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La Sportiva Spire GTX Review

A versatile hiking shoe built with the comfort and agility of a running shoe without losing a beat in hiking prowess
La Sportiva Spire GTX
Credit: La Sportiva
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Price:  $190 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Excellent comfort and traction, waterproof
Cons:  Expensive, not the most durable
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 6, 2022
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 9.0
  • Weight - 25% 6.0
  • Support - 15% 7.0
  • Traction - 15% 7.0
  • Versatility - 10% 8.0
  • Water Resistance - 5% 8.0
  • Durability - 5% 6.0

Our Verdict

The La Sportiva Spire GTX quickly became one of our lead tester's favorite pairs of hiking shoes, due to its incredible performance on all types of trails. This shoe is built like a running shoe but has the stability of a low-cut hiking boot while remaining lightweight. This shoe is a perfect choice for long-distance fastpackers who want to shed weight from their feet but are uncompromising on water-resistance and comfort. The traction of these shoes is also top-notch, as they feature Vibram's XS-Trek compound. While they are certainly not as durable as other models due to the heavy use of lightweight synthetic materials, we were truly satisfied with the Spire GTX and heartily recommend it to those who desire a top-of-the-line shoe that can handle it all.

Editor's Note: This review received an update on March 6, 2022, with new sections about our favorite hiking shoes and which we'd recommend to friends.

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La Sportiva Spire GTX
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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64
Star Rating
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Pros Excellent comfort and traction, waterproofExcellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, supportSecure fit, strong traction, stabilitySupportive, versatile, well-cushionedLightweight, breathable, great dry traction, inexpensive
Cons Expensive, not the most durableCuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favoriteNarrow, tongue absorbs waterAverage traction, regular width is relatively wide, hard to lace tightlyDurability concerns, not good for wet weather
Bottom Line A versatile hiking shoe built with the comfort and agility of a running shoe without losing a beat in hiking prowessThis is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking tripsThis comfortable and waterproof shoe has solid traction and a narrow fitA comfortable and versatile pair of hiking shoes with a casual look great for taking from trail to townA budget-friendly hiking shoe that is a perfect choice for those hiking in dry climates
Rating Categories La Sportiva Spire GTX Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Salomon OUTline Low... Columbia Facet 60 O... Vasque Juxt
Comfort (25%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Weight (25%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Support (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Traction (15%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Versatility (10%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Water Resistance (5%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
1
Durability (5%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Specs La Sportiva Spire GTX Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Salomon OUTline Low... Columbia Facet 60 O... Vasque Juxt
Weight (per pair) 2.06 lbs (size 11) 1.76 lbs (size 11) 1.62 lbs (size 10.5) 1.78 lbs (size 10.5) 1.90 lbs (size 11)
Upper Abrasion-resistant mesh Synthetic, textile Waterproof textile Seamless mesh Suede leather
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular, wide
Waterproof Lining Gore-Tex Surround Gore-Tex membrane Gore-Tex OutDry None, just a gusseted tongue
Flood Level 4.75 in 3.25 in 4.25 in 4.25 in 2.5 in
Last Board/Shank Molded EVA ADV-C chassis TPU arch shank Not specified Torsion stability TSS
Midsole 5mm Ortholite Insole, Compression Molded EVA, TPU inserts EnergyCell Injected EVA Techlite+ EVA
Outsole Vibram XS Trek with Impact Brake System Contagrip MA rubber Nonmarking Contagrip rubber Omni-Grip rubber Vasque OTG

Our Analysis and Test Results

If it has seemed difficult to find a shoe that can excel from everything from day hiking to trail running to light backpacking, then look no further. The Spire GTX is an all-around performer, able to do all that you ask of them while remaining light on the feet and keeping you dry with one of the best waterproof liners on the market.

Performance Comparison


La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes - gearing up for a long-distance hike far from the trailhead? the...
Gearing up for a long-distance hike far from the trailhead? The Spire GTX won't let you down.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Comfort


While reviewing this pair, we had to keep reminding ourselves that we were testing hikers, not running shoes. This shoe is built with comfort in mind, and thanks to its extra cushioned compression-molded EVA sole, it provides the same feel as some of our favorite trail runners. This sole kept our feet from feeling sharp rocks underneath on rough trails. With a moderate amount of rocker and great arch support, our feet felt comfortable and were not fatigued even after long days. On early season trail runs where we knew we would encounter snow on the trail and water crossings, we chose this shoe since we knew it could handle the running comfortably while giving the protection of a hiker.

We found the Gore-Tex Surround membrane to be highly effective and was easily the most breathable hiking shoe with a waterproof-breathable liner. The Surround technology allows the foot to expel perspiration through the 5mm Ortholite footbed, allowing for a much drier foot even in warm climates.

La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes - the angulated rock of mcgee creek canyon is notoriously painful...
The angulated rock of McGee Creek Canyon is notoriously painful under lightweight shoes, though we ran over these rocky trails with ease wearing the Spire GTX.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Slipping our feet into these shoes was a breeze; the gusseted tongue extends high up for protection but is easy to put on, and the lacing system is a traditional shoelace and snugs up nicely around the forefoot.

Weight


With a verified weight of 2.06 pounds per pair (size 11 US), these were average weight when compared to the rest of the contenders in our review. While certainly not as light as some of the lower cut and minimal models, we were happy to take on a few extra ounces in favor of the great level of support offered in this shoe. Long-distance hikers would do well to look at this model for lightweight fastpacking adventures where a blend of lightweight and support is necessary.

Support


Do not be fooled by the scant weight and low-cut height of the Spire GTX; this pair is built from the latest in technologies and provides phenomenal support for hiking in all-terrain conditions. The ankle collar extends up 3 inches, reaching the lower part of the ankle bone and providing it with just enough lateral support to resist rolling ankles, but not as much as a mid-cut boot that might feel like overkill when not hiking with much weight.

The TPU inserts inform the stability of the sole, which was soft enough to consider trail running but stiff enough that our feet did not tire when hiking over uneven ground. The forefoot width measured 4 inches, which is narrower than most other models in this review, though the shoe is overall more slender and nimble than most, to begin with.

La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes - running down the steep and loose baxter pass trail in the sierra...
Running down the steep and loose Baxter Pass Trail in the Sierra Nevada, we were happy to have such stable footing thanks to the Impact Brake System.
Credit: Jen Reynolds

Traction


The Spire GTX uses the Vibram XS Trek rubber compound for the outsole. This rubber is very grippy and dispatched both wet and dry rock scrambling with ease, although in steeper rock sections where smearing was required, these shoes did not do as well as those with smoother soles and slightly stickier rubber.

The lug pattern on these shoes was impressive and was one of the most aggressive soles in this review. Deep, widely spaced lugs cut through mud and soft dirt easily and shed it quickly instead of caking up on the bottom. We also appreciate the Impact Braking System, which is a pattern set into the sole, allowing speed control on steep descents.

La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes - our test period included lots of walking through slushy springtime...
Our test period included lots of walking through slushy springtime snow, which the Spire had no problem with thanks to its heavy-duty outsole.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Versatility


Our reviewers wore these shoes on casual day hikes around their local trails, on long adventure hikes deeper into the backcountry, and during general around-town use. Like many of our casual running shoes, they feel comfortable, snug, and secure. This model can do it all with the extra traction and water resistance of a hiking shoe.

With a relaxed, subdued style, the Spire GTX doesn't give away the fact that it is a top-tier hiking shoe and easily fits into casual settings as well as wilderness outings.

La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes - this shoe can really do it all: trail running, day hiking...
This shoe can really do it all: trail running, day hiking, backpacking, it is up to whatever the task you have in mind.
Credit: Ryan Sorenson

Water Resistance


We subjected the Spire GTX to the same rigorous water immersion test that the rest of our hiking shoes had to go through, and it passed with flying colors. We stood in a stream of spring runoff for five full minutes and had no leakage issues. We were also impressed by the flood level (4.15 inches) for its overall height.

The Gore-Tex Surround waterproof membrane allows for 360-degree moisture control, meaning that there are vents in the sole that allow the foot's perspiration to pass through. We were initially worried that this could be another avenue for water to seep in, but we were pleased to discover no water leakage through this lower lining.

La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes - even after 5 minutes of the submersion test we had no leakage issues.
Even after 5 minutes of the submersion test we had no leakage issues.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Durability


We tested the Spire GTX for several months in various conditions, and we did not see any major durability issues arise. The material used for the outer of the shoe, an abrasion-resistant mesh, is lower weight and synthetic, which did hold up to our testing, though long-term abrasion resistance to rough terrain could be in question.

La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes - sharp and rocky trails, mud bogs, and snow travel still didn't put a...
Sharp and rocky trails, mud bogs, and snow travel still didn't put a dent in the Spire GTX.
Credit: Jen Reynolds

Should You Buy the La Sportiva Spire GTX?


Without a doubt, the La Sportiva Spire GTX is a top-of-the-line, high-performance hiking shoe that is comfortable tackling long-distance hikes with ease. Using advanced technologies that ensure comfort and support, this is a shoe that will help you to keep putting down the miles without weighing you down. This is one of the more expensive hiking shoes in our review. Its features and performance merit the higher price tag, though we feel that not everyone will be willing to pay the premium price for such a high-tech hiking shoe.

La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes - fast and light missions where support is critical, but comfort and...
Fast and light missions where support is critical, but comfort and water resistance are necessary, should look to the Spire GTX.
Credit: Jen Reynolds

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?


One of our top-ranking shoes is the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex, which offers slightly less comfort but is lightweight and has better support and traction. This shoe will also save you some money over the La Sportiva. Alternatively, the Hoka One One Toa Gore-Tex has better performance for water resistance and provides excellent support and comfort.

Ryan Huetter
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