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La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX - Women's Review

Nepal Cube GTX
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $575 List | $575.00 at REI
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Lace-lock, very warm and waterproof, lots of ankle support, beefy and durable, climbs well
Cons:  Sometimes bites into top of foot, collects snow in sole, no loops to aid putting on
Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 
Weight:  35.26 oz (per boot, size 40)
Sizes Available:  36-42
Upper:  3.2mm silicone impregnated Idro-Perwanger Roughout leather with high-abrasion resistant fabric/ VibramĀ® rubber rands
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva

Our Verdict

If you're looking for a high caliber boot that performs well across the board, look no further than the La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX - Women's. The Editors' Choice award winner features a whole range of qualities we look for in a quality mountaineering boot: front and rear toe-welts, a full shank, and waterproof insulation to keep those feet warm and protected from the elements. It also stands up to the task of kicking and front-pointing into the hardest ice. Increasing our love of this boot is the fact that the Nepal has the most sophisticated lacing system of all the boots in our review, combined with tall and supportive ankle protection and a well-fitting gusseted tongue. There is also a removable tongue insert to allow the wearer to tweak fit and insulation.

New Version - September 2017
The Nepal Evo - Women's is replaced with the Nepal Cube GTX - Women's, which is featured in the main photo above. The product links will take you to this new version since most major retailers have sold out of the Nepal Evo. Read all about the augmentations below!

The downsides to this high performing boot are that it is the heaviest boot we analyzed (a result of its durability), and sometimes it creates an uncomfortable biting pressure on the top of the foot. This can be alleviated by experimenting with the tongue in or out, and with careful lacing. Also, the round laces on this boot come untied far more frequently than any of our other test boots.

A fairly narrowly fitting boot, if your foot is on the wide side, try on the Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX - Women's, which is similar in almost every way but with more volume in fitting.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Mountaineering Boots For Women Review


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
McKenzie Long

Last Updated:
Tuesday
September 5, 2017

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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. According to La Sportiva, "The honeycomb structure traps air that your foot warms so the Cubes are lighter weight overall but are actually 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, VibramĀ® sole. With these recent developments comes a significant price raise 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.
Nepal Cube GTX
La Sportiva Nepal Evo  - Women's
 

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 $575, which is $65 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.
The Nepals keep feet warm and dry while standing in snow. They win Editors' Choice for being high performing, supportive and waterproof.

Weight


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.

Warmth


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.

Water Resistance


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.
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.
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.

Hiking Ability


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
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.

Durability


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.

Best Application


The Nepal is an excellent boot for vertical ice and mixed climbing in wet and cold conditions.

Value


For around $500, 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.
McKenzie Long


Where to Buy?

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Most recent review: September 5, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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