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La Sportiva Trango Prime Review

La Sportiva Trango Prime
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Price:  $410 List
Pros:  Warm, Deep lugs on sole, Impact Brake Heel, Lightweight
Cons:  Does not have a waterproof lining
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Luke Lydiard ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 8, 2013
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Our Verdict

The Trango Prime is Discontinued as of 2017
The La Sportiva Trango Prime is a warm, lightweight mountaineering boot for single day climbs. This is a full shank boot that will accept step in crampons. Its major downfall is that La Sportiva did not use a Gore-Tex lining. Had Gore-Tex been used this would be the single day quiver killer. This boot climbs ice and mixed well, handles all but the longest approaches, and laces up easily and securely. La Sportiva claims a waterproof membrane. It's not. Accidentally step in the creek on the approach to your climb, and you will be regretting it all day. If you need a waterproof boot in this weight range, consider the La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo GTX ,which climbs ice very similar to the Prime. If you think you still might get wet, consider a super-gaiter style boot like the La Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTX which uses two layers of Gore-Tex.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison

Luke Lydiard testing boots on Stairway to Heaven in Provo Canyon.
Luke Lydiard testing boots on Stairway to Heaven in Provo Canyon.


The Trango Prime is one of the lighter boots in the review since it is a single boot. It is not as light as the Trango Extreme Evo GTX, likely due to the thicker sole. The deeper lugs on this boot provide better traction on scree and snow than the thinner sole on the Extreme. The small amount of weight gain is worth the added traction.

Rock Climbing Ability

This boot is less supportive than many of the other boots in the review, but the lack of support means extra flexibility in the ankle. This boot has a full shank with makes for a rigid edging platform, but will sacrifice feel. The type of Vibram sole on this boot is geared more towards longevity than stickiness. Climbing rock without crampons in a mountaineering boot takes some getting used to for most people, however this boot will climb better than most in those situations.

Ice Climbing Ability

The Prime is the perfect balance of flex and support. The sole is super stiff and the welts/sole profile make for a near perfect crampon fit. Good toe box height allows for bashing and keeping your toenails. If you can't climb it in this boot, a fruit boot is the only other option. That or more pull-ups.

Hiking Ablity

A healthy amount of rocker on the sole of this boot allows for decent walking. The Vibram Impact Brake System is essentially a forward scoop on the front of the heel which grabs snow, rock, or dirt as you walk downhill. This feature is noticeable when you are walking downhill without crampons in firmer snow. The Impact Brake grabs when other boots would have you boot-skiing out of control.

The full shank may become uncomfortable for some on the longest approaches, but in this case you could consider a boot without a full shank like the La Sportiva Trango S Evo - Men's or The North Face Verto S4K.


One of the warmest single boots available, his boot is lined with Primaloft, which is one of the best synthetic insulators available. It also has a Scholler gaiter which holds in a small amount of heat. A single boot, however, will never be as warm as a double or super-gaiter style boot.


La Sportiva chose not to use Gore-Tex as a waterproof liner for this boot, which makes it slightly less expensive. Their website claims that it uses a "waterproof barrier" along with Primaloft for insulation. We found this boot to be the least waterproof in the review. It handles cold conditions well, but when things get wet and sloppy, your feet will get wet. They leak the worst in the toe area when slop collects on the top of the laces.


We tested this boot over more days and more climbs than any other boot in this review, so we had an opportunity observe the long term durability of this lightweight boot. The sole has held up well, and so have the front and rear welts. Unfortunately, parts of the upper began to fail after a lot of heavy use. Most notably, multiple lace loops have ripped out on our test pair. The leather lace loops below the lace locker are lined with black nylon webbing, which increases durability, but the end of the loop ripped out at the seam, essentially breaking the loop. It appears that the amount of leather and webbing at the seam area is very small and the threads simply ripped though the end of the material. This is a very difficult area to sew back by hand. The mini gaiter also started to separate from upper cuff due to tugging on the rear pull-tab. The pull-tab is only attached to the stretchy mini-gaiter and not the cuff as well.

Best Application

The Prime is best suited to single day ice and mixed climbs in cold conditions. If your climb will involve a lot of wetness, you are better off with something with a fully waterproof liner.


This boot is priced on par with the other single boots with a full shank and toe and heel welts. It is considerably cheaper than any of the double or super-gaiter style boots.

Luke Lydiard