La Sportiva TX4 - Women's Review
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La Sportiva TX4 - Women's
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|Pros||Excellent traction, very supportive, breathable design, comfortable for various foot shapes||Excellent traction, responsive and stable support, breathable waterproof protection, comfortable right out of the box||Versatile, nimble, excellent traction, excellent waterproof protection, supportive midfoot||Lightweight, affordable, versatile, water-resistant upper, good breathability||Ample traction, highly cushioned, stable, waterproof, affordable|
|Cons||Not waterproof, minor durability issues||Expensive, sizing runs large, 100% recycled polyester laces may require replacement||Single-pull lacing system has limited adjustability, fit favors narrow feet, not recommended for cross-country travel, less breathable||Sizing runs small, narrow toe box, synthetic mesh upper lacks durability||Bulky design, no additional runner’s loop eyelet, durability concerns|
|Bottom Line||An excellent choice for those looking to navigate popular trails that feature polished granite or slippery sandstone||A stand-out hiking shoe that features ample comfort, great traction, a stable base of support, and a high quality, durable, and waterproof mesh upper||A comfortable, supportive, and waterproof shoe that offers excellent and responsive traction in a sleek, modern package||This lightweight shoe offers the performance of a trail runner with the increased support and protection of a hiking shoe||Supportive and affordable, this tried-and-true design is well-suited to numerous foot shapes, hikers, and backcountry experiences|
|Rating Categories||La Sportiva TX4 - W...||La Sportiva Spire GTX||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||The North Face VECT...||Merrell Moab 3 WP -...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||La Sportiva TX4 - W...||La Sportiva Spire GTX||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||The North Face VECT...||Merrell Moab 3 WP -...|
|Weight (per pair, size 8.5)||1.42 lbs||1.68 lbs||1.54 lbs||1.34 lbs||1.78 lbs|
|Upper||Nubuck leather/1.5mm polyurethane TechLite rand/Vibram rubber toe rand||Abrasion-resistant mesh||Synthetic textile||Performance mesh||Leather, mesh|
|Lining||Nonslip mesh||Gore-Tex Surround||Gore-Tex||futurelight waterproof membrane||Recycled mesh/waterproof, breathable membrane|
|Midsole||Traverse Injection MEMlex||EVA||EVA||Single-density EVA||EVA|
|Outsole||Vibram Megagrip Traverse with Impact Brake System||Vibram XS Trek||Rubber Contagrip||Surface Control rubber||Vibram TC5+ rubber|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The La Sportiva TX4 isn't just for climbers with heavy packs shuttling over mountainous terrain — this shoe is also a solid choice for hikers looking for more stability and sticky traction. The out-of-the-box comfort is suitable for either wide or narrow feet, the STB Control System offers a ton of stability without allowing for excessive torsional flexion, and the Vibram Megagrip gives some of the best traction on the market. This isn't a fully waterproof option, but depending on where and when you plan to hike, that could be a good thing. This durable and long-lasting design is perfect for those seeking added traction and stability, whether cruising down a groomer trail or charging through rugged off-trail terrain.
The TX4 offers ample comfort from day one for those with wide or narrow feet. The roomy toe box includes enough space for the feet to expand when hiking in the heat while also allowing the toes to stretch out rather than be restricted in a cramped design. For added comfort and protection, the shoe features a Techlite rand that increases the shoe's traction and prevents any discomfort when accidentally striking a rock or tree stump.
While our testers found this shoe to be incredibly comfortable for narrow feet, some people could find the spacious toe box too roomy for their liking. And while we love the somewhat rigid structure of this shoe, others may prefer a springy cushion that other shoes in this review can offer. Still, we were impressed by the out-of-the-box comfort that kept us going both on and off trail throughout our testing period.
Though comfortable right away, the Sportiva TX4 still offers a ton of support and stability. The highly structured design features an STB Control System with notable torsional stability, which is basically a fancy way of saying that the structure doesn't allow excessive torque or twisting in the midfoot. Without an excessive range of motion side to side, your feet can focus on propelling you forward rather than becoming fatigued from the extra effort required to support the weight of your body.
The TX4 also features a Traverse Injection MEMlex for even more stability in the midfoot and a 4mm Ortholite footbed for enhanced comfort. It's difficult for us to complain about this high-performing shoe, and we are confident in recommending it for its excellent stability, especially when moving through technical and slick terrain.
The TX4 really outshined its competitors in this metric and quickly became our first choice when navigating slippery boulders on popular trails. The shoe features a Vibram Megagrip rubber that is different from other shoes we tested for this review. This rubber doesn't have the aggressive lug pattern you might be used to with your traditional hiking shoe, but rather incredibly grippy circles under the forefoot to maximize traction. The design also offers a Trail Bite Heel for added traction and stability.
During our testing period, we couldn't believe how well this shoe performed on slippery and polished granite, in addition to a surprising amount of grip when we had to cross the occasional melting snow patch. Whether you're navigating the slippery stone on the way to the top of Yosemite Falls or hoping to see a moose on the ever-popular Cascade Canyon trail in the Tetons, this is our favorite hiking shoe, thanks to its stand-out traction and grip in demanding terrain.
The TX4 weighs only 1.42 pounds per pair for a US women's size 8.5, which is pretty darn light considering the range of shoes that we tested.
While this shoe doesn't offer the same lightweight agility as other shoes that feature more of a running and hiking shoe hybrid design, we appreciate the additional support, structure, and durability offered by the nubuck leather construction.
The TX4 is not fully waterproof, but it still performs well when moving through snow patches, mud puddles, and shallow creek crossings. The design features a flood height of 3.5 inches above the sole of the shoe before water can penetrate the inner material. We also found the nonslip mesh lining on the interior increased breathability, allowing for more airflow rather than hot and "pruny" toes.
If you're hiking in warmer climates, considering a more breathable shoe rather than a fully waterproof Gore-tex design could keep your feet more dry and comfortable. However, if breathability is not as important to your hiking needs, we recommend treating the nubuck leather upper with products such as Sno Seal or Nikwax to increase the water resistant capability long term.
The TX4 shoe features a durable nubuck leather upper with a functional, substantial rand and PU Techlite uppers that offer protection and stability when navigating burly trails. Unlike some other hiking shoes in this review, we highly recommend this one for technical and slippery trails in addition to cross-country travel, thanks to the well-built and high-quality design.
Our testers are pleased to report that we experienced no durability issues during our testing period. However, because this is such a popular shoe, we have noticed some wear and tear on our friends' shoes that are a little older. Specifically, we've noticed that the thin orange cord surrounding the lacing system and the pull tab on the heel can fail after significant use. If the cord becomes compromised near the lacing system, it is still reinforced with either the leather upper or metal eyelets, while the pull tab simply loses its function or requires alternative repair. We found the pull tab more essential when attaching the shoe to a harness or backpack and more of an inconvenience (once broken) if simply using the tab for ease of on and off. We've also noted that the leather upper is prone to blowing out near the flex of the shoe near the base of the big and little toes. La Sportiva stands behind their shoes and therefore offers customers a one-year manufacturer warranty should you experience either of these issues during that timeframe.
Should You Buy the La Sportiva TX4?
If you plan to spend a lot of time hiking on popular trails featuring sandstone or polished granite, this shoe is a solid option. The TX4 will definitely offer a ton of return on your investment. Our testers were immediately impressed with the out-of-the-box comfort, the high-performing support and stability, and the outstanding sticky rubber traction. While not a fully waterproof option, this could be a good thing depending on where you plan to hike and the time of year. Not just for rock climbers and off-trail approaches, we're confident the TX4 will enhance your hiking experience, especially on popular trails.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
If you are interested in the incredible traction offered by the La Sportiva TX4 but prefer a fully waterproof option, check out our number one shoe in the lineup, the La Sportiva Spire GTX. If you're looking to pick up the pace and want a shoe that can keep up, we also recommend the The North Face VECTIV Fastpack FUTURELIGHT. And finally, if you're after a hiking shoe that offers reliable performance without breaking the bank, check out the Merrell Moab 3 WP.
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