The Latest Nepal Cube GTX Vs. The Nepal Evo
La Sportiva continues to push the envelope, upgrading their products to stay ahead of the fierce competition. The new Nepal Cube GTX is a spin-off of the very popular Nepal Evo model. While much of the design stays the same, there are enough modifications to justify the renaming of this product. The Nepal Cube GTX weighs 25.2 ounces per boot, which is a whopping 10.06 ounces less than the Nepal Evos (35.26 ounces per boot). One of the main reasons for this weight drop is the Carbon Tech Honeycomb insulation used for the insole. The goal of this honeycomb structure to trap warmed air inside the boot, meaning these boots are designed to be lighter weight and warmer. Aesthetic changes include different logo placements, updated graphics, and a new color. Features which are carried through from the prior model include the 3D ankle Flex technology, the Gore-tex insulated liner, the removable and adjustable tongue, the upper materials, and the Impact Brake, Vibram® sole. With these recent developments comes a significant price increase of 65 bucks.
To see some of these changes for yourself, look below at the comparison photos with the new Nepal Cube GTX on the left and the old version on the right.
Here's a summary of the main differences between the new Nepal Cube GTX and the Nepal Evo:
- Reduced Weight — One Nepal Cube boot weighs in at 25.2 ounces (compared with 35.26 oz).
- New Color — Out with the Lime green and in with the Ice gray.
- Midsole — The midsole is now 2mm Polyurethane (compared with 8-9mm TPU).
- Insole — The insole features Carbon Tech Honeycomb insulation/4mm EVA (compared with Ibi-Thermo 9mm).
- Price Increase — The Nepal Cubes will cost you $599, which is $89 more than the Nepal Evos.
- Graphics — The new model features slightly different graphics and relocated logos.
We haven't tested the Nepal Cube GTX yet, so for now, the information below pertains to the original Nepal Evo - Women's.
Hands-On Review Of The La Sportiva Nepal Evo - Women's
The Nepals keep feet warm and dry while standing in snow. They win Editors' Choice for being high performing, supportive and waterproof.
On our scale the Nepal's weighed 35.26 ounces per boot for a size 40. This is the heaviest boot in our review, which is a bummer. (Lighter being better in all things mountaineering.) However the trade-off is that this boot is incredibly durable, protective, and supportive. The weight comes from the full shank, the metal lace grommets, and the fully leather upper.
Tied with the Mont Blanc as the warmest boots we evaluated, the insulation in this boot is adequate. The tall, stretchy gaiter reaches up the ankle providing more protection and warmth than the other boots we tested.
Lined with Gore-Tex insulated footwear lining, this boot is waterproof and can handle splashing through puddles or post-holing through a snowy approach.
Rock Climbing Ability
The sticky Vibram sole grips rock fairly well, and allows this clunky mountaineering boot to move steadily over rock. Not as precise at edging as the La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX- Women's this boot can still handle itself over rock scrambles to the summit. The flexible ankle cuff allows your feet to move naturally while smearing and stepping up boulders or rock faces.
Ice Climbing Ability
Boot testing in Ouray, Colorado. The stiff full shank of the La Sportiva Nepal Evo allows for excellent support front-pointing.
The full shank in this boot provides the support needed for front-pointing, and the front and rear toe-welts accept step-in crampons. With a higher ankle cuff than either the Mountain Experts or the Mont Blancs, the Nepals offer even more support.
The La Sportiva Nepal Evo lacing system. Note the special lace-lock grommet that is the 5th down. This amazing feature allows you to first tighten the bottom laces on top of the foot, lock them in, and then lace the top of the boot.
However, the real detail that aids in climbing ability is the lacing system. Right where the foot bends, La Sportiva has incorporated what they call EZ Roller hardware. This simple-yet-high-tech metal grommet locks down, keeping the laces in place when you tighten them until you pull the laces outwards again. This allows you to tighten the front (bottom) of the boot separately from the top of the boot, which is AMAZING! How many times have you been lacing your boots, where you struggle to keep the right tension in the laces all the way through the final knot, only to find it is still too loose? This also makes it so you can leave the front of your boot looser around your toes, but really crank down on the ankle tightness, or vice-versa. Overall this lacing system improves the climbing ability of this boot because it makes it so you can get the boots to fit your foot properly- with no heel lift or slippage and no toe-bang.
The Nepals hike decently well for a heavy boot. The rockered sole encourages a natural stride while hiking, and the flexible ankle cuff allows for an adequate range of motion. The rocker on the sole is more pronounced than in the Mountain Expert and is very similar to that in the sole of the Mont Blanc.
The La Sportiva Nepal Evo (left) and Scarpa Mont Blanc. It is interesting to note that the Nepal is size 40 and the MB is 40.5, but their sole length is virtually identical. The Nepal has a deeper incut heel on the sole, providing better downhill traction
Another benefit to the sole is that it uses Sportiva's Impact Brake System, which is essentially a deeply in-cut heel. This provides excellent traction and braking ability when hiking downhill on slippery snow. Where other boots skid out and send you butt-sliding downhill, the Nepals keep you upright and in control.
In our side-by-side tests we did notice that the Nepals collect much more snow in the sole than the Mont Blanc, which may be the result of the tread pattern. This is fairly minor since most of the time you will have crampons on while wearing the boot, but kicking off balls of snow on the approach can become a hassle.
The full leather Nepal Evo with metal lace grommets is a very sturdy and durable boot. We did notice that the hard plastic of the front toe-welts was much thinner and less beefy than the plastic used on the Mont Blancs and the Lowa Mountain Expert GTX EVO - Women's. One one of our boots this plastic actually began to delaminate from the boot slightly, which is our biggest complaint.
The Nepal is an excellent boot for vertical ice and mixed climbing in wet and cold conditions.
These boots are an investment. As the most expensive pair in this review, they may not be the best choice if you are on a budget. However, these are also the highest performing boots we analyzed and they will last for years, so if they fit your feet, they are well worth the price.