Hands-on Gear Review

La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 GTX - Women's Review

La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 GTX - Women's
By: Briana Valorosi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 2, 2014
Price:  $175 List
Pros:  mesh panels on upper, comfortable, grippy traction, water resistance, high ankle shaft height, flexible on forefoot
Cons:  May not fit well for wide feet, easily scuffed mesh, stiff at first, lacing is lacking
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
85
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weight - 15% 6
  • Support - 20% 9
  • Traction - 15% 9
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Water Resistance - 15% 9
  • Durability - 10% 8
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Our Verdict

The Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 GTX is No Longer Available as of November 2016
La Sportiva is a reputable footwear brand name for trail running shoes, climbing shoes, hiking and mountaineering boots. The FC ECO 3.0 GTX uphold the reputable craftsmanship and technical design features that La Sportiva is known for. They rated consistently well across all of our scoring metrics. Although they don't weigh in as a lightweight boot, they feel similar to the Keen Targhee II Mid on trail. The FC ECO 3.0 are comfortable, supportive hiking boots with a very flexible forefoot.

Our Analysis and Test Results

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Hands-On Review


The FC ECO 3.0 GTX hiking boots are the ideal choice for the well-rounded hiker. Whether you intend to hike in the spring, summer, or fall, set goals for ridgeline traverses or mellow meandering meadow trails, or like to switch between day hikes and long backpacking trips, the mid-weight FC ECO 3.0 boots are well suited for the adventures!

A quality hiking boot will offer ankle support  arch support  and have sturdy  beefy soles for varied terrain. A comfortable  well-fitting pair will make your day of hiking or backpacking more enjoyable.
A quality hiking boot will offer ankle support, arch support, and have sturdy, beefy soles for varied terrain. A comfortable, well-fitting pair will make your day of hiking or backpacking more enjoyable.

Weight


By the scale, these are one of the two heaviest women's hiking boots at 3.25 pounds. Luckily, by actual feel they are comparable to boots weighing 2-2.5 pounds. It's important to note that this weight, although heaviest, is still pounds less than traditional heavy weight hiking boots and only ounces more than many top hiking shoes. If actual weight is holding you back, consider the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's, which offer many of the same features while weighing nearly a pound less. And if counting ounces is your style, the Ahnu Montara - Women's and Keen Targhee II Mid - Women's weigh under 2 pounds per pair.

Support


A sturdy, stiff Vibram rubber sole layered with a dual density ECO trailon, 2mm LaSpEVA misole and TPU shank equates to remarkable support. Underfoot, the boots are stiff and supportive, protecting feet from rocks and roots. The FC ECO have a unique forefoot design that allows the foot to bend with each step without any hindrance. The high ankle shaft- 5"- is the most supportive of any of the women's hiking boots. Before we even tightened the laces, our heels were embraced and our ankles were comfortably supported. After a handful of outings on the trail, the boots began to flex and soften slightly. If prolonged stiffness is desireable, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid WS hiking boots retain their stiffness longer.

While all of the women's boots in our review are capable of managing steep terrain  water crossings  and talus fields  we enjoyed the mellow meadow trails through Hope Valley  California  just as much as the challenging terrain.
While all of the women's boots in our review are capable of managing steep terrain, water crossings, and talus fields, we enjoyed the mellow meadow trails through Hope Valley, California, just as much as the challenging terrain.

Traction


Vibram rubber soles are one of the most common construction details in hiking footwear. They are sturdy and durable while offering slight softness and flexibility. The FC ECO 3.0 GTX also have an Impact Brake System with deep lugs facing opposing directions for increased traction. The tread is aggressive and capable of retaining stability in mud, snow, and on steep slopes. We felt secure while hiking across slick granite slabs and across slippery wet creek beds.

The La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 GTX women's hiking boots gave our Top Pick awarded Ahnu Montaras a run for the money. They are incredibly versatile  light weight  and water resistant with a semi-aggressive tread  and design features that increase flexibility and support.
The La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 GTX women's hiking boots gave our Top Pick awarded Ahnu Montaras a run for the money. They are incredibly versatile, light weight, and water resistant with a semi-aggressive tread, and design features that increase flexibility and support.

Comfort


Initially stiff, the FC ECO 3.0 became more comfortable with each hike. They required a short break-in period of 2 or more outings before softening to a comfortable state. The lacing system is one of the best we reviewed. The toe box is roomy and the heel is well padded and supportive. These boots have a narrow foot bed and may be uncomfortable for women with wider feet. The Lowa Renegade, Keen Targhee II Mid, and Salomon Comet 3D GTX - Women's all come in wide versions and/or have inherently wider foot beds. We love how comfortable and versatile these boots are; from day hikes to backpacking trips, the FC ECO 3.0 are suitable.

With a low scooping ankle shaft  you might second guess the support but the overall heel and ankle support of the FC ECO 3.0 boots is on par with the best. The heel is cupped and the ankle is embraced in soft cushion for incredible support and comfort.
With a low scooping ankle shaft, you might second guess the support but the overall heel and ankle support of the FC ECO 3.0 boots is on par with the best. The heel is cupped and the ankle is embraced in soft cushion for incredible support and comfort.

Water Resistance and Breathability


The La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 is lined with a Gore-Tex waterproof/breathable membrane for keeping feet dry in creek water and well-ventilated from sweat. We hiked through 4-5" of moving water to test the water resistant capacity. Despite our doubts about the mesh looking outer, they kept our feet entirely dry.

The FC ECO 3.0 women's boots are one of few that we would consider breathable enough for mid-summer high temperatures. The Ahnu Montara and the Salomon Comet 3D both also have lightweight uppers and mesh paneling for keeping feet well-ventilated in temperatures over 90 degrees.

Almost fully submerged  the La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 kept our feet dry with a Gore-Tex Dri Lex Bristol hybrid lining.
Almost fully submerged, the La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 kept our feet dry with a Gore-Tex Dri Lex Bristol hybrid lining.

Durability


Leather hiking boots are the most durable and typically end up lasting two or more years before needing replacement. While we haven't been reviewing this pair of FC ECO 3.0 boots for two years yet, we did experience weaknesses in the recycled nylon mesh panels on the top of the foot. Abrasion led to noticeable scuffs in the material. No doubt the Nubuck leather is capable of lasting many seasons on the trail, and the sturdy rubber soles showed little sign of trail use after miles and miles of hiking, but the whole shoe might not make it as long.

The Impact Brake System is unique to La Sportiva with angled and opposing lugs to add traction and stabilizing characteristics on steep and loose terrain.
The Impact Brake System is unique to La Sportiva with angled and opposing lugs to add traction and stabilizing characteristics on steep and loose terrain.

Best Applications


The La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 are well-rounded for day hiking or backpacking during spring, summer, or fall. Mesh panels add breathability to the leather uppers for comfortable summer hiking. The Vibram rubber soles can handle snow crossings, river crossings, and dirt trails where slick rock surfaces are likely. In the fall, the ankle padding adds extra insulation and in spring conditions, the water resistance repels water to keep our feet dry. Although these boots would provide some traction on snowy trails, the integration of mesh on the upper would not be ideal in winter conditions. For a four-season hiking boot, the Lowa Renegades have a less penetrable upper with an aggressive treaded sole.

Value


The FC ECO 3.0 gave the Lowa Renegades a run for their money. It was a challenge to choose between the two for the Editors' Choice award since they both have similar strengths. The less durable aspect of the FC ECOs is a downside, but otherwise they both rated well across the board in our metrics. At $50 less than the Renegades, the FC ECO 3.0 hiking boots are a great value.

Conclusion


La Sportiva continues to manufacture sturdy hiking boots that perform well in rugged terrain. While day hiking and backpacking, the FC ECO 3.0 remain comfortable and supportive. The water resistant qualities kept our feet dry and the forefoot design kept us moving onward with no restriction to stride. This pair of boots is well-rounded and excels in a diverse range of hiking applications.

Briana Valorosi

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Most recent review: November 2, 2014
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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