Hands-on Gear Review

La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX Review

Price:  $180 List
Pros:  Snug fitting, breathable, eats rock for breakfast
Cons:  Poor mud traction, sole wears quickly
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   La Sportiva

Our Verdict

La Sportiva Discontinued The Hyper Mid GTX March 2016

The La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX is a specialty hiking boot for those who play on rock and in the mountains. It's ideal for routes like the Upper Exum on the Grand Teton and the Keyhole route on Longs Peak where you'll encounter easy rock climbing and long approaches. With more cushioning in the midsole than most rock climbing approach shoes, and excellent torsional stability, this boot can handle the long miles. The GORE-TEX waterproof membrane works well while remaining breathable, and overall this hiking boot doesn't sacrifice much climbing ability to provide comfort and support for hiking. Not surprisingly, we found the La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX more comfortable and supportive for long approaches than traditional low cut approach shoes.

If you're looking more for a more traditional hiking boot, check out the Vasque St. Elias GTX, our Editors' Choice, for all-around performance. The Keen Targhee II Mid, which won our Best Buy award, also comes highly recommended as the most versatile lightweight hiker we reviewed.



RELATED REVIEW: Best Hiking Boots for Men of 2018

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Brandon Lampley

Last Updated:
Friday
May 22, 2015

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Light, comfortable, and snug fitting, the La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX is the boot we choose for talus hopping and rock scrambles. Sort of a mid-cut approach shoe, with foot support rivaling boots, it's a great off-width climbing boot as well! La Sportiva products generally fit an average to narrow foot well, and this snug fitting specialty boot might not be a good choice for those with wide feet. Individuals with wide feet who are in search of a waterproof scrambling boot may want to check out Scarpa's similarly designed Tech Ascent GTX.

Performance Comparison


If you want to climb this terrain in hiking boots  you want the La Sportiva Hyper.
If you want to climb this terrain in hiking boots, you want the La Sportiva Hyper.

Comfort


This lightweight hiking boot fits like a glove. With its hybrid boot/approach shoe design, we were surprised how comfortable it was for long miles on the trail. It fits the best with a thinner sock. Eight lower eyelets and one upper allow you to cinch this boot down as tight as you desire, all the way down to the toe. Folks who haven't worn climbing shoes before might find it a bit puzzling how closely it wraps the toe and forefoot. Additionally, the Hyper breathed well, and kept our feet cooler than most of the waterproof models we tested.

If you love the fit of La Sportiva boots, but don't need a specialized model like the Hyper, we highly recommend checking out the La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0, a lightweight hiker that earned high scores in all our metrics.

The La Sportiva Hyper's toe design and lacing make an excellent climbing boot.
The La Sportiva Hyper's toe design and lacing make an excellent climbing boot.

Stability


The La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX's ankle collar is relatively low cut, but because it fits so snugly, it provides ankle stability on par with or better than most lightweight hikers. As you would suspect, the snug fitting boot has a relatively narrow sole.

Torsional stability is where the Hyper excels. Its forefoot and arch area are more supportive than the other lightweight hikers we tested. When standing on a 1/2 inch rock edge, this is really nice. Our feet appreciated this added support on long alpine approaches.

The Hyper sole design has a toe area designed for standing on rock edges. We really appreciated its stability  especially its torsional stability.
The Hyper sole design has a toe area designed for standing on rock edges. We really appreciated its stability, especially its torsional stability.

Traction


Hands down, this product provided the best performance on rock slabs. Climbing and approach shoes use softer rubber formulations for the sole to make them "sticky." The trade-off here is most definitely durability, since the softer rubber wears more quickly. Unfortunately, the Hyper was a rather poor performer in the mud, and so-so when moving over loose gravel. The products that performed best in these tests were the Scarpa Kinesis Pro and Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX respectively. However, this product gets the job done like no other for what it was designed for: sticking to rock.

The Idro-Grip Vibram X-Traction sole is a softer formulation, and provides excellent friction. It stuck like glue to dry rock, and was one of the better performers on wet rock as well.

The La Sportiva Hyper both edges and crack climbs well. Here  Brandon just sticks to the rock!
The La Sportiva Hyper both edges and crack climbs well. Here, Brandon just sticks to the rock!

Weight


The La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX is light. It landed right about in the middle of our selection of lightweight hikers. The heavier uppers of the Hyper are more substantial and durable than most of the other lightweight options, and account for this added weight.

Not too heavy  not too light. The Hyper earned middle-of-the-road scores in our weight metric.
Not too heavy, not too light. The Hyper earned middle-of-the-road scores in our weight metric.

Water Resistance


With a low cut ankle collar, this is not the boot you want for wading streams. But the waterproofing performs very well, and kept our feet dry during our lake edge test. It's notable that the Hyper breathed better than most of the boots we tested with a waterproof GORE-TEX membrane.

This product has a mid-height shaft and a Gore-Tex liner to protect you from the elements.
This product has a mid-height shaft and a Gore-Tex liner to protect you from the elements.

Durability


This is a burly boot for a lightweight hiker. The uppers are well-built and will stand up to lots of abuse. While the sole wears more quickly than most other boots, that is a reasonable trade-off for the great traction they provide. We should note, though that if you have a good relationship with a climbing shoe resoler, you may be able to get this product resoled with sticky rubber.

You'll want to keep using this boot for years, so do yourself a favor and don't wear them around town! Sidewalks and everyday wear will use up the sole quickly. Save these for your scrambling adventures.

The La Sportiva Hyper has the best traction for climbing rock. Unfortunately  though  its soles wear out somewhat quickly.
The La Sportiva Hyper has the best traction for climbing rock. Unfortunately, though, its soles wear out somewhat quickly.

Best Applications


One of the most specialized hiking boots we reviewed, this model is designed for rocky scrambles and mountain summits. It's comfy and supportive enough to keep your feet happy on long approaches, and absolutely slays rock scrambles. It's pretty nice for off-widths and squeeze chimneys too! This product would also work well as a big wall climbing boot; however, we recommend coating the leather on the outside of the forefoot with a shoe goo or seam sealer to protect it from excessive wear and tear.

Our Top Pick for Scrambling and Climbing was a favorite among testers. This is an awesome choice if you often scamper over rocks  but want more than an approach shoe.
Our Top Pick for Scrambling and Climbing was a favorite among testers. This is an awesome choice if you often scamper over rocks, but want more than an approach shoe.

Value


If this type of specialized boot is what you're after, 180 bucks is reasonable. That said, most folks will find better all-around hiking performance and value elsewhere.

Conclusion


Buy these hiking boots and then head out to climb. Go on a long summer road trip, climb the Third Flatiron and Longs Peak, stop in Vedauwoo for the wide cracks, then head up to the Tetons and the Wind River Range. These hiking boots will take you places!

Brandon Lampley

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: March 4, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (3.0)

50% of 2 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 67%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 33%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Hiker

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   Mar 4, 2016 - 05:45pm
IdahoHiker · Hiker · Boise Idaho

Last year I was excited to read this review and purchase some of these boots. I consider myself an intermediate hiker/climber in Idaho where I accomplish 20+ peaks a year between 9,000 and 12,000 ft. I went on 2 hikes, nothing technical and the top right orange lace holder popped out. I returned the boots and received another pair hoping that was all that was wrong. The new pair went 2 times up a dirt trail 2,000 ft and the sides of the boots began to unravel at the black stitching. I am sending these boots back too and going to look elsewhere going forward. My Zamberlan's have been rock solid for me so I may look there.

I am just posting what trouble I had and it sounds like others have had a good experience with these.



Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.


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   Jun 30, 2015 - 04:45am
Ryan Huetter · Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab
I am pretty bummed that Sportiva decided to stop making the Ganda Guide, one of the better products suited to long approaches and moderate climbing without having to switch shoes.
Since I failed to stockpile the Gandas in advance, and my last pair passed their final resole, I had to look elsewhere. Sportiva shoes fit me like a glove in all other models, so I ordered up the Hypers, for a trip to climb several long scrambling routes far from the trail.
Without a break in period, they performed quite well. Like all other Sportiva boots and shoes I replaced the inadequate footbed with a Superfeet green insole, and they were good to go.

They smear and edge well, are comfortable on the hikes, and unlike the Gandas, actually have a gusseted tongue, which means way less rocks coming in.

Bottom line, is that these hike and climb more like an approach shoe than a boot, and can climb moderate rock pretty well.



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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