TX2 Scarpa Crux Arc'teryx Arakys La Sportiva...
Outsole Vibram Mega-Grip with Trail Bite heel Vibram Mega-Grip Vibram vertical approach Vibram Light Approach Vibram Idro-Grip V-Smear dot pattern
Upper Material Leather Polyester mesh Leather PU coated ripstop nylon Leather
Weight per pair (size 9.5) 26.2 oz 20.3 oz 27.2 oz 19.5 oz 32.8 oz
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Mid Height Available? Yes No No No No
Lining Material Non-slip mesh Non-slip mesh Recycled polyester Synthetic Mesh
Midsole Traverse injection MEMlex Mem-lex/C2 Combo Cord EVA Injected EVA Micropore EVA
Sticky Rubber? Toe Rand? Yes, Yes Yes, Yes Yes, Yes Yes, Yes Yes, Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The heaviest shoe in La Sportiva's Traverse X series, the TX4 is a great hiking shoe that happens to climb exceptionally well. The wider-than-average-Sportiva toe box makes for a comfortable approach to your next adventure, be it deep in the backcountry or just a stroll through the woods to the sport crag. Thanks to some sticky Vibram rubber and just enough stiffness, the TX4 can still handle some low angle slabbage and easy crack climbing should it stand between you and the technical climbing.

Performance Comparison


This shoe has a well designed  highly adjustable lacing system.
This shoe has a well designed, highly adjustable lacing system.

Climbing Ability


Our testers are psyched that a comfortable hiking shoe can still climb almost as well as the stiffer, narrower models out there.


Edging


The sensitive "climbing zone" located at the toe of the TX4 makes it easier to feel smaller edges down to a quarter of an inch, and the shoe is just stiff enough to make use of them. This model doesn't edge as well as our Top Pick For Climbing, but we felt more secure edging in these than many other models.

Even though this shoe is a supportive hiker  it still edges surprisingly well.
Even though this shoe is a supportive hiker, it still edges surprisingly well.

Smearing


The TX4 smears at least as well as the other sticky rubber shoes in our selection, except for the Five Ten Guide Tennie, with its super sticky Stealth C4 rubber. Due to the TX4's hiking comfort, this shoe was our lead tester's favorite shoe for scrambling easy routes in Tuolumne Meadows, the TX4 handled low fifth class slabs with ease, while still offering loads of support and traction for bombing down hills on the way to the next objective.

The Vibram rubber gives our tester extra confidence when smearing.
The Vibram rubber gives our tester extra confidence when smearing.

Crack Climbing


In hand cracks and flares, the TX4 doesn't perform as well as the super stiff Guide Tennie or the Boulder X. But, it's still stiff enough to stand on as you shove your leather protected dogs in low angle cracks from two inches on up. Plus, the tongue is padded and will keep your feet comfy, even after hundreds of feet of crack torquing.

Durable leather uppers keep this shoe from falling apart in cracks.
Durable leather uppers keep this shoe from falling apart in cracks.

Hiking Comfort


The TX4 is our tester's favorite shoe for long approaches with heavy packs. The lacing system offers the same heel wrap around style as the La Sportiva Mythos climbing shoe.


The result is a highly adjustable system that allows you to dial in the tightness of this shoe easily, all the way down to the toe. This means you can cinch it down for more security when venturing into technical terrain, but still keep things loose higher up on the shoe if you've got high arches and high volume feet. We enjoyed the full toe box at the end of long hiking days when our feet started to swell and found them more comfortable than narrow shoes. The Traverse injected MEMlex midsole kept our testers stable and comfortable as we descended hundreds of feet of talus and scree in the Sierra. A visual inspection of the sole reveals the fattest lugs of any shoe in this review, providing superior traction in slippery mud and ball bearing-like gravel.

Sticky rubber comes in handy for slippery stream crossings.
Sticky rubber comes in handy for slippery stream crossings.

Support


When you're carrying big loads into the backcountry, to the base of El Cap, or for guiding, support is key, and the TX4 offers loads of it.


The stiff midsole comes in close to the top of the competition. Combined with its hiking comfort, we feel this is the best approach shoe for carrying heavy loads into the backcountry, and if it still doesn't have enough support for you, you may need to be wearing a heavier hiking boot.

These fat lugs have great traction on dirt and mud.
These fat lugs have great traction on dirt and mud.

Weight & Packability


If the TX4 has a weakness, it's weight and bulkiness, earning it a middle of the road score in this metric. Weighing in at 26.2 oz, this shoe is not as comfortable or light on the back of our harnesses as the ultralight and lower profile models.


However, the comfortable and supportive TX4 is still lighter than some less supportive options. Easily clip-able loops on the heel of these shoes make for secure clipping when it's time to rope up and put on actual climbing shoes. We had some questions about the durability of the pull tabs, as they are apart of the ankle lacing system and stretched out the more we used them, but after hundreds of times of pulling them off and on, the pull tabs haven't broken.

The TX4s have clip-in loops so you can put them on the back of your harness during a multi-pitch.
The TX4s have clip-in loops so you can put them on the back of your harness during a multi-pitch.

Value


The TX4 sits solidly in the middle of the approach shoe price range, but we believe that this versatile, durable, all leather shoe is a killer value. It kept our tester's feet comfy after long slogs and hours standing in aiders so that they could use their feet for nobler pursuits, like free climbing.

The TX4 feels secure on low angle slabs.
The TX4 feels secure on low angle slabs.

Conclusion


With so many quality manufacturers out there, sometimes we find ourselves splitting hairs to choose the best. Not so when it comes to the La Sportiva TX4, which is why we awarded it our Top Pick for Heavy Loads. We feel this shoe easily stands with the best, most versatile approach shoe of the bunch. Friends and acquaintances alike would always comment on their own positive experiences with the La Sportiva Traverse Line.


Matt Bento