La Sportiva Trango Tech GTX Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Exceptional climbing ability, supportive, great for covering distance in an alpine environment
Cons: Expensive, too stiff for an average hiker
Manufacturer: La Sportiva
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Trango Tech GTX is a burly boot. Not necessarily so when compared to the three-season mountaineering boot category, but when compared to other midweight hiking boots, most definitely. This burliness translates to amazing performance on climbing and technical hiking objectives, but it also makes them a bit harder to break in. These are comfortable out of the box in terms of fit, with a medium volume sizing, but when snugly laced around the foot, they are not as forgiving as other models, and the stiff sole feels less comfortable when on the trail for miles at a time.
But think about the difference between driving a sleek Porsche 911 and a Cadillac - you're going to give up some comfort in the race car, but you do so in favor of vastly improved performance. Rocky, alpine, technical trails involving 3rd and 4th class climbing are where the comfort-for-performance tradeoff is clearly worth it. The stiff soles that aren't very comfortable on flat, smooth trails protect your feet in rocky terrain, which is actually more comfortable in this environment. Comfort is contingent upon the terrain, exemplified with this boot.
These are very stable boots. We feel in total control while hiking and climbing in these boots, thanks to a snug lacing system that makes the upper feel like it is part of the foot, rather than allowing the foot to slide and twist inside. Offering a very stable edging platform based on a Trango 2 last, they feel precise and confident. The tall 7.25-inch cuffs give great support around the ankles making them useful in off-trail situations. Torsionally very stiff, they maneuver through rocky terrain quite well.
We can't get over how well these boots climb! Featuring the same Vibram Mulaz rubber compound found on many high-performance, lightweight mountaineering boots, they can travel effortlessly through many varied surface conditions. On the approach, they hold their own on the trail, easily tracking over muddy, slick, and wet surfaces, but off-trail is really where they begin to shine. Meant for technical endeavors, the Trango Tech GTX finds its stride in 3rd and 4th class terrain where rock and snow climbing may be encountered. In these situations, they are one of the top performers in this review.
The Trango Tech GTX weighs in at 2.9 pounds in US men's size 11. This is almost twice the weight of the lightest hiking boot we reviewed, but it is by no means the heaviest boot in our review. It is also much lighter than some equivalent lighter weight mountaineering boots, and so judged on its merits as well as its weight, it is a good choice.
By including a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort membrane, these boots do a great job of keeping water on the outside where it belongs. And thanks to a tall ankle cuff that has this waterproof-breathable membrane sewn in all the way up to the top, it boasts an impressive flood height. We did not experience any issues with water seeping in. Relating to durability, though, the fabric on the sides of the upper are susceptible to wear. Over time and if worn in rough terrain, we expect this to be the first area that would start letting in moisture.
As noted above, these are light boots and they are made from light materials. The upper is comprised of proprietary QB3 Waterproof fabric with Thermo-Tech injection coating, meaning that they are very high-tech (hence the name!), but don't offer the same durability that full-grain leather boots do. When abraded, this fabric has a tendency to fray and wick water in. It is worth being careful if you plan on climbing in harsh terrain.
The Trango Tech GTX is an expensive, niche hiking boots, or a relatively inexpensive mountain boot, depending on how you look at it. It is a great boot with some minor issues, but overall we feel it is a good value.
This is one of the best boots when it comes to technical terrain, making it a perfect choice for hikers that may venture out onto challenging cross-country routes that may see travel over rock, snow, and ice.
— Ryan Huetter